the year as ‘found’

 

In the spirit of reflection… (and following a prompt from The Indextrious Reader) I’ve rounded up the first sentences of the first post from *each of the past twelve months to create… uh, well, a document of first sentences, which I then rearranged slightly—in the spirit of amusing myself…

Et Voila! 

 

2010 as Found

Snowing gently this morning as I sit outside with a cup of rooibos tea and watch geese, hundreds of geese, fly over the backyard—so quiet is the world I can almost hear each one of their wings. Over at Front Door Back Door—I note the moment we felt the earthquake, the sismo. I don’t know why Rona Maynard’s post on pilates and writing should make me think of something I read the other day about Marina Abramovic—the performance artist who recently closed what sounded like a most bizarre and amazing show in NYC, and is known for her ‘experiments’ in art through human nature—but it does. Find a lonely tree that needs some love.

“Man has no body distinct from his soul, for that called body is a portion of the soul discerned by the five senses.”  (Wm. Blake)

Depending on who you listen to—either today, yesterday, or tomorrow is the Feast of St. Mary of Egypt, patron saint of penitent women who formerly lived in sin. Am celebrating the 143rd birthday of our grand beau pays with my favourite things: words and food. Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. And I don’t mean cheerio as in ‘goodbye’, but as in cereal…of course.

“Tea should be taken in solitude.” (C.S. Lewis)
Writing from a garret in London, Ontario. Coming along just swimmingly thanks.
~
Hoping everyone has a safe and happy one…
 
Amusez vous bien!
~
 
*From whence they came… 

January  Snowing gently this morning as I sit outside with a cup of rooibos tea and watch geese, hundreds of geese, fly over the backyard—so quiet is the world I can almost hear each one of their wings.

February  “Man has no body distinct from his soul, for that called body is a portion of the soul discerned by the five senses.”  (Wm. Blake)

March  Over at Front Door Back Door—I note the moment we felt the earthquake, the seismo.

April  Depending on who you listen to—either today, yesterday, or tomorrow is the Feast of St. Mary of Egypt, patron saint of penitent women who formerly lived in sin.

May  “Tea should be taken in solitude.” (C.S. Lewis)

June  I don’t know why Rona Maynard’s post on pilates and writing should make me think of something I read the other day about Marina Abramovic—the performance artist who recently closed what sounded like a most bizarre and amazing show in NYC, and is known for her ‘experiments’ in art through human nature—but it did.

July  Am celebrating the 143rd birthday of our grand beau pays with my favourite things: words and food.

August  And I don’t mean cheerio as in ‘goodbye’, but as in cereal…of course.

September  Coming along just swimmingly thanks.

October  Writing from a garret in London, Ontario.

November  Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

December  Find a lonely tree that needs some love.

~

can and cannot

11 Things I’d Like to Do that I Didn’t Know were Important Until the Other Day When I Tripped Over a Curb and Royally Screwed up my Knee and Now Can’t Do Because, Apparently, Unless I Stay off it as Much as Possible it’ll Never Heal…

— pick apples
— weed the garden
— make zucchini soup
— make apple crumble from freshly picked apples
— iron
— walk on beach
— walk in ravine
— walk through art gallery
— walk to library
— ride my bike to store for a fresh baguette
— sit on above-mentioned beach—with a thermos of zucchini soup, hunk of buttered bread, piece of apple crumble, watch gulls and geese and sometimes swans—in the half lotus position

11 Things I Can Do

— read
— write
— hobble about
— stretch and breathe and make pots of tea
— write some more
— revise
— hear my cats purr, watch their smiling sleeping faces while I read and write and drink tea
— downward dog (although I probably shouldn’t)
— eat ribs and cherry tomato salad
— finish ms
— be grateful for working knees (and other equally valuable parts)

Notice pointing finger -- as if swollen-to-twice-its-size leg might be missed otherwise...

a loveliness of ladybirds…

—a flutter of butterflies (there were two in the general vicinity but do two flutterbys equal a flutter?)

a risk of lobsters
an intrusion of cockroaches
a mite of mites
a knot of worms
a rope of onions
a punnet of strawberries

—and because the ‘sky dance’ season is about to begin (I saw my first starlings of the year gathering in some reeds this morning)—a murmuration of starlings…

~

And other collective nouns because how else to describe things but properly?

