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In Memory of Doris Joan Goodman

Doris Joan Goodman
June 27 1935- May 29 2010
It is with deep sadness that we let the world know, Doris Joan Goodman is no longer in it. Our mother, funny, beautiful, rude, blunt, big hearted, occasionally petty, giant romantic, mother to many, with a smile that melted quite a few of the somber
grumps that crossed her path, and delighted many others, and with equal intensity possessed a glare that would shut down arrogant and misbehaving children of all ages. Our mother, our friend, our acquaintance, Doris, is finally free of the body that
has given her nothing but a hard time for the last 50 years. She is free to wear pumps, dance, swim in the ocean, ride a bike, eat anything she wants, and travel in whatever universe she exists in outside of this one. If none of that happens, if her spirit simply becomes part of the world, another guide out there, wherever people go, we are blessed to have her. Maybe she can kick us in to shape, no nonsense, get it together, do the right thing, love each other, and smile, alot, it helps with the pain.

Doris Joan Goodman is survived by her daughterʼs Gail, Sari, Rhonda, and Sharon and her Son David. Her Grandchildren, Joshua, Emmett, and Cole, and Grand-cats Leo and Lulu. Predeceased by her beloved father Louis Brody Goodman and her mother Marie Goodman. Her friends, and all the people in her neighbourhood in the West End of Vancouver who were touched by her very bright spirit, we will all miss you very much.

I’m sitting in the Snug Cafe on Bowen Island waiting for my ferry and having one of those “I don’t want to leave” moments. I’ve had a pretty miserable time these last few days, crying, feeling crazy and angry. The sun is shining today. Crazy windstorms and lots of rain the past few days, with some occasional blasts of sunshine and a rainbow. My mood has mirrored the weather. What I like about small towns is the little cafes, watching the locals interact, it all feels so friendly, they smile at me, they laugh with each other, kids running around and the air feels fresh. It’s slower, that’s what I really like about it, messy hair, rumpled shirts, Billy Joel on the radio, and the smell of breakfast. It’s almost time to go, head back to the noise, the less fresh air, but still pretty fresh. Someday, I won’t have to leave. Someday, a place like this will be home.

Being here

A guy in the audience the other night at a screening of my student short film asked me how I stay hopeful. I gave him a medium-sized explanation, told him about the work I used to do, and how people would ask me If I saved anyone today. I would say, I didn’t think so. Instead, I stayed with them where they were at, asked them questions, engaged them in doing other stuff besides taking and selling drugs, and held on to this place inside me, that knows that anything is possible in any moment. A thread I hold on to, and inch of space in me, and in everyone and everything that is alive, that at any point, change will and does happen. It’s not always in the direction we would like it to go, but it is a guarantee. It’s the mystery. Will my mom still be here for her birthday in June? or will she die sooner? or will she be here for her birthday next year? No idea.

I don’t feel hopeful. I just know anything can happen and some how that seems different from hope. Hope is pretty, and it expects the best outcome. The inch or the mystery doesn’t look like anything, that’s the point. The guy in the audience the other night, seemed satisfied with the answer, but as always I felt like I could have said it better. I could have told him that the only way I could have made something like the film he had just watched is because I have a place to put my despair, and my cynicism. If I didn’t I don’t imagine he would have been watching anything that I would have made, the story would likely have never changed, or it may have just looked really different. The experience of going to school affirmed my belief in fate. Every interaction, every piece of writing, each conversation and random meeting helped me tell the story I eventually wanted to tell.

If every bit of misery and joy that is happening right now in the world is fated, which I think it is, then there is nothing to do; just be ourselves, and wait and see what happens, and respond from there, no egotistical presumptions of someone elses needs. I realized a little while ago, reluctantly, that being myself isn’t about me being alone, or figuring out who I am in isolation, or with a counsellor. It is the people in my life, probably all the people in my life that are the biggest part of me knowing myself. I always wondered if I was a big phony because I was different with everybody. I imagine there’s a little bit of the phoney in all of us. Me definitley, but for the most part, just human.

Why I liked “Avatar”.

Written January 13th 2010

I saw “Avatar” tonight. I’m not sure what to say after that. How many people in the world said they saw “Avatar” tonight? Who knows. A lot I imagine. It was a traditional story. Lots of macho nutcases trying to destroy the earth, trying to destroy the land that the noble savages hold sacred. It essentially a Cowboys and Indians story, and in this case, the Indians win. Sorry if I’ve spoiled this for anyone, but nobody really reads this blog, so if you do, and you haven’t seen “Avatar”, I’m sorry, and It’s still worth seeing. It is worth seeing beause it is spectacularly beautiful. It is awesome, and I will stress the awe. It is a fairytale. In the grandest sense. The year is 2154, and a corporation is planning on mining on Pandora, a lush, Earth-like moon of the planet Polyphemus, A place where they understand that there is no seperation between them and the earth, the animals, and each other, and they will die to protect it. There is nothing worth selling it for, because there is nothing that means more. Nothing. Their land is worth fortunes to the Cowboys that want to destroy it, and them.

“Avatar” is a very hopeful story. It seems rare in reality or in fiction that the military and the corporations lose. It is a relief when they do. The worst of them, in his armour, like every cowboy/soldier/puppet/machine before him, heading in to the hills to liberate or eliminate the savages, the communists and the terrorists. There is a traitor, a traitor to both sides, a sleeping beauty, half alive, half of his body alive, a parapelegic. He recognizes the world he comes from is all about death. He prays to a sacred tree, in his incarnation as a large blue man with a tail, and great ears, one of the indigenous people, the Na’vi. He tells the tree, that where he comes from they already killed their mother and he vows to this mother that he will fight for her, and he does, and they win. They win.

