- by Alyson Shane
If death was looking me in the eye here are a few things I'd do:
blog every day and record what a total mindfuck impending death must be
call my Grandma and tell her I love her
book a trip to somewhere crazy like Machu Picchu or Morocco or the Galapagos Islands
take a million photos with the people I love
say goodbye to my clients and my business
cry a lot
watch ghost movies and plan my next moves as a poltergeist
(just kidding - I don't believe in ghosts)
make sure Toulouse and BJ are in a loving home
listen to a lot of Leonard Cohen
give all my earthly possessions away
(except my MacBook Pro, signed copy of Hospital Music, and photos of my Grandma)
but I know that most of the stuff I have is pretty run-of-the-mill and not all that interesting
but lemme tell you if I had a trove of diamonds, rubies, rare coins, gold nuggets, and expensive stuff I would 100% hide that stuff in a chest and create a puzzling poem and treasure map to go with it
because if yr gonna die anyway you may as well use it as an opportunity to make some people happy, or excited
and heck, maybe some people will even take an adventure because of it
which is the best thing to do while you're still alive, imo.
- by Alyson Shane
It's called The Terror and it's living up to the hype.
If you haven't seen The Terror it's a new show on AMC about one of the scariest things ever which is Arctic Exploration in the mid 1800's.
Similar to space exploration which also scares the living daylights out of me, Arctic exploration is a freaky concept because you are literally in a place that wants to kill you.
Nothing lives in space.
Nothing lives on the top of mountains.
Nothing (much) lives in the Arctic and whatever is there
like polar bears for example
want to kill you just as much - if not more - than the elements.
I first heard about Franklin's Lost Expedition a few years ago when I was on a Wikipedia reading binge session about Victorian-era explorers which probably started after getting interested in Earnest Shackleton after his name was worked into a song by The Weakerthans that I really like.
Except even though Shackleton died while out exploring, he died from a heart attack and not from any of the scary and terrible ways the guys on the Franklin Expedition died which included starvation, hypothermia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning, and scurvy.
None of which sound like ways I want to die.
Apparently the men left in the Franklin Expedition also resorted to cannibalism which adds an extra later of wtf to the whole scenario, because eating your friends because you're trying not to die is like an extra layer of messed up.
We aren't finished the series but even though it's awful there's a part of me that hopes that the show goes there. Good horror is a story that holds a mirror up to us and shows us a reflection of ourselves that we'd rather not see.
Not to say that I wouldn't totally eat you if that's what it came down to.
- by Alyson Shane
Alyson Shane is an idea of a person that I got from my parents, originally. I was almost a Jennifer (thanks for nixing that one, Dad) but instead I got an unusual name with a "y" in it which has served me well because Alyson Shane works well together and people notice when your name is spelled differently.
It helps you stand out.
My last name, Shane, doesn't tie me to any historical significance. Beyond a few other people who share it we have no collective family history, no looking back on forefathers. No great-great-great grandsomethings. It was a name someone chose, or was chosen for us, when a generation once or twice removed came to Canada.
So that's out.
I can call myself a lot of things:
But none of those things actually apply to me. Those are things I do. Ways I spend my time and energy. How I make a living. The stuff I do in my free time. The ways I direct my energy.
Sometimes I look at my cat and I think What are you to you? Do you self-identify? What do you think about?
And while my cat's thought process is probably something like: food food food water sleep sleep pets pets pets jealousy jealousy jealousy pets pets pets sleep sleep sleep
it's probably happening in the weird nonverbal ways our bodies tell us to go to bed or that it's time to have a snack. My cat doesn't have a sense of self or an identity to speak of. He wants food and pets and doesn't think about his religion (or lack thereof) or which type of bread he prefers (sourdough) or the stuff he likes to do in his spare time (write, paint, garden, cycle.)
Homeboy just hangs out.
But us weird humans, we layer on all these meanings and ascribe all this significance to things that, at the end of the day, are just ideas and labels.
My business could fold. My partner could leave me. I could lose both my hands in a freak laundry accident and never write or blog again.
Stripping away the labels I apply to myself or have had applied to me is scary because when you stop identifying with labels and actions you get left with... what?
Your weird, messy insides.
Your meat sack that carries around all these ideas that have been assigned to you, or that you've applied to yourself, or that you continue to carry around and identify with because it makes things a little less scary.
Which is why taking the time to create art and amplify yr creative output are so important.
Real creative output can bypass all the bullshit ideas and labels and just put yr shit out there, the real, inside-out fear and stress and struggle and joy stuff.
