AURAL Heather biz, timing, ten years after, back to Haida Gwaii

More from my travel journal:

First comes Mary, Mother of God
Standing on the moon, presiding over the jungle
First comes Mary, Mother of God
sacred to all her Mexican children
in the harbour of her arms

Funny, I compose a melody to the words and then later flounder to find the key. Fortunately my producer Roderick (Shoolbraid) records our initial efforts including the chord progression for guitar. He came up with what he called a Bauhaus beat. I take it he was referring to the band but I’m not sure. He is a visual artist as well though—a painter—and could have been referring to the movement. There might be an absence of ornamentation and certainly harmony between its function and design. Off to a good start in any case and looking forward to working on it more after his return from Europe. He went to his best friend Tanya’s wedding on the island of Ibiza and will have some time in London as well, lucky bloke.

The next recording project will take place after we’ve been performing the material, the ideal situation. I’ve come up with new parts and ideas for some of the spoken word songs from Princess Nut, regret that they aren’t on the CD. Seems there are always regrets, second thoughts with any piece of art but if I don’t despise it then that is enough. For the first time perhaps, I am truly proud of my work. (My boys are gone and it’s so quiet I can hear the breeze in the chimes.)

We ran through our set a few times with the new PA. What a thrill hearing myself in a vocal monitor, a boom stand and mike for Roderick. We’re trying to come up with the perfect cover choice. Considering Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young or a David Bowie song but can’t decide because there are so many great ones. Rebel, Rebel? Ashes to Ashes? Need to work on festival submissions when I return, applying for a Career Development Grant, deadline Oct. 1 and hiring a publicist. Wish we (AURAL Heather) had thought of that before going out on the road in July. Well, I thought of it but mistakenly assumed that my promo efforts along with the label’s would be enough. If you’re laying that much on the line, might as well cough up the dough for PR. Next time. Live and learn.

Ten years! Josef and I are celebrating a whole decade together at the end of this month. We met at the Word on the Street Festival. I was reading my poetry at the Poetry Corner at Gutenberg’s and he was volunteering for the Edgewise ElectroLit Centre, the non-profit literary arts organization I founded in 1994. That’s the kind of stand-up guy he is. (My web designer John Dowler told me about the WayBack Machine, an online archive of old web sites. Will have to check it out, see if any Edgewise stuff resides there. We have some old Zip disks with files on them but a lot of the audio files and other media were lost I fear.) Josef was a friend of Steve Duncan’s and one of the other Edgewise staff was playing Cupid, trying to fix him up with one of the women on the board of directors. It was so funny. Normally, I am preoccupied and apprehensive before a performance of any kind but I found myself intently watching him as he dashed about connecting cables and generally and capably facilitating the tech for the event. There was definitely a strong, mutual attraction. We were both on the rebound. He was in the process of disentangling and after five years of conflict and much misery toward the end, I had recently left an unhappy relationship. I finally resolved to life as a single mom—me and Lucas against the world, certainly not thinking about romance. Well Josef and I met again a few weeks later at the Edgwise board retreat on Bowen Island, went to the pub together after a day of meetings to hear a band—all the 20-somethings were too tired to make the trek on foot—and the rest, as they say, is history. There was a righteous bhangra/rock fusion band named Elephant Head playing and we got lost on the way back to the inn, even with a full moon above. One thing we have in common and that hasn’t changed. Every time we go on a vacation, we manage to get lost. Yes, a GPS is on the wish list and soon-to-be purchased.

I’m in! Selected for the San Miguel Poetry Week in January, have to get on that, organize it, and make it happen. I’m hoping we can have a family vacation on the Baja over the holidays though it’s hard to convince Junior to go anywhere, he’s such a homebody. I will have to go away somewhere on a retreat in order to create new work to take to the workshop. It’s nearly impossible to find time to write and there are a million tasks and distractions on the home front. There is much happening on the Rocksalt anthology as well, several readings and launches including one at the Vancouver International Writers Festival in October. I’m excited, so happy to be included.

Back to the Queen Charlottes, Aug. 28, 2008! Queen Charlotte City, city a complete misnomer. There might be only 5000 people residing on all 150 islands in the archipelago. We are driving past Hecate Strait, then Relax Road, Husband Road, yellow diamond Deer warning sign with bullet holes, wild berries ripe, old Civil Defense sign on a barn, bones piles of massive timbers silhouetted against the horizon. Boulder strewn beaches, evidence of indiscriminate logging, much second growth still coming in. “Halt the Hunt-Shoot Photos Not Bears” signs. We made it! How many years have we been talking about coming here? A toast! At the Howler’s pub, raucous Heckle and Jekyll crows land on the deck railing, too close. Maybe they’re attracted to my raven necklace. Junk strewn about the ditches and much funkiness including a shop called Funk It and funky, charming old cottages facing the water. A Jolly Roger flies from the mast of one of the fishing boats, hope it’s tongue-in-cheek! Gardeners reside everywhere. Gardens are to woodlands what drag queens are to women, from my poem Soar. Oh it’s so exciting, always so exciting to be somewhere you have never been before. The Ladies Room has a strange recording playing from within a seal-off stall, like being in the Disneyland Haunted House or something. Weird. Our server says she thinks it’s there to drive her crazy. Cheescake. Double chocolate, going to have to get lots of hiking in. Japanese tourist discuss Obama. Lodge made of tress, literally. Head to Masset. Take our time. Stop to take pictures along the way, find the Haida Warrior beached on the inlet as we drive up to the Copper Beech House Inn.

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