30 September 2005

page 110.

NOW magazine, 29 sept-5 oct issue. (That's THIS week's)
YAHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! (cartwheels and All Manner of gymnastics through my kitchen.)
tho', in case you want to see them bigger (and of Course you do, 'coz really, it's the size that counts...)

29 September 2005


spent half of yesterday in some vague euphoria with no determined point of origin, the other half of the day in the usual panic of troubles and anxiety, and today in a pleasant sort of melancholy that comes from the onset of autumn. FINALLY a night to myself as well, i'm half stymied as to what to do first.
first a rest, methinks. read the new "shame" issue of kiss machine, which is Great. Emily Pohl Weary Most Generously published one of my illustrations in it, which has me tickled pink. Yippety!
nothing else of significance, i'm afraid; have eaten soup, have purchased some fudge, and have resumed my perusal of the famous five adventures.
i must confess, tho' i'm easily pleased these days, it was obviously Astonishingly easy to please me when i was nine. there is something to these books that seems like a simpler time gone by, and reading them is both a pleasure and a bit melancholy-inducing. Good Gods. i'm about to be 32. WOWW.

27 September 2005

ardent fan, shameless groupie, Avid cult member, etc etc etc.


third time lucky, Best concert so far. Truly cathartic, as always. YES. unfortunately No links i could put up or pictures i post could make it make Any sense unless you already Get it, but there it is. (sigh)

25 September 2005

word on the street, bicycles and giant hearts.

so word on the street was today, and it just made me HAPPY. i of course spent too much money at the Beguiling's table, i FINALLY got a copy of Shari Boyle's Witness My Shame (YIPPEE YIPPPEEE YIPPEEE!!!),then i re-read bits of Brick 68 as we tried to decide which Brick to make our favourite for those who might ask, since Brick 69 was Totally sold out (which I think had been the agreed favourite).
and i must say i feel the need, dear reader(s) to share just a blip of the glee 68 brought me. sure, it's kind of a shameless plug for the publication i work for, except that i had UTTERLY nothing to do with its creation at all. but Honestly. I had read it in bits and pieces before, today was no different, it's kind of how i work with short stories and journals and such, but this time was particularly edifying.
There's this GLORIOUS series of photos from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, and they're like these strange black and white carnival-esque shots of these women staring Straight at you, one of which was moving her head so her features have all but disappeared, and they are unquieting and Excellent.
there's also a Ridiculous bar-time conversation over the title of a book between Michael Winter, Lisa Moore, Stan Dragland and Michael Crummey that just made me Howl (a bit of it follows for your (possible) gratification, and Definitely for mine):

...L: Mouths Open.
M: It's perfect.
C: I'd pick it up.
S: Me too.
M: Yes, it's great. but it's better with a comma.
S: Not in a title.
C: You could have the story have a comma in the title.
S: There's a story called Mouths, Open?
L: Yes.
M: Her whole book is an open mouth.
S: Yes, well I gathered as much.
L: What do you mean by that?
C: It's true.
L: Yeah you're right. Jeez bye I wrote it. You think you know everything.
C: Now that's a good title.
A: What is?
C: You Think You Know Everything.
L: It is.
S: It's a bit Alice Munro. Who Do You Think You Are.
L: That'd be a good title,Who Do You Think You Are, Alice Munro - You Think You Know Everything.
C: I still think it's a good title....

and, of course, Ever Cecily Moos, and this time her uncle, or her nephew or someone. Excellent.

shall we at least Try now to move on from my banal listings of things that bring me glee to more practical endeavours?

so then i was google/searching heart/circulatory system for kicks, and for a project i've been working on in fits and starts for (what seems like) a very long time, and i came upon THIS. a Giant Heart. fit to scale a 220 foot tall person, and built for people to walk through. in Philadelphia, no less, land of the mütter museum, as well, which is pretty much one of the top five places i want to go in the world before i die.

well, this big heart officially started beating on my 31nd birthday, 1 October, 2004. sigh. it was picking up the slack on mine at that time, obviously, but here's what it looks like inside:

i'm Impressed. i don't care if it's a cheesy stupid museum model. it's Awesome. and who knew Philadelphia could house anything so interesting?!?!?

but onwards. here's the quote from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams that first brought me over to my dear computer with googling intentions:

"Why do you suppose the poets talk about hearts?” he asked me suddenly. “When they discuss emotional damage? The tissue of hearts is tough as a shoe. Did you ever sew up a heart?”

