Saturday, 1 August 2015


He's loving all the attention, the hairy tube of a dog at Esther's this morning. Recently I've been writing short prose bits in which a dog thinks this and does that. A different dog each time, I suppose, though I'm the one wagging. Anything such as the previous sentence I might say about this writing requires more thought than the writing itself has ever carried.
Restaurants and  cafes in Kelowna often feature bowls of water for the mutts. Signs warn us not to leave mutts in cars. No dog in either of those scenarios interests me, really, as much as the dog I insert into my dream of being arrested, the dog that sniffs me sleeping at the beach, the dog not lucky but Leckie (a street leading off the highway here). Dogs with names like Papyrus, Phony, or Grandma. A lousy play is said to be a dog, as is a lazy worker.
So yes, here's to the work crew at the courthouse in Regina who shovel without bending, who stand around in shadows, who stroll around to the front.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Esther & Sons: Family Matters

A coffee shop this fine, who wouldn't make it two mornings in a row. Tomorrow at this time I'll be helping my sister clear out her garage, but you don't need to know that.
I was sitting here reading the Globe and Mail. Damned if I didn't see my daughter Lucy pictured in front of a blind horse, which doesn't know it's blind, on page S2--a production shot for her show at Caravan Farm Theatre, which opens tonight.
You don't need to know either how proud I am of Lucy, which I just now tried to express, in a card I'll give her tonight, from my base here on the deck chair at Esther's.
No sign of the Sons this morning. Maybe they slept in. Maybe they're having coffee somewhere. Could be them in the float plane or the irrigation truck.  
Here at Esther's, a guy just brought in a saw and a long extension cord, which he's plugged in, getting ready to work on something or other. I suppose this kind of thing happens when the Sons are away.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015


Washrooms are for Esther & Sons customers only. Thank you!
Those must be a couple of the Sons right now, examining the plants--bending over to sniff them, even--and talking loudly enough to generate these first few sentences. But they've gone inside now.
This is Kelowna, another smokey place, cough cough.
The Son who made my latte did well. It's all gone, the inside of the cup looking like exposed sedimentary rock above a pool the colour of my tanned right arm. Walking here from my sister's place, I felt a-travel again. Do I ever get lonely? Why yes! But I write it off as essential human condition, or something. I mean that. Let's say there are only two choices: sip my latte over the sports pages of the Globe and Mail or look/listen around. The latter is the bit that leads out, the lonely bit.

Monday, 13 July 2015

On Being Interviewed About My Summer Reading

CBC Radio One in Sask, sometime soon. Samanda Brace, her name. She's been asking women about summer reading and I was the first man, a status I hadn't attained for years. I stammered out something about the John Ashbery, Quick Question, and an idea I'd been tinkering with for a few seconds, the concept of reading one of the poems every five minutes while walking around town. I used the word jolt but that's not what I meant. More a kick. "The average / lighthouse is mostly ancient by now" ("In a Lonely Place"). More a series of hops and skips that once in a while thumps you on the head. 
I forgot until after the interview to tell her about my "To Read" list. When I said something like that to her, she turned her machine back on, and I put in a plug for the Guy Vanderhaeghe collection Daddy Lenin and the David Stouck bio of Sinclair Ross, As for Sinclair Ross.
No, after Ashbery, what I told Ms Brace about was a read-by of The Divine Comedy, for I, like many a young dog, had followed Dante down that road, wanting to be transformed.
And speaking of plugs, I did find a way to talk about my Hillsdale Book, published in April with NeWest Press, from which I'll be reading in Saskatoon three nights from now.

Friday, 3 July 2015


I've begun to play up any crossover between Transition Area, where I live, and transition, the personal event. 
I've plotted a few pre-WWII houses on a grid, this accomplished without lament for the loss of the rest of them, and without claiming any link between 2250 Scarth and, say, my left knee.
The idea seems obvious but wouldn't, I assume, with further attention. With a place and a name, where else could I find the story?

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Hat's It for Today

All a hat has to do is stay between my noggin and the sun, unless I let it in. Today it was the Leaf cap, about which I'd once been abused in London. England!
But that's not what I started to say. 
Select Hops is back and running.

Monday, 29 June 2015

New Place to Hang My Hat

I'll need one. Tomorrow I hand over the keyfob to my office at Luther. By mid-July I will have finished working with the Coteau editor of my Globe Theatre history book, after which I'll have to hand over my keys to my GT workspace, where I am at the moment. 
Apart from my bachelor pad in the Frontenac, that will leave my constellation of coffee shops, pubs, park benches, picnic tables, library tables and pool aprons as home-away-from-home workplaces. 
Last night I caught closing night of Mary Poppins at the Globe. I'd been tracking this show since rehearsals started almost two months ago and had seen at least a half-dozen performances. At first, it was simple fascination at watching these skilled actor/singer/dancers grow into and take over their roles. The production side of things (the props-makers, set builders, stichers, etc.)--I couldn't get enough of all that either.
I found myself inspired by their work, all of them, and I used opening night of MP (May 21) as my target for finishing my history of Globe Theatre, of which my Mary Poppins diary, also known as "A History of Right Now", would be the closing chapter (but for an Afterword).
Now that's over too. 
What am I going to do with myself!