Background: They say, “Read All Over (as in read all over town or the literary pun joke, what’s black and white and re(a)d all over… ) is about celebrating the booknerd in all of us, highlighting book lovers in Vancouver and is published in Vancouver is Awesome.” Indeed, my contributions were included in the series and archived here for convenience.
Read All Over celebrates the bookworm in all of us, showcasing readers in Vancouver and the books they love most.
Poet, podcaster, pundit and chronic documentarian from his earliest days, Dave Thorvald Olson spends his time writing, painting and listening to vinyl albums on the back porch while gazing at Lynn Valley’s mountains and trees. He’s traveled to 25+ countries working very odd jobs including mushroom farmer, grape picker, college librarian, submarine tour guide, beach club host and now, dot-com community wrangler. He enjoys hot springs, counter-culture, collecting ephemera and swilling microbrews. You many have caught his stories at SXSW, Northern Voice, TEDx, or Pecha Kucha. Literature fans will enjoy his spoken word podcast series calledPostcards from Gravelly Beach.
Photo courtesy of Dave Thorvald Olson
How do you like your books served up best – audio books, graphic novels, used paperbacks, library loaner, e-reader…
I especially like tracking down hardback vintage editions of my favourites and set them on the top shelf of my case alongside dog-eared paperback versions. Example: a rare Catcher in the Rye with photo of Salinger; an unedited version of Kerouac’s On the Road scroll; andDr. Zhivago in Russian (just for fun). While I usually travel with paperbacks, I hauled a massive edition of War and Peace to Belize just to enjoy it more on the porch. I also buy lots of library cast-offs. Never tried an audio book, or an e-book for that matter.
The one book you always recommend is…
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke – elegant soliloquies, devoid of pretension, about pulling the best out of oneself – particularly when writing.
What books have changed your life?
Walden/Civil Disobedience – Thoreau showed me that words are the source of public and private revolutions rather than violence.
The Catcher in the Rye – Salinger’s renegade first-person, colloquial narrative is nuanced & powerful and still underestimated in ability to transform.
Dharma Bums – Kerouac’s chops & sincerity shine through in this earnest story which coaxed millions to put their boots on!
The Backcountry – Following Gary Snyder’s steps in a Kyoto train station shaped my journey and trueself while heading into the Japanese hills.
Desert Solitaire – Crusty Ed Abbey’s seasonal treatise is both elegant and bombastic plus ecologically important for the past & future.
War and Peace – Satisfyingly critical life lessons tangled within Tolstoy’s epic cast of thousands in a revolutionary soap opera of class & honesty.
Bonus: Siddaharta by Herman Hesse; Rommel Drives Deep into Egypt by Richard Brautigan; Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce; Post Office by Charles Bukowski; Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis; and, Walking Up and Down in the Worldby Smoke Blanchard.
Where is your favorite place to crack open a good book in Vancouver?
On a Crab Park bench – glancing up at tugs and freighters – continued on the Seabus as needed.
What book makes you feel like a kid again?
The Adventures of Tintin. I have a complete collection of the stories (including the previously banned “Soviets” and “Congo” escapades) about this renegade Belgian reporter and his eclectic band of co-conspirators.
The story about the creator Hergé is equally compelling as he started the series for a Catholic newspaper and carried on during Nazi occupation.
Your life story is published tomorrow. What’s the title?
Trips to Elsewhere: A Shoebox of Anecdotes and Incidents
I proceed with this round-up trepidatiously as i tend to look forward to what’s next and try to temporarily forget recent projects once complete. Also, i am (somewhat) hesitant to ramble on about myself (sorta). But, as a note to future self, and for a record of gratitude, here is an endlessly incomplete collection of events, incidents and anecdotes from this past year (pardons in advance for any omissions).
Interested in any of these topics? Rather than me including the handy links (like i probably should), i encourage you to poke around and discover the artifacts and collections about any topics, adventure, project listed… doing so will allow me to share this sooner and move onto the next thing (plus *everything* would end up linked).
I’ll also include a few meditations and manifestations for the 2011 so you can ask me, “hey dave, how’s it going with those things you mentioned you’d do in 2011?”