I shook my head. “No, but I've watched. I know what you mean.” The walls of a heart are thick and strong, and the surgeons use heavy needles. It takes a good bit of strength, but it pulls together neatly. As much as anything it’s like binding a book.”

“The seat of human emotion should be the liver,” Doc Homer said. “That would be an appropriate metaphor: we don't hold love in our hearts, we hold it in our livers.”

I understand exactly. Once in an ER, I saw a woman who’d been stabbed everywhere, most severely in the liver. It's an organ with the consistency of layer upon layer of wet Kleenex. Every attempt at repair just opens new holes that tear and bleed. You try to close the wound with fresh wounds, and you try and you try and you don’t give up until there's nothing left."


of course what i also found were other Completely useless but gratifying nonetheless quotes, and since today was all about other peoples' work i am dedicating tonight's post to shameless pilfering and repetition, at least for a few moments before i resume my own thoughts on this and that, and my 76 proofreading duties to follow.

and no, i Wasn't googling bicycles, i was googling heart. and yet somehow.... aaahhhh.

Most bicyclists in New York City obey instinct far more than they obey the traffic laws, which is to say that they run red lights, go the wrong way on one-way streets, violate cross-walks, and terrify innocents, because it just seems easier that way.  Cycling in the city, and particularly in midtown, is anarchy without malice.
~Author unknown, from New Yorker, "Talk of the Town"

Consider a man riding a bicycle.  Whoever he is, we can say three things about him.  We know he got on the bicycle and started to move.  We know that at some point he will stop and get off.  Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle he will fall off it.  That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things. 
~William Golding

right. that's quite enough of that, i think...

23 September 2005


so it's friday night, the only phone call i've had is from the automated library machine lady, and i got out of work so late the library was no longer open to pick up my books.
friday night, ladies and gentlemen.
some nights i Really wonder about myself.

schmoozing and my glorious winter scarf of times gone by.

i'm not sure why the globe and mail decided that Miz Rebecca and I were truthy worthy substitutes for Michael Redhill, but it is for this naive blessing we were grateful as we wandered around the CARLU for some schmooze party or another on tuesday night.
the great thing about looking like me during these "business/formal attire" events, is, i mean, COME ON. i mean REALLY. "business/formal". HA.
so i had free reign from the moment i stepped in. we were of the crowd pegged by the bartenders as the stragglers, which was just fine with me as i drank my gin martini with a scotch rinse (thank you, Miz R, for the suggestion) and feasted shamelessly on all manner of gustatory extravagances. R decided that really someone (her) should take it upon themselves to be the Robin Hood of Cultural Enlightenment, since Noone around us seemed to have as good a time, Or take Nearly as much bliss from the copious amounts of food available to 10,000 shades of dull creatures hovering around us in their suits and their false smiles.
in terms of cultural enlightenment for my own good self, i got to hear Mister Rick Mercer speak, and before tuesday night, i didn't even know who the guy was.
and he was funny! it's true!

but here's the even crazier thing.
now many (none) of you may remember my glorious handmade doctor seuss scarf, that has coddled me winter after winter for the last 10 years or so. it took me four or more months to knit it back in '93, and by the time i was finished it was Spring.
for the 10 years subsequent, the dear old thing could wrap around my entirety about three times, and guarantee coziness in the depths of our harsh winters in the great white north up here.
'til about a year ago or so, when i lost it.
i grieved, i mourned, i figured it was fate.

