24 February 2007


Talking to 231079 last week, who was feeling blue about the passing of time, I pulled out a couple of old journals to try to divine what i was up to this time seven years ago. Given that most of my journals are a messy pile of unidentifiable meanderings and complaints, i was happy to discover that even though early 2000 was one of the most melancholic periods of my life, a short trip to nyc in february notes indicate an anomalous month of respite from the mire.
And also filled with the usual flippant ponderings:

Then, this morning, I happened upon another February snippit, this time from 1996, (good gods, i was alive in 1996!):

the place: Thornton's chocolate shop; Covent Garden; London (an establishment that had the wherewithal to employ me)
the time: approaching Valentine's Day

the characters: stef and Jasmine, purveyor of fine chocolates, busily preparing for the VD onslaught
a momple (not even googlable, alas, a momple was a strange fuzzy puppet on strings, very long legs, head and body fused, if i remember correctly, big googley eyes, constantly at the mercy of a puppeteer)
Jules, a remarkably humorous momple-seller actually in the employ of Hamley's to wander through Covent Garden endearing his fuzzy companions to the rabble.

Jules came into the shop today with his furry momple creatures....We were icing up Valentines Day hearts. I did some doozies: "I love you but you're boring*", "Oh, Mon Cheri", "now available (for a limited time only)", "thump thump", etc. Jules insisted we take a few of his own suggestions: "my wife got the house, car, and the kid, this is all I've got left" on an iced heart with a crack down the middle, and a heart with "for you" on one side and "for my wife" on the other. After wandering around trying to sell our shop and his momples to our customers, professing his true love for Jasmine and reading our hearts, he continued with his pithy suggestions, quoting Yeats and a few well chosen words in persian. He returned about 15 minutes later, betook himself to behind our counter and iced his own chocolate heart, "luv ya til the bomb drops, baby" and then took his momple creatures and left.

* (thank you, Beautiful South)

oh Burlesque.

We went to see the Shameless Dames last night, and it was SO great. I have hereby decided that if I owned a pair of pastys, or "booby tassles", as 562001 called them, I would very likely be a better person.
Given the weather these days and my occasional attacks of modesty, I would also very likely wear them on my ears.

22 February 2007

Remarkably age-ed.

My cahoot Willow and I started an AGYU bookmaking workshop for teens yesterday. It went swimmingly. I had a moment when I realized that students will tell you what they want to learn if you ask enough questions, which i love. It must be all my montessori coming through, but I'm a huge fan of the open table/conversation method of teaching, or what little I know about it. Anyhow everyone seemed revved by the end of the class, so I have a feeling some great stuff is gonna come out of this course, all 'round.

My favourite moment in the class; Whilst showing the kids Shan's hipster bingo gameboard:

q: "So, what does the word hipster mean to you guys?"
(vacant stares and quiet)
q: "Hmm. Are you familiar with the term at all?"
a: "uh, yeah, like, BACK IN THE DAY!"

Time does move on, doesn't it.

20 February 2007

"a season with the borrowers."

