Blowing, wet blustery day, autumn here big time weather wise, as I drag my butt around, feeling tired, achy and sore from the tetanus shot but starting to be able to use my foot again so that is good. Someone said, “Well the nail in the foot was the third bad thing that has happened” so I am hoping she is right and I have earned a reprieve somehow and things will level out soon. To reiterate, #1 was my sister’s death, # 2 was Peter’s murder. Guess I needed some physical pain to match the emotional pain of loss and grief and do things really happen in threes or is that a lot of hooey?
When it rains it pours and it’s pouring in my life but it’s my own fault as I keep on taking on more. So many projects but I know I have to work in more than one media because if I didn’t as I said at the Word On The Street festival during my reading, I would go nuts. If I was relying only on print, which moves at a glacial pace, I would be so frustrated! I am working with video and music and at least I have some control over those kinds of projects. Still, that means I have a lot of irons in the fire as they say, in addition to raising my son with special needs. On that front though, I am feeling encouraged because I think we may have finally found a service provider, an RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) specialist that we can work with to help Junior. We had attended the RDI symposium with Steve Gutstein last year but there were no practitioners available in the Lower Mainland. I hope it works out. I have learned through trial and error that a lot of this stuff winds up being pretty ineffectual, that many of the experts are talking through their asses when it comes to the child, your child, with his or her unique, individual profile and needs. It’s hard not to be bitter about the fact too that he was misdiagnosed as having a “moderate to severe language disorder” when in fact he was Aspergers all along. That diagnose did not come until he was ten. I knew something was not quite right with his development from the age of two but I am no expert.
Peter still enters my thoughts often as I take care of business, cronies of ours emerging to ask if I’ve heard the news. Yes, and where have you been? Up until this point most seemed determined to remain in the past but I suppose their curiosity is getting the best of them and now they want to know what I know which isn’t much. I do know that the investigation will remain closed, whether the police or the DA’s office believes Bruce’s story or not. Still, it is not over and I am interested in seeing what develops in the near future.
Swamped lately for in addition to aforementioned projects, I am embroiled in my curating work for Pacific Cinémathèque and SEE THE VOICE: Visible Verse, the annual screening event of poetry video and film that I host each year, culling 27 works from 65 submissions from around the world though mostly Canadian and American. For the first time I am including a relatively long but visually stunning poetry film called Lowell Blues, directed by Henry Ferrini from Boston, based on Kerouac’s poetry and featuring readings by Gregory Corso, Robert Creely, Johnny Depp and Carolyn Cassady. Visible Verse criteria states a maximum of 15 minutes in length but I saw his film about Charles Olsen-Polis: The Persistence of Place– a few months ago and spoke with him afterwards. That film was more documentary, definitely too long but there is such a dearth of films inspired by poets though that it’s impossible for me to ignore one of this caliber. I will feature only one poet in performance-Susan Cormier-who also has a videopoem in the program called Turtleheart-instead of two as I usually in order to accommodate Lowell Blues, but hey, it’s my show, that’s my job. I’m dreading the fallout from not selecting videopoems by several esteemed Canadian poets but I did not like them and with all the other strong works that I did, there was not room to screen them. We used to have a festival with three days of screenings but Visible Verse is only one night so I have to be ruthless. Oh well, it’s not a popularity contest. Being a curator is like being an editor and you have to make some tough decisions sometimes.
At the same time, I am planning with Roderick Shoolbraid, my AURAL Heather collaborator to rehearse and record a song for the upcoming Violet Femmes compilation record. We want to work a cover into our set as well and have a new spoken word song called First Comes Mary to pull together. It would be a good holiday season song, deliciously blasphemous. So, he’s coming over from Salt Spring Island on Monday. We are buying him a guitar for his birthday so he is going to stop off at Long & McQuade to suss out their stock, see if there is one there that calls out to him. I know he wants a Telecaster. Charlie Newman, the illustrious host of our show in Chicago while on tour wrote this review of our CD Princess Nut:
“This kind of poetry performance works when the poetry and the music are both high caliber. Success also depends on a commitment to each piece as a final product and opposed to a dedication to one style of music or writing. AURAL Heather succeeds because you’ll go insane trying to decide whether the words or the sounds are the strong part. They’re equal partners. And there are no blood oaths to be punk or dance or ambient or jazz or whatever. Each piece gets the environment it deserves. Princess Nut is one serious, kickass piece of work by two people who know what they want to do and know how to do it. Kudos to them both!”
