Creative Resolution

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” ~Maya Angelou

What’s your refuge, respite, how you repair?


I’ve become resolved to expand my creative self. I’ve always had one big toe dipped in the artistic pond, but as adulthood, responsibilities, and the 9-5 took over, I woke up one day and realized that I had transformed solely into a supporter of the arts, rather than a contributor.

Art in all of its glorious forms, is my refuge.

I’ve recently taken up plucking at the ukulele. Such a quaint instrument, capable of such beautiful sound, when treated right. Some of my fondest memories were born while spending time with musically-inclined people.

One particular night stands out for me: not too long ago after a lovely evening out imbibing with friends, the group of us headed back the dwelling of a lovely couple residing in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood. The first thing I saw upon entry was a beautiful ukulele hung on the wall, an acoustic guitar displayed in a holder in the corner, and a set of hand drums perching nearby. I went over to the ukulele and picked it up. The owner of the abode’s eyes lit up as he watched me, and he grabbed the acoustic guitar. He then said to me “Do you know this one?” and began playing one of my favourite songs ever – so I started to sing. I handed the ukulele to someone else and they joined in, playing the song from memory. Another friend picked up the hand drums, and out of nowhere a musical shaker with metal beads appeared and was included in the melody. This was shaping up to be a beautiful jam session, with everyone playing a part. We completed the song and then looked around the room at each other with huge goofy grins on our faces.

I’ve not often felt the kind of joy ran though me on that beautiful night.


Uke.jpgI’ve since acquired an almost identical ukulele, and I love it.

An Evening with Maynard James Keenan

Well, what can I say. Back when I was a head-banging hair-whipping teenage rocker gal wearing long-sleeved band t-shirts under my white school uniform dress shirt, I never thought this day would come: sitting in a wooden folding chair, 20 feet from Maynard James Keenan, singer of Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer, with a gifted copy of his first book in my hand: A Perfect Union of Contrary Things, listening to him speak about his life at the University of Toronto Convocation Hall.

As soon as I found out that he’d be in Toronto for this unprecedented event, I bought a ticket. I never in a million years thought that I’d be attending alone, but alone I went; no one I’d asked had wanted to go. I’ve been lucky enough to watch Maynard sing countless times before at shows he put on with his various bands throughout the years – but this was different. This time, I would actually be able to hear what he had to say. I could focus, pay attention, and mull. I wasn’t going to miss this for anything.

It was a cool, clear Monday night, and the November full moon was high in the sky as I crossed King’s College Circle to reach the building’s entrance. How fitting. The moon was yellow and misty and uncaptureable by my phone but try I did, because how could I not?

November full moon, taken from King College Circle.

Going to see this man (whose career I’ve followed singe teenagerdom and whom I find to be incredibly intelligent and inspiring to this day) speak about life, art, mistakes, and learning (not losing; “you either win or you learn, losing is on you”) was simultaneously somber and uplifting. Like life.

An audio snippet I recorded of Maynard reading aloud from his book.

I was reminded that I should never expect things that inspire me to necessarily inspire others; what I find amazing and incredible may not resonate with even those who are closest to me; in the end, my thoughts and my feelings are my own. Despite this, I won’t ever stop going after and talking about the things that I’m passionate about. Be it music, trees, books, or sunsets. We just never know how something we do or say or share might have a deep and lasting effect on those around us.

Thank you Maynard, for sharing your life with the world, and for coming to Toronto to spend time with your fans.