14 Dec 2014, 1:35pm
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The Season

deer (1)
The season has its macabre elements.

snow ball
New snow has made the old snow look dark.

snow got your goose?
Snow got your goose?

a low bough
Another deep bough.

That sure was a heavy dump of snow. So glad not to have a car to shovel out.


athlete in snow
9 days to Christmas. Guess it’s time to get a move on.

Some years on the last week of November the lights were outside, wreath out, a draft of the Christmas letter done and I wanted to decorate the tree.

So far, nothing of the sort. A day-long holiday sure takes a while. I try to frame the season as out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new. Getting ready for a new year. That helps.

In a day, most of the holiday shopping done. Hubby’s got half the presents wrapped already.

Blumenstudio were roasting chestnuts on their patio. That reminds of walking though Paris together.

Fortified with their bitter intense hot chocolate we could push on.

Carollers at a mall was a few minutes of sweetness. 8 women singing in part harmony with crystal clear voices. No music is better than a cappella.

Did a Christmas baking thing. (Will I do more? So much diabetes around the family confused that clear impulse.) Watched a Christmas movie last night.

Next, cards? Or maybe just make them into happy new year letter at this point since paper probably can’t arrive before Christmas, can they?

12 Dec 2014, 3:49pm
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Kaleidoscope Days

At the Feral Choir people do improv sounds. The instruments are voices which are conducted towards cacophony or hum or hush. It is more harmonic in effect than Messsagio Galore but at times as much of a sound wall when the sound cranks or drops quickly.

footwork of sound
I liked how Paul Minton stood in the middle of the semicircle with the lights making him into clock hands. Sometimes, depending on where he stood there were hour and minute hands, and sometimes a second hand.

discarded move
Sometimes scenes are all there. One story arc.

We got to a new place on our date day to the Loft Lounge which has more hundreds of board games than you knew existed. And they have food too.

the tropical greenhouse
What a month from book launch to small press fair to the governor general’s house and greenhouse for the GG Awards.

All this an editing the BookThug manuscript for spring and a chapbook for maybe this month? We’ll see when the good fella pulls it all together.

But next to launch a chapbook tonight as part of Factory reading with Karen Massey and Marilyn Irwin who gave a Tree Seed Workshop on Tuesday. Lots of food for thought of effect on linebreaks.

And tomorrow A B Series bring back the annual Christmas party with Bill Bissett.

11 Dec 2014, 12:05pm
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Platonic Cave System

As per usual, I don’t post until after its blown over so I can tack on assurances that, see, it all worked out. Because the narrative is made by wherever you start and stop the tape.

Between there (below) and here (-ish) energy went a bit omnidirectional and awkward.

For 3 days my body decided to truncate sleep so I might crash early and fitfully. Or I might not, because body is random that way. (Who needs more than 6 hours anyway, apart from Gandhi.)

Each energy phase comes with its own filter. When doldrummed only the irritating tones of voice, the omissions and redundancies are audibly hammering. All the insurmountables of the canyon. When the angle lifts, comic  and sweet slip past.

Overheard as a chipper person gets out of UPS truck: Why hello there all you snow! 

By the way, one of the more fascinating articles [via The Presurfer] is this article on UPS. For example,

 “if you see them pulling up and you aren’t in the middle of something, meet them half way, or walk up to their truck.” Every extra step adds a little bit of time to their day. “If 10 of my 150 stops do that in a day I would get home 10-15 minutes earlier and actually get to spend time with my family.”

Overheard at the used store when I couldn’t see the what: A thunk on counter. I would like to buy this back. The cashier looks perplexed. Another worker comes up and claps the customer on the shoulder and says, The wife sells it. The husband buys it back. You must have a good job, sir.
Shadow work.

Hard not to believe in the evil eye when I’ve bragged inwardly that I have felt well for so many weeks.

Naturally I then peaked, fell asleep by 7:30pm thoroughly drained and woke up in a flare.

