Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Amenities Tease

The title says where I am--trying to work out what those two words might mean for each other. In my piece, a room known as Amenities had been promised for many months. Formerly a storage room closed to tenants but originally the janitor's residence (occupied by a fellow named Chris Heathcote), one that opened to both halves of the building, now Amenities would mean common room, equipped with kitchen, wifi and cable, living room, dining room table, library, and vintage photos on the walls. (Also a few bits of heritage bric-a-brac.) The gold "A" on both doors seems to glow--so great has been the anticipation. 
Of course, when the A room does open, the first to use it are the building owners, but that's another story.
When the tenants do get in there, first order of business is to figure out what amenities are, which is where the tease comes. Because amenities could be construed as snippets of conversation, perhaps freeze frames, fragments of song. Whereupon someone has the bright idea to propose that story-telling must have been the first amenity.  Now the tease is on for sure.
But it doesn't matter. Whatever amenities are, people love the room.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Oak Floors: The Building

Dedicated followers of what I do online--good windy evening, Aunt P and Uncle Q--will recall a thing called "Building Poem Building" in which I tracked, complete with 24/7 webcam, the construction of two residence towers on the URegina campus in the summer of 2003.
Sorry, I just searched to see if there might be a link but couldn't find one. I did, however find this review of Hillsdale Book, my 2015 poetry collection published by NeWest Press. I mention this now because of a realization I've come to about Oak Floors!, this musical I'm writing. 
The realization--which already seems obvious, even before I utter it--is that the building itself, the Oak Floors, is the main character of the piece. I'd been leaning toward the young university student (Patty), or the self-taught janitor, or the wildcard/historian/spirit-of-the-hallway I've called the flaneur [with the triangle over the a] as the figure we care most about. Imagining the physical/historical building as the main player, with characters fit around its narrative, seems a useful way to go. (And, I suppose, would be in keeping with what I've always done in my books, which is to start with the where.)
So the play moves into the vestibule, through front door, along the hallways, into the boiler room and individual suites, into the Amenties room (Amen!) and, in the climax of the piece, up to the rooftop patio one starry night. Add scenes in a downtown park at the top and second from the end, and a scene of straggling back to the Oak Floors, and I've got myself a complete first draft of the piece, when I've got it.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Oak Floors!

I've long enjoyed the word quixotic. From a distance. None of its connotations of flighty, capricious, hastily imagined or luck-based seemed trustworthy. It helped to read enough of Cervantes to appreciate our Don Quixote, from whose name, of course, the word derived. Don Q was an innocent, a pure believer. Delusions? Nah.
So goes the thinking that leads me to/from calling my pursuit of Oak Floors! (which, as you see, I now write with the exclamation point, as in Oklahoma!) quixotic. It truly is the impossible dream, if such a thing once existed. There are so many reasons it won't work that it takes one really good one--my own determination to succeed--to sustain the project. That and the small daily solutions to some self-imposed problem.
These small solutions don't amount to a hill of beans, even a Hill of beans, except that as long as they keep coming, I know I'm alive. Yesterday: instead of finding five or six spots for a series of memos that chronicle the ever-closer conversion of the Oak Floors to condos, I'll put them all in a single song, which I'll have to write.