October 16th, 2009

I’m so totally counting this

It’s a big stretch, being a) blog only, b) celebrating something I had nothing to do with, but I am still counting this as getting my name in the New York Times. There’s one for the life list!! (and it *is* a gorgeously designed cover!)


April 7th, 2009

C’est moi, alors!

This is a portrait of me (der) by the portrait artist Alan Dayton, who is doing a series on creative people, lately writers.

As I’ve said previously, some rather remarkable and bizarre things have come my way as a result of publishing a book. One of them is certainly the photo-shoot/interview that Mr. Dayton did for me, and its result, this amazing, rather Gallic-looking painting. Certainly, never before have I sat on my couch in my favourite dress while someone bent over me almost medically, noting aloud the exact colour and striations of my eyes.

I consider myself hugely lucky to have been the object of Alan Dayton’s considerable talent, but I am also quite baffled. Now a portrait of me exists in the world, and, like my stories, I’m not able to follow it around and tell people what it means. I have to trust that viewers of this art will “get it,” whatever *it* is. Because of course, I have even less agency here than I do in my writing; this portrait is really Alan’s creation, and I just provided a little inspiration.

And yet, I do get the opportunity to say something about it, as I’ve been asked to write a mini-essay about the experience of being emportraited for the catalogue. But what will I say? Any ideas? Even though I’m *involved*, I’m still way underqualified to write about art, and never have before.

We’ve been here many times

March 9th, 2009

Who are you? Where are you going?

Outside of prose, my artistic experiments almost always deserve the fate they almost always receive, which is never to be seen by anyone but me. An exception to this is my “Identity Mural”: because that thing is up on the door of the Rose-coloured Ranch, more people see it than, say, my sonnets and sketches of eyeballs. And because I’m way too excited when I receive people’s business cards (shout-out: note most recent addition to the mural,a Trainspotting-esque card from Vepo Studios at bottom righ)t, some people who have never even been to the RCR have had cause to wonder what exactly it is. So, here ya go:

This is probably not even properly a mural, because it doesn’t form an image out of all the disparate parts. It’s just a bunch of stuff stuck to a door, really–I told you I should stick to prose. But this thing is something I’m partial to, because it combines three things I like especially: other people, public transit, and my own name. Here’s what’s there:
–business cards of people I have met
–expired ID of my own
–expired Metro passes
–three name tags–one that says, “Who are you?” one that says, “Where are you going?” and one that is blank
–in the centre of it all, the peephole to my front door
–a *lot* of scotch tape–I, like Ramona Quimby, think scotch tape is god

A little random, a little fun. I am fond of my mural, unmurallike as it may be. And trust me, it’s way better than the sonnets.

I’ve got my sights on / and I’m ready to go

November 8th, 2008

Adults in the eyes of the community

Here’s P. and I exiting the bar (bat) mitzvah machine. I post this because I know some wanted to see what it looked like, and this is sort of a poor shot of everything, but it’s the best I can do. And it does show us having fun, which is always a nice thing to have a picture of!

November 4th, 2008

Rose-coloured Reviews The Incredible Bar Mitzvah Machine

Everytime I’ve heard tell, or even asked a pointed question regarding the The Incredible Bar Mitzvah Machine information has been vague, mainly regarding the history of the project and not what it actually does. This review will mainly follow that circumspection, as the mystery of what’s inside is half the fun, and because the history and the outside of the project is a sufficient other half.

So! The Bar Mitzvah Machine was built in memory of the artist Charles Katz, who was talented, ironic, well-friended, Jewish and dyslexic. He was unable to complete the reading necessary for his bar mitzvah because of the dyslexia, and years later began to talk of a machine that would provide a stressless solution to this miss. He died sadly young, in his fifties, and because he was well-friended, there was an immediate urge to do something to commemorate his life and his loss.

The suggestion that the artists who knew and loved Mr. Katz actually *make* the bar mitzvah machine was mainly laughed out of the cafe, but someone wrote it up and submitted it to Nuit Blanche and, when it was accepted, the gang rallied and actually made it. The machine was a tremendous success at the 2008 event.

