Day three of the five day black and white photo challenge.
You really can't have a photo series without at least one selfie sneaking in there, now can you? I think black and white lends this one an air of arty pretentiousness that a more usual selfie just can't achieve.
Day two of the five day black and white photo challenge. I like how the simple act of eliminating colour deepens the shadows and adds a slightly ominous feeling to what is really quite an ordinary setting.
Over on the facebook, I have accepted the challenge to post a black and white photo every day for five days. I don't normally snap photos in b&w, so this seemed like an excellent opportunity to view the world through a different lens. So to speak. Interestingly, shadows, reflections and textures - those things that I am always tempted to photograph - seem accentuated in black and white. Colour feels like a bit of a distraction.
So please bear with me over the next five days, dear reader, while I repost these photographs here at zombie HQ.
I have these fleeting images that flash over me
occasionally. Not quite memories (for they never really happened), not quite déjà
vu (for they never really didn’t happen), but an odd mix of time and place jumbled
together with the memory of lives I lived only in my head, while immersed in
the pages of a book. My own personal memories cobbled together with the
storyline of some vaguely remembered novel.
They always take place – these pseudo memories - in the
house of a barely remembered best friend that I had in grades two and three –
the years we moved away to another city before returning to our old home in
Winnipeg. I loved her house, a corner lot across from the river. A stately
white two-storey in park-like surrounding, large comfortable rooms inside,
peopled by a family who not only didn’t mind that I spent most of my days there,
but welcomed this kid from the less-moneyed side of the Regina Avenue divide.
It was the polar opposite of the army house that we spent
those two years in, cramped and stark and exactly like every other house on the
street. It was in my friend’s graciously-appointed house - with the secret
playroom cleverly built into the slope of the roof and accessed through the
back of the closet in her sister’s bedroom – that I found a sanctuary for my
daydreaming ways. All these years later, it’s where my mind still goes for highlight
reels of great moments from my childhood.
Recently, since the sudden onset of winter, I have been
getting these flashes that involve the simple act of re-reading a book. I see
myself, on a similarly cold snowy day, curled up on one of the big armchairs
that flanked the large multi-panelled living room windows in my friend's house overlooking
the river. In that fantasy, I have hours of unscheduled time to read a P.D.
James novel, whose title and even whose plot I have largely forgotten but
which, at the time I actually read it, I subconsciously set in that very house.
That much I remember of the book, not a lot more.
The imagination forms layers over layers of memory and
memory of words. When I am stricken with that image, all I really want to do is
read that book again in that very spot that I never actually read a book, but
that somehow holds the memory of that storyline for me, along with the warmth of
This self-published first novel by Calgary writer Jo-Anne B. Foster is an imaginative and somewhat sprawling tale of optimism and industry. In it, the protagonist (who is later renamed Angel by her new-found tribe) is saved from certain death following the destruction of the entire nation, by a friend who whisks her away at the penultimate moment to an undersea bomb shelter. It is during the three years that the two spend in this ocean floor sanctuary that Angel learns the life skills needed to rebuild a life for herself in a new country, among new compatriots.
Most of the story unfolds after the pair re-emerge from the ocean, when Angel is taken in by a large family of wealthy and multi-talented entrepreneurs. It is under their care that she builds friendships, a hotel and a reputation as a sharp shooter with the Seals Special Forces tactical team.
As she also does in her second novel One Thousand, Foster effortlessly creates a world in The End, The New Beginning where she allows her fertile imagination to play with things and ideas that obviously intrigue her. She has a knack for creating feisty women with a penchant for 1940's sensibilities, ballgowns and Blue Martinis.
Foster's growth as a writer is evident in the greater sophistication and tighter writing that she displays by her second novel. However, despite its looser structure and focus, The End, the New Beginning tells a ripping good tale. Given Foster's relative inexperience as a writer, this is no small feat.
The End, the New Beginning is a brave first foray into fiction by a writer who has worlds yet to reveal.
** I should mention that Jo-Anne Foster is also a talented visual artist, who will be having her first art show on Saturday November 22, 1-4pm, at East Village's Golden Age Club. If you are in the Calgary area and want to check out some of the sassy female faces that Foster paints (and also prints onto tee shirts and buttons) do stop by.
Sure, it's in the same time zone as Alberta for half the year,
Manitoba for the other half. But the trouble is I can never remember
I admire that flatland feistiness, though. Nobody tells a
stubble-jumper what to do, how to think. Twice a year, they disembark
from their tractors, their farm trucks, their Honda Civics to stand in
the middle of the Trans Canada Highway facing whatever direction they
damned well feel like. Hand to heart, they proudly declare in one voice hell no, we won’t change.
No back and forthsies for these tillers of the soil. The wheat fields
may be buffeted by the winds of change, but not so the minds of their
stewards or the clocks they choose to ignore.
It wasn't just the fancy doughnuts that lured people out of their beds earlyish on a chilly Saturday morning, although that certainly didn't hurt to swell the numbers. Most were there to support the community effort of installing a Little Free Library in a historically marginalized area of town. Many were there to check out the communal mosaic-work that they had been hearing about.
Judging from the number of people who took their turn at the mic, it would have been a great spot for a karaoke machine.