15 September 2012

tattooed wives

When I came across the image of this amazing tattoo of a zombified Brigham Young and two of his zombie wives earlier today, I had five simultaneous thoughts:
1. Who does this belong to?
2. Why did they get it?
3. I really want to meet this person.
4. I am a little frightened to meet this person.
5. Those are not Brigham Young's first two wives. The one on the left is Eliza Roxcy Snow and the one on the right is Martha McBride Knight. (I had to look up Martha--I knew she was one of Joseph's wives, but I couldn't place her. (My apologies to Martha.) And now that I've connected her face to her name, she never was a wife of Brigham, which makes me even more curious about the tattoo and its owner.)
6. That I know #5 means I know more than the average person should about mid-19th century Mormon polygamy and it's probably time to find a new obsession.

14 September 2012

When you are a young woman and your body becomes a reminder of tragedy, how can you ever come to love it?

"'When you are a young woman and your body becomes a reminder of tragedy, how can you ever come to love it?' I wrote in that secluded cabin in Banff. 'You yourself become a crime scene — a place of mourning you carry with you every day. Something tolerated, hated or, most commonly, ignored. I am happy for those people who see the body as a tool of empowerment, a vessel for pleasure and strength, but I’ve had to unlearn mine as a site of violence out of necessity.'"

from Stacey May Fowles's fantastic What Can't Be Published in the National Post. (There was so much in this essay that I wanted to quote, it was hard to choose a section that didn't end up quoting multiple paragraphs. This is an important essay. Please read it.)

11 September 2012

garden of your mind

I loved Mr. Rogers when I was a kid. Deeply loved him, like he was a family member. I had a recurring dream that lasted from when I was very young well into adulthood (though I think I may have left it behind in my twenties, which is a shame) that involved me crawling through the trolley tunnel into the Neighbourhood of Make Believe. That was the frame of the dream and while the frame was always the same, the dream itself would change--sometimes it would be scary (a few times I was trapped in Lady Elaine's Museum--terrifying!), sometimes it would be fun. For over two decades I had this dream. I miss it.

When Fred Rogers died, I cried. I don't cry when celebrities die and I usually don't get sad, but when Mr. Rogers died I bawled. Even writing this is bringing tears to my eyes. He was more than a famous person, someone who I thought I knew but didn't because of his celebrity. I loved him and I believed he loved me.

So the other night, when I was nursing my youngest before bed, I stumbled upon the video below on Lynda Barry's tumblr site. I watched it three times in a row and couldn't wait to show it to my boys. Should I admit that I still miss Mr. Rogers? I guess I just did.

10 September 2012

old news can still be good news

A few months ago, I was asked to read at the first ever Griffin Vancouver: A Celebration of Poetry. It was an honour to be asked to share the stage with such great poets such as Matt Rader, Jen Currin, and Gillian Jerome. The Griffin Poetry Prize is such an important and amazing prize, and reading the nominees every year is an education.

Sean Cranbury, in wearing one of his many hats, lead the organization of this event and recorded it for posterity. I've never seen myself read and I hope to keep it that way. That said, here's the link to the reading if you're curious.

8 September 2012

boasting is a formal condition of the epic form

"But asking why rappers always talk about their stuff is like asking why Milton is forever listing the attributes of heavenly armies. Because boasting is a formal condition of the epic form. And those taught that they deserve nothing rightly enjoy it when they succeed in terms the culture understands."

from The House that Hova Built, Zadie Smith interviewing Jay Z in the New York Times

2 September 2012

women’s choices about pregnancy are not a question of will, or luck, or magic vagina barricades

"But choice is power. It forces you to live in the active present tense, not the editorially lazy passive construction of this-happened-to-me. Make a choice and you can’t abdicate responsibility to the real or perceived will of others or the now of perpetual distraction. Make a choice and you confront the closed mystery of the choice not chosen. If ambivalence is a hallmark of denial, choice is an acceptance of time, mortality, limits.

There’s a lot of magical thinking about pregnancy going around these days. In the personal sphere it’s a waste of time; in the public sphere it is terrifying and destructive.

Contrary to the beliefs of conservative politicians, women’s choices about pregnancy are not a question of will, or luck, or magic vagina barricades. Getting pregnant is neither punishment nor reward. It is not a magical blessing or a curse — and it most definitely is not a silver bullet you can use to shoot yourself out of a rut. It is a plain biological fact that may or may not result in a healthy baby, that could immeasurably enhance or irreversibly damage your life prospects.

Women are raped and get pregnant. Women in loving monogamous relationships who want to get pregnant can’t. Women with five children are forced by circumstance or religion to have more. Lesbian women who long to be parents have their hopes squashed by red tape and bigotry. Single women who get pregnant by accident and suddenly have to re-evaluate their attitudes toward the whole question of whether they will ever raise children end up miscarrying.

In the world of women’s reproductive health, choice isn’t only a euphemism for safe, legal abortion. Choice — true choice — entails sex education and work-life balance and accessible, affordable prenatal medical care for all pregnant women, regardless of income or employment status."

from Knocked Over: On Biology, Magical Thinking and Choice by Martha Bayne.

1 September 2012

a whole lot of great things

It's been a very busy summer, full of movement and acceleration and there is just too much to catch you up on everything, so I'll do the dreaded list.

* I ran my first 10K! 1:03:03...and I haven't run since. Shameful, I know, but I hope to get back at it in September.

* We moved! We now live in Victoria as my husband has got a skookum new job at the university. We live a block from the beach and I can see America from my house! Crazy.

* I've written a play and it's being produced! This October as part of the Vancouver International Writers Fest! I'll write more about it soon, as it's very exciting, but you can read about Initiation Trilogy here.

* Glossolalia is being published this October! My wives have found a home at Anvil Press. There will be even more about this in the coming months, but to say I'm thrilled is an understatement.

I have a couple of interviews that I started in the spring that I'll be putting up once I've unpacked our books and I hope to be around ye olde blogge a lot more now that we're somewhat settled.