So what is it? A retrofitted photobooth with a tallis for a curtain )go to the link to see the pic–it makes perfect sense once you do). Inside is a touch screen that will take you through a very very *very* fast and loose approximation of the Hebrew texts necessary to become an adult in the eyes of God and the Jewish community. Then you emerge from the booth, and here is the best part, according to me–the artists and people waiting in line for the machine play the parts of your loving extended family! Cheering! Throwing candy at you! Photography and congratulations, maybe even a hug!

It’s friendly, it’s funny, and it may make you think about your community, if thinking is something you are inclined to do. And you get a certificate at the end that outlines your newfound adult responsibilities…mainly but not exclusively to do with party attendence.

Mazel tov!

I’ve been all right

September 18th, 2008

Rumours of Asia

I have always had a pair of brass sculptures of Thai dancers. These are young women with high pointed headdresses and sinuously flailing arms. The arms are brassed in mid-motion pushing through the air–on each body, one hand high, one low. When you arrange them with the lowered hands touching, as I always do, they form a wave with their arms. Their faces are impassive, more impassive even than you’d imagine for being formed from metal. Their arrangement is also impassive to me, though you could put them together another way or even just have each on it’s own. But why would you, when you could the wave.

I have no idea how I ended up with these; their presence in my life predates memory. Almost certainly, they were given to me, as I was not shopping for objets d’art, or anything, in nursery school. Of course, a heavy pointed metal objet seems a spectacularly inappropriate gift for a nursery scholar, but it never occured to me to play with them in a way that could result in me or anyone getting hurt. I have always just kept them on shelves or tables, in the hands-touching arrangement. Until:

B (picking one up): This is an unusually weapon-like hat, isn’t it?

Me: Put it down.

B: You could kill some with this, probably. (gesturing Macbeth-like at me) Stab stab.

Me: Put it down put it down.

B: Fine (puts it down the wrong way, so that the wave is flawed)

Me: It goes on the other side of the first one.

B: (moving it) And do you want me to flick the lights on and off 25 times?

Me: With their hands touching!!!

B: That’s a complicated way of saying yes.


B: (nudges them so that they are again perfectly arranged) You’re gonna miss me.

B. is in fact my brother, whose presence in my life also predates memory, and whom I will indeed miss when, tomorrow, he moves to Tokyo. For someone who likes things consistently arranged, it’s hard when a loved one flies off to the antipodes. But there is a bright side to this, of course (in addition to B. having a wonderful year abroad): watch this space in Spring 2009, when Rose-coloured reviews the Tokyo transit system. I can’t wait, can you?

I can barely stop

August 10th, 2008

Cover Story

However long I wind up staying in this business of book-making, I am sure the anecdote of how *Once* got its cover will remain one of my favourites. And not even only because the book ended up looking exactly how I had dreamed it would. I really like how the cover came about from a bunch of different cool people being creative together. Most of the time, the actual writing of anything is pretty anecdote-free: “And then I worked constantly on the story for seven weeks, and it still turned out sort of incoherent, so then I rewrote it again”—not really an anecdote. Quite often I’m having a good time on my own (I wouldn’t do it otherwise) but there’s rarely anything to report other than when my computer crashes. It’s only when you are working with other people that things, in my opinion, get interesting.

So for a long time I had a quite distinct vision of the the cover image I wanted, but I didn’t say anything about it because the author doesn’t necessarily get to–it depends on everybody’s process at the publishing house, time, patience, etc. Actually, when Dan Wells from Biblioasis did ask me, at a launch for another book, what I wanted for the cover, I was so startled I said I didn’t know! Later, of course, I retracted this and said I wanted a photo of people sitting on a bus, each person alone and not making eye-contact with the camera, staring out windows or reading, muffled by winter clothes.

Sound familiar?

