The Notched Wing

Helen Tara Hughes – Poetry, Fiction, Film, Phantasms

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I had a book, when I was a little girl, by this title: “Alexander & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

It was my favorite, along with “Where the Wild Things Are”, and “Horton Hears a Who” – I still have them all, although some were repurchased as an adult, for memory’s sake, or for the someday when I have little kids in my life.

I am having a day like Alexander.

In that children’s book, Alexander is fixated with Australia, and as bad things happen in his day, he keeps saying “I’m going to move to Australia!”

I have thought much lately about my life thus far in Toronto – while many important things have happened to me here, many of them have made me feel so very sad. An old lover is always after me to stop doing theatre of Pain, to stop being “Good” – he is always reminding me that he thinks I should not gravitate towards anything sad or hurtful, stop doing the right thing and just do what i want with no regard to anyone but me. He wants me to be more carefree, maybe? I really don’t know.

I have another dear, gentle friend who also has the understanding of Sad, or so I think – and he has never accosted me on mine. I hardly see him, & I have never asked him about his deep quiet listening that sometimes carries the echo of sadnesses seen.


I had an epiphany of personal quiet, and happiness, while I was in Van. When I got home last week, I rearranged my little attic room, pulled out my few family heirlooms that I keep and treasure, created a little writing spot with my roomie’s rejected table (its wobbly!).

I am throwing away clothing, papers, magazines – everything I can. I have barely restrained myself from ditching my photo album and my books. I want to ditch more but I can hear the cautions of my mother ring in my ears, slowing me down.

I should like to make Toronto more of a place where happy things occur around me.

That starts, I think, with drawing closer to the friends who encourage that and – this is tougher for me- leaving alone the friends who don’t.

More than anything, I just want to be alone, romantically. I feel doomed in that department.

What I should do, perhaps, is join a Nunnery.

But for now, after tomorrow, I’ll aim to find things in Toronto that make me feel happy.

If all else fails, I can always move to Australia.

Author: smallboy

Helen Tara Hughes is a writer, producer and actor. An award-winning theatre performer, she cut her teeth in classical and new work at major theatres across Canada, including the Stratford Festival. Her first taste of documentary work – a POV radio documentary for CBC’s ‘Outfront’ – gave her the documentary bug, and in 2009 she transitioned into Producing with the feature documentary, Goodness in Rwanda. As a writer, she has been published by, Eros Digest, and TWISI, and has a book of short stories that will be published in the fall of 2012. As a filmmaker, she creates short films based on poetic writing. She moonlights as an Asst Producer and Coordinator for documentary, factual, and independent films, and is developing a slate of her own media projects for 2013.

Comments are closed.