Until i was watching a clip of one of Mister Mercer's spoof ads the other night, this one a take on "Ontario, yours to grow" or some such thing, with people trolloping around the city with huge pot plants.
and Suddenly, there was this girl being interviewed spoofily, standing on King and Bay, WEARING MY SCARF.

you laugh perhaps, but it was TRUE.
they showed her three times, and she was wearing MY scarf, brown, crimson and off white stripes, with the extra tiny stripe stitch that comes from me being a terrible knitter and not being able to change colours properly, AND the identical chunks and chew marks off the edges that Also come from me being a Terrible knitter and having no proper sense of casting off or on again in new colours. my beloved scarf that has seen my neck through a third of my life on this planet, (slight pause as i wipe a tear from my eye) my Wonderful Wonderful Winter Scarf.

if Anyone knows a girl with short bleachy blonde hair that starred in a spoof ad on the Rick Mercer Monday report, PLEASE PLEASE tell her i would offer a More than Adequate reward for the recovery of my Beloved Winter Scarf, and would happily replace it with one for herself, would that she was willing to return it to me.


word on the street.

and as i sit up at 1.07am, an early night for me, granted,but still, slaving and toiling to make my small contributions to this sunday's word on the street, one might wonder, is it a book fair or a homemade postcard fair for strange illustrations, miz lenk?

18 September 2005

saturday night red light district in t.o.

the notice is short, i know, but i've been lax in my blogging ways. my friend jp (not to be confused with monsieur le jp, my yoga teaching friend) is window display/performing at this tonight, here's the plug:

Watch out Toronto! You have a new red light district but it ain’t what you think.  Store front windows on and around Parkdale’s Queen Street West set the stage for a truly unique event created specifically for the Queen West Art Crawl.  Performance artists step into the store front windows of Parkdale to unleash a collection of provocative and engaging human stories.

Willing spectators are asked to meet at The Parkdale Public Library at 1303 Queen Street West at 8pm SHARP.  There, you will receive the Red Light Guide Book directing you to the various installations.  The Red Light Project is a self guided tour and free to the public.

for more info check toronto artscape


"and after the fact.... you know, toronto is doing some REALLY really cool stuff. the crawl was fantastic, jp's piece was GREAT. and i'm not even saying that 'coz i'm biased.

it's not news that i usually find performance art sketchy to say the least. i find a great deal of it seems to be doing its best to shroud itself in vaguaries and "i'm-above-my-audience" type behaviour. so to come upon an empty window with a guy standing behind it writing out in first-person narrative a detailed account (backwards, to be legible for the audience outside) about feeling self-conscious and fucked up during his adolescence about BDSM until Reagé and a GGG girl set him more at ease...and writing with a pen of all things (for a Geek a rare occurence...well, increasingly rare, to the best of my knowledge) and strangely giving this impression of being behind a computer screen nonetheless...
...the only thing that would have topped the whole thing is that if the performance had continued long enough he would have had (did you realize this JP?) to end up on his knees in front of his audience in order to write on the lower part of the window.

dude, it was Fucking Brilliant.

another favourite, tho' the picture below doesn't do it justice: Allison Rees-Cummings standing in a bowl of water collecting lucky pennies and putting them on the scales to try to weigh out either end:

17 September 2005

famous five revisited.

i've been having a fickle time with reading material of late...it's not a usual occurrence for me to not be able to finish a book from cover to cover but alas, in the past couple of weeks that has been the order of the day.
well, i finally picked up an illustrated version of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde last week and it was Truly truly enjoyable. just such a Story.
then realized what i feel like i've been missing: stories. it seems so many writers/artists are trying to be clever and profound these days that they are losing sight of stories. (or maybe i'm losing sight of stories?) but honestly. saw Tim Burton's Corpse Bride last week and it was rife with great characters and art direction, but the story was FLAT.
and i picked up a Jim Crace novel the other day (I was Exceedingly fond of Devil's Larder) but couldn't get beyond the excess of description that just made me impatient and move on. maybe it's an impatience thing. who knows.
anyhow, that and a fit of nostalgia had me go forth and purchase a copy of Enid Blyton's Famous Five adventures. i was ADDICTED to them when i was a kid. it was appalling to discover only two paltry hardback books on the shelves, with only 6 of the countless tales she wrote, but i suppose all the empty boxes and countless storage vessels and odoriferous candles have made a half-decent selection of titles at that nameless box-book store well nigh impossible. (three words: unused gift-certificate)
the amazing thing is that Enid Blyton wrote these things in the 40's, which means it's quite possible that my mum read them when she was little as well. many mums. Cool.
and when you think about the character of George, this solitary tomboyish sort running around outdoing her two boy cousins with her sidekick Timmy, you have to wonder just how long women have been unsettled about the gender roles they've been cast into.
in some sense this is outdated; we've (i hope anyhow) moved beyond the "girls becoming men with tits" phase of feminism, but it's interesting to see how it started, and how very possibly Enid Blyton's modest books planted the seed of change in the minds of more than one generation of little girls.