Unless of course you feel like making something up. A ‘scratch’ of bedbugs? A ‘séance’ of tea leaves? A ‘warbling’ of words?

~

things i saw this weekend

—woman in bright yellow sari, shopping bag in one hand, canadian flag in the other; teenaged boy draped in giant rainbow flag

—hydrangea bush so full of blooms i cut a basketful for my neighbour, who dries them and uses them as xmas tree decorations

—first tomatoes

—broken zipper in Laurentien-pencil-crayon-peacock-blue cashmere cardigan sky

—just green

~

current status


Currently in mourning that a local bookstore, in a beautiful location, is now closed. What is wrong with people? Why are they not shopping at beautiful local bookstores??


Still sad at the memory of cows passed on the 401 being transported in the dark of night. 


Amazed at how the sky does this.

Currently reading Open by Lisa Moore. Listening to Tinariwen. Eating radishes and butter. Radishes and bread. Radishes and salt and butter and bread. Radishes and salad. Radishes on salad, radish salad. Baby radishes sauteed with greens still attached. Radishes and cheese and olives. Radishes and radishes. No spam.

to list IS divine

The New Quarterly’s List Issue has arrived on my doorstep and it’s completely gorgeous. (True, my own listy piece is included, but even so, and even if it weren’t, it has to be said: the thing is a work of art—the cover, layout, design.)

And, yes, the contents. Who knew (Diane Schoemperlen, that’s who) that lists could evoke so much and in so many ways?

There are found poems from lists, lists written on the backs of things—regrets on a black and white snapshot from the 50’s—and on a Good & Fruity box, the contents of a pocket enroute to jail. There’s a list of things taken to a nursing home to visit a mother (so simple and stark and perfect it made my eyes water).

A collection of lists found in a large purse; drawings and random jottings; glossy pages of collage, photographs, observations— things that otherwise get missed because they’re tiny and ordinary, seemingly insignificant and therefore don’t merit a whole story—but fashion them into a list and you realize they are a whole story.

The cover art and collage pages inside are done by Diane Schoemperlen (who also guest edited the issue), as is a piece titled ‘A Nervous Race: 22 Brief Notes on the Study of Nature, Human and Otherwise’— which begins:

This is not exactly a story. It is a construction or a deconstruction or a reconstruction (or maybe all three). I did not exactly write these lines. I discovered them (like a continent), mined them (like gold or coal or potash), unearthed them (like bones), excavated them (like archaeological artifacts), solved them (like a crossword puzzle), deciphered them (like a secret code), erected them (like a building or a flag), organized them (like a filing cabinet or a clothes closet), choreographed them (like a ballet or maybe a barn dance), arranged them (like a symphony or a bouquet of flowers). Let me explain.”

And then she does.  And, frankly, if there were nothing else between the covers but this and the collage, it would still be an amazing and beautiful issue.   

The launch is tomorrow in Kingston. (Oh to be in Kingston in the Spring!)

reasons i like lists

In celebration of The New Quarterly’s upcoming “list issue“—edited by the Queen of Lists and Many Other Things Too—Diane Schoemperlen—I offer a few thoughts on the almost-koan: why list?

1. Well, one very big reason for me is because it Hoovers my brain so I can walk around in it comfortably without tiny bits of debris sticking to my feet, distracting and annoying me.

2. And I can see a list. Not so with the inside of my head. And even if I could, it would be all kaleidoscopey; things changing and morphing every second, in patterns impossible to follow, much less recall, days, or even hours, later.

3. Then there’s the tacit reassurance of having committed things to paper; a kind of wink wink communication that says: go on, you can do something else now, I’ll be right here when you get back—honest.

4. A list gives me things to cross out, which in itself is a very satisfying and cleansing act.

5. A crossed out list is no longer a list of where I need to go but a chronicle, a meditation even, if the mood is right, of where I’ve been. And I think it’s important, possibly useful, and mildly entertaining at the very least, to know when you’ve been somewhere.

6. Finally, it’s never really finished; it can be as long or as short, as complex or simple, as you, the lister, likes. There’s no right or wrong way of making a list and if in the middle of making one you decide to stop