A flare? Which is to say sensation’s scale is all messed up. What is palpable, such a fabric pulled tight on knee when sitting is more, not so much as pain, but discomfort. What would be neutral is ouchy. Like pushing a button a machine. What would be discomfort, like change of light or tight muscle, is pain. What would be pain is body emulating sandbags. Sensation includes emotional. Terribly sad story goes right to the joints and ligaments. I need to rest.

Sitting still is good work since I can work at words but if I move there’s whole embarrassed-alone-in-the-room at the whole woo-woo balance.

I want to be fully present and I can only do that if I’m not a iridescent thinning bubble.

Some days it’s like rubbing two sticks together in a downpour. Resilience is down and the tongue has picked up curses you didn’t know the brain heard. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! for instance. Where have I ever heard that? Must be Christmas.

But screw it. There is no end to how much you can scale back.

You can accommodate the body to paralysis to rigor mortis. There are ends to how much you can scale up. And not overdoing it is being aware of all the kinds of stressors.


What is Random
What is random?

How about my setting Flickr uploads to 2000 x 1500 px and it insisting on uploading 500px max dimension. (Some companies acts as if they want to shed customers.)

But of course I don’t want anyone to worry. And paying attention beyond correctively addressing it just gives it oxygen. Motrin’s better. Restful moving. Even a slow walk can out-race most things. But there’s not always need to race. All revolve and no resolve is no good. Even dervishes sleep and cease their praying spin.

One does what one can.

Oh, and here, read Shawna’s Esssay on Beauty.

8 Dec 2014, 7:14pm

Studio Nouveau

At our little place we had a salon thing last night. A few times we’ve hosted a workshop here, of writing or crit workshop groups, KaDo, Ruby Tuesdays, and Peter F Yacht club.

It’s expensive to travel as a poet. It helps to have two or three events for the travel cost help defray. Canada Council can’t pay much proportional to the train or cars. When someone’s coming thru town if people can attach on a room full of people paying per head that goes direct to the poet, so much the better. We’ve hosted a Poetry Boot Camp with Stuart ross, a workshop with Catherine Owen and another with Elizabeth Bachinsky.

But readings are a little new. Perhaps if we keep doing it should have a name. I’m thinking Studio Nouveau. A nod to The Toronto New School of Writing and the workshops and things they do.

A good number of people did come to hear Jeff Blackman and Marcus McCann. And a lovely crew to hear too,

The poetry of Jeff Blackman strikes me as that mix of alert intelligence, insightful wit and comic timing. You should buy his chapbook. At that link. Or whereever you can.

Which has a lot in common with Marcus McCann. You should buy his books if you don’t have them. Or if you do. Christmas is coming. He stretches the word play and has such a density of unexpected word combinations. It’s always a pleasure to hear him read. New bends of the mind and attention.

And the discussion on poetry after, on line, cadence, weight and trends of poetics of various poets and what those trends orginate with in the structures of their lives was nourishing.

Pirie Pirie
Myself and Bri enjoyed it.

Francheteau Johnston
JM and Chris.

Vivasis maxfield
Vivian and Kate

Anstee Sutton and mclennan
Cameron and rob

Sutton and mclennan
and rob and Paul.

I couldn’t ask for a better evening.

rob shows off the Apt 9 book
Jeff read from Five too. [Picture of it shown by rob at the Factory Series launch in October.] You should all buy that while you still can.

As with any event there’s days of neuroticality that no one will come. (And sometimes it happens. Once I had a reading and three came. An encouraging three, but still.) Lives line up how they do. Everyone has busy lives and germ factories are among us. Another wave has people in bed in the least possible fun way.

While I worry, I cook/prepare and make enough food for twice the probable maximum number of people. When that is an option. Must nourish. Must nourish. So I did a food post on those Nibbles.

5 Dec 2014, 11:27am
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On and Off

Did you know there’s a Lindt store open at Landsdowne park now? It’s been open two months. Not that they’re chocolate. They’re more chocolate coloured candy. But still,

I bought the Soma hot chocolate mix but it is an art beyond my reach to make as perfect of chocolate shot at home. Their version,

chocolate shot
Around noon the next Eaten Up pops up. It is an all-chocolate post.

