Monday, 30 November 2015

One Noon Hour in Victoria Park

When in doubt, walk. When walking, take pictures.

Late November, as decent a day as we'll get this time of year. But cold.

Northwest across Victoria Park, a modest objective in this world.

Soon we'll stay indoors, crossing streets downtown in pedways. Winter will roar so loud we'll be nothing but peeks from parkas if we're anything at all.

For now, the sun could claim full glory. We'd keep clothing off if we could.

The soldier saves heat.

We walk in straight lines.

The next four months will be worse, one more after that about the same.

That means only half the time here can we ease into motion without blowing on our hands.

"Wait for the sun again," some song will say, as if the sun's not already here.

No matter where we look.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Pond that is Lake Wascana

It will freeze your hands in November. Geese know it's cold but don't care. This is when they know they're smarter than trees which stand there pleading.  

The flockherd drifts in diagrams of a thousand, heads and bodies visible in the crossing to Willow Island. Patches of goosing are absorbed.

Throw in the ducks and west wind and a distant sun--you've got yesterday. In a running shirt, wool sweater, high-tech jacket and gloves, I still wished I was home washing dishes. Can longjohns be far behind? I tell you, I wished my behind had another layer out there on the trail. 

With passers-by I exchanged greetings that said Yup, buckle up for winter. It hurt to write a word. Turning a page was like raising a sail in a storm. Yet there was sunlight, as much as could be, bright as reflection, if cold. Blowing on the hands brought relief, as did a spell on an east-side lagoon which the wind hadn't found.

It's goose who says these things.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


I'm pretty good at leaving a place when the moment of departure has arrived. I'll be all business when I pull away from Fool's Paradise tomorrow morning. I doubt if I'll even glance over at Angel, who'll be napping anyway.
It's the day before that's tough--that sense that I will never pass this way again, a vital period of my life has passed, I'm losing something forever, and so on. Sappy, I know. 
The fine weather has been holding on beautifully here and for the four-day run back to Sask ahead.

I completed only a translation and a half of the Marceneiro fado but will continue at home. My dog writing, called Half-way from Doug to Dug, totals about 70 pages--80% of that from the drive to Toronto and work here, five drafts worth--and I did produce three YouTube videos (see links from this blog) and numerous blog entries and photographs. Also helped take care of the final proofs for A Round for Fifty Years: A History of Regina's Globe Theatre which is coming out from Coteau next month.
None of that much matters, really. It's the ongoing contemplation that feels more powerful, the having of time, as it were.
I'll miss this view from where I'm sitting right now.

And by the way, you dedicated readers of this blog--a sweet morning to you, uncle Frank and aunt Mahovlich--will want to know how my boots made out. We last saw them here.
In preparing an update, I had a moment with Facebook. After a few hours of uploading my boot story set to "O Pagem" by Alfredo Marceneiro, I got a message from FB saying first "your video is ready for posting," then one a few seconds later saying, in effect, "we can't publish your video until you confirm you have the rights to the material." FB  was right on this one. I had to re-do the thing with some public domain music. 
See the link to see the boot story. 
Over and out from Fool's Paradise. 

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Remarks for Tonight's Reading

In introducing my Hillsdale Book, I'll speak of "characters" and "place," and "language" with which they interact--which creates them, in fact.
Of course, all of these terms are subject to complication. The place, an urban suburb, figures in narratives of geology (land as covered with two miles of ice, then a post-glacial lake), history (land as buffalo habitat and corresponding First Nations), sociology (land as urban planning, the post-war western suburb). The characters carry their inner landscapes--their arrays of experience, anxiety, desire, dreams, etc. Any act of language attempting to represent such processes must be multiple--polyphonic, open-formed, narrative or lyric or documentary, textual or visual. And it must play, or the place and characters will sink into their own essences. It must be as light on its feet as possible, trusting that any truth of any matter will be assembled as/from the language moves.
So one character, a boy moving to the brand new suburb with his parents, will speak his perspective. A traveller, visiting every street in Hillsdale as he might the countries of western Europe, responds to his own past and to contemporary perceptions. A woman named Flo speaks from her experience of moving to Hillsdale when it was new and living there still. Subject, all of this, to fooling around.
The elephant in this room is the passage of time, which the boy, the traveller, Flo and the others implicitly express, as life does, needless to say. 
All of that's a little long. And I will have had a beer or two with Dan ahead of time. So I'll probably just say "This thing called "Hillsdale"--no relation to my own name, by the way--is made from characters, place, language. You can put your own Hillsdale together right here, tonight from the bits I'm about to read you."
And away we go.
After that: some pieces of dog (a character) on the Scarborough bluffs . . .