Category Archives: Writing Collections

a library in process holding collection of my writing projects including expository essays, articles for counter-culture magazine, sudden fiction and freeverse poetry – organized by form or collection

Items: Forgotten / poetry cycles, overview + process thoughts

Items: Forgotten, backgrounder etc

Along the way, I produced a series of visual freeverse poetry called “Items: Forgotten in Drawers“ – part pirate treasure map, part meanderings stashed in a non-secret hiding place, part punk rock handbills.

+ Back Story
The poems started in an Ayurvedic clinic the Himalayas, a ship in Arabia, and ruins around Mediterranean, …then attached to vintage hotel letterhead (much acquired from a tiny Greek Monastery store in a heavily Hasidic neighbourhood Montréal neighbourhood), assembled in off-strip Las Vegas, shared in Utah canyons… and now distributed to points unknown. Further batches were assembled on in a camper truck in Olympic Peninsula, Wa, and later Sanur and Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia with scraps printed here and there.

+ Process
Sometimes, i don’t have a printers, other times no Internet, often no typewriter, so i make do with what i have: scissors, glue, paper… items i can pick up a dusty island shops and forgotten stationery stores.

When i write, (usually) starts as scribbles in notebooks and then gets hastily transcribed into a digital form and printed when opportunity strikes for editing – in this case, the editing leaves errors in typing and structure and instead cuts and pastes (like Burroughs to Bowie would do) and then reassembled in various ways.

+ Form
Each substrate (hotel letterhead, aerogramme, envelope) shown is uniquely augmented with stamps – both postal and ink – and other ephemera, carefully selected and then applied as though it wasn’t.

Sometimes, lettraset letters, fuzzy Lomo photos and bits of typewriter come along.

+ Themes
Overall, the pieces explore themes of wandering lost, losing self and others, scraping beneath the crust of culture and myth, remixing identity, connecting the history to the present in all it’s vagaries, and considering what becomes of our story when we vanish… naturally made with affection.

+ Next
What follows (and brings me here) is another series is queuing up – Vol. 6 “Circumnavigation” spanning cultures, geography, form and accruements.

The first dispatch in the series is a remixing of myself (originally written on 3 postcards and mailed to 3 different people) with insomniac observations about Yangtze River and Shanghai’s absurd skyline as seen from a ship.

Chipped out your draft obituary – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Chipped out your draft obituary – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Observations… on a Rainy Morning

Thick pineapple rain whipping
winds twisting leaves
and homeless blankets
wet while walking past
yellow in fleeting glances
holding breath for quarantine
peeking though humid windows

dec 2006

Name every stray dog – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Name every stray dog – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Distant hill station – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Distant hill station – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Fronds cool the unweary – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Fronds cool the unweary – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Aqueducts. mysteries solved – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Aqueducts. mysteries solved – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Continue reading Aqueducts. mysteries solved – Items: Forgotten in Drawers (vol. 6, Circumnavigation)

Former Child Soldiers #poem

The former child soldiers
Are now working in PR
Trying to convince foreigners
To come here anytime

(Sri Lanka, 2017)

Riff: Art vs Stats / Personal expression is the pinnacle…

A solid guide book last centuries

From a response to a discussion somewhere at some time…

“Like the venerable Mr. Christopher Trottier (@atomicpoet) pointed out,… the crazy thing is, if you make awesome art, the stats (i.e. likes, tweets, subscribers, followers, paycheques, accolades, trophies…) automagically come.

It’s when you go chasing stats that you might get the quick sugar-high of cheap satisfaction but no one’s going to give a shit in a week, let alone 100 years from now.

Of course I understand that “business objectives” require performance and things going “up and to the right,” but that is accomplished by being interesting, pushing your envelope, being true to your authentic self, and respecting your audience.

Ergo: Roll your own media. Fuck stats, make art. Create for yourself, let others look over your shoulder. Personal expression is the pinnacle of the assortment of digital creation tools and distribution methods we (albeit awkwardly) call social media. 

Riff: Event Wrangling & Community Magic

(CC) Randy Stewart, blog.stewtopia.com. Feel free to use this picture. Please credit as shown.
If you are a person that I have taken a photo of, it’s yours (but I’d still be curious as to where it is).

A riff in reply to a conversation with Isabella Mori and others (FB iirc) about the notable conference/event/happening called Northern Voice and the reasons it sparked such goodness.

My thoughts about what makes events successful and satisfying: 

It starts with people wanting to be “part of something bigger than themselves” but then must be coupled with the reality of “getting things done” from logistical standpoint.

This is where communities so often struggle/fall apart with diverging visions – once dreaded money enters the scenario, the fun dissipates.

With this is mind, I find the best solution is finding ways to do things for “cheap and cheerful”… like in someone’s cabin, outside in a park, whatever venue is free, or no venue at all (as we did for True North Media House during the Vancouver Olympics).

As far as this organizational wrangling goes, (and this is something Northern Voice did so well), is having well-delegated committee to move things along.

I do know that there was different strong opinions within the organization, which can be useful, but as soon as any organization starts going to much into the “philosophical” boundaries of the event and/or starts pandering to sponsors, rather than letting the event happen organically (“event” being used very loosely here and could be replaced with campaign, activation, happening, be-in or whatever), the magic dissipates.

Northern Voice was magic because of the freeform parts like “Moose Camp“ and there was an element of randomness which was embraced rather than resisted.

Sponsorship was lightweight and clear and not over-bearing, and the fact that “almost anyone” could be a presenter was super important as many people had their first chance to express some selves in front of a crowd at that event.

This is a big difference from the various models of “sponsors get to speak” or a bunch of free speakers and then paying some out-of-town knucklehead to show up and do their stump speech and fly out immediately afterwards. #NotAGuru

The other part is of course is the undefinable “moment of time” which provides a container for the magic to happen.

In this case, we were obviously on the verge of something new and undefined and unbearably interesting. Certainly this timing is hard to duplicate except when the gut/heart/head all tell you the time feels right – and looking at these warm sentiments expressed by such lovely people here, maybe this is a time in which something is needed (again).

“It” will be different sure, but the difference makes it unique for its moment in time and the community which builds around it.

And remember, this doesn’t have to turn into an organize/branded/annual/sponsored event. It can just be a “potluck/salon/hang out” with wisdom sharing baked-in.

My experience wrangling suggests: Keep *it* lightweight, as simple as possible, focused on the one critical thing (personal expression or what have you…) rather than let the organization organize for the organization’s sake and get bogged down in the *business* of the organization.