2 min read

Friday Open Thread (with September)

a grassy meadow turning from green to gold, studded with tall trees; 2 of them frame the image like a gate into autumn

Dear Friends,

Here we are in a new month, one variously fraught and hopeful. The school term, with all that entails; the tilting of light and weather towards autumn, at least where I am. My balcony garden's giving up the last of its late summer fruit, my coneflowers are dropping petals, and all around town I catch whiffs of the fallen-leaf smell of the coming season.

What, if anything, does September mean to you? I imagine just the words "back to school" provoke different feelings at different times of life, whether or not you have children. When I was a child there was more dread than thrill in the idea of going back to school, right up until the end of secondary school; university was a wild dream come wildly true for the length of two degrees, during which time I led people on ghost tours of my city in the summers, and September became a winding down of the tourist season before a ramping up of the spooky season, which always coincided with mid-terms and essays.

There were times when September meant coming home from abroad; there were times when September meant leaving home for more school elsewhere. Of course, now, September means a return to school from the other side of things, the teaching side, which is often more stressful than exciting, again. I wonder a lot, lately, whether I'll ever see September as something outside the cycle of learning and teaching. January doesn't feel "back to school" ish, after all; it has other burdens of newness to bear.

So – what does September mean to you? In your landscapes, in your hemispheres, in your lives at this moment? I'd love to know.

Wishing you a restorative long weekend,



  • Remember how earlier this year I wrote a monologue for a show called Dressed As People, and the music and sound design were by a brilliant artist named SIESKI? Well! She has a fantastic single out called Lady Deity, and you should listen to it and/or watch the very, ah, compellingly lit video. It is a bop and a half, deliciously queer, and has been stuck in my head all week.
  • While listening to the above Apple Music started doing its discovery thing and I came across a band called Honey Gut, was affected enough by their Buried Alive EP to buy the album, and only subsequently found out they're from Fredericton, NB. I love unexpectedly finding out a band I like's Canadian, and therefore possibly more accessible to me gig-wise in the aftertimes. I also kind of want to arrange "Buried Alive" for harp.
  • Speaking of Canada, there's a federal election coming up and I am furious and terrified about it, even without having been on Twitter. For the first time in my life I've been in a position to donate some money to the party I want to support, and have done so, and whenever I feel helpless I reflect on that small action. I want to suggest to anyone in a similar position: any action that you can take, be it volunteering time, donating money, or having a difficult conversation with a loved one, is valuable, is necessary, is important, and is likely more effective than venting spleen on social media. And vote, obviously--for the people you want to hold to account, who you believe can be held to account. If you're interested, here is a beautifully articulated and nuanced expression of my general stance on the subject.