The Other Half

I ran out of day 2 whilst blogging about the name The Onion Girl Has No Logo.

Day 3 of blogging will then be the rest of the explanation. I have no logo, because in general, I don’t really buy into the whole lifestyle branding thing. No Logo by Naomi Klein is also my favorite book. And there it is again! She is a female Canadian artist. She is my girl crush because she is a female Canadian writer, but mostly because she wrote a cultural manifesto railing against unfettered capitalism and then she wrote another called The Shock Doctrine railing against unfettered corporatism.   I swoon.  I’m a shameless girl geek.

I am also a fan of NO LOGO CLOTHING: irreverent clothing for the anti-establishment consumer. I can’t really explain how much the words irreverent and anti-establishment tickle me. I am going to try by telling my lifestyle branding story. It’s not really about a logo, but about a label. In my pointy little head they are the same.

I hope you click the link and go get excited about something.

I used to work for a non-governmental organization (NGO). This sort of work really appealed to me, because these organizations are more conducive to grass roots activism since they have different reporting requirements than governmental organizations. They are not as constrained by layers of bureaucratic bafflegab.

However, these organizations follow the same process as governmental organizations whereby they go through a rather arduous process of figuring out whether they should throw more meetings or money at a project. This process already entails a number of meetings, so I always wondered why we were meeting about whether or not we needed more meetings. I had to ask. I have found that stifling my internal monologue is very counterproductive, because I will eventually say what is spinning around in the vacuum cleaner that is my brain.

This particular meeting was to appoint someone to represent the organization at the series of community partnership meetings that were part of the process. Pointless probably, but required for the project funding. FUN!

Apparently, they wanted someone who wasn’t too WASP. I did not know what this was and everyone was looking at me, so I had to ask. I thought I had discreetly asked my friendly colleague next to me. She has a bent sense of humor which is why we are friendly. She explained that it meant White Anglo Saxon Protestant. I then asked if everyone was looking at me because I am not Protestant. She then stage-whispered that I was not white. I then noticed that everyone else at our discussion was.

I waved my non-white hands around and said,”That is true! I’m not!”

Everyone else turned sort of red, except me, because I am not white. And except for my friendly colleague, because she was sort of purple from laughing so hard. This was how I got to be the anonymously brown person that had to attend more meetings. This was also how I figured out that if I just volunteered for the glaringly obvious role, these insufferable meetings would end sooner.

So I suppose my lifestyle brand is the anonymously brown woman needed at meetings to show diversity. That’s a terrible logo. This is why I choose not to have one.


What’s in a Name?

Day 2 of blogging and I figured out that a better start might have been to explain why I chose the name The Onion Girl Has No Logo. The Photoshop of hindsight…

The Onion Girl part is from the name of a song performed by one of my favorite artists, Holly Cole. It is off the Dear Dark Heart album released in 1997. The song was written by Harding and Hull. It also appears on the Lilith Fair Album, Volume 3. Holly is a Canadian Jazz singer with an absolutely amazing voice and brilliantly diverse repertoire. Lilith Fair was a Canadian all female traveling music festival founded in 1997.

Yes, there is the recurring theme of Canadian female artists. What can I say other than we are an amazing bunch. Women are inherently creative beings. We grow human beings inside us. I am of the opinion that there is nothing more creative. Please, stifle the militant feminism thought that I am implying women are only worth their wombs. I most definitely am not! I am celebrating that we grow babies and we can choose not to. I think both the ability to create and the ability to choose are equally as important to the creative process. I celebrate them both.

The lyrics in Onion Girl resonate with me on a very visceral level. I think we all have layers that are exposed gradually over time and there’s a line about breaking bread and laughing. Eating and laughing with my friends are my favorite activities. I am blessed to be surrounded by a pretty amazing bunch of Onion Girls who will never cease to amaze me with their kindness, creativity, and caring. We eat, laugh, cry, and most importantly, enjoy each other’s company, because we know that there is nothing better in life than to find the people you enjoy eating, laughing, and crying with.

The Onion Girl is also a 2001 fantasy novel by Charles De Lint. Obviously not a female artist, but he is Canadian. I am not ridiculously patriotic. Canadian artists are just ridiculously talented. I digress, yet again. And yet, The Onion Girl is part of a trilogy: the 2006 sequel Widdershins and the 2007 prequel Promises to Keep. He is quoted as saying that “writing is like a peeling back of layers”.  My writing process is a lot like that.  I’m Canadian. I can relate.

So … that is the story of the first half of the name … The Onion Girl. It is a homage to Canadian artists I admire, a song that resonates with me, a writer of stories about how the same traumatic event can so differently affect people who have come up out of the same environment, and a festival that celebrated the creativity of female artists. But mostly, it is a tribute to my beloved bunch of Onion Girls whose unconditional love and support will never cease to inspire me to create.

click here to find out more about Holly Cole

click here to find out about Charles De Lint

Starting a Blog

I started this blog as a cheating exercise from other stuff that I am writing. I sometimes need a little distance as well as inspiration. At some point, I should figure out how to post pictures and music, because they are important sources of inspiration and might be helpful to a reader to put some context to my pointless, stream of consciousness rambling.

Right now, I just have to write and purge.

By the way, it is just writing for no purpose other than to write and flex different parts of my imagination. Some of it is true. All of it is embellished, because hindsight is like the photoshop of the brain. It makes everything look prettier and makes it fit our artistic vision. I have never been one of those people that believes in fact and objective truth. Everything we experience is filtered through our perception and filtered again through our cognition when we try to communicate to someone else what we are experiencing. Then the person we are communicating with experiences what was shared through his or her own set of filters. It’s all embellished. We are the authors of our own stories.

I think of my brain as a vacuum cleaner. It sucks in all kinds of information, most of the time indiscriminately and it mixes up with all the other stuff in the bag. Seriously. I do try to exercise a certain level of critical thinking, but daily living requires a lot of information processing. Try to imagine driving and only paying attention to blue cars. Not really possible because driving entails having to pay attention to all kinds of stuff in order to stay alive. Especially if you live in Edmonton, where I am. That is a whole other post. Back to the vacuum. So there is a bunch of mixed up stuff in the vacuum that will eventually need to get emptied. When it comes out, everything is all mixed in together and nothing like all of the individual bits that got sucked in. 

I went to a mall today and I was assaulted by way too much photoshopped and altered imagery. Yes, assaulted is a strong word and I really mean it. For a fleeting moment, I was confused as to whether I was in an art gallery or stuck in an unending loop of pop up ads. It’s pretty and I appreciate the imagery, but at the same time I am offended because it violates my feminist ideals. Feminism…that will be a recurring theme in all of my posts. However, I digress. My point was that my vacuum got filled with driving junk and advertising junk. I did enjoy wandering around and looking at all the pretty and shiny stuff. Unfortunately, I did not buy a pair of pants which was the entire purpose of the mall mission.

So I came home and started a blog.

Purposeful…we shall see.