The food blog, incidentally now runs Monday to Friday as I scaled it back last year after running it daily since 2006.

Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. Unfortunately that doesn’t carry over to repeating successes. The New Republic after 100 years aims to be the next buzzfeed. Writers and editors quitting en masse results.

Social media is hard in that it is visible. It’s quick access cuts both ways. In person and slow-social can get deeper understanding once there’s too much data to parse. Quick-zip access to people can be insightful of tick-making but tends to have high noise.

While recording your life happens, even when you can dance like no one’s watching, and when no one is watching, people can come back years after the fact. But that’s the problem with the future, isn’t it. It has more time to crunch data and presupposes in the past we had that data to work with. Values and therefore filters of the salient change.

Once things are recorded, they are still ephemeral. Some massive Big Borther may save everything but with Big Brother motivation, fast as computers are, and as heavily staffed as it could be, it would be faster just to make stuff up, skew to skewer. Who fact checks after all?

If you disappear without a trace into the Atlantis world of off-line, there’s no data. You may hear someone saw someone months ago. But basically they step outside of existence. There’s only so many people you can keep track of and keep in touch with.

This all makes people seem more ephemeral. (Therefore cherish people you get to see in your everyday because they are disappearing, surely, just as new people appear.)

Twenty years later someone may reappear in the flesh. But likely not to stay.

The number of whole entire complete parallel lives and cultures always mind boggles. Healthy or unhealthy, whole systems that don’t crash nor become rockets. Perfectly sustainable one foot after the other.

I can hardly bridge one morning to the next of myself and I’ve been here the whole time. What all have I missed? The amount of disconnect of the daily, the hourly, the minute to minute seems to make a chasm that can’t be bridged. And yet people have some carry-overs, some constancies. Some continuity that isn’t projection of a constellations into their moving stars.

Maybe not seeing one another one feels there was never separation because there was mutual fondness sent out the the universe. There was a willingess to reunite, even if, bitter bitter herb, neither cared enough to bother to try. You do what you can.

Online can give a false sense of intimacy. As well as a true growing closer. People gravitate towards those on the same reactivity. Those they can hear clearly and hear not at all.

A caveat or mercy is that in text, markers of good will can be contrived. It is easy to be kind, in the abstract. Or mean I suppose according to one’s habit.

But in either case true telltales can be tucked away. One instant of face-to-face chemistry can blow that all away. Intense affection or…nada.

All the make nice or make sparring was so much thumb twiddling.

Where to get a clear vantage point?

Online presents a different set of constraints.

If you are visible somewhere someone can be be injured at being lower priority, or feel a pecking order. It’s frustrating to be shut out.

As in, what you haven’t answered my email and yet you are evidently not dead? But you have time for _____ and _____.

And each blank can be weighed against jealousy. Cat video more important than me. News story more vital than me. Going to such-and-such. Reading such-and-such. Talking with that person. Or that one.

Maybe the person feeling like an unequal half of the relationship is gaslighting themselves, being their own in-house crazy maker as ascribing injury and lack of caring.

Maybe it’s a stage of asking for what you want rather than passively accepting the fortunes of time that people drift.

the case of the subway horse
It can be the case of the disappearing subway horse.

One is an agent in one’s own life. And yet sometimes it’s not working. Chasing is breaking and wasted energy. How to discern a correct reading of the big picture?

Downgrading aspects of life to “a thing” rather than “a telltale thing” is generally a healthy thing. Sometimes telltales are useful. Is there a pattern that can be refined or fixed?

If jealousy, fear and frustration get to narrate they throw on more significance than there is. They would make it hurtful on purpose therefore urge the outer human to jet off to self-protect. But what part of self should write the speculative narrative of motivations of others?

Every life has busy phase and slower phase and hermit phases. It may not be personal. It may not be articulable.

Some relationships in passing are valuable, internalized, but won’t last long. Some relationships are slow waves with occasional contact, some frequent but shallow. Some have dormancy that take years to sprout.

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