So like Jim Carrey says "you just play your part as best you can" and go about your day trying to shape the ideas you have about yourself and create stuff whenever possible without getting too wrapped in your self-judgment, idea-based BS.
For me that's writing a blog post about the ideas that make up who we are as people and how much it freaks me out
and not worrying about the end result feels like.
- by Alyson Shane
And if you didn't know that - surprise! - I've never taken a road test to receive my full license.
But since I'm 30 and it's a useful skill to have I figured I should probably start pulling my weight and learn to drive so I can pay people back for all the times they've dd'ed my around.
And if I'm being totally honest with you I really don't get the hype.
But I've never been a "car person" if I'm being honest.
One time when I was 17 or so my friend Nat and I took the bus to Polo Park which was was over two hours away from our house in the dumb suburbs on the bus.
(Probably still is, too, given at the rate our transit has improved. Geez.)
And we took the bus and went to the mall and had what I thought was a good time hanging out to and from the mall. But when we got off the bus back in our suburb she told me
"That was the worst experience. I'm never taking the bus to the mall again. From now I'm only going to drive to the mall."
And I remember thinking girl we just spent the last several hours hanging out and you're saying they sucked because you had to sit on the bus? And that made me feel like trash, because I'd thought we'd had a good time hanging out and not having to pay attention to the road or other drivers. We'd actually hung out with each other.
It was around then I decided that driving turns a lot of people into assholes.
It was also around then that I decided that I didn't want to risk becoming one of those assholes so I moved downtown and never got around to getting my license as a result. It's a surprisingly easy thing to put off doing when you can walk, bike, or take public transit anywhere you need to go.
Besides once you hit 21 or 22 everyone else around you has their license, so even if you moved downtown and didn't actually need a car like I did, I still knew someone with access to one in case I ever needed a ride or help getting something from IKEA.
But it's prudent to have yr license in the event of an emergency, and if I ever have kids I'm sure I'd want to have a car around and not wait on a cab or Uber or whatever if we need to get to a hospital asap.
So I've been driving here and there and everywhere and while it's not the worst thing it's still not this omg thing that people seem to love.
People tell me that it'll get better when handling the car is just muscle memory but
I don't want to start feeling like driving a car is routine and boring because that's how accidents happen. I've never been in a car accident and I'd prefer to keep it that way thank you very much.
Gotta stay sharp af behind that wheel.
Wish me luck, folks!
- by Alyson Shane
We've been together for almost four years but we've actually known each other a lot longer. 2010, I think, back when we were dating other people. We met at a baby shower for a mutual friend and he was wearing a sweater vest. I thought he looked sharp.
He's a very silly person and I've always liked being around people who can laugh at themselves and who can take a joke. Ribbing people as a form of endearment is one of my favourite past times and it's always nice to encounter another fellow pest in the wild. I always liked having him around.
One of the things you should know about John is that he will always keep you honest. He's very blunt and to-the-point which can really rub some people the wrong way. Heck, it rubs me the wrong way sometimes but I know he means well so I let it go.
There are worse things in life than your partner being as honest with you as they can, I figure.
That unflinching honesty has helped me grow a lot as a person which is something I think we should look for in a long-term partner. If you're going to be with someone for as long as you can you don't want them to stay the exact same, right?
It's also super inspiring to be around someone who works as hard as he does. Dude is super-motivated and lives and breathes whatever he's into.
Sometimes it can be exhausting but honestly I envy his ability to sink suuuper deep down into a problem and really lose himself in solving it. I need to get up and stretch and pee and take coffee breaks and pet the cats too often. I write in lots of short, intense bursts of a few hours max but John can put his head down and work all day and just give 'er.
He works super hard and really believes in what he's doing and it's honestly the coolest thing to be able to spend my time hanging out with someone who is so motivated.
He makes me want to do good stuff, and in turn I do good stuff, too.
He also pushes himself to try new things and not turn down an adventure. Because of him I've held a crab at the ocean floor, climbed to the top of a Mayan pyramid, taken busses across foreign countries in the night, and pushed myself mentally and emotionally farther than I wanted or expected to could go.
It's pretty crazy to think of the impact that someone can have on your life if you think about it.
Honestly though, I just feel thankful that he wants to spend his free time hanging out with me even though I'm moody and difficult and I always drink the last sip of club soda when we're sharing. It's nice to spend your days with your best friend, and to continue to be best friends after all these weird, wild years.
He also calls his mom a lot and tells her he loves her, which is another a sign he's a super-solid dude.
Happy birthday to John, my super solid dude <3