Ted and I were sitting at the table after lunch today, downing what was left of the morning's coffee when this exchange took place:
"Well," he said, getting up from the chair, "I'm going out to the shop to make another useless artifact."
"And I'm going downstairs to write something nobody will read," I replied.
Which got me musing on the creative life—what it is, why I feel I ought to have one—while I was going through pictures from our recent trip, and I came upon a couple that made me smile.
The set up:
I'd been to Granville Island to forage for book cloth at Paper-Ya!, and it's just around the corner from Blackberry Books, so obviously I had to go there, too. I picked up a couple of 2008 calendars and a copy of Wendy Morton's new poetry collection, Gumshoe. Got back to our hosts' place, went outside with a glass of wine to enjoy the early fall sunshine, opened the book and read,
I love to eat garlic
and nap on the lawn
in no particular order.
(from "Saying Yes", p. 26, Black Moss Press)
Just the thing for the beginning of a holiday, I thought.
In the seventies, when I lived in Thornhill, I used to go to the McMichael Gallery in Kleinburg to see art by the Group of Seven and Emily Carr. It happened that there was an exhibition of work by Clarence Gagnon when I was there, and this is what drew me back. His tiny paintings, copies of which were used as illustrations in the1933 edition of Louis Hémon's Maria Chapdelaine always captivated me. Wendy's poems are kind of like that. She paints tiny, precise word pictures that are, by turns, funny, poignant, thoughtful and provocative. Kind of like Wendy.
Wendy "Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast" Morton is the embodiment of a creative life. She believes poetry is for everybody, and sets out to prove it by organizing readings in Victoria at Planet Earth and spearheading and participating in what is becoming an annual rite the first week of October: Random Acts of Poetry, where the unsuspecting may find themselves being "poemed".
And I just finished reading Anne DeGrace's second novel, Wind Tails, published by McArthur and Company. Got it Friday night, finished it before noon Sunday. To put this in perspective, it took me about three months to get through the last Harry Potter, and I liked it. Wind Tails is an immensely readable book with richly drawn characters and vivid descriptions of the setting, a diner and its environs, somewhere on a mountain pass deep in B.C.
Anne's got an essay about the writing process and research in the Writer's Notebook section of her website. Check it out.