Over Christmas, Dylan, Aerlan and I made a video poem called “the tap running.” (If you have a copy of Accomplice, you’ve probably read the text poem.) I showed the rough cut at January’s Open Apartment, and can say with confidence that y’all are going to like it.
This month, we’re all reading (re-reading) Franny and Zooey. Is there a more perfect book?
Aunt Rachel has delivered twelve monologues in the form of poems so far. I’ve been audacious enough to assemble them into a chapbook manuscript and submit said manuscript to two contests. One way or another, I hope to have a little book out sometime this year.
I am writing a novel. Unexpectedly, I am enjoying it. My narrator’s vocabulary is better than mine, which means I’ve had the pleasure of learning words like ‘candent,’ ‘lucubration,’ and ‘puissant.’ I think the first draft will be finished in June.
Dylan and I are working together with our friend Omar on a documentary for the CBC about men’s mental health and the oil industry. It’s an expansion of Omar’s groundbreaking article on what can only be called a crisis. Dylan’s directing, producing, editing. I’m writing the script. Production starts in February. This is an issue that permeates Albertan culture. An issue that quickly becomes snarled in the fearful, angry debate about the future of our environment. An issue that quickly loses its human face. If we accomplish anything with this doc, I hope it’s to remind our audience of the inherent value and vulnerability of every person, the need to put the well-being of workers ahead of corporate profits or personal wealth, the concrete ways in which the mistreatment of men affects women (and vice versa), and the damage we do to our society when we demand that anyone trade their physical and psychological health for money.
I have three poems coming out soon:
In February, “Viva Puff,” a poem about Ranger, will appear in the inaugural print issue of Edmonton’s own Funicular Magazine.
In March, “gate” (both in print and as a video poem directed by Laura) will be featured in Without Pretend’s new project, The Vault.
In early spring, “Aunt Rachel goes camping” will be published in Poetry is Dead, Number 19, the Drama issue.
I’ve also been exploring, more directly, sex and representations of sex in my life and my work. In November, I did some boudoir modelling for the first time. We made two more short erotic films. “gate” includes my whole naked body. Does anyone else find it strange that the artists are (mostly) still participating in the neo-Victorianism of our age? (Shoutout here to Amanda Palmer, the glorious exception.) It is as if we were all invested, above everything else, in producing 14-A blockbusters. Sex is un-serious. It is a liability. It compromises the artist’s statement on just about anything else. Women—artists, intellectuals, politicians, professionals—are undermined every day by the photographic evidence of their own anatomy. As for men, the erection is still seen as an attack. No one is allowed to admit that sex is an integral part of everyday life.
What else can I tell you? I’m going to be taking our local film co-op’s intermediate filmmaking class this spring.
I’ve done a lot of good knitting this winter. Mittens. A sweater. I’m in the middle of realizing a tea cozy I designed for Gwen.
Open Apartment has been happening once a month since September or so. There have been stunning performances and presentations—film, poetry, drama, animation, fiction—and many new faces. I think it gets better every time we meet.
Last Saturday we rubbed oil into our dining table and bought tulips from the only tulip grower in Alberta.
Theo has started publishing Sunday Poems again, and they are eminently worthwhile and pleasurable reading. We ate dinner over Skype with Theo earlier this week and talked about everything.
And it’s been almost a year since I abandoned my phone. You can find my first thoughts on the experiment here—certainly an honest account at the time I wrote it out, but one that has become more complicated, accruing unvoiced doubts and questions as the year has gone on. Time to voice them. I suppose I can summarize by saying that I did not anticipate how lonely extrication would be. I spoke with Laura about it the other day, and she said, of course—everyone else is walking around with a bright, buzzing, notifying, in-joking virtual landscape overlaid on the world. As if we were all in a movie where text bubbles pop up beside our heads and equations solve themselves in real-time as a baseball completes its parabolic arc. I am not trying to denigrate this. I am simply unsure, now, if I am willing to return to it. It comes down to the role of the writer in society. Is the writer meant to participate fully, understand intimately, represent in real-time and great detail? Or is the writer meant to observe from a distance, understand objectively, represent in the context of history and the constants of our species? Both, probably.