Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Lobster Trap

Home of the Giant Lobster: Shediac, New Brunswick. I used to go to Shediac to swim in the Northumberland Straight at Parlee Beach when I was a kid. An hour's drive from Moncton. And I don't remember seeing this giant lobster statue. Must be new. Or I was too concerned with wrestling up some fried beach clams.

I like to eat lobster as much as the next person, but inhumane treatment of any living thing is absolutely unnecessary. Particularly since we have these big brain cavity's that we can use to prevent such a thing.

So I was at my local Metro grocery store and saw a stack of lobsters sitting in a styrofoam cooler. A few pebbles of ice at the bottom to cool the bottom lobster's rears. But that was it. The top little guys were turning stiff.

So I wrote a letter to Metro:


I was at my local Metro store today and wanted to write to your organization about something that I believe to be an inhumane treatment of living lobsters.

The lobsters were placed in a small styrofoam container with only ice, no water. They can only survive for two days (or less) like this. They need to be in a certain amount of salted water, and also to be fed, and if they are too close to each other, they will actually start to feed on each other, as strange at that may seem! They can not be stored in plain fresh water, in closed plastic bags, or simply left in the open like I saw them.

I approached the management who told me they didn't have the facilities to house the lobsters and only could put ice on them. I told her that simply wasn't the way to allow them to survive and suggested the above helpful notes. I truly hope they are taken into consideration.

I hope that this isn't your policy in all your grocery stores, and that something can be done throughout your stores as soon as possible to remedy this situation, as not only will shellfish not survive for long with this treatment, but they will also suffer needlessly.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I felt like an idiot, but I marched right up to the Metro office and requested they change their lobster-housing policy. I was looked at like an idiot. They forced me to say that I was from New Brunswick and that I knew a thing or two about lobsters. They said they didn't have the facilities to house them. Simple as that.

If anyone else would like to join the lobster march, you can send them a letter here: http://www.metro.ca/Client/en/Corporatif/NousRejoindre/NousRejoindre.asp
They are also affiliated with Super C and Loeb--three stores I'm avoiding until I see some Lobster Improvement!

Anyway, that's how it is for today, Tuesday, May 30th. I'm going to Loblaws now to buy some tofu.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Jean-Luc Godard

All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.

I pity the French Cinema because it has no money. I pity the American Cinema because it has no ideas.

The truth is that there is no terror untempered by some great moral idea.

To be or not to be. That's not really a question.

Every edit is a lie.

Filmaker Jean-Luc Godard sure has some interesting ideas. I can't tell you how in love I am with his movie I saw last month(A Bout De Souffle). I've decided to seek out more of his work and personal philosophy.

Wikipedia says of his Marxist leanings: "A constant refrain throughout Godard's cinematic period is that of the bourgeoisie’s consumerism, the commodification of daily life and activity, and man’s alienation — all central issues of Marx’s condemning analysis of capitalism."

Alienation? Hello. Everytime I turn a CanLit theory page it seems someone's referencing this modern poet or that and their "nature vs. man" "alienation vs. modernity", etcetera. We're all alone. I get it. The woods echo our grief. Yadayada.

But, interesting about Godard's Marxist-wing. I wish I could be a Marxist. But I know it's just nogood-nomore. It's only partly good. I could be a small "m" marxist. But only on odd days of the week. Or, I could adopt socialism. Wait, I already mostly do. Which is also why Poor Things is so fantastic a book. But I do own a car. It's a very little car, but I know some socialist folk would not take kindly to that. Or maybe I'm thinking of the bohemians. (do they still exist? or have they sadly only become small "a" activists...)

If I had money, any money at all, I'd want to make a French film. (After buying that new guitar I'd want, of course.)
If every edit is a lie, then every edit is a tampering with the truth.

Or, as Allen Ginsberg believed, in writing with a technique he called "First Thought, Best Thought", "the phrase he used to describe spontaneous and fearless writing—-a way of “telling the truth” that arises from naked and authentic experience" (http://soundstruestore.stores.yahoo.net/aw00823d.html), one can achieve a completely unedited and real experience.

Problem with this is, there are some people who can write first, original thoughts that do not require tampering with, that are brilliant in and of themselves, but others who's work would be tooth-pullingly painful to get through. In fact, I think there are some of those books being published right now. In this country. And they've even been edited. So that makes them, what, lies? Or just bad writing? Likely both.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I am thrilled

Alasdair Gray has a blog.

His book "Poor Things" is changing my life. I was a child, a type of searcher, seeking types of things I had no definitions for. This book has parented me. More on that later, maybe. I am currently experiencing the commonly known 'book high', if that's what it's commonly known as.

