By Tannis Kelm
Traffic. Sirens. Decadence and depravity. The city street buildings with all that rushes in, out and around them. A temporary permanence, as people get tired of things here and are used to a landscape that continually changes and grows. Something that is the next best thing could be closed and under new management just as quickly, it doesn’t have to burn down to become obsolete. This buzz is what excites and inspires or can get under your skin if you resist it’s charms.
You can’t be homeless out in the country, unless the whole town burns down I guess. Even though everyone knows your business they are there to help out if it is ever required. When I was young there was no way to run away, there were 200 kilometres between me and the streets, you just found something to do to cope. I had many hobbies and I knew a different kind of freedom, isolation. I was able to think a lot without a lot of different influences tugging at me. When I got to the city all the things I did were there but well attended, I had no trouble feeling like I was home.
So many options for an artist in a city, it’s so wonderful to be surrounded by like minds and even those that challenge those beliefs. A thought is simply that without a reaction, it was here I could test my theories and really slip in beside different personalities and sort of try to figure out human interaction a little better. There are things I don’t like, though I love the city. I’m mainly an introvert so in a lot of ways it’s like other people are doing the work for me. I just observe and make mental notes, interpret how that makes everyone feel and move on to something new. I like the convenience and I love the options, I could do without the attitude but it’s nothing I hadn’t come up against before.
The city isn’t for patient people, but you have to be. Although things are all closer here more people want those things. The office building I used to work in had more people through it in one day than lived in my town and its surrounding area. People who choose to stay in the country do so to avoid the crowds and unnatural noises, they are a little more free to dictate what they want to do. If you have grown up in the city you wouldn’t think there were any limitations to what you can do, but living in the country you know there are. It’s all a slower pace but what’s the rush? The city is self important and steals the simple joys away at times where you have to stop yourself to find them again, over stimulated minds are a horrible thing to misuse. I think there is more of a tendency to focus on what isn’t important amidst all this distraction.
Cities are a horizon line that the country dips it’s toes in and either decides to submerge itself in or sits to observe it on the shore. When you wear the city you feel as though you can do anything and be anyone, though it seems the bigger the city the more disconnected people tend to become. I don’t know my neighbours now but I knew everyone in town or someone they were related to, my mom still lets me know who has died or given birth when I call. If anyone was in need we would all get together and donate what we could to make sure we were all fine together.
So city, keep finding the human within the concrete and invite it outside. There are so many smaller communities within you that overlap and coexist with one another in your borders that you should take the time to explore. Each person walking the streets is just like you, if they want it help them in the best way you know how. A little kindness is something we all can afford.
Tannis Kelm is a singer/songwriter who performs under the name Hors. Find her on Facebook, Twitter , Sound Cloud, Tumblr, or her Gold Chair Sessions videos on YouTube. Tune in to CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. for her show, Listening Pleasures.