Friday, 22 June 2012

stinking is fun

Is there anything better than watching your kid do something well? (Not arson or Amway sales, but something nice). Yes there is. I just got back from watching Ed co-host a music night at the golf club, and he was charming and funny and also played a tidy snazzy drum kit. BUT that experience, pleasant as it was, was NOT as much fun as watching him try to play the washboard.

Yup, all this has been lead in. Here's the point of today's bit. My buddy fronts a jug band (you know, I have never had occasion for that phrase until now) and, needing a percussionist for an upcoming concert, offered the gig to Ed, who went over to learn how to play the washboard and came back shaking his head in dismay.

You know what a washboard is, right? There's one there. Playing it seems pretty straightforward, simple even, but apparently not so. Ed insisted on demonstrating for me. I sat in the living room and he stood in front of me scraping and banging away, grinning wide.

"Man I am bad at this," he said. "The motion is wrong and all my stresses are wrong. I stink. But you know, I can not stop smiling. I love this thing."

He kept on for another few minutes, then went to the basement to practice some more. And I thought, how wonderful to have genuine fun doing something you are not good at. Because life is full of those things.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

i am bad at the agm

Back from Vancouver, where it was cold and wet and everyone told me so. BC was hilarious, partly because I like the beer and scenery (even in the cold), and partly because I was there for the AGM of the Writers' Union Of Canada, and sat on a panel and attended actual meetings with chairs and minutes and rules of order and motions and seconders and all that giggle-worthy stuff.

I didn't only giggle, though. I also yawned. Call it a yawggle. I am a bad AGM-er. The guys in the picture over there are way more attentive than I was. I fidgeted and scratched. I drew pictures of giraffes and cereal on the pad they had given me to take notes. I yawggled. I slept. I am not proud of my behaviour -- I merely note it. I can't help rolling my eyes at earnestness. I mean, there we were at 9:30 am arguing seriously for a half hour about whether we should establish a working group or a task force (yep, it was a real hot topic: task force or working group: apparently they are two different things) with a duty to (I think) look into the volunteer situation and see about ways to attract more of them.

Pretty funny. Also deadly boring -- which is why I say I think that was what I ended up voting on -- I honestly cannot be sure.

But I am not here to slam the union. I am a grateful member. Yes, we spent a morning diddling our hoo haws. And yet the union has done and continues to do great work for people like me. Not just intangible things like raising the profile of the writing community, or giving us a voice in the halls of government. TWUC has been a contributor to, well, to my bank account. Every year I get money from the libraries across Canada thanks to the union. Every year the union pays me to talk to school kids. How dare I laugh or yawn at the hand that feeds me? The officers may be earnest, but it is earnest people (and obsessed - the two states are not dissimilar) who get things done. Dorks like me just stand on the side lines and laugh.

You know who else gets things done? Volunteers. That's right. Someone -- or a group of someones -- should look into the volunteer situation and see if we can attract some more of them.