coach house press's 40th anniversary

a bit belated of course, but Coach House Press celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this week and it was FANTASTIC; a Truly Moving event.
thursday morning my liver officially moved to an as yet unaccessible place for the next couple of weeks to recover from the revellry and excess. all alcohol, caffeine, and any other adrenaline producing agent has since been unwelcome; it's peppermint tea and soporifics all the way.

anyhow, the me of about five years ago would have been Utterly Astounded to discover just how rich any one place in Toronto might be. the me of today was utterly honored to think i might have some modern-day involvement, however small, with this same place.

i know i'm going to paraphrase it badly, but Karen Hines (C/H author and playwright extraordinaire) spoke of Coach House as a place where the "word, image and the book are all treated equally".
i LOVE that. what a Truly Worthy endeavour for any place to undertake. yes yes Yes.

14 September 2005

i do confess though...

it was All red lights, all of the time. new start next week. it's a busy time, with deadlines looming.
baby steps.
baby steps.

Brick Brick BRICK! (number 76)

this was our "to-do" list of sorts about a week ago.
Almost complete, you say.
Wow, you say (if you are feeling generous).
Astonishing, you say, if you really have nothing better to do and live the kind of hermetic and somewhat geeky and readerly life i do.
today we assembled 167 pages of Brick 76 in our pre-press/layout session.
with Me at the helm. (so to speak.)

i was so excited i almost peed myself.
but that's what my predecessor's puppy did and, alas, we still haven't gotten the stains out of the carpet.

it's a Good Life.

10 September 2005

the orchid and the orange tree.

well, the orchid is valiantly flourishing at Rebecca's window, as i look on in rueful admiration. the orange tree is doing fine as well, although it is altogether possible that i am now watering it too much.
whatever the case, on we go. would that the pots had water levels inscribed on them. one never knows what to do to maintain the delicate balance between growing gracefully and soppy messes due to torrential mismanagement of water.
ah, balance.

09 September 2005

happy birthday Monsieur le Jp, and HAPPY new Yoga beginnings!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my dear friend Monsieur le JP, my happy yogi compadre, ever calm and composed, despite his three hours of sleep last night, preparing for the Much Anticipated opening of octopus garden yoga studio.
as one of many people i know who have felt a noteable, how shall we say, "shift" in atmosphere at Downward Dog yoga over the years, i Must make a Serious plug for JP and Scott and Pat, three of the Best teachers at Downward Dog, for striking out and starting fresh with Octopus Garden. it's totally immensely exciting to me that the seed of what made me start yoga at DD 6 years ago, which I personally felt to be somewhat diluted by DD's evolution and movement forward, has been uprooted, replanted, and recreated with care and professionalism in the annex. so i wish the best and all peace for Downward Dog, and i wish Even Better for Octopus Garden.
what follows is my shameless bloggey plug; since the spammers have invaded my blog, i feel only a bit less guilty indulging in a bit of shameless marketing: GO GO GO to Octopus Garden if you are a yoga person. go if you Aren't. Seriously. Go.

