This month I'm totally going to rip off my daughter and present a book that she made 20 years ago in Grade One, at Sir James Douglas Elementary School in Victoria, BC. Granted, she likely got some help from yours truly at the time but, to state the obvious, her mark is all over it. It's long... but easy on the eyes.
Revisiting this book hurt a little. Maybe more than a little. This book documents a time in my life that I cannot regain, involving a sweet little girl who I'll never meet again. SOB.
My Family and Me
Here are my Mom, my Dad, and I at the beach.
Here I am with my chocolate bunny. My Dad did the painting on my face.
Here are my parents.
Here are my Mom and I in the lake. Tuppy, my grandmother's dog, is with us.
Here's me and my Dad—we're making faces.
Here I am with Tuppy.
Here’s me and my Mom.
Here I am with Spooker, Sally, and Noiry.
I've had Spooker since I was born.
Here is the sun.
Here I am on the swing.
My Dad and I are making faces again.
Here I am in my bedroom.
Here I am with Spooker and Bun-Bun among the trees.
My Mom does the same thing.
Here I am in the pool.
Here's my cat Buddy.
Here are my parents with Sylvia, my Mom's cousin.
Here's Sylvia again.
Here I am in Nanaimo.
Here's my Mom.
Here I am making a face.
Here's me with my parents.
On the appointed day, I came to the school to see Chloe present her book to the class. Her teacher, who was not my favourite, had one subtly disapproving thing to say: "Ta famille fait beaucoup de grimaces" ("Your family makes a lot of faces").
YES, AND WHAT OF IT?
Some people don't know how to live.
I submitted photos and a blurb to Uppercase Magazine when they were asking for stories about art studios, and lo and behold I got a two-page spread! Pretty sweet. Uppercase is a quarterly magazine "for the creative and curious" and if you aren't familiar with it, you should check it out. It is not glossy—but boy is it beautiful—and it is chock–a–block full of anything and everything to do with art, craft, illustration, design, and real people who make things with their hands.
Touting this event rightfully should have been included in the last installment of this newsletter, but I wasn't exactly at the top of my game the day after returning from ten days away over Christmas, which included falling and spraining my foot on Christmas Day, and two days later succumbing to "traveler's diarrhea" for the remainder of the trip. That I should include it did not enter my mind (I'm not getting any younger, people).
In the last installment of Feed the Monster, I posted photos of a large, blank piece of paper that I left hanging on the wall of my studio before leaving town for the holidays. There might have been some magic in that act, because I had an idea for that piece of paper while I was away and it bore fruit like a mo-fo. I'm not sure where any of this magic is leading, if anywhere, but I do finally feel ready to tell my brain to shut-the-fuck-up and let myself to be led by something more elemental for a while. As in, doesn't need to be perfect, and doesn't need to be sell-able. WISH ME LUCK WISH ME LUCK WISH ME LUCK
I probably don't need to point out that what you see here is your basic self-portrait painted on scraps of torn-up journal pages going back 40 years. OH, THAT OLD CHESTNUT?
I happen to have a very large vat of torn-up journal pages to deal with (*almost* 40 years worth—I haven't quite made it through all of them—totaling 72 journals torn up so far). I did consider a bonfire, yes. But I decided to let them sit for a while in case I came up with a better idea. Unfortunately, the piece shown above only used the tiniest fraction of the vat. Back to the drawing board.
Go take a look at GOOD if you are struggling to build a sustainable life as a creative person (whether writer, artist, musician, or otherwise). I was one of the beta-testers during the inaugural run of their program Creative Work last year, and I endorse it, emphatically. The three main sections of the course “build on one another, moving from the internal concerns of being an artist (purpose, vision, mindset), to the more external, including what it takes to make and finish the work (focus, systems, conditions), to sharing the work and connecting with your people (brand, visibility, and sharing).” Trust me, they leave no stone unturned.
The third run of the program is approaching—March 8th—and applications are being taken. Please take a look here for information about the program.