The other day, i recorded a wee festive video messages to say thanks for letting me participate in your life and thanks for being part of mine:
Healing: Abdominal surgery (2nd in years), challenging recovery was significantly aided by kindness and traditional Chinese Medicine (thanks Drs. Trauben & Ying & Nagy)– tried to enjoy films during recovery but, due to pain, watched WW2 movies and documentaries to feel camaraderie from injured comrades
Speaking: Shared my stories on stages including… Pecha Kucha (Fck Stats, Make Art, remix’d), Word Camp Vancouver (Art and Tech) – thanks Duane/Dale/Johnx2/Rebecca, Social Media Camp Victoria (for day-job), plus lecturing classes at BCIT, and TNMH spiels at Capilano University 2x, Fresh Media (also a podcast lecture at this one i think… ) – Also Northern Voice video about finding voice/creativity, etc. – thanks for Andrew Lavigne, Julie Szabo, Monica Hamburg and all who showed up to watch while i lay upon a davenport
Wrangling: True North Media House – survived the tension and negativity to create a social movement of documentation, reporting, funtimes, internationalizing and explore the issues about modern media and global mega-events… from prosestors to journalists, we didn’t fit in anywhere but ended up “being” a story. Interviews/coverage in PBS Media Shift, CBC Radio multiple times, and dozens of other outlets
Internationalizing: Also Olympics in general as a fan saw a handful of freaking awesome hockey games hanging with my face people drinking tall cans in parks, meeting visitors, finding new pubs and parks, riding the bus with happy people, hugging strangers
Documenting: Along the way, i created a bucket load of Olympic Outsider podcasts on-the-go with instant publishing to bring all of you along
Documented: The With Glowing Hearts filmmakers followed me around for much of the above and combined my story with others to make a remarkable soliloquy about a city in change and various approaches to dealing with it
Awarded: Choogle On awarded 3rd place (4th kinda) in Georgia Straight’s Best of Vancouver which is kinda neat. Made a few more episodes (though many are hidden currently)
Yup, always on the go… here’s where (and of course there are podcasts from the trips so you can come along in my backpocket):
Austin for SXSW for the 3rd time – getting more local, finding face cafes, greenbelts with yoga tattoo artists, hidden bars and bar-b-ques. hectic fun hanging with industry luminaries where you can’t tell the millionaires from the bankrupt. Also made podcasts to detail the nuances and form an audio quest guide for rookies and chooglers. also broken leg cyborg rescue mission – cheers to John Biehler, Nadia, Flanders, Amber Case and Dave Delaney + Pugz and Laurie
Toronto including Hockey Hall of fame for 1 rapid hour, wandering new streets, cafes and bars – Canada is different there but some charming people amongst the bustle and smoke
Seattle to Subpop meeting superhero: Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, enjoying the backroom tour and going home with a box of CDs (thanks Dean for making it happen)
Festivaling: Komasket Music fest interviews with great bands and enjoyed vibe of small time fest (see also articles in Vancouver observer) shisha tents with tea, lake canoes paddles, redemption song outdoors, couch green room “backstage” – note: Bocephus King is giant and enjoys swimming. Extra thanks Kazia and “Family Man” Barrett
Roadtripping: Trip to Nelson for Christmas Day lighthouse ferry ride, soaking in a hot springs cave, local organic Nelson beer in a haunted hotel and snowy day drives + met harp/hashman Xomaha. Made a video to tell you i like ya (above) – plus a stop at Duhkabour museum (near Castlegar) in search of Draft dodger statue (a story for another time ( someone wanna fund my trip and article?))
Writing: Along with meta coverage, interviews, and miscellany, articles and essays abounded! including pieces in:
RAIN – an interview and art piece about my personal artistic journey
Vancouver Observer – dossiers about the inaugural SeaBus voyage, summer festivals, train travel and Remembrance day ++
Megaphone – Let’s Get Lost, a tour of forgotten Vancouver counter-culture landmarks
Inside Vancouver – Vancouver Tourism featured vancouverite sharing my fave activities, places and tips
Exode – Serialized Letters from Russia (in a stylish manner)
Granville (Varley forthcoming) – this is a big one which is a true labor of affection
+ Blogging: was “official” blogger (along with Bob from VIAwesome) at TEDX Vancouver and documented a bucket full of talks including Nardwuar and Josh Fox
Culturing: Going the Opera – twice(!) including a contemporary Canadian opera and a more trad Italian preceded by rainy night fun with draft beer and raclette at German festive market with Chris and Cinci
Meeting: Getting friendly with the CBC Radio 3 crew – admire/enjoy what they do + props to Grant Lawrence for book/tour/blog/etc.
