Get More Beauty

Maybe I’ll get more beauty in my thinking! Today is the most beautiful I will ever be. That is if my looks matter. Of course looks matter, they have a role to play. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Do people judge people solely because of their appearance? Unfortunately yes. In fact I see it everyday. There are a number of homeless that live in the neighbourhood. The behaviour between the the homeless and the people walking by are an insight into human psychology. Normally all interactions work well as can be expected. Occasionally, somebody will drink too much beer and there may be some inconvenience until the police remove the problem person. There are two individuals that I seek out. One fellow is outside Place-des-Arts métro station. He is Cree nation from northern Québec. The other fellow is Inuk nation from the Arctic. To be homeless in the Montréal winter is not a pleasant proposition. What is it like up there to consider homelessness in Montréal the lesser evil of the two.

In the station there was a fellow with some hard miles on him, and he was walking through the station cursing the coming winter and his having to live on the street. Now there are shelters. Resources are limited. It is less work to panhandle and feed yourself that way than to run all over the city, if you have transit money, and be told that the place is full or they ran out of food. It has been a long time since I slept under a bridge. I did live on the sailboat for one season. I did live out of my car this past June, but it wasn’t because of homelessness. It was a month long vacation. I slept 28 nights in the car and two nights in a B & B when the car was in for service. After a month of sleeping in the car it felt strange to consider not sleeping there after returning home. Speaking of sleep, I slept well last night again and here I am at 07:45 am writing away.

There is a lot of beauty here. A lot of outdoor stuff like parks and then this incredible architecture from so many decades ago. And I used to camp up until I got the boat three years ago. I have done outdoorsy, by yourself, in the middle of nowhere kayak trips and hiking trips. That I can do. But homelessness I fear. An intense, being scared. Having said that, a lot of people live this way their whole lives if you can imagine. I think maybe the fear of homelessness may be worse than the actual being homeless. If you’re homeless, you have to deal with it constantly, endlessly. The productivity can be distressingly low. To have to suffer so much in order to receive so little.

Life here is good. We are supposed to get 25-30 kms of snow but it is already late. It was first expected to arrive last night at supper-time but everything is still clear here. I should go for a walk soon. But I can walk in snow if necessary. Another good aspect to my life is that it is quiet. I hang out at home a lot. When school is open I hang out there as well. There is a huge library a few blocks away and now that I am a bona fide resident of Québec I can become a member. That should be a good place to work. Plus it is at Berri/UQAM metro station so easy for me to get to. That place will be a whole new adventure. Another pro is that I’ll get familiarized with UQAM also.The other thing I like about it is it is all in French. I still go to my old hood to get a dose of French now that I live in a very bi-lingual area. McGill Ghetto, as expected, is very bi-lingual. About five blocks east of here is Blvd. Saint Laurent. That has always been the marker between Montréal Est & Ouest. I miss the French. My default language when I open my mouth to speak is French. They figure it out as soon as they hear my accent. But French is another of the many reasons I moved to Montréal.

I am glad to be back at WordPress. There have been changes but I will learn them soon. My intention is to post everyday so I should become acquainted soon. One thousand words a day here. I also write another 1,000 words a day at google.docs too. I have been writing everyday for over a month. Many of those days are 1,000 words or more. If I do not write 1,000 words on a day it feels quite abnormal, uncomfortable. That is what my experience has been. I had never heard of that or foreseen that. That makes writing a keeper for sure.I use a Mac with google.docs mostly. I do have a Windows laptop backup with Word. I also am interested in continuing with the Scrivener Trial Offer. But I have WordPress up and running too. And I have a book on WordPress so I am literally all set to go with WordPress. Although I have written more than a thousand words quite often now I will be writing 2,000 everyday. Today is the second day of this new habit. And today is an early start for me. Here it is 08:40 am and I already have the first one thousand words done. I did watch a few minutes of Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett. Interesting as hell. I even like Liz’s voice. Liz has inspired me immensely. Especially about what a writer is and isn’t. All we need is a pencil and a scrap of paper and we’re in business. My writing is somewhat limited right now. I write a fair bit about Montréal because this is where I live. I talk about writing because that’s what I am, that’s what I do. Also I speak about my efforts to be a scholar in Classics. Maybe. But right now I audit Latin and Rome. I am pushing myself gently, too gently in my goal to be a scholar. That is not quite entirely correct. There is a three year process in play here. Come the beginning of the third year I will know whether I am a candidate for being a paying customer. Of course, I read a lot. It is part of my job as a writer and part of my job as a student.

Well, I have to move on with the day. Write another thousand. Then a shower and walk. I need to buy a kettle for tea. This is exciting stuff!

Do It

That is the best advise ever received. Alexa The Actress said that. Without bragging I have done a fair bit this last sixteen months. I moved to Montréal. I started auditing at Concordia University downtown. My scholar career is ongoing.

I am in my second apartment since arriving here. The first one had a roommate. It was very reasonable expenses with two people. We would have stayed another couple of years but he got renovicted.

That led to an incredible journey to Canada’s East Coast. It was a full 30 days. I now have been to all ten provinces of Canada. I call my trip, “Mike’s East Coast Homeless Tour”. Yes, I was homeless for a month, between apartments. So I lived in my car for 28 nights, usually in 24 hour MacDonalds, or Tim Hortons so that I had a bathroom at night if needed. What good is a drive through when you need to pee?