Today, looking for some sundry credit or other to assuage a concerned reader, I was referred to an old issue of Brick, dating Summer 2004.
Perched atop the table of contents was a reproduction of a sticky note with the handwriting of an 11 year old on it, and the following text: Dear Borrower, I have not seen you, but I want to meet you. if I do I will not tell anyone without your permission. Agreed or not agreed. Love, Sara
I was, (surprising ABSOLUTELY no one) Intrigued. I turned to the relevant section of the magazine, and was promptly and completely abducted into reading an interview between Ira Glass, Lawrence Weschler, and his seventeen-year old daughter, who wrote the note when she was eleven.
At the age of eleven, Sara was convinced that there exist a race of tiny people called the Borrowers (based on the books, of course), that "borrow" things around the house, trinkets and such. It seems that when her father (Lawrence Weschler) read stories to her at night, they would have imaginary conversations with the illustrations in the book, (father and daughter) and somehow, Sara got the idea that she might write the Borrowers a note as well.
This she did, on a postie left in a small corner of the house.
She waited expectantly for WEEKS, getting more and more devastated that there was no answer to her letter.
Finally, her father, seeing all of this and having NO idea what to do to remedy the situation, turned the postie over and wrote a reply.
The enthusiastic response was Unprecedented, and over the next couple of months turned into a Rampant correspondence, between this little girl and the imaginary "Borrowers". When she discovered they were moving house, both daughter and (as a result) father were traumatized. What was to be done? The only solution was to move the Borrowers along with them. Father carefully placed all the trinkets collected over the last couple of months, left for the Borrowers, at strategic places along the route to their new home, pointing out that since the Borrowers were so very tiny, it would take them several days to make the transition. Daughter thought this most rational, and approved wholeheartedly.
The situation snowballed, in a word, and then one day, completely unwarranted, Sara confronted her dad and asked: "Did you write those letters?!?" He was just mortified, had no idea what to do, said the answer wasn't that simple, to which Sara said, "Yes, the answer is that simple, did you write those letters?"
"Yes" he said, and both of them burst into tears.
There was a moment where no one knew how the problem would resolve itself.
Then Sara said "Daddy, don't you realize? You ruined everything! Because there are Borrowers, and you were taking the letters before they were able to get them!"

I am very very very lucky to work in a place where the occasional spontaneous tear of joy and overwhelmement is not greeted with horror and a letter terminating my employment.

the little old lady in woolie underthings

called our office again today. Poor old dear. Coco is sure it was her.
This time she was asking for sock stretchers.
When she hung up, we were quite flummoxed at how she managed to call the same wrong number twice. Someone had the clever idea that we should call the number she thought she was calling when she reached us, and before a second had passed, Coco had dialed the number, and most assertively and confidently asked the person on the other end if they sold wool underwear.
The gentleman said no.
But he seemed non-plussed by the question, like it was a matter of course, said Coco when queried. Who knew.


I do believe this poetry challenge a clever idea, and one much better suited to multiple participants, so I hope you will continue it Robert, and as a new blogger beware than many will lurk, few will comment, and then Many will comment (via blog or email), and then you will have a full-time job on your hands. But a noble one, as the endeavour has proven so far.
In honor of poetry in general, I will leave the subject with this, courtesy of Mister Baudelaire, mastermind of the craft.

One must be for ever drunken: that is the sole question of importance. If you would not feel the horrible burden of Time that bruises your shoulders and bends you to the earth, you must be drunken without cease. But how? With wine, with poetry, with virtue, with what you please. But be drunken. And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass by a moat, or in the dull loneliness of your chamber, you should waken up, your intoxication already lessened or gone, ask of the wind, of the wave, of the star, of the bird, of the timepiece; ask of all that flees, all that sighs, all that revolves, all that sings, all that speaks, ask of these the hour; and wind and wave and star and bird and time-piece will answer you: "It is the hour to be drunken! Lest you be the martyred slaves of Time, intoxicate yourselves, be drunken without cease! With wine, with poetry, with virtue, or with what you will.
--Charles Baudelaire (translated of course)

18 February 2007

real life.

987056 and I took two dogs for a very long walk through High Park this evening. I wore three pairs of socks and a remarkably warm coat in anticipation of the pilgrimage (a kind of foresight I'm rarely in posession of).
We sat on the hill and watched the sun go down behind the trees and sipped spiced hot chocolate from very small cups.
It was all very quiet. And I've never been so content on a Sunday.


poem #3: no. (cute edits, though)
poem #4: no.

And with that, I'm going to have to graciously bow out of the challenge.
So early, it's true. My attention span is a fickle thing, easily grasped and just as easily swayed.
Poetry evaluation just doesn't match my time-wasting mantra, where this blog is concerned.

It's a very clever idea though, and I do thank you for thinking of me, Robert.
I would propose that you continue posting your poetic discoveries on your blog and open up the challenge to all readers, many of whom will have much more entertaining criticism than I on the subject.

In light of all this and in conclusion, I do retract my statement of two years (or whenever) ago. It's not that I don't like poetry, i like the poetry that I like.
Thank you for an eye-opening experience.