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02/01 Direct Link
My fingers are squishing out
like sausages under my rings.
It's hot in here.
Can't complain as it was freezing
in here yesterday. Maintenance has
replaced the motor in the furnace.
Who knew there was a motor
in a furnace? I think they just
turned it on. No one ever seems
to be able to get the heating and
cooling right in the workplace.
I could easily switch my wardrobes.
Sweaters in the summer and tank
tops in the winter. Not that I really
wear tank tops. My arms aren't what
they used to be. Sausages come to
mind again.
02/02 Direct Link
I'm jealous. Sue just got back from
a 5 day painting workshop in Taos.
What a trip! She got to hobnob
with one of my mentors Michele
Cassou. Her painting technique
opened creative doors that had
been nailed shut for years.
Michelle Cassou changed my life.

A native spirit in the guest house
kept Sue and her unplanned bed
guest, (a gal from another room)
awake at night. Outside, the two
gathered with the others under
the moonlight on the Adirondack
chairs. Wrapped in woolen blankets
the painters drank cabernet
and shared woman secrets until
morning woke the New Mexico sky.
02/03 Direct Link
Mother's faulty logic and unusual
thinking, hmmm... how much time
do you have? In a nutshell this
is the way I see it. A lifetime
of making decisions based on:
low self esteem, distrust of emotions, fear of having a successful life,
trying to find the easy way around
things (laziness?, timidity?),
poverty thinking, living in rules
of resentfulness and grudge holding,
tunnel vision and perfectionism.
That just about sums it up. I love
my mother, she is the most
interesting person I have ever
known. She is fader for a novel
I am writing. It's working title
is "Tormented".
02/04 Direct Link
I'm nutty. I'm some how enthralled
with my writing. I tend to read it
over and over and over again.
Editing, reciting, counting,
recounting my 100 words.
I like the sound of my thoughts
on paper. I'm not a good verbal communicator. I'm prone
to speaking before I think.
Or as mom says: "Does everything
that comes into your head have
to come out your mouth?" Once it's
out, it's out. No editing allowed.
I wish you could, but you can't.
What a nice secret to have,
me with my 100 words. No one
knows me. I'm as free as a bird.
02/05 Direct Link
Attempting the novel again.
Not sure where to go next.
Nothing is working.
The initial concept was great.
Now I am bored to tears with it.
Except for the course on life story
writing that I teach, there's nothing
on manuscript writing in this
one-horse-town. Found a great
book though. It's called The Idea
Workshop - How to Make Your
Good Ideas Great, by Jack Heffron.
Started working through it last
night. Highly recommend it.

One of the questions:
In one paragraph evaluate the project
you're questioning...
Its strengths, its weaknesses.
Wrote for hours. Learned a lot.
More tomorrow.
02/06 Direct Link
Everything was great until
she turned 29. Then everything
started to go south. She said it was
like living someone else's life.
She didn't like the taste of olives
or peanut butter any more.
She was afraid to drive.
My grandfather took her
to and from work everyday.
He didn't question it. That's just
the way things were now.
No one told her to get her
shit together. They just dealt with
what was. Not with what could be.
Not even with what should be.
They just did what needed
to be done. Maybe that's when
all the trouble started.
02/07 Direct Link
The most difficult part in trying
to write a novel, is telling a story
that's reasonably interesting.

It seems like I've got half a dozen
characters walking around gazing
at their navels. It's like The Night
of the Living Dead (the original)
meets the Dr. Phil show.
Someone do something! Interact, cry,
laugh, kill someone, go some place,
comeback from some place else,
for god's sake people!

Ok... so I am learning my craft.
No problem-o, I can be patient...
After all, look how long it took me
to master the ruling pen in graphic
design school.
02/08 Direct Link
On Tuesday it started to come out
of her mouth. Latin, fully formed
sentences, paragraphs, sermons
mumbling monotone as she
scrubbed gravy from the supper
dishes. No one looked at her,
no one spoke.

Saturday afternoon, Hester struggled
in the wind to get the sheets off
the line. "Servo totus filiolus parum
liberi tutus,
servo totus filiolus parum
liberi tutus,
keep all gods little children safe-,
she said it a third time.

The noon sun was high and hot,
a storm was brewing in the east.
She tossed the rangled sheet onto
the pile and walked fast toward
Hickory Hill.
02/09 Direct Link
Mother's line is busy.
Probably talking to my sister.
Telling her "I told you
that marriage wouldn't work out,
he's too controlling".
Mother is happy that my sister
is now part of the club.
"SPUD"
Spurned People
United through Divorce
Eyes everywhere.

I josh... there's no club.
Sister kid was just getting herself
above the acceptable level.
House too big, kids dressed
a bit too fancy, too much coinage
in the bank, and apron-strings
to mother left blowing in the wind.

C'mon sister kid,
keep up proper appearances.
Stay in step with the irish
poor mouth mentality.
02/10 Direct Link
OK Now dad is pissing me off.
What's with this fucking family
of mine anyway?
Where do you think I get this
super sensitive nature from, my mother?
No it's from you, music man dad.