The ten-foot tall blue man, parapalegic marine, sleeping beauty talks about being born twice. What story would I tell if I were being reborn? I might tell this one. The story where I am fearless with almost everything. Almost, because I’m still human. In this story I fight for the earth I love. I stand firm for myself, because I know and love who I am. My heart is open. I am not bound by my insecurity, or falsely guided by my arrogance. I am gentle, but incredibly strong. In my story, the earth survives, and us, well, just like in “Avatar”, the ones who get to stay, are the ones who are good to their Mother.

To throw stuff or not to throw stuff?

I’ve scanned the blogs, on-line news and watched the footage on TV of the Heart Attack protest on Saturday February 13th- Day 2. It was also referred to as a riot. The first riot of the riots that were announced 5 years ago, so we knew they were coming. I always thought it was kind of silly to announce a riot, since I naïvely thought they occurred spontaneously. It’s kind of like letting people know your going to break into their house. I don’t want to mock them, but they invite a bit of mockery. The black clad “anarchists” that apparently stole a ladder(news report) from London Drugs at Georgia and Granville. I don’t even think they have ladders at London Drugs. It might have been tucked inside somewhere, or maybe they let the London Drugs staff know about the riot, and being the accommodating sort that we are, one of the staff might have brought it up to the front to save time. Anyway, the blogs, the news, Facebook, the debate is heated, did they really set back the “cause” years in hard work, or is our sense of outrage misplaced? As it is being pointed out, they harmed buildings, mailboxes, and indeed, a few police officers. I don’t support harming people, and not sure about scaring the shit out of them either, but basically we are condemning the destruction of windows, mailboxes and signage. The crimes of all the corporations that are funding this party are in a whole other, much more sinister category. I am well programmed though, you don’t wreck other people’s stuff. It is engrained in our culture that the rights of property and property owners, outweigh the rights of people. Unfortunately, few people are going to get the message that we should be respecting people more than stuff. We rarely seem to get that one.

I have met some of the people who have been a part of the Anti-Poverty Committee over the years, and I was never sure that their tactics were anything more than the actions of a bunch of self-absorbed, middle-class kids who’ve read a lot of theory, romanticized the revolution and don’t give a shit about who gets hurt in the process. The Heart Attack protest was to demonstrate the injustices of the Olympics. Not sure if that was clear to the freaked out bystanders. From all the dialogue I have witnessed on-line, they seem to have done a good job of dividing people, or giving the illusion of division so their more peaceful counterparts look reasoned. I don’t know that they set back the cause though, or shattered the message. The cause will recover, they made everyone else look good, “legitimate protesters” as Police Chief Chu put it; and the message was already hard to hear because there are so many of them. Stolen Land, corporatization of our public space, environmental destruction, homelessness, free speech, businesses going bankrupt, school closures, health care facilities being shut down, and arts funding being decimated. It makes me feel like throwing things too.

I’m no expert at any of this, and I do think it’s important to protest, but I don’t always know that multiple-messaging is the way to go to promote further action by Governments and a public, that at the moment have their fingers in their ears so they can just watch ice skating, and downhill moguls in peace. For anyone that is paying attention, it is coming across loud and clear that all is not well in the “Best City on Earth.”

Here we go…

I have always been fascinated by the dynamics that happen around events. When I was little, and my mother would be preparing for the jewish holidays, she would be in a frenzy trying to get everything done on time. Her mom, my Bubbe Marie, would be there to help sometimes, my Bubbe Asne, my father’s mother would come, but mostly she was alone. Trying to manage making a dinner for 15-20 people in a house with 4 kids, a nutcase for a husband, and a body that had been failing her since her 20’s.

Vancouver is in somewhat better shape for their big event. I have watched as every available surface has been coated with advertising slogans, mascots, and lots of pictures of happy, healthy, good-looking people, maybe it will make up for the reality on the streets. If people see enough advertising, maybe they’ll look real. Each day, the pulse increases, and we are about to burst. There are so many layers to what is happening right now, and many people I know, including myself, are feeling incredibly conflicted. Excited by the fact that our “no-fun” city is filled with people playing music, and people of all ages out in the streets. While artists are being muzzled, citizens being muzzled, and over the next few weeks potentially much worse. I hope not, but both sides are basically saying “make me..” As a storyeller, and new filmmaker, I am excited by what I could do with the footage I capture, and the stories I can gather from what I see over the next few weeks. At the same time, I am very aware of the anxious mother hovering over the city right now; wanting everything and everyone to look nice, everything to taste good, and most important, no fights during dinner. Not much luck of that happening.

Maybe in the end, after everybody has gone home, and it’s just us again; maybe something will have changed for the better. That deciding it was okay to take our right to express away for pop and stuffies, was a really bad idea. Maybe you will have learned that no matter how hard you try to keep the peace at the dinner table, if the kids aren’t happy, they’re going to let you know it. Every family that lives in denial of the problems they have are inevitably faced with them, and the more you push them down, the harder they will push to be revealed. This could have gone differently, we could have paid attention to the evidence. Did some real research on the impact before we put together a bid. Looked around the house, and saw how people were suffering, struggling, and not just people in the Downtown Eastside, but all over the city, and we could have made the descision to take care of our house and the people in it, before we invited in an army of strangers, and an army to protect them. It’s almost as if the guests mattered more, but isn’t that always the way with parties.