I have the title! (for a book of short things I’m working on)
This is the-shirt I had made for someone who recently amused me with the edifying mantra that wordsmatter.
I am nothing if not an excellent listener.
I was writing with a group of women at the shelter recently.
I do this once a month; they call it a workshop, but really we’re just writing together.
I’m always amazed by what gets said on paper by people who aren’t always used to holding a pen.
Amazed also that in the middle of the madness that is currently their life, in the middle of everything they’re going through, have gone through for god knows how long, that they can write with such clarity, such honesty.
They’re surprised when I tell them their words are beautiful.
At first they don’t believe me and then, something happens, the magic of unlocking, of tapping into a part of themselves that so rarely gets out, the magic of being heard… and I can see something change and I know that it’s a tiny thing, but even that is big, because, even for just a while…
…they believe, they know, that something about them is beautiful still.
“I hate the rain, but I love puddles.” ~ (shelter resident)
This couch, these cats, this morning, my handwriting, breath, this page, that light, the sun waiting to rise, the way my mind wanders to pumpkin soup vs puree the moment I congratulate myself on achieving something close to a state of meditation, the backyard, the large hostas that need dividing, a bushel of garlic, fresh string beans, tomatoes in a silver bowl, friends for lunch, the wine last night, the olives and raw milk cheese and crumbs of baguette, the new tradition of running away at xmas (already exciting), the poem about Edmonton, the pillow of peace and a shoelace with feathers tied to either end, the Benjamina and the fern, the ferns outside, the way something smells both sweet and spicy under the honeysuckle arch but I can’t work out what—catmint?, the beautiful green success of the kale and spinach and chicory, the nasturtium leaves (in October!), the way the red dress hangs in the park and the boy who said to his mother after they stopped to read the sign on it: what if we get to 30,000? , that painting of oranges and a vase of yellow flowers, a laundry line, the homemade chairs on our porch, always enough toothpaste, these feet and these hands and the way Laura Smith sings about joy, that open window, these books, this tea, breath—I said breath already, right?
New kid = The Litter I See Project.
A thing I’ve been thinking about for ages.
In support of Frontier College.
It’s a blog of litter-inspired writing for literacy, by Canadian writers.
The opening post ‘Cherry’, is here.
And what it’s all about, Alfie… is here.
Matilda will continue, if a titch more slowly over the summer.
yours in litter and literacy,
So I had a salon. In my living room. Which may be redundant.
Let’s just call it Writers in My Residence.
Bob Dylan came. He liked the samosas. I liked that I knew some people in six degrees of separation ways, but not really. It made for much to talk about. Sculptors and writers talking in the kitchen pleases me. Poets and painters talking in the front hall worries me. What are they plotting??? Here they are. Writers, artists of all stripes. Readers. Mostly readers. Word lovers. The best kinds of persons. Nestled in front of bright blue art by Rhonda Pearl.
Reading and listening. One reading is about Anne Wilkinson, a little known modernist poet who is now being more known through The Porcupine’s Quill ‘Essential Poet’s’ series and the good work of Ingrid Ruthig, editor of the The Essential Anne Wilkinson. Another reading is new fiction by Stuart Ross, followed by poetry from his new book Our Days in Vaudeville (Mansfield Press). Here, the omnipotent poet holds in his hand an errant firefly that had been terrorizing the living room for months. We laughed.
We were enraptured. (Enrapturized?)
We had food and drink and indoor sunshine.
Such is the power of words in enclosed spaces.
Big thanks to a beautiful bunch of participants for this beautiful night.
The instructions were simple. Describe—
My Ideal Dwelling:
Here is where I would not want to live: in a dark narrow tunnel or cave with small windows and doors, the kind you get stuck in in dreams. I would not want to live in a desert or on the side of a very tall mountain, as in the alps. I would not want to live on a distant island or in a place with broadloom wall to wall. I would not want to live where the inside smelled unfresh, stale, dog-like.
I’m on a beach and in the distance a boat has dropped anchor and with binoculars I see the skipper, alone, eating a sandwich made of pumpernickel bread. I sit on the sand and the tide comes in as the boat leaves and then, jeans sandy and feet wet, I stand and leave to find the nearest deli and on my way there is a dog.
No, it’s not a dog, but a bear. I meet a bear. Black. And as usual I can’t remember whether to play dead or run so I decide to do neither. Instead, I engage the bear in conversation. I say Hello. And the bear grunts, shuffles its feet. I say about the boat and the skipper and how I’m off to find a deli and would he or she like to come along? It’s a she I realize and when she agrees I think how safe I feel to have the company of a friendly bear because for all I know the deli may be in a dicey part of town.
At the river the bear wades across and then turns and stands on its hind legs and one paw reaches out toward me. I start swimming and the bear smiles and I notice that the river isn’t so very deep and this makes me feel at ease with the whole situation. Once on the other side the bear walks through a forest of aspens and into a town and I follow.
On the ground, red and chipped and stained with tea and blueberries.
Also on the ground. Under a clear plastic bag held down with a rock. I pick it up and wait for it to speak to me, to tell me what it unlocks. The bear, I notice, has found the deli, but the sign in the window says closed. Hmm….
The key opens the door but inside is another door that says Keep Out. An elk kicks it down and inside that, a storage area where a party is being held. There are balloons and raccoon food. The walls are apple green and a guy—the guy from the boat—is there slicing bologna and rye and a line begins to form…
Written in Susan Musgrave’s workshop at the Kingston Lit Festival last month.
The prompts were given one at a time, with a few minutes for writing, then the next prompt, and so on. According to Jung, done this way, each item represents
a different aspect.
House = how we see ourselves
The Walk = direction in life
The Bear = how you react to trouble
The River = sex
The Cup = love
The Key = knowledge
The Door = death