A change is as good as…..


“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain


This is how I want to live. It’s a simple enough thing to ask of myself isn’t it? I have always wanted a life of adventure, of new and different, of WOW moments. I’ve had a few, don’t get me wrong but I would like more. I want to squeeze every last drop from every day and fall into bed and think, “If today was the last one, well then it was pretty damn good.” I want excellence and adventure in all walks of life. I know the bills need paid and the dishes and laundry need done but I want to do them in the midst of the adventure and not have them be the low point (or worse the highlight) of a day. I want to see new places, cultures, meet new people, smell new smells, eat new things…or just the same things on different plates. I want to go to work in the morning and make a real honest to goodness difference to someone’s life. I have so many expectations of how I want things to be that I’m not sure I can list them all here.


In the last while I have been thinking about change. I’ve been searching out possibilities; I’ve been looking at all the options. I’ve been taking stock of where I am and what has been going on. I’m now in the very lucky position of being able to plot and plan where I want to go next. For the last four years I have been studying part time whilst working. I’ve finished now and thankfully have graduated with my Masters in Education. I’ve also stopped working with Scream Blue Murmur (the performance group I collaborated with for six years). I am now in the position that should I choose to, I can go anywhere or do anything. And so this is where the quandary is – if you can choose to do or go anywhere….where do you go and what do you do? The only thing I am certain of right now is that there must be a change. It is inevitable.


I think change is healthy. No, in fact, I think it is vital. For me it speaks of security rather than insecurity like some have suggested. I know how important my family and friends are to me and I also know that I will not lose that no matter where in the world I am or what job I am doing.


Change is also important when it comes to creativity. You need to constantly sharpen and refresh your creative store. You can’t keep writing the same poem over and over, you can’t keep creating the same characters in your novel or play, and you can’t keep using the same chord pattern in each song. Well you could, but it would be boring, rigid and unreadable/unlistenable after a time. The creative spirit needs to be amused and entertained. It needs to be handled with kid gloves, like a small child with the attention span of a goldfish, on a sugar high. At least in my opinion it does anyway.

I think change is good for my creativity. Change, coupled with fear and stepping into the utter unknown is also working wonders for me. This blog is an example of that. I’ve had it for years but never really used it properly. I’ve made a conscious effort over the last while to document and record moments and feelings as and when they happen. It may not be good writing but at least I am writing. For so long my writing and reading was limited to work related study. Everything was dry and academic therefore my creative brain had gone to sleep. Now I am slowly but surely reminding it that it is time to come out and play. This blog helps. It’s the steady hand as you’re learning to ice skate. It’s the safety barriers down the side of the bowling lane.

You should see what it’s done to my poetry….and of course when the time is right, you will!

There’s no business like Shoe business……

Of all my years travelling to places and only having a limited amount of time there, I have learned the value of choosing one vital thing to see. For me the one vital thing in Toronto is to see the Bata Shoe Museum. (www.batashoemuseum.ca)

For those of you who know me and my love for shoes this will be no surprise. Others may think this is a ridiculous thing to want to see but hey it’s my holiday and I’ll spend it how I want to. I’m not sure why shoes are such an important part of my life. Maybe it’s because I’m tiny and they are a way of feeling a little bit taller. Maybe it’s the pretty, sparkly, magpie effect. Maybe it’s because my grandfather was a shoemaker and it’s in my blood. Who knows? I just know I love them and as a performer they have worked their way into my poetry and show costumes with ease. So how could I go to a city which has a museum dedicated to my favourite things and not see it? That would be sacrilege!

I learned a lot from the four floors of display shoes. I also rediscovered how shallow I actually am, in that the displays I enjoyed the most were the girly, twinkly ones, not the ones talking about the ancient history of shoes. In saying that, the Footwear through the Ages exhibition was quite interesting. The first pair of shoes made by ancient man was crafted by tying vines together and using animal skin to protect the feet. Modern scientists also discovered when they did a walking test of the shoes that they were surprisingly comfortable and practical. This exhibition also contained many examples of shoes from different cultures from ceremonial shoes that Buddhist priests wore to the shoes that bound women’s feet in China. They also had shoes from Hollywood, in the Star Turns gallery. The High Heels and Hemlines exhibit was focused on the 1920’s and it was one of the ones that I enjoyed the most but I think that’s because I’m really interested in the decadence of that period in history.

I also enjoyed the exhibit showcasing the designs of Roger Vivier called Process to Perfection. He is a designer who worked closely with Dior in the 1950’s and is well known for his beautifully crafted and intricate designs. In 1959 he invented the Choc heel, which is a C shape and showed the beautiful curves of a shoe. Vivier described this as heel as a concern for the negative space between the breast of the heel and the sole of the shoe, where it meets the ground.

This exhibit showed pictures of his designs and then the finished shoe and it was lovely to see the inspirational idea and then the finished product.  It also showed the wooden blocks which make up part of the process of making a shoe. His shoes were laden with details, from buttons, bows, sparkles and feathers and most of them were beautiful and I would have bought them in an instant. The whole museum felt like a space dedicated to works of art and that’s how I think of shoes. The ones I buy are not expensive because I just cannot afford it but each of them are unique and beautiful in their own way…..well I think so (others may disagree!)

One of the quotes I enjoyed most was a story about a lady who had bought a pair of Vivier’s heavily embellished shoes and returned to the store the next day to complain that some of the beads had fallen off. Michel Brodsky, who was Vivier’s business manager was claimed to have said in response “But Madam, you wore them” and sometimes that’s how I feel. Some things feel too pretty to be worn, just like some meals look too delicious to be eaten. But this is one of the joys of living. Eat, drink, dance and be merry but don’t forget that there is no excuse not to wear fabulous shoes while doing so.