Sorry, but I have to whine a little. We Lotus-Landers on the left coast have been hit with snow. Apparently we’re in for another week of this crap so I’m going to have to tamp down my trepidations, thaw out my Volvo and drive myself on my all-season tires to various gigs throughout the city. It’s not as if I can afford not to work. Ugh. I hate it when Old Man Winter visits Vancouver.
Peter Trower gave me this record when I was helping him close up his house in Gibsons. R.I.P. Leonard and sadly, Peter is suffering from Alzheimer’s, sequestered in an institution. I haven’t talked to him in a long time as he doesn’t know who I am. We met in 08 at a launch for ROCKsalt, the Mother Tongue Press anthology of BC poets, having beers after with Rob Taylor and Zach Wells. Peter regaled us with stories naturally including the time he got high with Cohen at a party in Kits. We became buddies. Moneyed then, I used to squire him around to various readings and events, including Leonard Cohen’s 2010 Vancouver concert. I miss Peter and will miss Cohen, whose songs and verse and constitute an integral thread in the fabric of my life. “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is the ash.”
Darlings I love you but it’s for your own good. Truly. And I don’t understand why you would desert your country when you believe it to be in crisis. Stay and fight.
Americans are still reeling, in shock over the U.S. election results. I had an uneasy feeling early on in the campaign that buffoon and blowhard Donald Trump would win. As an expat I had resided in the States for 12 years. I like Americans but they’re often unpredictable. I suspected they could go for his message, and they did. Canada’s immigration site crashed on election night and I’m dodging frantic messages and pleas from friends south of the border to come to Canada, one a musician offering to play guitar and another to help brick the wall Canadians are threatening to build. All in good humour of course though I think you Yankees need to stay home and deal with the reality (show) of a Trump presidency. It’s a veritable call to action. Work to oust him and change things, including reform or abolition of your Electoral College, which many are now blaming for the disaster. Never underestimate the enemy. It was hard to take Trump seriously, now Americans must.
All right! Received my Family Finder test kit in the mail today. Results will match me with both maternal and paternal relatives. Perhaps I finally have a chance of tracking down the scoundrel that spawned me, or at least, some of his kin. My kin.
I’ve been on this quest for years, ever since my mother blurted out on her death bed, “Danny is not your real father you know.” I paid no attention as she was suffering from dementia, sliding in and out of lucidity, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. I pressed but could not get an answer. After she died, my “alleged father,” apparently the correct legal term, agreed to a DNA test which proved that he is not my biological father. My shock had worn off by then but he was and the first words out of his mouth were, “I never would have married her if I’d known,” which took me aback and I’m not sure why. She did lie, though I have a feeling that knowing my mother, she deluded herself into believing that of the possibilities, Danny was the father. The chosen. Poor guy. Poor me. Looking back I see what an awkward pairing it was.
These days it’s called paternity fraud. I imagine that in small-town Quebec there were few fates worse than unwed mother. Or, bastard. So Corona she did what she had to do. I went to Matapedia several times to talk to her family but none of them could remember anything, or anyone she might have been dating. It was so long ago. I believe she had every intention of taking the secret to her grave.
In any case, I’ve been working with an outfit called Family Tree DNA who claim to have the most comprehensive ancestry database in the world. I will swab my cheek today and return the envelope. I thought some detective work would be required to distinguish the maternal from the paternal matches but apparently their Family Finder test does that. Have to admit, I’m excited! Plus, feeling optimistic, hopeful that the mystery of my paternity can be solved at last. We’re on our way, as the result directly impacts my son as well.
Watch out Papa, this intrepid redhead is coming for you.
It’s been a rough October but I got to go out for dinner with Clara while she was in town. She and father Alan Briesmaster of Quattro Books traveled to the west coast to launch volumes by BC poets Susan McCaslin and Robert Osler. I first met Alan at a League of Canadian Poets conference many years ago. He’s a good friend of Bernice Lever, who also resided on Bowen Island, so when Alan and Clara would visit I was often invited along. I’ve enjoyed the privilege of getting to know them. We click somehow. Well, we’re all poetry nerds.
In 2012 I had finally acquired both an agent and a publisher. Woo hoo! Both shall remain nameless because both turned out to be pretty much useless. The agent seemed to think my novel, The Town Slut’s Daughter belonged in the young adult genre and spent a year barking up the wrong trees while the publisher, in the throes of much upheaval, jerked me around. Apparently they didn’t go under after all, but oh well. In frustration and desperate for deliverance-after many long years of writing the damn thing-I decided to take the dreaded Amazon/Kindle route and set up Howe Sound Publishing, with the guidance of dear friend, historical novelist Carol Cram.
As a single working mother I have precious little time for book promotion but my girl is doing okay, consistently awarded 5 star reviews and in the top 13% of the contemporary urban fiction category. Neither have I had time to calculate exactly how many copies have sold; several hundred at least. I’ve made a few bucks and the whole experience is pretty much what I expected. It is what it is, as they say. Despite the challenges I am relieved The Town Slut’s Daughter is no longer languishing on my hard drive, that she’s been launched into the world. Also, DIY is very fitting, having come up with punk rock, the original independents. Well, in recent times; Proust, Beatrix Potter and James Joyce were but a few of the authors who also did it their way.
I’m no expert in the vagaries of self-publishing, can only speak from my experience but on Saturday I will be participating in the inaugural Indie Author Day at the Vancouver Public Library, to hawk some wares and talk with readers. Perhaps I will see you there.
Gawd. Lived here for nearly a year and the building across the street is still being built. Wish we could move. In any case, got my CV updated with the help of Tanya Van of Dollymomma Designs. I’m fortunate to have such kind and talented friends. It looks good and we got ‘er down to one page. Might as well apply for that treehouse-in-Switzerland residency. Dreaming is free after all.
Ah, life in the big city, or “big smoke” as we ex-islanders refer to it. Our rent is going up, I need to get some editing done but again, there is a huge mother of a truck in front of the construction site across the street blasting away, since 6:30 this morning! Seriously considering moving. I still love Vancouver but it is becoming uninhabitable.
Oh well, we got to watch some free Canada Place fireworks last night, ear plugs help a little and it will get done as I need it by tomorrow. Deadlines as a cure for procrastination, yeah! I haven’t looked at this thing in at least a year. Fortunately my dear friend Tanya is going to help me whip it into shape.
My dear friend, musician and musicologist Jason Flower of Supreme Echo Records in Victoria just announced that he is about to remaster the only known surviving Zellots recording, a cassette copy of a demo tape engineered and produced by the late Peter Draper, RIP. Jason and I spent nearly two years trying to track down the master, to no avail. I did a lot of sleuthing and may have pissed off some people but could not even unearth another cassette. There was talk of possibly using the audio off some of the video Lenore Herb shot back in the day-which I hear has been digitized-but it appears Jason is going with this tape which contains On The Dole, Let’s Play House and another track called Vampire Love. I think that’s what it’s called. And there might be a fourth track, I’m not sure. Oh it was so long ago…In any case, I’m excited that the Zellots will finally be on vinyl! Details to come. Check out this “teaser clip/video” and the fabulous Supreme Echo merch at the website. Also, head over to the record store in Victoria when you’re in that neck of the woods. Jason knows his stuff! And this is all true:
extraordinary archives of forgotten scenes from lesser known places
the anthropology of counter-culture. extensively researched biographies. remastered audio. restored original-era imagery. hand assembled in small editions.
I have not had time nor money to produce a book trailer for The Town Slut’s Daughter but pulled this together on Facebook. It even has music! Just click on the image below.