Remember when Nana said to you
"Don't give me the gears",
and your big beautiful blue eyes
filled up with tears?
Do you remember that choking feeling
you got right at the back of your throat?
Well when you say to me,
"I am just kidding for god's sake daughter"
with all of the disdain
in your voice you can muster.
It hurts.
02/11 Direct Link
I just pulled a monkey,
out of my bathtub drain.

At least that's what my brother
called it a few years back,
when he pulled one out of my
bachelorette-pad sink.

I was single for those 5 minutes,
and didn't have a man to unclog drains.
He was reeling from a life askew
and needed somewhere to go.
We laughed until we cried
each time he said "Monk-ey",
and I think we re-connected
that day.

So I hold my monkey high
in the bathroom light, marveling
at its suspended soap scum,
and hairy slime, and I smile.
02/12 Direct Link
There will be sleeping enough
in the grave.

I can't imagine another 40 years
of climbing into bed every night.
Don't get me wrong I love to sleep.
But what a total waste of time.
They can put a man on the moon,
for god's sake, why do we have
to sleep so damn much?
Think of how much extra time
we'd have. At least an additional
40 hours a week of free time.
Hell I could get a part time job.
What would you do?
Paint, write, read, cook and fill
up the freezer, eat, surf, watch TV?

I'd probably sleep
02/13 Direct Link
Took a 15 year hiatus from reading
fiction. I had been reading books
on design, creative process,
computers and depression.
If you want to write you gotta read.
So been doing a lot of that lately.
Strange enough every book that I have
read that I've loved (I don't read any
thing that I don't love), is unbelievably
the same story! Here's a few examples...
Speckled People
Lost Between Houses
Sparrow Nights
Patrick's Bed
David Copperfield
Cheese Monkeys
The Skating Pond
Waterwings
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Catch and Release
Lemony Snickett
General theme: Kids
with childhoods that suck.
02/14 Direct Link
To what end?
Love to hate that expression.
The boss from hell used to say
it when referring to one of my
brilliant initiatives.

Hard to know what to do at this
stage. At 42 back to school for
an MBA?
To what end?
Paint?
To what end?
Write?
To what end?
In the big scheme of things,
nothing seems important.
And everything seems important.
Is creative expression more
important than financial security?
No energy for both.
I'm a Type A personality in a Type
Z body. Nana would know what
to do. But she's gone now.

To what end indeed.
02/15 Direct Link
Lulu and I hung out last year
of design school. It was 1992.
I wanted to head to the USA;
work for a humungeous agency.
She a loyal Canadian couldn't
understand me bailing.
I laughed at her tree hugging
tendencies; she at my lust
for the toys and lifestyle
that corporate money brought.

LuLu ended up marrying
an interesting sailing architect
Californian. She creates art
there full time.

After 10 years in the eat'em-
up-spit'em-out ad world,
I took 2 years off to recover.

LuLu and I fell out.
What follows is our recent
re-building, including a piece
LuLu wrote.
02/16 Direct Link
ONA's Pearls of Sisterly Wisdom.

ONA, night-wired angel, peddler
of dream zines toiled night by night
by the light of her fright.

Casting dream dice she called up
bright symbols called words to
grace empty pages flickering online.

Round and round she spun ever
closer to demons yet every night
she escaped by the tip of her toes,
the teeth of her crown and the
blood red beating of her heart.

A tale she did spin as gold as her
locks, masterful as her famous blue
speghetti. She reigned supreme
amongst tall towers proclaiming:
justice, bread, cheese and wine.
02/17 Direct Link
"I have a horror of not being
misunderstood"- Oscar Wilde.

After our first reconnector
phone call, LuLu was inspired
to create the illustration
and story of ONA. When I first
read the story of ONA, I felt
sadly misunderstood by LuLu.

Later we chatted via email,
and I felt better. We have
decided to proceed with
rebuilding our friendship
with respect, open mindedness,
and love; see where that
takes us. We'll let the past
characters go, because we're
not the same people today.

P.S. LuLu, "golden"locks
no longer. Natural colour now,
I call it "mouse's back"blonde
02/18 Direct Link
Most artists and writers prefer
to work alone and I certainly do.
But creative support is imperative
to me. Talking, critiquing,
networking, resourcing with
like-minds; crucial to my sanity.
I think LuLu might be that for me.
Not sure if she needs the same.

If I'm alone too much
when conceptualizing words
and pictures, I begin to go
stark raving mad.
I slowly withdraw into a box
of ideas, connections, hypothesis,
pictures. I close myself
off from people, activities
and responsibilities.
It would be easy for me
to become a recluse, an alcoholic,
a blithering idiot, or a success.
02/19 Direct Link
I moved out west in 1980.
Been home from snowy-less
Vancouver since 1989,
and just bought my first
pair of boots this November.

Here in Southwestern Ontario
we don't get a lot of snow.
But for two months every
winter, it's pretty slushy.

What a pair of muc-a-lucs!
Made in Canada (of course),
sheep fur inside, waxed leather
outside, heavy duty zippers,
mega grippy treads on the sole,
I can walk up the sides
of buildings, and leap salty
puddles at a single bound
(without sliding).

