A Story about a Story about Vancouver

Swing set in the old 'hood.

Swing set in the old ‘hood.

The other night I visited an old friend I hadn’t seen in a little while (no particular reason for this gap in our social calls, just busy summers for the both of us), and after doing that thing where you say “Whelp, time to go” but then you stand and talk in the porch for fifteen more minutes, I stepped out of her house into a warm August evening. I reached the main drag just as my 7 Nanaimo Station bus zipped past the stop on the other side of the street, but the weather was fine and I realized that all was not lost: sure, I could wait half an hour for the bus to come again, or I could take the other bus, the 7 Dunbar, and reach home via a circuitous route that would take me through my old neighbourhood.

I chose the latter, and as I watched the familiar landmarks glide past my window, my little bus trip became a journey (internally at least), and that journey became a story, and that story became about Vancouver, and when I got home I wrote some of it down, and as I did that I discovered the story was more important to me than I had expected, and then it became apparent that I could not write this particular story about Vancouver this week. Probably not next week either. Because I realized that the story I want to write about Vancouver is one that deserves more attention than my mind can give it right now. It deserves more crafting and more subtlety than what I can do in the week between blog posts. At the moment, it exists in my mind purely as potential, with images and lovely turns of phrase gravitating towards it. Careless handling will collapse the whole enterprise, and I don’t want to do that with this one.

So this is not that story. This is a story about the story. Pointless? you ask. No, I answer, because although this is not the story, this is also a story that is important to me. A story about the way that inspiration sometimes finds you. A story about how we leave our mark in every place we go, and how those pieces of ourselves that we sloughed off (thinking we’d grown, thinking we were “past that”)  still loiter in the streets of our old haunts, waiting for a circumstance of municipal transit to carry us back.

It’s a story about realizing the value of something, even if it’s just personal value, and being aware enough to understand that it deserves more than the usual effort, that it requires being patient. It’s a story about how, in a culture in which so much is shared (especially by personal bloggers such as myself), sometimes it is important to keep some things close, if even for a little while, and consider them carefully before shoving them into the world.

It’s a story about how exciting it can feel to have a story you’re itching to write, and how precious and perfect that electric moment before creation can be.

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