Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Scotty: It's ... uh, green.

My site has just emerged from refit. New design by Kurt Moyst. New content to be added soon to the "Grab Bag" page -- some polished stuff, some rough drafts.

And yes, it's green.

(Post title taken from Star Trek: "By Any Other Name.")

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Basics. Duh.

So I'm drafting a play. Three characters -- a nice change after the ensemble cast of Sky Waves -- and man, I know two of them better than I know myself. They've opened up to me, told me who they are, shared it all ... and off I go, two-thirds cocked.

Forgetting the third, perhaps most pivotal character.

Sure, he's meant to be mysterious -- but I can't write him effectively -- or make him properly and usefully mysterious -- if I don't know him.

I never did well with character sketch exercises in school. I can't design puppets. I might be able to give you brown hair, blue eyes, five foot seven, thin and likes to cut wood, but beyond that, my characters need to show me who they are. Must talk to me. And I must be ready to listen.

Time to go listen.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Things not to be at while alone in the house

Dark night, by myself, savouring solitude. Catch up on The X-Files, season two on DVD, yeah, something I never got to watch regularly when it was broadcast. Take neuralgia meds and a tiny Ativan to aid sleep despite pain ... hmm, not falling asleep, just feeling, well, held ... mildly unpleasant ... the screen rattles against the big door, tap-tap-tapping -- but the damn raven's already tattooed onto my chest, so I control the visitation of memory, right? Right? Watch Duane Barry and get deliciously scared. Watch Ascension and get quite unsettled -- stakes and motives and what's held dear. Tap-tap-tap. Must doze -- come to, mouth dry and tasting bitter, as though my throat's just been numbed with that bitter, bitter spray that suppresses the gag reflex just before endoscopy or, even more interestingly, ERCP ... tap-tap-tap ... drugged to the hilt once for an ERCP, including Valium, Versed, the throat spray and perhaps something else to concot "milk of amnesia" so that the patient forgets the procedure; this particular exam hits a snag when the doctor in charge of shoving endoscopic cameras into my stomach, bile and pancreatic ducts observes: --I'm stuck. Just need to push ... I heard that. I remember that. I remember sitting upright, choking on that damn hose and some fluid to see only professional backs as they all studied the X-ray image of the endoscope and my ducts ... immense sympathy for alien abductees at that moment, for the terror they suffer, whatever its explanation ... a nurse notices I'm up and choking, someone hauls out the hose -- but I remember it all -- tap-tap-tap ...

One Breath, with comatose Scully voyaging back after mysterious visits from her dead father and a non-existent nurse -- soothing. (And comical from another point of view, as Gillian Anderson had just given birth; in some takes her breasts are enormous with milk.) But I'm still awake.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gab stutter lisp -- WAM

Angela Antle interviewed me this morning about Sky Waves for broadcast on Weekend Arts Magazine this weekend.

Sometimes, for my own good, I wish I were more afraid of a microphone. Gab gab gab ...

Under discussion: questions of the muddy boundaries between history and fiction.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dream scraps

Teeth falling out, sockets black and deep .... cramming teeth back in ... teeth crumbling in my hands ...

Demented in public. Screaming. Water Street in the freezing rain; wearing only a thin black dress. Desperate for coherence. Cop on either arm. Struggling. Screaming. Thoughts clear, mouth possessed. Dragged to the lockup. Dark.

Locked in a corset -- that one's neuralgia.

Kneeling down to admire a wildflower -- becoming the wildflower -- pinched finger and thumb blocking the sun --

Finding a friend waiting for me in a diner booth -- packets of jam on the table in little piles -- long since fallen alseep because I'm hours late -- delighted he's still there -- reach out to wake him but am dragged away --

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bettie Page

The former 1950s pinup queen and bondage model -- the Dark Angel -- died earlier today at age 85.

What fascinates me most about Page: at what point in her photos is she being exploited, and at what point is she in control?

She had a rough go. Unhappy marriages, divorce stigma that kept her from working as a missionary, something she really wanted to do -- yes, missionary, not missionary position -- diagnosis of schizophrenia and subsequent hospitalizations, cheated out of royalties ... but there's strength in those photos. And beauty. More than just a bad girl. More than just a prop.

Post what?

Imagine this:

your skin has just been scalded ... and someone is slashing that skin with the metal edge of an old wooden ruler.

Shingles complication -- post herpetic neuralgia.

Like something out of Poe. Remember the pedulum?

Chanting: it's all material, I can use this; it's all material, I can use this ...

Sweet, hot, pungent:

I dare you to visit Full disclosure: it's owned by a friend of mine from high school, great guy named Cyril Butler, so yeah, I'm biased -- but I'm also impressed. stocks an almost evil range of hot sauces, mustards, spices, rubs, flavoured salts and Cowgirl Chocolate ... that is, good chocolate with cayenne and other delicious stuff in it. Lots of salt-free spice mixes, too. Come on, ya know ya want to ...

Heard it on the radio

Earlier this evening, while I was signing copies of Sky Waves at Coles in the Avalon Mall -- much of Sky Waves being set at the fictional VOIC Radio in St. John's -- VOCM's Claudette Barnes mentioned the book during one of her Happy Tree remote cut-ins -- and mentioned how how the novel draws on my time at VOCM.

Not sure if you can call that irony. I do call it wicked. Big toothy grin wicked.

Spark-gap transmission / Michelle Butler Hallett

Spark-gap transmission / Michelle Butler Hallett
in progress