He also has a Web site.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I want one

If you know of anyone getting rid of (that means cheap) any Fender Telecaster guitars, I want one. Particularly if it's a shell pink 1969 electric, like this one:

Surf Green is a cool colour too. Also interested in this new model. But I have exactly, like, one dollar. I think it's more than that.

Also wouldn't mind a vintage like Silvertone, Danelectro, Gretsch Jet, Supro, or even a Mustang.

Maybe I'll find some gem in a grandma's basement in Moncton next time I'm down. Something a son used to play. Something for, like, 5 bucks. Here's hoping.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

You think literature is everything

"You people are living in a fairyland. You think literature is everything. You eat literature. Now in this house, we eat goose for instance. Yeah, it's almost done now."

Henry Miller
Anyone know how to repair an old UNDERWOOD typewriter?

the disease of the dancing is

the recital
is late
it has already begun
there is dancing and
a lot of reappearing
and words make comfort
stand by the punch bowl for hours

in making there is music
the fashion sits for days
a little making there is already

in sickness there is movement
like dancing

in time
the music begins
the movement in time

in time
in the key of

the disease is

A Date with UBUWEB: having Henry Miller and Gertrude Stein over for tea

Miller and naked lady friend.

"He has magenta eyes like old fashioned vest buttons"

Listening to "Jabberwhorl Cronstadt", a selection from Henry Miller's "Black Spring". Miller is one of those authors I keep returning to. His deftness in describing the rawness of a thing with such exactness and seeming innumerability always astounds me. It is so precise, yet so ornate without seeming so. It is his quality of raw that I especially appreciate, how it occupies the virgin space of an ear or a page so effortlessly, and yet with such force and delicacy (the perfect sexual act, if you ask me, which may be entirely intentional on his part). His text, and especially his reading of his text, makes me wanna smash my typewriter to the ground, then pick up the pieces, meticulously glue them back together, and type out a broken soliloquy. His writing is just that gorgeous.

In Tropic of Cancer (which I've now pulled from my bookshelf) I have written on the very first page "this is a prolonged insult" (I always destroy my texts with notes while reading--somehow it helps me to recreate them and appropriate them. No one else has read the text the same way, I think, and so it becomes quite personal, and in return, I come to own the text myself). Reading down a little further, Miller writes:

"I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive. A year ago, six months ago, I though that I was an artist. I no longer think about it, I am. Everything that was literature has fallen from me. There are no more books to be written, thank God.

This then? This is not a book. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty... what you will."

I love that he capitalizes Art, Time, Destiny... back when people believed in Destiny. Do they still?

It strikes me that he often runs on with the sentences. Long lists of things, especially in "Jabberwhorl Cronstadt". (Incidentally, I looked up the word "Cronstadt" and found "Kronstadt"--a place in Russia. Does anyone happen to know the connection?)

So I compared Henry Miller to Gertrude Stein.

Who else seems to have a sense of continual perpetuation of meaning or interpretive lengths of words, but Stein. I can't believe that on a Sunday of the May long weekend I'm stuck at home with no money and as a result of looking for things to do (having cleaned my room entirely, even changed it around to prepare for new comfy red velvet reading chair) I've decided to seek out threads that unite Stein and Miller. I'm sure a thousand feminists are grabbing their crotches in protest and thrusting in my direction (forgive the crude imagery. I'm from Moncton. And I'm reading Henry Miller).

I see it. It's there. They are connected. Miller, perhaps unconsciously at first, creating a perfect balance of elements in a given chapter, with one section heavy on description, another on dialogue, but each fluctuating little, focusing rather on how to involve the reader in the text's depths through subtle use of repeated words and connectivity of objects and feelings, and of course, desires. Not just basic human sexual desires, but desires for all things. For needs, for wants. Like an infection, desire. Maybe Miller's texts are infected. If so, then Stein's are diseased. A good disease, of course. I'm so entirely in love with both of them that maybe I'm drawing my own fabulaic parallels. Maybe trying to bind two disparate things, creating an unconscious metalepses somehow. But really, I can't help what I see. Stein's validations (not repititions), being continuous and fluid in nature, seeming to affect all things, is disease-worthy in definition at least. I'm sure she'd want to recalibrate the meaning of disease. Something like "the sickness is not in the thing. the thing which bears the sickness is not in. the thing which is the bearing in is not the thing. the disease which was the sickness is not the thing. the thing which is not the disease which is the sickness meaning is not the thing. the thing is not the disease." Or something like that. It seems odd to compare the two. Stein's work, whether deliberately or not, in most ways shattered the meanings of things, so that as a direct result the patriarchal, old-man-system, of "language" and "meaning" was recreated. Well, maybe not recreated really, but certainly OPENED WIDE UP, whereas before, things meant things. And that was it. New worlds were Stein's specialty. I love her for it. Seems odd to compare her with "patriarchal" Miller, but really, I think if a lot of his blatant obvious "meaning" were further looked into, we'd all discover a very serious conscious brilliance of other meaning, and other consciousnesses that exist. I see it.

