Thursday, November 28, 2013

make a million for you overnight

Stories, poems, essays. 
All written on paper bags.

That is the intriguing premise for a new creative website founded by my friend Corinne Litchfield. It's a beautiful tribute to her mother, with whom she used to exchange letters written on airline sickness bags.

When asked if I was interested in getting in on the paper bag action, my answer, of course, was an unqualified hell yes!  

I am honoured to be the featured writer of PaperBagWriters' Thanksgivukkah edition with my story A Manual for Living with Defeat. I am not sure where the narrator of the story came from, but I am pretty sure I don't want to be hitching a ride with him.

I invite you to take a glance at my little story. Do check out some of the other fine submissions over at PaperBagWriters, while you are there. After all, it's not every day you find a story on your lunch bag.                

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

watch stop

I am sure I am not the only person who is way way way behind on holiday preparations this year, but sometimes it feels like it. 

The hotel lobby that I walk through on my way into work has been in full white tree/silver bow glory for two weeks now. I have to admit that I have been enjoying that touch of beauty and light when trudging into work in a pre-dawn fuzz. My neighbourhood has also been steadily lighting up, when I haven't been looking, in twinkling blues and reds. 

I, on the other hand, finally replaced the autumn leaf wreath on the front door, slapping the standard winter one on in its place. No finesse, no careful arranging. It was really just a matter of one trip to the basement and another to the front porch, so I don't know why it took me so long.

I have been logging quite a few hours at my temp gig these past few weeks, and while I have been really enjoying it, it has kept me from the usual Christmas prep. Staying on top of my freelance commitments in between shifts is about all that I have managed to do.

No cards procured, no Christmas letter written, and we will have to rely upon the leftovers from last year's fruitcake that is hiding somewhere in the deep freezer. But I am decorating the tree at work tomorrow, so there is that.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


 fascinated by reflections lately, 
views from windows framed in art framed under glass, 
and on and on 

Monday, November 18, 2013

the world in pitch

This is not a b&w photo.

By the light of day, the walls are red, the curtains brown, the bedspread blue and white. By the light of day, the evergreens beyond the window are ever green.

I love this accidental photo. I wish all accidents were this satisfying.

Also by happy accident, two links gone live today:

- at National Music Centre, my review of Basia Bulat's new album, Tall Tall Shadow.

- at Latent Image, the inaugural issue - a stunning and evocative juxtaposition of imagery and words. I am thrilled to have a short story included in the magazine.

I invite you to dip in at your leisure. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

advent paper

Thursdays are always banner days for the newspaper flyer cartel, of course, but today especially so. Today I received six, count 'em ... six, identical flyers for Toys Backward R Us in my morning paper. 

It's possible that my newspaper carrier gets paid by the kilogram. It's not unlikely that my local newspaper is secret front for the forestry industry. But my suspicion is that I have been subjected to personal espionage by the toy-makers' cabal. Somehow they know that I buy a new board game for the family every Christmas and that I have not set foot inside a Toys Backward R Us for about a dozen years. 

Where's Edward Snowden when you need him?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

facial fur-niture

All the sketchy mustaches that have been sprouting on faces all over the continent this month have got me thinking about panel vans, fringed suede jackets and aviator sunglasses. The association with 70's porn stars and pedovans pushes all other stache minutiae to the very back burners of the mind. 

That's probably why until this very moment, I forgot all about the mustache-growing advice that my dear departed papa used to freely hand out to all who would listen. And even to those who wouldn't.

I never saw my father without a mustache, always the same style - vaguely Hitlerish under the nose and tapering out to an abruptly abbreviated Snidely Whiplash at the sides of the mouth. A bit Don Corleone-esque, actually.

Although I never saw him take his own advice, he would coach wannabe mustachios that the sure-fire recipe for a thick luxurious lip rug was to religiously apply a poultice to coax the hair follicles:

honey on the outside, chicken shit on the inside,
because chicken shit pushes and honey pulls

How my dad ever came up with this, I never did find out. But then, much about the man was an utter mystery to me.

Good luck with the Mo-staches, gentlemen. Remember to filter your advice wisely.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

ramp city

I am working a five-week gig downtown these days and since the Spousal Unit is away this week (and especially since the snow and wind chill has made the lengthy trek from my usual parking lot less than desirable), I have decided to save us a few bucks and use his parking pass for the parkade which is just a couple of blocks from my work. I have always been hesitant to park there, partly because I didn't actually realize how close it was to where I work, but also because of all the insane ramps you have to take to access and egress the place. Mostly, though, I was terrified of the dropped ceiling between the east and west sides of the parkade. I have gotten trapped in a low-ceilinged parkade before and it scarred me for life.

But the Spousal Unit convinced me that there was no danger of me getting the Urban Assault Vehicle hung up in that parkade, even if I sat up really tall while driving, so I gave it a go.

The parkade is attached to a hotel complex, in a very convoluted hodgepodge manner that spans an entire city block. It includes not only a +15 walkway, but also a +30 walkway (which I didn't even realize was a thing) that overpasses a set of railroad tracks. Trust me, it's just as complicated as it sounds.

To get to my work from the parkade, I need to head off in the opposite direction than the Spousal Unit normally takes, so he wasn't really able to give me directions as to how to get out of the complex and onto the street that I wanted. And that was how I ended up wandering around on the ground floor with no idea of how to get there from here. I inquired of the workers at a sub place as they were preparing for the day and they told me I had to go back up to the third floor, which made no sense to me, but the next two people I encountered told me the same thing, so that's what I did. This led me to the aforementioned +30 walkway which took me over those railway tracks far beneath. Success!

Or so I thought. As I took the stairs back down to the ground floor, over on the proper side of the tracks, I realized that once you got into the stairwell there was no way out unless you had a key. Not only was I super late for work by now, but unless I busted myself out of there, some poor fool was eventually going to find my mouldering skeleton heaped in a corner. 

Fortunately before I even had time to remember that I now carry a cell phone and that it can be used for something other than just texting inanities to the Spousal Unit and the OFKAR, I found an unlocked back door out of the stairwell, that led me out into the parkade, but right near where I wanted to be.

So I just walked down that ramp like Arnold Schwarzenegger, not looking back at the explosion behind me. Damn, I lose at parkades.