Residency: Thursday Thoughts

Chaos

Residency
Thursday Thoughts
29 June 2017

Application:
I would not have applied for the residency at KIRA had I not have been encouraged to do so by my writing group friends and by a friendly voice on the Kingsbrae phone.

Acceptance:
I was surprised to receive notification of my acceptance. It arrived on 2 March 2017. On 3 March 2017, I started to peruse the Kingsbrae web page and make the first drafts of poems that I would later complete on site.

The Red Room:
I was lodged in The Red Room in the KIRA Residence and I had a small desk at a window overlooking Passamaquoddy Bay. I spent a whole month looking out of that window and writing at that desk … or was it the other way round?

Community Commitments:
These were multiple, but they were always art orientated and therefore most enjoyable. They included working with school children, attending various unveilings and openings, and being present in our studios and discussing our art with visitors. On 26 June we had an exhibition in which each one of us either showed our work or produced a live performance.

Evening Salons:
Most evenings we had a literary / artistic salon in which we discussed various aspects of our art. These lasted two to three hours and some were summarized while others were video-taped. These quick-fire exchanges provided a backbone to our daily work.

Trips:
There was time for local trips and we travelled, individually or in groups, to many places including Deer Island, Passamaquoddy, Campobello, St. Stephen, New River Beach, Holt’s Point, Greenlaw’s Mountain, Jarea, Minister’s Island, Ile Ste. Croix, and several other locations. The photographic records enabled us to build our creativity.

Artistic Development:
This was individual to each of us, but we all remarked on a widening of our perspectives, a new commitment to narrative and theme, and a broadening of our artistic horizons.

Returning Home:
On my return home, I turned to my everyday life in which art, in my case writing, was of secondary, not primary, importance. The need to cook, to shop, to do normal household duties suddenly conflicted, once again, with my need to be a writer.

24/7:
24/7 is indeed a cliché. But for 28 days it became the pattern of my writing life. It was indeed a fertile time. I wrote some 100 poems, 25% of which will be rejected, with a possible thematic structure and three revisions already completed. Sooner or later, I will produce a book about this experience..

Conclusions:
This type of time commitment turns us from budding /artists into the real thing. We must strive to re-create these last 28 days in what remains of our creative lives. There can be no lesser or secondary choice, if we are to be serious about our art.

The Journey:
If we wish to travel from Halifax to Vancouver by bus, we must make several decisions.
1. We cannot get off at Moncton.
2. We cannot get off at Montreal, nor at Toronto.
3. Winnipeg, Regina, and Calgary are beautiful; but we mustn’t get off the bus.
4. If we do, we will never get to Vancouver.

Conclusion:
Art is a life-time journey: don’t get off the bus.

 

Comparative: Wednesday Workshop

Comparative:
Wednesday Workshop
21 June, 2017 >< 28 June 2017

6:00 am
21 Wake up … start writing
28 Wake up … start packing

7:30 am
21 Stop writing … shower
28 Stop packing … shower

8:00 am
21 Breakfast
28 No Breakfast

9:00 am
21 Writing again
28 On road in car

11:00 am
21 Coffee break
28 Arrive home and make breakfast

11:30 am
21 Back to writing
28 Unpack and wash laundry

1:00 pm
21 Eat lunch downtown
28 Make lunch

2:30 pm
21 KIRA Statue unveiling
28 Supermarket for groceries

3:30 pm
21 Reception and studio visits
28 Unpack groceries and think ‘supper’

5:00 pm
21 Pre-supper conversation and drinks
28 Cook supper

6:00 pm
21 Eat supper
28 Eat supper

7:00 pm
21 Post supper art salon
28 Do post supper washing up and then watch TV

10:00 pm
21 Bed
28 Airport to meet late flight

Time

Time

Where is time going
when it overtakes me
in its speeding car
and leaves me lumbering
along life’s highway?

It’s after five to twelve
and the morning has flashed by.
The clock is about to strike,
and the afternoon draws near.
It too will vanish, a milestone,
millstone tied to day’s neck.

I remember the old days
when the big handed pointed to XI
and the small hand pointed to XII.

Now the clock is starting to strike.
I have left the last gas station way
behind me and my motor’s failing,
and my car is running out of gas.

Coming Together

Coming Together

A coming together of cultures,
these three statues,
placed equidistant,
forming an equilateral triangle,
all things being equal.

Three founding cultures:
English, French, Indigenous,
in alphabetical order.
They stand face to face to face,
a triangulation,
silhouetted in profile,
sharing positive and negative space.

At the center of their union,
at the still point where nothing moves,
a living, breathing space,
that takes away your breath.

When you breathe again,
you take in air
and light and sun and
hope renewed.

Faith runs tingling round your body,
hand in hand with joy and life
and love reborn.

Middens by Jarea

img_0359

Kingsbrae 25.4
25 June 2017

Middens by Jarea

Garbage dumps they are to us,
filled with childhood treasures,
shaped flints, arrowheads, spear
tips, scrapers for deer hide,
so many castaway items.

Garbage dumps to us, maybe,
but for the Passamaquoddy
who first settled this area
and lived on this shore,
these precious middens
are anything but dumps.

They are guide posts,
lighthouses in the moonlight,
signposts to point the way
for wayfarers and wanderers,
at high tide, low tide,
and especially when the mudflats
bathe beneath sun and moon
and the channels twist and turn,
serpentine labyrinths in their wanderings.

Garbage: we dig up what they have left,
expose past lives to scientific theories,
and destroy their navigational knowledge,
the science they left behind.

An Angel at Jarea

15 May 2002 Pre-Rimouski 141

Kingsbrae 25.3
25 June 2017

An Angel at Jarea

An angel moves through the room
in the silences between our chatter.
He fills the interstices of speech
with the wonder of feathers
enlightened by rainbows.

Tranquil his footsteps
as we sense his presence.
He places his hand on an arm,
his arm around our shoulders,
and now, commanding silence,
a finger on his lips.

We sit here
scared by our intimate inadequacies,
scarred by the fierceness of his immanence
as we sense the vacuum
of his soon-to-be absence.

Mist at Jarea

IMG_0012

Kingsbrae 25.2
25 June 2017

Mist at Jarea

Moving in with the tide,
drawing gauze curtains
over the islands,
climbing, so silent,
pebbles and rocks
to arrive at our windows
and block out the sun.

The mist’s grey face
presses against the panes.
Long lost friends,
come back to haunt us,
loom out of our past.

They bear memories
born beyond the mist,
living now in, and for, this mist.

They come stalking us and tap
with long, cold wisps of fingers
at locked windows and doors,
bolted so they can’t get in.

Jarea

PEI + bockle 2008 101

Kingsbrae 25.1
25 June 2017

Jarea

This is a glimpse of
how it might be.

Surrounded by paintings,
snapshots and memories,
all we have ever done
hanging on the walls
as if we were visiting
a gallery of our lives.

Impressions from our childhood
line up beside
expressions of our adolescence
and
abstracts extracted
from our more mature years.

Time,
we are running out of time,
and our here and now is
a quality of deafness leading us
into the next dimension.

We will see our whole life,
in that blink of an eye.
Then there will be farewells,
a sudden silence,
and we will be gone.