Could've bought a sports
car for the price I paid
for these bad boys.
02/20 Direct Link
I often think about being invisible.
As a child, I was entranced
with the 1960's movie
"Invisible Man-and the romantic
sitcom "The Ghost and Mrs Muir-

First on the list I would visit
the queen. Mom used to say,
"the Queen sits on the toilet
just like everyone-.
I'd have to see for myself.

I'd take a day in Toronto;
wander in and out of offices,
hotel rooms, men's bathrooms;
see what people are up to.
Moving their belongings about,
whispering in their ears.
The freedom would be liberating.
I'd be naked of course,
something I don't often do.
02/21 Direct Link
I'm starting to get the muppet mouth
of my irish ancestors. A horizontal line
of a mouth that stretches ear to ear.

At times, I hold my mouth closed
without lips, excentuating the line.
Then I catch myself doing it;
in the morning showering half
awake, at work, while thinking
hard, when reading.

Once when I hadn't seen dad
in a long time. I gave him the grade
school photo where I looked pretty.
He said, "nice lips-.

I saw the muppet mouth on Nana
and Bumby's faces in their caskets.
Maybe this is the irish poor mouth.

02/22 Direct Link
Short black hair on end
(winter toque pulled up and off),
baby blue turtleneck,
pleated skirt and leotards.

Dark gymnasium; I listened
with reverence six year old
middle sister sing.

As I was slowly passing
an orphan's home one day.
I stood there for a moment
to watch the children play.
Alone a boy was standing
and when I asked him why.
He turned with eyes that couldn't
see and he began to cry.

I'm nobody's child,
I'm no body's child.
I'm like a flower
just growing wild.
No mommy's kisses,
and no daddy's smile.
Nobody wants me,
I'm nobody's child.
02/23 Direct Link
Middle sister hasn't spoken
to brother since 1984.
Middle sister hasn't spoken
to dad since 1986.
Middle sister hasn't spoken
to sister kid since 1987.
Middle sister hasn't spoken
to me since 1989.
Middle sister hasn't spoken
to mother since 1990.
Middle sister always hated
baby sister, she speaks to her,
now, I think.

Like ducks at a shooting gallery
she picked us off one by one.
Baby sister's husband was killed
in a horrific accident. I called her
at baby sister's request.
"Good he was an asshole-.
Middle sister said.
Middle sister is adopted.
Don't think things worked out
for her in this family.
02/24 Direct Link
When I was a kid,
Mother was the best singer
in the world,
even better then dad
who was an official musician.
Mother was the Patsy Cline
of our street.
She'd puff up with pride
when we'd beg her to sing.
With toilet brush, dirty dish
or poopy diaper in hand,
she would belt out a tune,
and we'd all join in.
"Oh you can't get to heaven
on a toilet seat. Cause the gosh
darn thing ain't got no feet-.
We'd laugh and sing,
she'd keep us on the right verse.
Mother always closed
with my favourite
Teddy Bear Picnic.
02/25 Direct Link
Exhausted writing about the family.
Wears me out thinking about
the disfunction; the underlying
volatility, resentment and crippled
emotions of us seven.
Holding onto a greased raft
in deep water; careful not to touch
one another. Who will slip silently
into the rapids first?

Then I feel guilty whining
about scars left behind,
they are mere scratches
in the face of others' turmoil.
People in the world who've had
their families ripped from them
by war, swept away in the tsunami,
died of starvation,
withered from thirst.
When I think of them,
troubles with my upbringing
seem petty and insignificant.
02/26 Direct Link
Sent mother the story I wrote a couple
of days ago on the 24th.

She said "Your mother sounds pretty
poopy. She's got a poopy toilet brush,
a poopy dish and a poopy diaper
in her hands-.
They were the first things that came
into my head. She was offended.
I guess the story is out of context
with the rest of the writings.
I won't be showing her the others
anytime soon.

Since I was a kid she's always been
in creative competitionwith me.
She could always draw, write,
and colour in my colouring books
better then me.
02/27 Direct Link
Fought the urge to see Betty today.
An hour later I was in the wee
doorway of her downtown store
"Used and Rare Books-.

Following the same path each visit;
poetry, the UK, local history,
etiquette, writing and art, I found
a treasure (as I usually do), in the art
section this time. A not so used or rare
book called Light. How to see it,
How to draw it, by Lucy Willis.

I can't see light. As a design student
there wasn't enough drawing.
So I will teach myself
with the assistance of Lucy Willis,
and it'll be meaningful.
02/28 Direct Link
Slipping back into the painting
mode again. Visual things seem
exciting, understandable, instinctive.
My gut feels impatient
for investigation and creation.
I have been here before.

I've said too much
with the writing. Exposure.
Shame and guilt haunt me.
I have been here before.

Painting is a secret language.
Much can be exposed,
but only the artist knows
what is being said.
Like a plastic smile, pig latin
or a passive aggressive; you only
know what I tell you to be true.

Then there are the art critics,
and later historians,
they think they know.
Trust me, they don't know.