February 28, 2010
Several years ago an old friend from college wrote a very successful book of poetry. The book concerned the death of her brother. It was very well received, but for reasons which have continued to bother me. It was a true story. This gave the emotions/experiences expressed in the book a legitimacy. But why? What if the whole experience had been a fiction? Do we need to anchor the story in reality to trust our reactions? Another reaction was that the book was heartwarming. When I lived in Belgium for several years I recall looking around in all the shops for peanut butter. It was difficult to find. And when I found some in a store on the border with the Netherlands I bought several jars. Peanut butter had never tasted so good. It was comfort food. I was living in a foreign country where I found myself alienated, alone, often out of sorts. Its terrible to think that that is what art/poetry has come. Comfort food. Are whole literary careers built on comfort? (I have reread the Sherlock Holmes stories for this reason so I don’t feel immune to it myself.) But serious literature should not be comfortable. It is my impression that much of what passes for the literary world in academia is comfort food. Serious artists/writers should avoid this world like it was poison. There is nothing quite like peanut butter that has all dried out.
February 27, 2010
This is dedicated to a woman I knew at college who was incredibly ugly. Not physically. In fact she was beautiful in photographs. But she was deceitful, vane, mean spirited, crude and very intelligent. All of this made her incredibly attractive and repulsive at the same time. After you’d met her you walked away with a terrible headache and… (well I won’t go into that).
February 24, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 18, 2010
When I was a wee boy I loved hollyhocks and daisys. Daisys because they reminded me of a weed. And hollyhocks because they grew so high and resembled a small tree. I also liked dandelions and sunflowers. I remember picking dandelions on the way home from school and presenting them to my mother. She always seemed delighted. And immediately put them in a vase.
February 17, 2010
I created this for my first girlfriend. (Years after our breakup) Her name was Marianne Johnston. I was crazy about her. But I wanted to go off to sea. And find my fortune. Or some story closely related to that. What all young men want to do when they are full with life and themselves. She was the first girl I made laugh. She wore a particular kind of perfume and I can remember one day, years after we had separated, and I was at a party. And I smelled her perfume. It was as if I had been transported back a decade. I was sure she was in the room. I looked around. She wasn’t there. Nor could I locate the source of the perfume. I can remember feeling suddenly very sad.
February 13, 2010
The Olympics begin. It was during the Montreal Olympics that I first started to create collages. I was writing a lot of poetry, short stories etc but was finding it difficult to get published. I thought that if I could include visual work with my printed work I would be more successful. I was right. Not that I managed to make any money from my endeavours but at the time one felt gratified if one could break through that hymen of invisibility in the arts community.
February 12, 2010
They say that bowling is one of the worst things you can participate in if you are attempting to ward off dementia. I suppose Columbine was an example of that. It makes one wonder about the 911 terrorist’s last moments of relaxation. Were they playing hearts? And what did Hitler do to ward off boredom in those tedious hours in his bunker? Evil and the mundane walk hand in hand. As do virtue and the mundane. I don’t know what any of this means. Except that my mind turns around odd corners when it is bored.