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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rome and Catullus

I've been enjoying the HBO series Rome. I've been renting it from the video store. It portrays a Rome I've long imagined: a republic (and then empire) full of blood, lust, greed and glory. But this series favours the smaller, more intimate stories of the men and women as individuals - an approach I'm sure some have criticized. After all, some like historical tales to be big epics. But then, this is TV, so we should be getting into Caesar's sex life and showing some of his weaknesses as well, no?

Now, if you can get past the fact that most of the characters - merchants, soldiers, consuls, and even Caesar himself - sound like they just strolled out of an English university or a British pub, then you have a fine series. In my humble opinion. (And bear in mind the Roman citizenry was hardly ethnically homogeneous.) But then, I love the everyday detail as much as the larger-than-life events that create civilizations. Passion, energy, and motivation often start at home.

And when it comes to home and its rude, raunchy, and ribald details, I recommend the Roman poet Catullus, whose work was translated by an acquaintance of mine, Ewan Whyte, and published by Mosaic Press in 2004.

For all of Catullus' knee-slapping rough humour, he does have moments of passionate tenderness:

Let us live and love,
not listening to old men's talk.
Suns will rise and set
long after our little light
has gone away to darkness.
Kiss me again and again.
Let me kiss you a hundred times,
a thousand more, again a thousand
without rest, losing count, so no
one can speak of us and say
they know the number of our kisses.

We will never know all the kisses of Rome or anywhere else.

I don't need that much detail.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Back in town tonight

I figured a bit of borrowed lyric from a Tragically Hip song was as good a title as any to restart my blogging. It's been, what, four or five months now. I figured it was time to saddle up and ride back into town. I fired up my email this evening and saw that someone had stumbled upon my blog posts about our Morkie pup, Timmy, and was wondering what it was like to own such a beast. That's all it took - to see that someone was looking for information or opinions I could actually provide.

(I will provide doggy feedback to this aforementioned individual via email. Suffice it to say, Timmy is healthy and crazy and lots of fun.)

For those who came to my blog from time to time and wondered what happened to me, it's not that I stopped blogging out of anger or on some kind of sour note or anything. I simply lost my rhythm for a while, as my working days got very long and very tiring. You see, I'd fallen into debt (that's another story) and therefore had to take a day gig in order to earn some steady cash. So, I took a job working with underwriters in a mortgage company. Some may've seen my last post and wondered what the hell I was talking about. After all, I am supposed to be a writer. Many a writer (some famous ones) has done other stuff while writing. Besides, aspects of my job are vaguely journalistic: I get documents, do online investigations, conduct short interviews, and then do write-ups for the files. Occasionally I even edit the work of others. It's not glamorous but it does pay okay. Anyone who knows the mortgage/housing industry knows it is absolutely insane during summer. Hence the hiatus.

Enough other work talk. Back to writing. I'm still taking freelance gigs and writing for the community papers from time to time. And I do have some other, bigger, irons in the fire, some weenies on the stick, marshmallows on the roast, what have you. I know, those are tedious and trite metaphors. Or just tedious. No one uses those last two.

Ahhhh. Few, if any, may notice my return, but it feels good to be home just the same.

Talk to you sooner than later.