So, my tea is cold and I need to get a fresh cup--or else I'd go on about Miller's own repetition. There's so much of it--such gems of repetition on literature and poetry and basic human needs (you should hear what he says about poetry, fantastic). What fun. It's raining here. What else am I supposed to do.

Hey, is this what writers do when they're broke? They write? It's a wonder we don't write all the time.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It is late in the morning or early in the day. Hollywood tells me new lies. Or old ones I'd forgotten. Or, it is sex.

Tortoise Shout

I thought he was dumb,
I said he was dumb,
Yet I have heard him cry.

First faint scream,
Out of life's unfathomable dawn,
Far off, so far, like a madness, under the horizon's dawning
Far, far off, far scream.

Why were we crucified into sex?
Why were we not left rounded off, and finished in our-
As we began,
As he certainly began, so perfectly alone?

A far, was-it-audible scream,
Or did it sound on the plasm direct?

Worse than the cry of the new-born,
A scream,
A yell,
A shout,
A paean,
A death-agony,
A birth-cry,
A submission,
All tiny, tiny, far away, reptile under the first dawn.


D.H. Lawrence

(I think I am in love with too many dead guys.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

If anyone's keeping track...

I seem to be doin ok. Maybe everyone will forgive me for ignoring them senseless these last 8 months. I realize my posting my grades is highly ridiculous, but I don't care. I'm old and I can do what I want. And, considering how I spent my first year of higher education in the pot-perfumed basement of a neighbouring boyfriend's rented house, I've managed to do significantly better this time around. They say that's the way it is when you know what you want.

I have beside me piles of paper which I am choosing to ignore. My taxes are in one pile. I will have to reach out for them soon. Very soon. And I should. I might just get a couple bucks back.

Read this

Reading POOR THINGS by Alasdair Gray. Absolutely fantastical, bizarre, and delightful novel about many good (poor) things. I love my Scottish Literature summer class.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Welsh Hours

I am part Welsh, part Irish. Mostly. That said, I am claiming my WELSH HOURS (see pic at left), those moody-mood hours, which is precisely what Richard Burton, while still married to Liz Taylor, in the February 1965 issue of Cosmopolitan decreed. The magazine, incidently, was given to me by Phil Hall after I oogled it for hours one day last summer at his incredibly gorgeous treasure trove cottage hideaway: thank you, Phil. You have a fabulous new book. You're one cool leftist. And I share with you the same opinion of poetry unfolding as a jacknife. It has a little spoon, even, to scoop up with. And a corkscrew, to unscrew things...? Not sure how to appropriate the nail file in terms of poetic process, but I'll find a way.

I will be reviewing lots of things here in the coming weeks (Thank you JP for review copies of Apostrophe, Dreadful Paris, and Canada Post). Now that I am not rushing about to write essay after essay I will have some time to absorb and reflect. It was pure madness not having written an essay in, oh, 10 years, and then to have to write a slew of them. Madness! But it's over. At least til next week. I've taken on a summer course you see (Contemporary Scottish Lit, and with a real cool Scot too). I think I'm addicted to academia. Is there help available? Do I have to join a support group?

I have some time to write again too. Which is good, because although it's fun to read 10 Greek dramas-a slew of Canadian modernist poetry-tons of American fiction-and first year creative writing fiction stories in 3 months, I need to get busy with my own stuff. Or I'll have to start calling myself an academic. And I hardly have the vocabulary to support it.

Welsh hours are fun hours. Selfish desolate leave-me-alone-I'm-writing hours. We all need em.

Found out A.L. Kennedy is popping-in to Concordia for their Writers Read event next winter. I'm extremely excited (too, because I'll be creating the new Writers Read site, which is fabulous because up until that came through, I had no summer job). I adore her and her work. She is a vital human being. In some ways Sina Queyras reminds me of her. Still have to get my hands on Lemon Hound... I would simply ask the publisher for it, I mean I did already review one of their spring books and didn't get a copy, so I'm sure they'd be understanding, but really, I feel awful. Just awful about something. A little while ago I asked two publishers for two very specific books. One publisher sent me two. The other discovered I liked a certain author and sent me, oh, about 8 books. Man. And I still haven't reviewed THOSE books. So, I think I should start with those. It's not too late is it? God I hope not. I feel awful about it. I'm the reviewer who doesn't review. Much.