Dan said that sounded good (I was thrilled!) and promised to look for stock images for me. Later, I think it occurred to both of us that maybe lonely cold people on busses don’t so much like having their pictures taken, and that these images might turn out to be hard to find…

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, I was spending the day writing with my friend Emily (a fine writer and artist, with no web presence, sadly). On the way home, we were sitting in the subway station and to pass the time she pulled out a stack of slightly imperfect linocut prints her artist-friend Marta Chudolinska had been on the verge of throwing out. Em and I were both rather stunned at what passes for imperfect with some people–they were all haunting lovely images of bedrooms and dreams and…people on a bus.

“That’s my cover!” I think I said rather loudly.. Emily was happy for me to have found something I wanted so much, even though she was sorry that I was taking away her picture (I did eventually return it). This was just a few days before the Panel in Peterborough, which is actually the only time I’ve been in the same room as both Dan and John Metcalf, who edited *Once*. I was *dying* to show them Marta’s image, sure it was perfect, yet *I* don’t make covers, so what do I know about finding the ideal image to start with. It’s a long way from linocut to finished cover layout, but Dan said he thought he could do it and both him and John the image was pretty damn good.

And then, a couple weeks later, I had this gorgeous cover, which I can’t show you right now because Blogger is being difficult. There’s a tiny version is over at right, if I haven’t already shown it to you 12 000 times. Which is a good indication of my level of involvement in this whole process. I have no idea how Marta took the idea into linocut form, or how Dan took the linocut into book-cover form, so this story is missing some key chunks. I just think it’s pretty amazing that I get to play on the team at all, and I wanted to share.

Set my body free

June 4th, 2008

Look! A book!

Linocut print by Marta Chudolinska
Book design by Daniel Wells
Content by meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I cannot pretend to be calm about this.

This energy beneath my feet

PS–My scanner/blogger/the universe is being difficult and cutting off the bottom of the cover–it is a yellow band that says, “Winner of the Metcalf-Rooke Award” and is fully as beautiful as the rest the thing.

September 23rd, 2007

Weekend in quotes

“[Cheryl Ruddock] builds and then buries layer after layer of colour, image, and idea.” –Minnie King on the fix temporal exhibit at Xe Xe Gallery

“Eating the bones is easy; fry them crisp, tear bread. Eating the bones is something no one does now. There is no step between stopping bone-eating and stopping herring-earting. No one eats herring in the other houses. They eat boiled ham, peanut butter, cheese slices not sliced from anything.”
–Kathleen Winter, “Eating the Bones,” boYs

“If you never say your name out loud to anyone / they can never ever call you by it.”
Regina Spektor, “Better,” Begin to Hope


May 11th, 2007

Colour wheel

In addition to myriad fine-motor-skill deficits, my inability to grasp the colour wheel also held me back in elementary school art. Complementary colours seemed a rather random game to me. Mainly I couldn’t draw/paint/sculpt anything that looked like anything, but the colour wheel was factor in those Cs, too.

Really, green and blue *can’t* clash, can they? Shimmery green leaves and brilliant blue sky? Grey-green shadowy water and blue-green sun-lit water? Perfectly complementary. Jaime used to say, “Blue and green should never be seen, except for in the washing machine,” and perhaps as a sartorial choice, the combination lacks something, but in nature…

I’ve been running in the valley again, can you tell? Oh, big clear city! From down there, early in the morning, you can’t even imagine smog. Now my knees hurt, but I don’t care–too perfect.

In other news, I got my meanest rejection letter ever today. I’m sort of jazzed by it. Perhaps because in the SIX MONTHS it took them to respond, I had already made the suggested changes. Perhaps because anything is better than the form letter paper-clipped to a single page from your story because the letter doesn’t even have the story title in it (maybe even worse, the story name the only thing typed in Times New Roman, while the rest of the letter is in Ariel, or vice versa, or whatever typographic slight can be mustered). Perhaps because irritation takes energy and I’m always flattered when editors expend any energy on my work.

Perhaps I am deluding myself. But I’m still in a good mood.

Younger and prettier / but no better off

« Previous Page
So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

Now and Next

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Me

Good Reads

What People are saying!


Search the site