07 September 2005

window gardens,Drunkenness, and more thoughts on editing.

well, it seems like i've become a raging alcoholic, seeing as i've been rather inadvertently Drunk for the past six days. i blame cottages, greenery, fresh air and subsequently Miz "Panty" (grr)* Silver Slayter's birthday....HAPPY BIRTHDAY MIZ SLAYTER, i say, as i stumble groggily into the office, sunflowers in hand, and back out to the patio after the work day is through.
don't get me wrong, though, Bacchus' appeal has never been more apparent, in these last flailing nights of summer and patio life.

we are attempting a trial separation of our garden windows as of today, for a reason that i ruefully confess has some validity...it seems that for all my complaining about the dead plants, i've been Woefully neglectful of watering them..Woefully.
i cruelly decided this morning that our dying orchid was fit for the garbage, at which point Miz Slayter digustedly stepped in to rescue it and took me to task on my dismissive ways.
she has taken the orchid to her caring/nurturing window, and i've resolutely made a...resolution... to coddle our orange tree on my side of the office that we may see more fruitful results than our first little orange, which was valiantly orangizing and then fell off and is now disintegrating into the soil, no doubt due to my slovenly watering duties.

further discussion about the art of editing yielded this idea that i think might be part of what makes editing so difficult for me. the excruciating thing is this notion that anything needs to be left behind, that anything is less valuable.
it's like Love. (in the Grand all encompassing sense of the word). i've never really defined it for myself as being about Less. or not so far anyways. the idea that something so Big could be about Less is just Very weird to me.
but it is, sometimes. R explains it as a paring down of the proverbial greater truth. of being just as conscious of the words/ideas (etc) that get in the way of speaking your heart and thoughts clearly, as of the words with which you do so.

as of right now we are so close to having a complete Brick 76 that i'm Giddy.
all that's left,practically, is the physical Making of it. and that is MY JOB!!!! WOOHOOOO!!!


the "p" word was for my cohorts edification, not mine, i must clarify. i still think it's an atrocious word. ugh.


so it was about six red lights today. but 4 of 'em were t-junctions, and the other two i did slow down and ponder before running 'em.
and that's out of 6 bike rides...'bout 1 1/2 hours worth...

05 September 2005

everything i need to know i learnt from somebody else's dog.

i spent a GLORIOUS GLORIOUS and totally unexpected weekend at a cottage with five lovely people, four of whom were complete strangers before the trip. all this thanks to two last minute cancellations and a fortuitous phone call from my friend kari.

during our first of a couple of canoe trips of drunken revellry and skinny dipping, we had to leave one of the dogs (a sheperd/lab half breed) behind 'coz she was so exciteable her owner thought she would tip the canoe as we headed out.
. . .ah, labradors.
they are my favourite dogs, of course.
and as we rowed away and she ran after us along the land until she could no longer follow, i thought, yes, that is the problem with labradors.
then we saw a labrador in a shop on the drive back and it was exciteable for Absolutely No reason when we walked by it, and i thought it was Highly Unnecessary and being just a little bit stupid. and of course the poor owner was left to tug mercilessly at it as it whinnied and jumped and tried to make its way after us. how people live with them, Especially in a city where they can't possibly be around enough to cater to them, is Beyond me.

anyhow. labradors aside, there was much drinking, much conversation, So Much Bonfire, and food the likes of which i rarely eat any more. Complete BLISS.
i have not, in the past, seen myself as someone who would enjoy a cottage stay...in general, being somewhere that quiet for more than a day makes me Insane.
but it was unexpectedly welcome, and allowed the dust to settle significantly on my worries of late regarding drawing, writing, book-making, and other such idyllic notions.
amongst other things i finally made the decision to let this whole book notion, whatever i mean by that, Drop.

now i can work with what i'm actually doing for a change.

02 September 2005

red lights and email too.

well, i haven't quite successfully stopped myself from running all red lights this morning, but the ones i ran i ran very slowly at least.
baby steps.
as for email, my other great addiction i am (sort of) attempting to cut down on, the process (or non-process, i guess) is TORTURE.
Cursed be the empty in-box! where is everyone this friday? bloody long weekend.
how very un-zen/buddhist/all-other-religions-preaching-emptiness of me.