Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where to find me Sunday

This coming Sunday I'll be at Word on the Street, Vancouver's Annual Book and Magazine Festival, go here for more info. More accurately, I'll be at Word UNDER the Street in the Alma Van Dusen Room, from 11am to 5pm - selling zines and other fun stuff with my friend Dawn (AKA Misti Ko). We had such fun last year - not getting rich by any means, but there's more to life than money, like trading our zines with other zine creators, for one thing! I wanted to post a picture of all the zines I'm selling, but (you guessed it!) they're still in production. I'll try and post a photo before Sunday, but I can't guarantee - life just got exceedingly busy again ...

I had a funny feeling that some of my *art* deadlines were getting away from me, so last week I started a spreadsheet to keep track of them (yes, I know - how *virgo* of me), and between last week and mid-November I have 16 project deadlines. Some are little (and will be quick to complete) some are huge and still in formation. Some are even *done* (fancy that!) and just waiting for addresses to be assigned (darn you, swap-bot!), but I will definitely be keeping my nose to the art grindstone for the next two months. But hey, better an art deadline than any other kind, I say.

And speaking of art deadlines ... here's a funny thing that happened this morning. Or it would have been funny had it not happened at 4:30 am (did I mention I'm not a morning person?). Over the last month or so I've been mulling over ideas for one of my larger, as yet unstarted projects. I would mention which one, but some of the people who read my blog (and who are also part of the project) might be surprised to find I haven't even started yet ... anywho ... at 4:30 this morning my brain wakes me up with a great idea. Well, okay, my brain thought it was great, personally the jury is still out, but on with my story ... darn brain wouldn't shut off. Anyone standing outside my window (quite a feat considering I'm not at ground level) would have seen my light going on and off multiple times over the course of two hours while ideas continued demanding to be written down. One thing I've learned is that when ideas arrive you darn well better pay attention to them or they wander off and are never heard from again.

So there's me ... scribbling down strange ideas at 4:30 am - and practically giggling with glee to boot, if it's possible to giggle while only partially awake. So now it's problem solved - got it all worked out - just have to create I what saw in my mind's eye, and (in my dream) physically held in my hands. Well ... at least I know what it's supposed to look like.

Just wondering ... do any of you pre-visualize your finished artwork? I mean like actually *see* it in your dreams - complete, framed, mounted, published and being enjoyed by others in your dream, while your dream self is busy memorizing what it looks like so you can *make* it when you wake up? Just curious.

Okay ... well, back to the art mine! But I thought if I didn't tell you where I'll be, and why I haven't posted lately you'd all think I got lost on my way to the keyboard. See you Sunday? Oh, and bring a brolly for the outside Word on the Street stuff, but down at Word Under the Street, we'll be warm and dry, so come buy our zines. More info about us here, where we are listed as "pengrafyx & ko"

Monday, September 06, 2010

Birthdays - and looking forward & back ...

Well, it's happened. I've just celebrated one of those milestone birthdays. You know - the ones that are supposed to give you pause, make you examine your life and see where you've been, where you are and where you're going. Oddly enough, having spent my whole life not celebrating birthdays, this one passed in a similarly uneventful way. As it happened, we were on vacation at the time, and we managed to find a low-key (but charming) heritage house turned restaurant on the extreme western edge of Vancouver Island where we had a lovely dinner. I had the steak, it was wonderful. They did everything to a steak that I can't do, or more accurately, they DIDN'T do to a steak what I would do - which is turn it into shoe leather. There was a shocking absence of singing waiters, presents, cake/candles and the like. Which suits me fine. Honest.

On the other hand ... I HAVE been reviewing my life in the last few days, but not because of my birthday. I've been working on a swapbot project about fairy tales. One of the options is to write your own and (coincidentally) I actually wrote a fairy tale of sorts lo, all those many years ago when I thought I might become a writer. The only trick was to find it. Somewhere in my many journals - I knew that much, but what year? Good question.

So I've spent a few evenings reading back through my journals looking for the story ... essentially time traveling backwards through my life, becoming younger and younger, more and more naive, more and more self-centered the further back I go. While it's sometimes excruciatingly boring (and even embarrassing) to read what my younger self has written, it is heartening to see that I have actually progressed in my life. I'm not saying I wish I hadn't written it all. I'm just saying that most of it will be burned in the event of my death.

The other shocking thing (and a positive shock at that), is the sheer amount of *writing* I've actually done. I've been sticking a post-it note on every page where I think I've written something of interest, particularly poetry, or a pithy bit of prose, and I now have a virtual forest of post-it notes poking out the tops and sides of my journals. Weirdly cool and satisfying to look at. And some of it I hope to gather in some form, since the idea of indexing my journals makes me queasy (oh my heavens, the sheer *volume* of content is daunting, let alone trying to think of keywords for most of it!).

I don't want to sound self-congratulatory, and I wouldn't want to get anyone's hopes up about the *quality* of my writing, but I find I have quite real affection for the body of work, as flawed and unfocused as it might be. As I read each bit, I get a vivid picture of the where and the why of the writing, and I see myself as I was then - young, naive and self-centered sometimes, but always trying to see the good in things, to see the way forward, to find my purpose, to make sense of life, as I believe we all do.

So maybe there's something to this milestone thing after all ... the two events are merely coincidental (birthday + a project that has me reading back through my journals), but I do feel that I've been looking forward & back, and (for the most part) liking what I see.