If you see this man, could you please direct him to Montreal? I'd like to get married please.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Vibrators, and a little Spinoza

Love that nipply shirt.

In 1976 The Vibrators came on the scene in "new wave" punk London. Their first gig was with The Stranglers (ever heard Golden Brown? One of my fav's). Vib's also played with the Sex Pistols, Clash, Iggy, Bowie, and guitar great Chris Spedding. You should check out their songs, like London Girls and Sweet Sweet Heart, both on their Pure Mania CD.

So they were in Montreal. And I got a picture.

They're real sweet hearts too. And can still rock.

Their line up has shifted over the years, but their last addition, bassist Pete, is awesome. Even after falling into a corner after the first encore (which included snotty Montreal punks getting on stage and grabbing the mic to yell stuff at the poor sweaty guys) they came back for more. Another 3 songs. Great! Pete let us know what bastards they were for demanding more, but through clenched teeth, smiled anyway. After calling them all bastards, that is. I felt bad too, not a lot of people were buying stuff after the show. Mostly broke ass punks, so probably not a lot of money in the place, or most being spent on beer/drugs. The usual. But I had to buy something. It was kinda sad. I mean, the tickets were cheap at 10 bucks, so they're probably not making a lot of money touring, and considering they've been doing this for 30 years, they must be pretty sick of not making money. Not that real stuff ever equals itself in monetary value anyway--look at poetry. It's not fair. Why don't people celebrate great talent like these guys? Knox is a fantastic songwriter and the songs are amazing. Maybe I'm being naive. Maybe they are celebrated in alternate ways that make it all worth it. I mean, in the end, the music is payment enough right? Yeah right.

It was a little strange though. Drummer Eddie seemed to now and then be playing to the crowd, in asking "what do you want to hear" and almost bowing to them so that the show became something everyone could participate in. Which is cool, but all the punk was out of it. I suppose after 30 years you have alternate perspectives on things. A wife maybe, kids. Grandkids. Who knows. Maybe on Sundays they sit around playing Scrabble and watching kids throw up on the carpet of their London flat. Or maybe they participate in marathons or tend to their herb gardens. I know Knox is a painter. Good one too. But I couldn't help but think that somehow they were selling punk. And you can't sell punk. That just takes the reality out of it. Or maybe it doesn't, sadly.

Quick note on the two opening bands. They were awful. Copies of crap that's been around for 20 years. Real stupid in that trying-to-be-punk way.

I was thinking why it is that I love punk so much. It's simple, really. It's our insides, turned out. Raw. Real. Nothing to hide behind. I mean, people were spitting. It was kinda gross.

Reading Spinoza's Ethics last night. My roomate gave me an ink bottle and a real feather pen to write with for my birthday. So I was dipping, writing, til 2. Took some time to draw black ink flowers on my fingernails too. I mean, what else are you supposed to do with ink? Really enjoying the Spinoza. Love how it flows from sequence to sequence, and references previous logical proofs and makes tidy, well-thought-out, and generously intelligent claims about the nature of existence. Rationalism saved me when I was 21 and discovered such things in first year philosophy class. My first love?

Rainy afternoon in Montreal. Going to the library soon to finish my last essay....listening to the pistols.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Betty Page reading.

Just saw the Betty Page movie. Despite feeling somewhat creepy everytime I heard the name Betty (an aunt's name I have), the film was a nice trip to nostalgic 70's New Brunswick (of all things!), which has always run a little 20 years behind. It was a sweet movie, actually. Gretchen Mol stayed true to character, which I was happy to see, as it could have turned so the other way. And in the end, I liked her. She was portrayed a nice girl who just got into some things she wasn't so aware of. It happens to us naive girls. In fact, I had to learn about sex from a book. When I was 11. From a girlfriend who laughed at my not knowing what a penis was. And what it did. Hoo-boy. What odd and ugly things they looked like to an innocent, bashful girl! And I remembered something tonight. You should always stay true to who you are. I forget that everyday. A friend once told me, simply, to trust myself. I scribbled it down and posted it atop my computer to remind me. I forget the simplest things. And they are the best.

So I wrote down a memory I'm not sure I had. But it seems real:

they unwrap
in the front seats
small movements of
tearing, rubbing
against their backs
on purple
a little way to go before
my head is bent into
this coat
one side of the face
pressed into the jacket
the light is off me now,
I have waited my whole life
for this moment
to be in the dark
against this cold plastic.
a radio song,
its slow rhythm.
the zipper warm,
into my cheek.
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