Saturday, March 29, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
"I do not think that more information always makes a richer poem. I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent, deliberate silence. The unsaid, for me, exerts great power: often I wish an entire poem could be made in this vocabulary. It is analogous to the unseen; for example, to the power of ruins, to works of art either damaged or incomplete. Such works inevitably allude to larger contexts; they haunt because they are not whole, though wholeness is implied; another time, a world in which they were whole, or were to have been whole is implied."
"It seems to me that what is wanted, in art, is to harness the power of the unfinished."
(Louise Gluck, from Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry)
(Image: Nike Adjusting Her Sandal, from the Acropolis Museum, Athens)
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
This silk handbag is called "Bedazzled in Red" and is designed by Radhika. I love the Novica website - the fact that you get to know a little bit about the person who made and designed the piece. Three of my favourite things in one handbag - beads, sequins and red silk. Oh, and the gold tassels are sweet too.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
A couple of examples of the libraries posted on Curious Expeditions compendium of beautiful libraries. The above picture is from Hereford Cathedral Chained Library, Hereford, England. The first image is the Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
I thought some of my friends at the Riverbend Branch of the Edmonton Public Library where I used to work might enjoy this post...I miss you guys!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
The honest revelations about motherhood in this book are, in my sleep-deprived, pulled-in-all-directions experience, ridiculously rare. When the message is that women can have it all (though I know better, this blinks away on a neon sign in my mind), it’s no wonder we end up fictionalising our experience of motherhood, and sanitizing the behaviour of our children. The truth is that it takes an enormous amount of courage, creativity, and energy, along with a healthy amount of uncertainty, to live well, and to love our beautiful, perfectly imperfect children. And what happens in this process to women is not often enough discussed or discovered.
So, yes, I did like the book, and have noticed that there are a couple of interesting books along the same theme, give or take, coming out. Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood (McGill-Queen's UP) edited by Cathy Stonehouse and Nobody's Mother: Life without Kids (TouchWood Editions) edited by Lynne Van Luven. This is the catalogue copy on the latter: "Statistics say that one in 10 women has no intention of taking the plunge into motherhood. Nobody's Mother is a collection of stories by women who have already made this choice. From introspective to humorous to rabble-rousing, these are personal stories that are well and honestly told. The writers range in age from early 30s to mid-70s and come from diverse backgrounds. All have thought long and hard about the role of motherhood, their own destinies, what mothering means in our society and what their choice means to them as individuals and as members of their ethnic communities or social groups."
I'm pleased to see that the different needs of women are being examined and that they're telling their stories. It's all about having choices, feeling one has choices, whether it's to choose when, or how, or even not to have a child. When I first had my daughter (not even 10 years ago) it was difficult to find such books. I read Blue Jay's Dance by Louise Erdrich and was ecstatic to find a book on being a poet and a mother: The Grand Permission: New Writings on Poetics and Motherhood with a foreword by Rachel Blau DuPlessis. Before that I had read an Alice Walker essay about having one child, "One Child of One's Own". (I haven't yet read Walker's daughter's book about being that child). I remember making little lists in my head of women writers who I knew had children: Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Kristjana Gunnars, Elizabeth Smart, Clarice Lispector etc etc. It could be done. But in the foreword to The Grand Permission, DuPlessis quotes from Tillie Olsen's book Silences from the 1970s, noting that "the 'childless' list is exceedingly impressive: Woolf, for example, Stein, Richardson, Barnes, Nin, Hurston, Wharton, Mansfield, O'Connor." She points out that "motherhood and writing did not historically seem to go together."
A lot has happened since Silences, which is still extremely instructive to read. But there's still a lot to add to the discussion on motherhood and writing. Kim Echlin's absolute gem of a book Elizabeth Smart: A Fugue Essay on Women and Creativity has a chapter titled "The Mother Voice." In it, she says, "Mother's diaries are still a mostly unexplored genre of journal writing. I think of the immense detail of Virginia Woolf's journals recording her intellectual and social life, and of Anais Nin's voluminous diaries detailing her psychological world. Elizabeth did not keep them, though she kept detailed records about certain other parts of her life." She also says that "The book Elizabeth could never complete was something called her 'mother book'." (See rob mclennan's blog on the Smart book where he also mentions Between Interruptions).
I keep thinking about women and creativity, and the particular obstacles that women face when writing. I don't get far enough past the mulling stage most days, always between the interruptions. But I thought it would be worth something just to point towards these books. I think I would have liked to have had a sort of list, a beginning of a list anyway, like the above books to start with that year I birthed both a baby and a book.
Friday, March 7, 2008
During Laura Victore’s senior year at the School of Visual Arts in NY she was involved in a portfolio class wherein all projects were focused around one central these– her thesis was “Gift.” Throughout the year she became fascinated with the idea of gifts and giving, and did research into the history of gift-giving in different cultures. During her studies she became interested with the idea of the fortune cookie. “It has a sublime simplicity of design, and more importantly a wonderful sense of surprise that comes with the ritual opening of them after a nice meal. The cookie is a gift. You don’t pay for it. And then, once you open the tiny package, you receive a forecast or positive message, and then you instantly want to share your fortune with everyone around you.” The results? She made these beautiful suede leather small fortune coin purses which comes with 3 different fortunes to choose from: All things are possible, everything is going to be alright and of course, follow your bliss.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I'm fixated on colour lately. Wouldn't this be a great show to see? It's called "Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today" and is at the MOMA in New York. The above painting is "Colors for a Large Wall," by Ellsworth Kelly, 1951. It's not the same as seeing it in person, but fun to scroll through the paintings online.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
We met in the poetry section of the bookstore I worked at when Michael was on sabbatical in Edmonton. We've corresponded ever since. I was delighted to find a package in my mailbox last week containing a perfectly red, small book by Michael called Cold Hill Pond published by Smith/Doorstop Books. One good turn deserves another, so I thought I'd post a poem from the book here.
i.m. Tess Carr 1921-2003
The Church: there beside the lake
hunchbacked against the wind
In the background
Cardinal Wiseman's cedar
growing taller every year.
Close by: the grass cut
the undergrowth cleared away
the small wooden cross now obvious.
'Who's burried here?' I ask.
'Bernadette', she says.
My eyebrows puzzle;
Realising this wasn't
your average cat I hesitantly suggest,
'it's not a matter of being small-minded
or anything, but theologically speaking
Jesus didn't die for cats.
Could the grave be marked say by a shrub?'
Over a medium-sized pause
my suggestion is dismissed.
'She did enough for this Church.
Everybody loved that cat.'
Theology would have to please itself.
May Bernadette have eternal rest.
- by Michael McCarthy