Wednesday, November 29, 2006


It has been prohibitively cold for the last week. So cold, that it has distracted me from the significant and wondrous amount of snow covering my world. I hate to be cold, but I love snow.
I love the quiet clean of a snow-laden street at night. I love the black and white of trees and snow in shadow. I love the smell and the sparkle.

To me, snow is the physical manifestation of the sense of rest and renewal I feel in the winter months.

Thursday 7:48 pm
I am also reading a book entitled Snow, by Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. Orhan, born in Istanbul in 1959, has been under Turkish and Islamic criticism for his writing, although he claims to not really be interested in Politics. Snow, published in 2002, is set in the small city of Kars in northeastern Turkey and tells the story of violence and tension between political Islamists, soldiers, secularists, and Kurdish and Turkish nationalists.
For me, Snow is more about religion and spiritualism then about politics. It seems to be about the human search for identity and meaning. In the book, the main character, an atheist poet name Ka, is struggling with his own views of religion and his place in the universe. It is the snow that continues to fall and cover his home town that continues to stimulate in him some concept of god or spirit. When I see snow, I think of God, he responds throughout the book to various individuals who question him of his faith. It is the only response he uses, as though he does not know what he believes but he cannot deny the absolute perfection and divinity in snow.

As an agnostic struggling with my own spirituality, or at least in defining it, I am drawn to his words. And I am drawn to snow.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Elle and feminism- do they go together?

I read Elle magazine for the articles. Seriously. Not Elle Canada, because it is simply a vapid cataglogue of fashion images, unfortunately. But, for some reason, Elle international has had some kick-ass articles over the last 8 months that I have been reading it. Unfortunately, I have not been able to access or find any archives of past articles. I would love to put up links to the ones that have interested me so far, but the site doesn't seem to have any of the actual articles from the magazine.

Now, I do read Elle for the fashion, as well. There is something that I love about sitting on a plane or in the tub and flipping through beautiful images and trends. I have been labeled "fashionista" at work, but I think that I approach fashion as art. It inspires me. Color, texture, form, attitude; they are important to me.

I am also, of course, extremely aware of the conflict between fashion magazines and the integrity of women. Our identity as women is intricately and complexly entwined in the images that we are presented with and we need to start "pushing" images of true women and fashion back to the magazine industry.

In the September 3 2006 Botson Globe, the Ideas section had an interview with Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler, founders of Bitch magazine.

I found this segment particularly interesting:

IDEAS: Are there mainstream outlets you think are doing a good job of addressing feminist issues?

ZEISLER: Elle Magazine actually grapples with a lot of the same issues that feminists are grappling with. But in the context of a fashion magazine it's often not really seen as feminism.

IDEAS: How come?
Isn't it just the thinking that counts?

JERVIS: When feminist content is stuck between the pages of how to put on eye shadow and what skirt you need to buy for next season, it can feel really schizophrenic. Feminist values, in my opinion, are in opposition to that kind of consumer-driven ethos.

The mainstream media feels the need to define stuff against the word feminism: Is it feminist, is it not feminist, is it antifeminist? A lot of people are still scared of the word. But if we can convey that calling yourself a feminist doesn't mean that you have to stop wearing lipstick or shopping or whatever, that's good. I would rather have fashion magazines acknowledge that there is no perfect idealism and there's always going to be a compromise, but you should still go out and call yourself a feminist anyhow.

Anyway, back to Elle. In every issue I have read, there has been a hard
hitting, well-written, and surprisingly objective journalist article. In the
past two months, they have had a discussion of "feminism" and actually asked the question "are you a feminist" to some prominent young women. I can't find this article online so I will scan it when I get time.

The October issue also has a review of self proclaimed anti-feminist Caitlin
Flanagan, entitled "Who's the fairest wife of all?". This is a well written and critical piece by columnist Laurie Abraham.

I am a feminist and I read Elle.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Check her out-Melissa McClelland

I bought Melissa McClelland's new album, Thumbelina's One Night Stand, in the Second Cup in the Montreal Airport.

These are the songs she played at the Calgary Folk Fest and they are incredible. I caught wind of Melissa as the background voice on Luke Doucet's songs. She and Luke were married this summer and he has produced both her albums and plays and sings on this album, along with Sarah McLachlan and Blue Rodeo's, Greg Keelor. I think she has really hit on a fantastic sound with this album- an melodic and eerie mix of country, folk and vintage music, and a mix of canadiana and americana. She is a fantastic songwriter and her voice lulls you into a sense of serenity-until you start listening to the lyrics.

Oh, and she's hot.