Glenda rented a warehouse apartment in an area that generated the highest statistical incidence of violent crime. Fretting over personal safety, however, was not her style. She dismissed fear in all its hydralike forms as a petty insult to the momentous business of living. One of her favourite quotes was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s ‘remember to live’. Compared to me, she was a cynosure of courage. I was a multi-phobic personality. I was afraid of everything. I was even afraid of being afraid (…of being afraid?). That’s why, after finally accepting the challenge of writing this book despite crushing self-doubt, it was auspicious to have her as my de facto heroine (<–unintended pun) urging me through the blockages and pointing me toward the denouement with the wand of her resiliency. If I were to speculate on the source of her resiliency, I would say that it’s rooted in her critical thinking skills and her staunch individualism. If for some reason I had to place her on the political spectrum, I’d place her squarely within the Classical Liberal bandwidth. She lived and let live, she took the good with the bad, and when she reads this she’s going to laugh at the winking irony because she’s always despised the robotism of platitudes.
She’s not a robot.
She’s an astronaut.
(More about robots and astronauts in the second book of this duology.)
As a keen judge of character, her goodwill was rarely misdirected. However, when a person did manage to double-cross her, they were exiled immediately. Typically, she’d exile a person in a subtle fashion. If she was a painting at the Louvre, she’d turn her masterfully rendered colours to black every time you looked at her. If she was an orchid at the Belle Isle conservatory in Detroit, she’d close herself up when you got too close. Sometimes, of course, it wasn’t subtle at all. She practised kickboxing on a regular basis, so in place of a closed orchid or a blackened painting there’d be a good ole fashioned ass kicking.
Ultimately, though, her greatest source of strength came from the city that loved her. It’s weird to say, but Glenda loved Toronto and Toronto loved Glenda. I’m not talking about the people of Toronto. I’m talking about the singular organism that is Toronto. I’m sure this sounds just as unbelievable as my relationship with Frank, but it’s true. Glenda might need something, or just want something, and within a few days Toronto would present it to her. For instance, not long after deciding that she wanted to find a place big enough to house her and her dream of operating a street level theatre slash live music venue, she found the listing for her warehouse apartment. On her way to view the warehouse apartment she passed by a large box sitting on the front lawn of a house that was owned by a retired theatre technician. The word free was written on the box, and inside the box there was an old theatre curtain. She called a taxi, loaded the curtain into the trunk of the taxi with the help of the friendly taxi driver who just happened to appreciate local theatre, and made her way over to the warehouse apartment where she was greeted by the landlord who just happened to be loading an old PA system out of the warehouse and into the back of his pickup truck. The landlord was an aging rock star who lived comfortably off the royalties of several hit songs he wrote back in the nineteen eighties (his name escapes me at the moment), and after listening to Glenda describe her dream of turning the place into a street level theatre slash live music venue he offered to load the PA system back into the warehouse, in exchange for a small increase in her monthly rent payments.
The warehouse consisted of a main room the size of a school gymnasium and three smaller rooms that used to be office spaces. The smaller rooms were partitioned off using the theatre curtain that Toronto had presented to her, creating a backstage area complete with a green room, a dressing room, and Glenda’s bedroom. Toronto, of course, made sure that the curtain was wide enough for this purpose. Toronto even made sure to brick up the buildings’ windows at some point in its history, which helped to contain the ferocious sound of the punk and hardcore bands that were destined to play there every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night; drawing crowds that were more than happy to pay the rent by way of a cover charge.
Informing her dream of operating a street level theatre slash live music venue, was her lifelong ambition to establish herself in Toronto as an actress, playwright and stage manager. She created the softest of stage washes. She wrote and achieved pitch perfect metatheatre with broken fourth walls. She sewed her own wardrobes and built her own props. She knew how to emote, project and captivate. All of this is to say that it made sense for her to form her own troupe and stage her own productions under the roof of her own venue on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights.