Archive for the ‘Musings and reflection’ Category


On being a river.

September 17, 2018

I could see, even from far off, she has water for skin. At first glance it looks placid, still. But then I notice the movement. As though a noiseless train was passing by, the light flickering across her body. In this often dark world, she is a source of light, though it isn’t so much light as absence of darkness.
There is a way water can trick one into thinking it’s safe, when it hides depths that would drown you, keep you there with it, without a second thought.

I want to drown in her. To lose myself in her fathomless eyes. To understand what sort of creature she is, even if it means I’ll be unable to share that revelation with anyone but the picked clean bones of those who had sank before me, been absorbed, lost. And perhaps found?
There is nothing about her that threatens. There is no need to be warned. It just is.
I think of every myth surrounding sirens and selkies, mermaids and manatees – I consider that on some level it’s possible my knowledge of tides and the deeps might ultimately save my life, wretched and small as it is, but I know that is folly. I am but a speck. It’s not even that I’m unworthy of consideration, it’s more that she is so vast.

She lay waiting, her body rippling with shoals under a bright moon. I long to skim her surface, to feel the gentle sucking of her tide. It wouldn’t take much to commit myself fully to her depths. All my life I’ve wanted to be part of something greater, grander than myself. Here is my opportunity, so why do I hesitate?
I’ve grown accustomed to the surface, the shallow places where thoughts can meander in eddies that serve to reinforce a narrative that suggests progress, even when there is little. I give little consideration to what is happening below as I traverse my world. Nothing holds my attention for long, I carry only the mildest of awareness of anything beyond what I can readily see. I say that I want to know more, it is most certainly these thoughts that have drawn me to her. She will beckon, encourage, her song familiar, but I must find my own way, and I find myself afraid of what might be lost.

I sense more than see, the shifting, as though sun from behind clouds that move too quickly to track. A mottling of sorts, her flesh suggests impatience, though her features are serene. I am past the point of no return, even as I wind my way home. My journey at an end and simultaneously a beginning, I open my mouth, and breath in the sea.


‘most creative keyword research project I’ve seen in a while’

September 6, 2018

“Tell me again how this works?”

The steady clickity sounds emanating from the laptop paused, followed by a telltale squeak of chair, as she twisted to face me. She tilted her head to the side, as though she was listening for something, or perhaps accessing files in some internal server.

“To be honest, I’m not sure that it does work, or rather, will work. This is all very experimental. But basically it’s this. I ask for writing prompts from friends. Some are writers, some not, some know each other, some not. There are certainly some interpersonal connections that might skew the experiment a bit, but since I’ve established no real control, no base line beyond limited parameters of wordcount and subject matter, there is a good possibility we could end up anywhere.”

“Right, I know what it is you’re doing. What I don’t understand is what you hope to achieve with the exercise.”

“The exercise is enough, of itself. I was stuck. I’d not written anything for over a month and was starting to go batty. It happens subtly. It’s likely no one would notice because I don’t spend enough time with anyone on a regular basis for them to notice the twitches, the ticks, the irrational thoughts and behaviour. And sitting myself down and having a talk with myself, you’re going to write blah blah every day for the next week, does nothing because those same people I’m not spending time with aren’t around to keep me honest. And I will make any excuse to get out of the work, and know that I’ll buy it because I struggle with holding myself accountable, and my self knows that!”

“But if you involve other people…”

“Then I’m accountable! It’s the same principle where someone might go out of their way to help others, but struggle with asking for help themselves. I tend not to put myself in the same category of worthiness as I do my friends and loved ones. Which is insane because the very fact that people who are amazing call me friend should be enough justification to consider myself worthy of their, and by extension, my, affection.”

“Okay, that’s all fine. So you weren’t writing, and that makes you a bit batty. So where does the exercise finish and the experiment begin?”

“That’s rather tenuous as I’m not really sure there is an experiment per se. I’ve discovered I do rather well with some semblance of structure. When given a prompt, I’m always curious to see where I’ll go with it. For instance, when prompted to write about deceit, I ended up writing a poem about trickster gods and the benefits of deception. I didn’t see it coming and it was awesome! Okay, here’s something. Say I decide I want to write about x. It’s totally reasonable to imagine the places that original writing might take me, the further writings it might inspire. If I get random prompts from all different people, I have no idea where my inspiration will not only come from, but where it will go next! It’s terribly exciting.”

“And so what is your hypothesis of what might happen as a result of the exercise? Beyond perpetuating a daily dalliance with the muse, to keep yourself from going batty?”

“Well, I’m thinking there is a possibility that if I keep getting prompts from friends and loved ones and perhaps even beyond my cozy and beloved social circle, eventually I’ll discover I’ve randomly solved the mystery!”

“What mystery?”

“If I knew that, it wouldn’t need solving, would it?”

“Ooookay. And what makes you think a) the mystery exists, b) that it wants to be solved and, c) that stumbling across the answer randomly is how you’ll do it?”

“A) there are all kinds of mysteries we know about and haven’t been able to solve. Imagine how many there are we don’t know about because we’re so concerned with looking directly at them. B) That’s like asking whether or not a puzzle wants to be put together. Obviously it does. Why else would it be in so many pieces? And c) it seemed to work for Dirk Gently.”

“Dirk Gently.”

“Yes, do you know him?”

“If you mean the fictional character created by Douglas Adams who ran a holistic detective agency, yes. Yes, I do. You’ve based your theory of random mystery solving through writing prompts on a character from a work of fiction.”

“He solved the mystery every time, regardless of the fact that he was a fictional character. That’s more competent than many people who consider themselves to be “based in reality”. I don’t see the issue.”

“Alright. Cool. Um… what’s the next one then?” She turned back to the laptop and peered at it, scrolling a bit before lifting her head.

“Ooh! It’s ‘on being a river’, diary entries from a waterway! I’m excited about this one. I wonder which waterway it will be. Perhaps the river from the wind in the willows! I bet that one has lots of good stories.”

“Right. Well, I’ll leave you to it then. I’ll say this, it is the most creative keyword research project I’ve seen in a while.”


A pantoum on the subject of living in Ymir

September 6, 2018

On the subject of a Pantoum

Sleepy quiet mountain town
Oh how you rage from time to time
Blowing off (it’s not just) steam
There are no trains here anymore

Oh how you rage from time to time
The winters long, there’s so much snow
There are no trains here anymore
We’re left to our own devices

The winters long, there’s so much snow
We pray for spring, in January
We’re left to our own devices
This is a top of the world tradeoff

We pray for spring, in January
It’s the same in other places
This is a top of the world tradeoff
It’s not better there, just different

It’s the same in other places
Still I sometimes miss the sea
It’s not better there, just different
Give it a year, I’ll be back

Still I sometimes miss the sea
Blowing off (it’s not just) steam
Give it a year, I’ll be back
Sleepy quiet mountain town


Space, occupied.

July 16, 2018

Twisted and tied up,
a pretzel person flexible and fluid
Set free to swing in these ropes,
With a desire to push further than once thought possible.
We stretch and strain muscles,
expanding elasticity –
body and mind aligned in a mission of how to find ways
to occupy space and
make sensible use of time,
finite though it may seem
there’s still so much of it in a day.

Ample opportunities to play,
to have a say in the ways
we inhabit the hours,
even when giving over that schedule to someone else’s dream.
We can scheme to get away,
to escape
but perhaps the place to start,
an opening of heart
and seeing that this isn’t such a bad way
to spend the day.
And if it is so,
then go,
get out and find somewhere else to be,
keep digging at the foundations
of who you would like to see yourself as
until sanity reigns
and sense finds itself at home on the daily.

Because anything else just seems crazy.


Last ones.

July 1, 2018

How many of your birthdays did I miss? Yet you missed none of mine. Even when I wasn’t there for it, you were. I saved all your cards, somehow a card written in your hand was special to me. As though dads weren’t totally expected to show sentimentality thus, and you doing so meant something. Plus I love that you wrote in tiny capitals. There is something about it, how it gives weight to each letter, not just the first one, which I appreciate.
I liked making you cards. I liked writing poems in them, they always said basically the same thing.
I’m glad you’re my dad.
How fortunate for this budding poet that so many things rhyme with dad.
You saved all my cards. Mum gave them back to me after you died. You printed and saved all the emails I wrote too, the first time I went to Paris. I don’t know why your sentimentality surprised me, but it did.
I remember the first time I was aware that you would mute the television when I practiced the piano. Not just during the commercials, either. That probably should have been a clue.

How many of your birthdays did I spend away, at festivals, events, busy, so busy, nearly too busy for anything but a quick call. To let you know that I remembered what day it was. That whatever was happening, whatever drunk fireworkedoverdone shout it out via massive speaker array to prove… what, exactly? That we are patriotic party animals? nonsense was occurring at the time, I knew in my heart what today actually meant.

Happy birthday, papa.
Thanks, kiddo.

Not much more than that.
But that last one. The one I came home for. I was living in Berlin with that sweet boy and I talked about coming home for soundwave, for your birthday. And he insisted I should, because “It’s your dad!”

And so I did, and the return ticket got messed up because I asked a friend to use his credit card to book it, and it was a German site and he didn’t realize it was june 26-29 instead of june26-july29 and customs was certainly suspicious why I’d be flying back to Germany 3 days after I landed, and that was the first moment I realized there had been a mistake.

I was tempted to kiss you hello and then wave goodbye three days later, sure that my life was in Europe at that point. But no. I came back for your birthday. I came back for soundwave.

We went ziplining. Your 72nd birthday and we went ziplining. Why did it take me so long to discover what a daredevil you were in some ways?
You went skydiving for your 60th birthday. I missed that one too.

But not this one.
I remember receiving an invitation to a party in Vancouver. I was on the verge of asking you to drive me to the ferry. On your birthday. And I knew that you would. I knew that you’d be sad, but you’d understand. I spent so many years running away, it was a default for me. It still is, sometimes.
But I stayed. I’m so grateful I did.

And we had barbecue, we had beers. And after dinner, the yearly tradition of tequila shared. You and Barry, and a blue bottle he brought from Costa Rica. The womenfolk gather themselves up, and head inside, leaving you to it.
For some reason, the two of you invited me to stay.

We drank that entire bottle between the three of us. I wish I could remember in exacting detail, everything that was said. It doesn’t matter though because I remember how it felt. I remember how it felt to finally be there, for the entirety of your birthday, for the first time in a long time.

It felt perfect.

We laughed and we talked about the future and the world and our places in it, and you rejoiced that I had managed to stop being such a silly person with her head firmly ensconced in her own ass and had turned out to be a pretty good kid, all in all. That you thought I was going to be just fine. And I laughed and told you it was all your fault.

Which, ironically, was the thing I said to you on the phone less than a year later, as you lay dying in a hospital bed in Victoria while I was hustling to get there. That everything good about me is all your fault. You told me you loved me, and that was the last coherent thing I ever heard you say.

As far as last ones go, both that birthday and those words are about the best thing ever. I’m so grateful for all of it.

Happy birthday, papa.



The commodification of art, aka I made a thing you can buy!

May 25, 2018

Hello. It’s been a while since I posted here and the reason for that is because I’ve been writing a book. To be fair, the book was mostly already written, and it was just a matter of putting it together. But so I have, it has a cover and everything (THANK YOU AUTUMN!!!!) and there are just a few incidental details to take care of before it gets printed.

One of those details is, how many copies should I print? I was just going to pick an arbitrary number and print that many and if I sold them all, yay! And if not….. not as yay? And I’ll be honest, I was thinking it would be a very low number, because self-doubt and my ability to whisper from the back, ‘anyone wanna buy a book? No? Okay, cool. That’s what I thought.’ in an attempt to perpetuate the narrative my voice of unreason would have me believe is truth is a thing.

I sincerely believe that my voice of unreason played one of the false alarms in labyrinth and acted as an extra on some scooby doo episodes (you’ll never make it, turn back, certain doom awaits you, I’m sure you’d be much happier hiding under a blanket for the rest of your life wouldn’t you?) and obviously spends far too much time reliving those glory days within the confines of my head. Are your feet sore, voice of unreason? Because you’re stomping on my dreams.

But mum suggested I ask people, in advance of printing, if they want to buy one.

So. Here it is plainly.

I wrote a book.
It’s due to be released on or about the summer solstice. No later than that, but potentially sooner.
It’s a book of poetry called the Mechanics of Dreaming.
It has cover art designed and crafted most beautifully by my most talented friend Autumn Marie Toennis, for which I could not be more ecstatic.

If you want to order it, let me know so I can determine how many copies are reasonable.
It costs $15 if you get it from me in person.
It costs $20 if I mail it to you.
Email transfer works best.



Logophilic rumination

March 9, 2018

What is it to be wordsmith?
To use symbols to try and make sense?
Or dwell in the absurd, if one can find the right word
The task can sometimes seem immense.

And writing in rhyme can sometimes consume
Leaving oneself without much space or room
To explore beyond parameters set in their way
Though I could do couplets all goddamn day

But it’s more about expansion, growth and the new
Learning things daily is important too
Stuck in the same ruts
Can make one a bit nuts
It’s a good thing to eschew

Okay, enough of that for now. Here’s the thing about words. They are universal as math and music, though the language, the dialect shifts from place to place. Sometimes they take the form of pictures, gestures, body language, scent, a gaze, but these are all symbols used to communicate.

I read someone say once that they don’t believe in synonyms, which is a notion that appeals greatly to me. I love the idea of each word having its own perfect application. It’s the reason why I have my clock device set to 24 hour time, I like the idea that every hour gets its own number, rather than having to share. I know that not everyone shares my love of the written word (more than spoken, though a well spoken word can certainly have an affect…) and that’s okay. I don’t share an affection for some stuff other people might like. But the thing that words do, the place that they occupy in my world is so intrinsic. I love being in bookstores, in libraries, because I am surrounded by them. I feel sane, and safe.

The best way to get me is with words.
To find a word and present it, as a gift for my consumption.
You can be the best looking dude on the beach, but if you can’t speak like Shakespeare, it’s only going to get you so far. And I’m not talking thine and forsooth, it’s not about the era, the age of the language, even the poetry of it. It’s how they’re used, their depth and breadth. Their girth, if you will.

I want to be filled up by the words,
to feel stretched as my body,
my being,
my mind expands,
reconfigures itself to encompass the meaning,
the weight those words bring to me.

I want to feel the characters, those black etched indicators of intent.
I want to feel the loops and swirls
of words like loops and swirls
curl around my shoulders like a cape,
to feel twine wind itself around strands of hair
and braid itself there.
To know that anchor is keeping my feet steady
While feather is keeping them light.
That fire finds home in my smile
And laughter makes my eyes bright.
I want to encompass language
and become good friends with truth,
feel consternation in the furrow of brows
And yea, occasionally use even forsooth.

Whether words inspire revelation
Or struggle to describe the banal,
they’re imprinted within me, every last syllable.
I’m madly in love with them all.



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