B.C.'s Bio: Things that Quicken my Heart

One of my favourite movies is Chris Marker's Sans Soleil. In it, the narrator tells us about Sei Shonagon, who made lists. One list was of Things that Quicken the Heart.


Here is my list of things that quicken the heart:

  1. Spaghetti dinner. Spaghetti is my comfort food. I like to spice my own spaghetti rather than get pre-canned spaghetti sauce. I love the feel of the spices on my fingers. I like the familiarity of the spaghetti making, the comfortable knowledge that I am doing something that every part of my body recognizes.
  1. Swimming in warm water. I grew up in a middle class household with a swimming pool. I've always loved swimming. I like the weightless feeling of floating on the surface. I like warm, fluid feel of of gliding on water. I like the aloneness of being underwater, where even sound has difficulty following you.
  1. Conventions. More and more, my favourite vacations are conventions -- places where I can take in information about topics that interest me. I like to learn things, and going away to see a bunch of old buildings doesn't strike me as anywhere near as fun as learning things about gender, science fiction, or relationships. I love conventions; I'm a con-aholic.

    I recently attended the WisCon convention in Madison, Wisconsin. It was overflowing with educated, learned people, and I listened to some of the most enthralling conversations about social politics, feminism, and post-colonialism that I'd had in a long time.

  1. Flight. Unlike most people, I'm fond of business travel; I like travelling to different places. I don't know why, because I often don't really exploit the opportunity to be in a different city. Perhaps there's a bit of an image thing -- I like the idea of jet-setting. But, more than that, I think I just like flying. I always request window seats so that I can easily look out as the plane is taking off or landing. My favourite flight was in a nine seat plane (including the seat beside the pilot) -- I flew Cape Air from Boston to Provincetown. I had a perfect, unobstructed view of the clouds and the sky all around me. I often dream about flying. Not in airplanes, but just me, gliding and dipping.

    "Do you know what Freud said about dreams of flying? It means you're really dreaming about having sex."

    "Indeed? Tell me, then, what does it mean when you dream about having sex?"

    - Neil Gaiman, The Sandman

  1. Stories. I like a really compelling stories. Generally, I like something with a lot of complexity of detail. I like long-running stories, but they must include characters that change (which is one of the reasons that I'm not crazy about most episodic television). When I was a kid, I didn't read many books (we didn't really have many books in my house), but I did read a lot of comics. I don't read anywhere near the number of comics that I used to, but I've recently become addicted to Strangers in Paradise, a wonderful story about Francine, Katchoo and David.

    One of the things I enjoy about Strangers in Paradise is Terry Moore's ability to tell a story with subtlety. He can communicate information visually -- using facial expressions, and "camera angles" -- and he trusts that his point is communicated; he doesn't need to repeat that information in words.

  1. Movies. I love film, and what you can do with the medium. Like I said, I read a lot of comics as a kid and I think my brain has been optimized for a visual medium ever since. I take film courses in my copious spare time, and I particularly like a category of film that early film theorists called "Progressive Narrative Cinema", although some films I like fall outside of that category. Generally, I like films that are either somewhat subversive or which invert archetypal themes.

    I recently saw Fight Club. Now that's subversive.

  1. Ideas. I like wonderful late-night conversations with people I trust. We talk about hopes and ideas and the meaning of life. I think that perhaps I don't do this enough anymore.
  1. Change. I've recently been thinking that the thing that I love the most is going through change. What's more, I think that my experience of closeness to people is related to how much they act as change agents in my life, and whether or not we are able to appreciate how each other is changing. Because my close friends are generally undergoing change themselves, it becomes very easy to grow apart from people; my half-life for friends is about five years.

Copyright © 2000 by B.C. Holmes. Last updated May 25th, 2000.

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