sfu writer’s studio reading series

I will not be reading from ‘pirates in space.’ Sorry.

If you, like most of humanity, find me charming, intelligent, affable and engaging as hell to listen to, then thank whichever god you think created you because I am going to be doing a reading! If you find me to be none of the above, then luckily for you there will be other readers as well.

This is all part of the SFU Writer’s Studio Reading Series, more details on which you can find here.

7 pm, July 15, 2011 @ Take 5 Café (429 Granville Street at Hastings, in downtown Vancouver)

So join me alongside several other local writers, where I’ll be reading some stuff from projects I’ve been working on and possibly some short fiction. Things might get interesting.

the art of the upper commune fridge

Title: "Incentive Programs are How We Finally Harpoon the White Whale of Progress" (2011) Artist: Collective Medium: Sharpie on Paper with many, many stickers. And a Post-it for Jon.
Title: "Does Lorna Exist?" (2011) Artist: Gregg Medium: Sharpie & Bic on Paper
Title: "Who is our gardener, really?" (2011) Artist: Claire Medium: Ink, Paper, Collective Gambling Habits
Okay, so it's not the fridge, but he's proud of this.
A gallery patron admires the artistry and beauty of the Upper Commune Fridge. "It's, like, so... post-modern. Or something."

the duende’s in the details

 duende  The duende is a demonic earth spirit who helps the artist see the limitations of intelligence, reminding him that “ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head”; who brings the artist face-to-face with death, and who helps him create and communicate memorable, spine-chilling art. 

I spent my entire childhood in growing up in one house. My parents moved when I was twenty-three; the house was torn down a year later.

I drove past the house when it was in the process of being demolished. The concrete foundation was there, along with frame of the walls and the ceiling. I parked the car, got out, and took a wander through the skeletal remains of my childhood.

I’ve dealt with deaths and break-ups and all manner of typical emotional landmines and upheavals. Perhaps it is a reflection of something that’s either dead or repressed inside me as a human being, but seeing my old house like that was easily the most scarring moment in my entire life.

It wasn’t the whole picture that terrified me. It was the details.

It was the splotch of paint on the roof from where I fucked up trying to paint my bedroom when I was twelve.

It was the bloodstain on the concrete from my sister’s accident with the window back in ‘93.

It was the plastic hooks for the garbage bag hanger in the old laundry room.

It was the shape of the Big and Little Dippers traced over twenty years ago by my father with plastic glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling of my old bedroom.

It was the hook hanging from the ceiling in the old dining room; the hook from which nothing ever hung.

It was the specks of black mould along my old window sill. It was the specific scuff marks on the door jamb. It was the knots in the wood in the ceiling.

It was the details.

The details are what stick with us.

No one will ever be able to recount a strict chronology of their life: a “this happened, then that happened, then that happened,” all events and people and places being equal and measured. Psychology doesn’t work that way.

We remember moments: someone’s laugh, the feeling of blushing, the smell of a room.

Pictures of a house or a city that try to capture everything are nothing more than realtor’s photographs or cheap postcards.

The life is in the details.

That’s what I take photographs of. They are nothing more than keys to memory, to a feeling, to a moment in time.

The life is in the details.

The details seep into everything I do: once I walked past an antique store  and saw an old Pears Soap tin like my mum used to have; once I walked past an insurance agent and saw through the window a little kid in the waiting room playing with an old Fisher Price car garage; once I was looking for an apartment and their washing machine had the same kind of knobs as my parents’ old washing machine; once I wrote a science fiction story and the main character was perpetually homesick in that same way I have always been.

The details are impossible to ignore. They live in the corner of my mind in that same way your nose sits blurry on the edge of everything you see. As with nostalgia; as with grief.

Nostalgia holds grief as its shadow self.

keys! (ones that work)

new books

Because maybe it’s time I start learning something…

“Look at the longing, the anguish of a sad fossil world / that cannot find the accent of its first sob.” (Frederico Garcia Lorca)

the mind-fuck clock

rock me sexy jesus

Inspired by:

Sexy Jesus

the morning routine with dad

Mum took a spontaneous trip to New Orleans this past week, which means that Dad has been home all alone.

Now, Mum normally gets the brunt of the memoir/sledge-hammer, but I really think that’s mostly because she’s a much more exuberant personality. Dad, on the other hand, is a quiet force, soldiering on beneath the radar.

In addition to being the Vancouver Canucks’ first win of the Stanley Cup finals, last night was also Dad’s birthday. Naturally, it was up to the pub for hockey and drinks, then back to the house for whiskey and Game of Thrones (Dad is much more of a geek when he feels he doesn’t need to look cool in front of Mum).

I ended up just staying over, which had the happy result of us going through our morning routines in each other’s presence. Neither of us are morning people.

The following is the conversation that took place between him and I at 7.30 this morning, yelling across the house from the kitchen to the living room:

Dad: I made you a salad.

Me: Oh, thanks, that’s awesome.

Dad: Do you want some yoghurt too?

Me: Sure!

Dad: *rustle rustle, fridge opening* Okay, but it’s expired.

Me: …

Dad: Smells a little weird, too.

Me: …

Dad: Tastes okay, though.

Me: When did it expire?

Dad: Um… May.

Me: Like May 31 or like May 1? That’s a big difference in the world of expired dairy products.

Dad: Hang on, let me get my glasses. *rustle rustle* Okay, May… twenty… something.

Me: *thinks about this* Ah, sure. Go on then. I’ll have some yoghurt.

I am more like my dad than I have previously accepted.


UPDATE: (Lunchtime) I have eaten the yoghurt. I am still alive.

the commune begins

So this past week has been spent moving. As of today, we officially rent the entire sweet lil’ house of ours just off Fraser St. I now live with five other roommates: Dr. Roommate, Claire, Lorna, Jessica, and Gregg (the Y-Chromosome).
I’m going to let this post serve as a very brief introduction to The Commune: a mere footnote in the traveller’s guide to our lives, if you will.
The cast of characters will be introduced in more depth shortly, and I will add more photos documenting our adventure.
But for now, let’s get a sneak peek:

Athos, the eight-year-old goldfish. He is either immortal or a very clever zombie.

With rooms called “The Closet,” “The Hub,” and “The Bordello,” naturally a shuttle bus arrives hourly to take us between them all.

At The Commune, sharing is encouraged.

Moving Day. Can you spot the sasquatch?