Sunday, September 25, 2005

Notes for a new novel

Notes for a new novel jotted after three quarters of a bottle of red

Emma. The girl’s name is Emma. She’s fourteen, has a fifteenth birthday early on in the novel. Perhaps it’s an old Icelandic guy who gets hit by a car. Perhaps he’s growing dope. He should be. There’s a knowledge he has, some kind of esoteric – he knows how to navigate. Maybe he knows how to build a Theremin, maybe he has one. I will have to read the sagas. He has to accumulate. The Theremin, the dope, the chickens, lambs. Does she meet him buying dope for her fifteenth birthday? Maybe use the international code. He eats seaweed, chanterelles, perhaps grows St. John’s Wart. Some sort of disaster ensues. Meantime, he lights his hut with candles but he has a windmill, which he builds, stores energy in a car battery. His ex-wife lives in an old suburban home near Rennies River on a lot with mature trees. Bouts of wildness. Extreme wildness in liberal bouts. What’s her name has to chop off a chicken’s head and the eye closes on the stump. Revelation and epiphany.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Eva says

Eva says, Mom, come see our mockumentary. Eva, my fifteen-year-old daughter.

It’s about pogoing.

Her friend Leah in the foreground, chiffon scarf floating over her shoulder, sunglasses.

Leah: I think Eva has just given one hundred and ten percent to the pogo. I know she’s been a big influence on me and lots of young women like me. My grandmother stood behind me too. Grandma said, Leah, follow your dreams. I think, with the help of people like Eva, and my grandmother, pogoing will finally be recognized as the Olympic sport it truly is.

There’s Eva in the background on a pink pogo stick hammering the pavement – the wheeze of the springs, her multi-coloured striped socks, plaid pleated skirt and tiara. She is intent and focused. She bounces out of the frame and bounces back. She is bouncing still.

I am proud of my children. My five-year-old, Theo, wants to do for the yoyo what Eva has done for the pogo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

David Blackwood at the Emma Butler Gallery

I interviewed David Blackwood about his show of monoprints at the Emma Butler Gallery. A roomful of flowers – elegant, spontaneous, bold and full of light.

I think about David Blackwood’s earlier prints of icebergs – iconic Newfoundland images now. How they inform my sense of history. Blackwood icebergs look as though they are lit from within.

And strangely, icebergs do look that way, as though a light is burning in the core.

The kind of lights they use on movie sets that obliterate the rest of the world. Obliterate the crew and cameras and make velvet whiteness. It’s not the black that has texture. The black, outside the scope of those bulbs – I want to say Tungsten, but that isn’t the right word – is ordinary and flat. But the whiteness has a texture like velvet. It has pile and weave and tone. If you look beyond that light, when your eyes start to adjust, you still can’t see anything.

The Blackwood monoprints at the Emma Butler Gallery are full of light partly because of the transparency of the Japanese rice paper on which they are printed. There’s a heavier rag behind them and the light goes through the rice paper and reflects on the paper behind. The image is lit from within. Not a metaphor of light, but the actual, material thing.

Afterwards, for days, everything looks like a David Blackwood print.