04 May 2015

Noir at the Bar. Or, Why I Sometimes Dwell in the Heart of Darkness.

by Melissa Yi

Once, I made a new friend who asked me what was going on, and I said, “Oh, I don’t like to talk about problems with someone I just met.”

“I do,” she said. “I like problems. That’s where you find the truth.”

I immediately felt more comfortable with her. I still didn’t burden her too much, but I opened up more than I do with another friend who always says that everything is fine, great, jolly good. Pema Chodron has observed some religious members who are just “Barbie Dolling” around with the world’s biggest smiles, but you can feel the anger writhing underneath.

Cross. Photo courtesy of Morguefile.
So I feel quite at home joining Noir@Bar this Wednesday night. I’d rather stare at darkness head-on than claim, like a third friend, “I’m not angry. Oh, no. I’m just…annoyed.”

Really? I can hear your teeth grinding from across the room.

Maybe that’s why I like mysteries too. Is someone “annoying” you? Just kill the mofo already and let justice be served.

Admittedly, I can’t handle too much noir at once. I used to borrow Ian Rankin novels from the library. The books literally reeked of cigarette smoke. That, plus Inspector Rebus wading hip-deep into the seamy underside of Edinburgh, drinking, tossing relationships out the window and trashing his career even as he solves crimes, is sometimes too hard to handle on top of my day/night job as an emergency doctor.

When I was at the nadir of my life thus far, I read The Dark Side of the Light Chasers (thumbs down on the title, thumbs up for the content), which was my introduction to Jungian philosophy. Like Buddhism, the idea is that you should acknowledge and explore your shadow side instead of letting it fester and multiply. Carl Jung wrote, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

So once in a while, I’m like, I can’t pretend life is all cotton candy. Bring on the truth.

And if you want to join me in the shadows, I’ll be at Noir at the Bar in Toronto on May 6th at 7 p.m. Along with such luminaries as Andrew Pyper, Clifford Jackman, MH Callway, John Kenny, Bianca Marais, Jeff Markowitz, Tanis Mallow, and Rob Brunet.


"Pay attention to your shadow. If you keep distancing yourself, saying
"Heavens, it's not my fault!"– then heaven help you. Hell won't." —Katya Walter

4 comments:

Eve Fisher said...

Oh, you are my species. I can't stand the yard-wide smile that tells you "Everything's fine!" and "Jesus found me the best parking place!" Yuchhh. And, at the same time, I'm with you on not being able to take too much noir. For one thing, most people want to be happy, at least once in a while, even adolescents stewing in black despair as default. So I need some alteration. But yeah, tell me the truth. Some days suck, life is never fair, but every once in a while - pure gravy.

John Floyd said...

I agree!--and it's good to hear someone else say what I'm thinking.

Wish I could be there, at Noir at the Bar. Sounds great.

Melissa Yi said...

@Eve, exactly. I've never heard anyone say, "Jesus found me the best parking place," but, um...yeah. Glad we're the same species. :)

Melissa Yi said...

@John, it was fun. Thanks! Hope we run into each other somewhere.