Rocking: DOA at Anti-Olympics show with KK, Bev et al, with me in lanyard, pins, Canadian flags and assorted spangles at the Rickshaw – see also: Misfits with mon ami Scales – UPDATE: Vampire Weekend outside Malkin Bowl with a spiked bubble tea
Partying: UW 40 party with so many friends, a whole pig and endless beer and tropical drinks the next morning in the wrecked campground – also a skunk & many fine ales for later – special thanks to analog lisa and R&B Brewing – So pleased Bev Davies came and gave me a treasured gift
Officiating: Conducted a wedding (for Kemp and Sheila) and wrote a celebratory prose with influences from Walt Whitman to Gibran to Chili Peppers
Transcending: Levon Helm with brother Dan on a perfect night with a perfect buzz and all time hero with surprises including Elvis Costello. Also, during Olympics, watched Wilco rock a long, sophisticated set in a drizzly park – really started the good feelings as fireworks reflected in Yaletown and so on… (many other bands included The Stills again)
Camping: Owl Creek Howl year 3 – sitting in stream, beers around lantern during fire ban and making funny-ish videos for Lt. Magnum with Scales and Mariska
Sporting: (drunken) Whitecaps games, (expensive) Canucks hockey, BC Lions at Empire with Dad and brother) and baseball parks around BC including Vancouver Island
Exploring: I was on the bridge for the new SeaBus’ inaugural voyage along with my pal Miss604 – took a week to stop smiling (or was this last year?), Culture Crawl to Boris and Rachel’s, day-trips aplenty to hidden neighbourhoods and dozens of walks on the Varley trail
Sunsetting: Possibly last trip to Olympia for some time. Cashed in Last Word Book credit and last coffee card on a iced chai after a hardworking weekend winding down Zhonka office with Unabonger
Remembering: Observed Remembrance Day at Japanese Cenotaph at Stanley Park with co-conspirators KK, Trauben and Lis. Followed by rainy hike and plenty beers to the Legion hall for Lt. Magnum (now Commander) Brother who made it back and forth to Afghanistan safely – chance to record some fun videos and learn more about contemporary military life and culture (see also: podcast and Vancouver Observer article)
Celebrating: My pal Derek kicked cancer’s ass for another year and i went to his birthday party and danced in his parent’s swinging party room
Visting: Maddog Maccarthy, international man of silicon up from Pacifica for Greek food and Lendog up from PDX for whirlwind hockey and beers and buddy Banghi up for CDN Thankgiving (it’s a tradition) with giant bottle of Bishmills in tow
Working: You prob know i have a wicked job at which i work hard and experience personal satisfaction and significant results and enjoy collaborating with many dear colleagues – i also appear frequently in podcasts, interviews, articles etc. discussing the concerns of the company and observations of the industry but you can find those on your own
Friending: I started a list of all the people i didn’t already explicitly mention… but this will take all day so i’m taking a hike… consider yourself admired
Words & Music: This is where i’d tell you what i read and listened to but skipping this too…
2011 is bound to be full of surprises, but there are many things i must do personally to ease my mind (i.e. taxes and biz and exercise), and many i am so eager to do to fill my soul (writing, making), and many which fit in-between (web remaking, archiving).
Here are most:
Shut down Zhonka gently – tough one and overdue
Do my taxes early and pay off CRA
Establish new web *everything* – it’s all a mess, all of it
Archive all podcasts (and release purchasable collections?) – related to above, move audio to archive.org
Participate in a sport(s)/activities frequently (snowshoeing, x-country skiing, trail running, tai chi, inline hockey, swimming)
Attend SXSW music as well as interactive
Refresh wardrobe (new thrift store shirts/pants (possibly in Austin, Texas)
Make a quilt from old t-shirts
Get to know Vancouver Archives, Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery
Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Give me a hand won’t you – especially with the pleasant parts. UPDATE: Need to see a dentist multiple times and aim to drink more water.
Next big projects: Revisit the Festival Express remix of a train trip across Canada teaching about wonders of personal expression and media; begin Ole Dead Gramps audio remix project (maybe); revisit Clayoquot Rainforest Dispatches to include others’ stories; make Bev. Davies interview into something.