june 25th ~ 26th

Yay! I could not be more thrilled to have Canadian writer Mary-Jo Dionne as my very first weekend guest of the summer. The list of reasons to be jealous of her is much too long, so I’ll just give you the highlights: She’s an amazing writer {funny, thoughtful and insanely smart… the next Tina Fey, really}, she started a charity to protect the rights of doggies everywhere called The Fleas Knees, which she pours her heart and soul into {and in true Mary-Jo fashion, instead of a normal launch party for the line of t-shirts created to raise funds, she kicked the whole thing off at the Playboy Mansion?!?} Wait, there’s more! She has done stand-up comedy, she has her own radio show, she is a triathlete, she’s pretty… ok, you get the idea! Anyway, just when I thought she couldn’t be any more thoughtful or inspiring, she writes this:

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I’m jealous of my city…


I believe it was writer Marianne Williamson who said, “It’s not to our discredit we have fallen. It’s to our credit we have fallen, … and gotten back up.” Whether I’m right or not about the author of that sentiment, this insight was also delivered by Lionel, the butler in the film Maid in Manhattan to Jennifer Lopez’s humiliated character, after she was exposed as – gasp – a chamber maid and not the millionaire she’d pretended to be. “What we do, Miss Ventura, is not what defines us,” Lionel said. “What defines us is how well we rise after falling.” From Greek mythology to Valerie Bertinelli’s career, nothing’s more inspiring than a resurrection.

On June 15th, my city – consistently depicted in glossy marketing materials as the Mecca for perfect-living – underwent a massive punch in the gut. In the wake of a disappointing Stanley Cup finish (for Vancouver, anyway), what started as a few chest-thumping twits snowballed into multiple chest-thumping twits and soon my streets were thick with flipped-cars, smashed store fronts, and pepper spray. As rioters put themselves – and others – in precarious situations, not the least of which included setting cop cars on fire, it was the prime location for a Darwin Awards convention.

But the following morning, something happened. Figuratively and literally, the city woke up. Hung-over not from alcohol – okay, there was that too, however allow me this metaphor – but from a reality check. Our city – consistently voted the #1 place in the world to live – could get ugly?! Like the prom queen who gets a zit, so too did we have to face a sizeable blemish.

What emerged was a new brand of expression. This wasn’t some multi-million dollar advertising campaign. No, this sprouted organically. As if decades of unexpressed loyalty had been sleeping in the soil and under the pounding of looters’ feet was finally ready to blossom. The air was thick not with pepper spray, but a renewed sense of civic commitment – indicated on murals that covered shattered windows. Whether art is “good” or “bad” is not relevant – so long as it tells the truth. And as far as I’m concerned, this new Vancouver – Vancouver 2.0 – tells the truth. It’s not about the pages of a shiny come-visit-us brochure. It’s about what happened on the night we fell. When our noses were pressed into the ground, and when the kicks just kept on coming, we made the decision to rise again.

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Thanks Mary-Jo… so inspiring, yet again! xo






comments (9)

  1. Chad /// 06.25.2011 /// 7:43am

    This is so true! Vancouver had fallen, but rose to meet a challenge! Great writing.

  2. Jody Vance /// 06.25.2011 /// 8:23am

    So well written. So on point. I will read this again and again and find more strength….

    This wasn’t some multi-million dollar advertising campaign. No, this sprouted organically. As if decades of unexpressed loyalty had been sleeping in the soil and under the pounding of looters’ feet was finally ready to blossom

  3. the jealous curator /// 06.25.2011 /// 11:43am

    oh yeah… she’s good. really good.

  4. Ashley /// 06.28.2011 /// 11:39am

    This is so beautiful. It’s choking me up a bit, the memory of that night and then all the brave people the next morning that stood up against it. Thank you.

  5. chloe /// 06.29.2011 /// 2:07am

    I’ve probably read hundreds of articles/reactions to the events of that night but not one has come close to the beauty of this piece. My friend and I were downtown for the game and quickly left as a cop car was lit on fire. We returned 11 hours later with some brooms and gloves to clean up that same car. The people I met for the cleanup, those signing the above boards and the many who, like you, have written exquisite words about their civic pride are extraordinary. I feel the same as you do – that a deep but unexpressed pride rose up in stunning fashion as the true voice and soul of Vancouver. Glossy pictures and ad campaigns are nice but they just don’t compete! The day after the vile acts of a small group, I fell more in love with my city than ever before. ‘Vancouver 2.0′ has my heart :)

    Thank you for your beautiful words. I actually took a screenshot so I can keep them indefinitely. Nerdy I know but they are just that gorgeous. Bravo :)

  6. the jealous curator /// 06.29.2011 /// 7:46am

    what an amazing comment chloe! thank you. i’ll be sure that mary-jo sees it!

  7. Kate /// 07.01.2011 /// 12:14am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE
    - Beautifully written.

  8. Jojo /// 07.01.2011 /// 7:58am

    Okay, somehow I missed this stream of amazing-ness. LOVING the LOVE. And JC, loving that you created a forum for all this positivity. :) jojo

  9. William /// 07.01.2011 /// 2:31pm

    One night of horrendous violence and stupidity gave way to days and days of citizen engagement. Thanks for the great post, MJ!