Charlie said he is spending too much time listening to Princess Nut, jealous all the while. You take your compliments, backhanded or not- where you can get them. Seems the last thing fellow poets and artists want to do is encourage each other, which is why we need our friends so desperately. I am trying hard to hustle up a management deal and a European tour in the spring but in the meantime we need to create a new videopoem/AURAL Heather music video, another item to discuss when he comes over.
Sept. 30, 2008
Last day of the month, I am scrambling to meet several deadlines, one I will have to make—Visible Verse—and the Canada Council Career Development grant which I won’t since I don’t have a management company to hire. I made some inquiries, one company asked for a CD but nothing much else and I haven’t had time to do the proper follow-through. I may have found an RDI therapist to work with for Junior and family and need to follow through on that as soon as I can get through the 65 videopoems I need to screen. The house is turned upside down too, with the garage renovation and the intrigue surrounding Peter’s murder continues.
We did manage to go into Vancouver and celebrate our 10th anniversary despite our mutual fatigue. I couldn’t sleep the night before and so spent Saturday dragging my butt around as we shopped for furniture and things for the house. We found an outstanding Latin themed restaurant in Gastown called el Cobre that served the best margarita I’ve had north of the border and delicious prawns, flank steak etc. We stayed at the Pan Pacific. It was quite the vantage point, to look down and watch the Sea Bus and the cruise ships coming and going. We were blessed with beautiful weather and made our way to Word on the Street festival. I was feeling like crap, having suffered insomnia again, was just really groggy and dreading my reading at 2 PM. I winged it, aced it I think according to the response. As soon as I got off stage, I was swarmed by people wanting to buy the book or the CD. Went and picked up the Rocksalt Anthology of BC poets poster which is beautiful, had my name on it along with the other 107 poets included and I tried hard to make sure it didn’t get screwed up. The dinner at Belgian restaurant Chambar was delightful, with over twenty friends showing up to celebrate with us. The cocktails and food were incredible, the company and conversation, stellar.
Sept. 26, 2008
Yesterday, scrambled to catch up on email and deadlines. Scrambling, all I seem to do, never feel like I’ve actually caught up. Anxiety, right, all that is. Lots of racket around here too as the garage is being converted into an office for Josef. They keep knocking the power out with the big tools and of course the dogs go nuts every time one of them gets near the door.
I went into the Cove for a hair appointment, to touch up my roots. High maintenance, this hair. Her client started chatting me up, an old woman, a fixture on the island. She told me all about their memorial garden, how they rent it from the GVRD and would I like to donate some land to them, or help them raise funds, after she found out I had been an arts administrator. I just laughed. Sure, I’ll put it on my list. In my spare time, ha. After she left a woman came in to buy shampoo. She was on about her architect husband and his projects, one being a house on the waterfront and 100 acres. Christ. I didn’t think there were 100 acres left on this island. Wonder if they’d cough up an acre or two for J’s garden. Oh, they have a big family she said. Yeah, I guess a big family needs a lot of space. Christ.
I went to deliver my old Polaroid camera to Lori, Junior’s teacher at the Learning Centre and one of the few people on this island I feel close to, have a rapport with. She suggested a drink together and since she is rarely free, I jumped at the chance even though I had a few other errands. We went to Doc Morgan’s, had some lunch and a good session of gossip and girl talk. She is determined to pursue her career as an artist and learn to say NO when called upon to take up the slack for others in the organization. It takes much determination, or sheer will to be an artist.