Seriously though I just started reading through the journal entries for the trip and there is some good material I think. Maybe I will get a few stories out of it. But I am glad now that I journaled the trip because now I am enjoying it in the re-living by reading. Reading with the intent to write something out of it. for sure there will be essay’s. But maybe a short story or two. It will be interesting to see how many words I end up with. I have a number of old journals which also will yield some stories. The 7,000 words per week will give me a regular source of material.

Down at Paperterie Nota Bene they sell typewriters. They priced between four hundred to six hundred dollars each. They look cool and thanks for the memories but how inconvenient. No delete key. But they are stylish and beautiful. They would be a nice decor item if nothing else. If you are in Montréal and you like pens and journals and a lot more you would like this store. They have an amount of items imported from Europe. It is interesting to go in and see all the stuff and people. The staff are knowledgable. There is a large choice of ink pens.

We are supposed to get our second sizeable snowfall of the season within the hour. It will snow until late tomorrow. That’s okay; the lack of snow has been a real blessing. This is Montréal, after all. We’re famous for two things; snow and cold! Lol! What more could a Canuck ask for? Truly my decision to move here was a well-founded one. My life has expanded immensely. Plus my kids will come and visit here. They both love Montréal. My daughter had been to Montréal three times previously in the winter though. This July visit was her first summer trip which she really enjoyed.

Originally the plan was to retire and move to Costa Rica or Colombia. I wanted to get away from the snow so I moved to, eh, … Montréal? Yup. But there is a lot going on here for me and I haven’t even scratched the surface. And they speak French! I love that and all the other cool stuff about this city. I live three blocks from the Green Line. I can walk to school in a half hour. I have to pinch myself sometimes. I am a writer living in downtown Montréal and going to university. That plan all came together very quickly and I knew right away that if I did it, my life would change like I never could have imagined. The dream is to get a degree and then get another one and  … who knows? Maybe get a double degree and then get another one. Or maybe two double degrees? It is financially possible for a Québèc resident. I will get through the semester. Besides, it’s auditing. I am seriously considering taking Latin 1 again next September for the third time.

And the two goals are closely connected so the benefit of the learning is doubled or what have you. I am learning a lot about essays. I didn’t realize they served so many purposes. I will use essays for school. I will also use them to write articles. The more the merrier. It is working out well having the time to learn how to do various things.

I am looking forward to school again. Once it starts it flies by. It is only thirteen weeks. It goes by quickly. I am not up to par with the students and I need to be. I need to be the top of my class! Why not? Absolutely why not? If I choose to I can get a law degree. That is an incredible thought. Remember that lady lawyer that was sitting next to me. I remember what she said. She told me to get a law degree, twice. She told me twice. Then I met Andrew here who let me know how financially possible it is to get the Québec undergrad law degree. That is food for thought. I don’t know if I need an undergrad first. I am going to find out tonight. As far as Andrew was concerned he educated me. A BA law degree here is three thousand a year for three years. The total is nine thousand dollars. If you want an MA LLB, that will be closer to twenty-five thousand. Academics are given paid work. That’s what Montréal is for me. It is an opportunity waiting for me to decide how I want to live this wild and wonderful life.

Tomorrow is coming. How will I keep busy tomorrow? I will write just like today. But now I have upped the ante because I am committing to write. I need to do a days honest good work. Just because it is writing there aren’t any bragging rights. It is work. If we are going to work then we are going to get paid so we have to be paid writers. Nobody can work for free for ever. It has to at least be able to support itself. Let’s be honest. We need to be rewarded commensurately for our efforts.

Good night.

Happify My Life

Yesterday was a day filled with lots of good and some accomplishment.

I got to Montreal and met my new roommate and paid a deposit and got a key. I talked with Eric and learned about the apartment and the neighbourhood.

The neighbourhood is French, it’s poor, and I love it. There is a better area to the north and a worse one to the south. But I am familiar with the area I am living in and with the worse one to the south, so I am dealing with known environments. My room is four blocks from the Frontenac Metro station and I am only 7 stations from the university on a direct line. No changing trains or riding buses. That will be important once it starts snowing in Montréal. Just for the record, it snows nearly every night and it usually snows a lot. I will be living at the east end of centre-ville, and going to school at the west end of downtown. I live in an area called Sainte-Marie. Think Hochelaga. There is also the Ville-Marie Tunnel for the expressway in case I find myself needing to drive in the winter. The tunnel is because of the snow. In Montreal, it is all about the snow.

After my hour of business with Eric, I went north into the east side of the plateau and found a nice park to have my picnic, go for a walk, and read some Latin, then snooze for a half hour before I started my trek home. The Turcot interchange was a traffic delay because of volume and then there was a 45 minute delay, on Autoroute 20 in the West Island, due to an accident.

I got back to Perth just in time for the last summer concert in the park and chatted with 5 people I saw there.

I am filled with happiness that this has come together so well. My first phone call to Concordia University was on July 4. That was 44 days ago.

One year of university, 5 courses for $86.00, at 63 years of age, and even better; I am going to be living in downtown Montreal for the next few years.

Grateful, happy!