5

Swashbuckling Adventures in the US

While relations between Canada and the States have been very strange, or even strained, I opt for taking a non-political view of things. I was rather interested in the swashbuckling adventures and various oddities I may encounter. As a Canadian passing through the Land of Opportunity, I did find many photo opportunities.

swashbuckling-adventures

I loved all the wacky statues, especially the Cap’n. When you go to Europe, you don’t really get much in the way of wackiness. All statues are very stern or at least respectable. They have some connection to history or politics. Not so on the Washington-Oregon border. The passage was marked by a great liquor store guarded by Captain Morgan himself.

paul-bunyan

Here’s the famous Paul Bunyan and his ox Babe. They have some historical/mythical significance… Whereas this donut…

kitsch-randys-donuts_35680_600x450

does not. Or does it?…

surfboard

And from monumental kitch to hidden gems… some artwork in an organic cafe tucked away in Trinidad, California. These are painted on real surfboards that had outlived their ocean career. It looks like I’m wearing a surfboard-shaped hat 🙂

surboard2

I just love the beaches of LA! My favorite incident was these two seagulls trying to loot our bags on Venice beach. These bags contained no food whatsoever, so I assume the seagulls were just having fun and satisfying their curiosity as they exuberantly set about pulling my red bikini and other accoutrements out of the bag. The one on the right looks like it’s smiling!

LootingGulls-adventuresin-the-us

Overall, I’m still not sure how to describe my American experience. This was only my second trip to California. The first one had inspired my novella Very Much Alive, which was focused on L.A. and its art scene. This second trip was mostly about unsuccessful attempts to surf the untamed beaches of northern Cal, still considered a new surfing frontier.

PaddlingInCurrentA

Here I am on a cool and windy day trying to paddle out while this insane current kept driving me away from my goal. It wasn’t a very successful outing!

Anyways, back to what I was saying about being unable to encompass my west coast US experience. I suppose that’s why I opted for photos instead. I think eventually it will make its way into my writing, with little fragments appearing here and there. The new novel I’m working on already has a healthy dose of surfing content and is partly based in L.A.

I hope these photos have been inspiring or at least amusing. Let me know what you think!

2

From Historical Fiction to a Time Travel Novel (that’s no way to treat a count)

Poor count morelli (my unpublished historical novel)! He has been second-guessed many times in the past year, and now his appearance is delayed because I’m  more excited about my time travel novel better.

This new novel is about a time traveling Dryad. It combines 17th century history with modern eco-feminism. What’s eco-femininsm, you might ask? I’m not quite sure myself, but I’m told my novel has it. Basically, it involves environmental issues, and it’s got a female protagonist who solves problems in a feminine way. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of “manly” battles, chases, and explosions. So, as usual with my writing, it’s kind of a mixed bag of everything.

Dryad will come out a few months from now, but I want to make sure everybody is as excited about it as I am. So to begin, here is what it’s about.

Dryad

time-travel-novelSolena is a dryad from the South American rainforest who is scorned by other dryads for her obsession with the human world.

But when the rain forest is threatened by a timber corporation, it is Solena who is chosen to prevent the disaster by going undercover in a human company.

What she discovers goes much deeper than simply the fate of the rainforest. The future of the world could be at stake.

The humans are going back in time in order to extract natural resources and circumvent environmental laws, and Solena is swept along on a journey back to the 17th century.

The dryad finds herself falling for the heir to the timber corporation, the handsome Rodney Love, but as her adventures take her back in time and deeper into the rainforest, she finds the possibility of another love, one that transcends time itself…

Who will win the dryad’s heart: a smooth-talking billionaire who graces the cover of Narcissism Carnival or a wild and unruly jungle warrior?

Are you getting excited??? Let me know what you think!

2

People with Bad Teeth

people-with-bad-teeth

Queen Elizabeth I of England was notoriously afraid of dentists. Who could blame her?

I’ve come to realize that I belong to a very exclusive and special, though unofficial, club: people with bad teeth.

At first, I was not pleased to hear the news. I’d gone through life thinking my teeth were doing rather well. They are not crooked or deformed and are rather more straight than most people’s. However, a dentist recently informed me that I have not one but two cavities!

At first this caused me much existential angst. Compounded with the news of the demise of Angelina Jolie’s breasts, this drove me to thoughts of the futility of life. With each passing moment, more and more of these parts of our body that make us beautiful tend to fall into disrepair and can only be fixed or replaced by very highly paid professionals.

But soon I tired of this negative thinking, because after all, any of these parts are theoretically replaceable, and even if they’re not, so many people do just fine without. We are still the same individual, and though we may lose teeth or breasts along the way, we never lose what is truly important — I’m talking, of course, about my beautiful hair.

To further cheer myself up I compiled this list of groups and individuals who have been particularly prone to dental issues:

1. Ancient Egyptians

2. Pirates

3. Queen Elizabeth I 

4. Shane McGowan (singer of The Pogues)

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (breed of dog with a swashbuckling name)

This is just a young McGowan with not-so-bad teeth. The current reality is much, much worse. Look it up if you dare.

This is just a young McGowan with not-so-bad teeth. The current reality is much, much worse. Look it up if you dare.

It would have been nice to include medieval knights, but surprisingly, people living in the Middle Ages didn’t suffer from particularly bad teeth. It seems they ate a healthy diet that didn’t contain any refined sugar.

But even without knights, it’s still a formidable list. Pirates are very cool, as are ancient egyptians. The Cavalier King Charles is a very noble breed. Shane McGowan is an amazing poet and singer. And it turns out, even Queen Elizabeth was known to scribble a verse or two once in a while.

The conclusion is clear: all of us great poets and other noble creatures are much too busy to take care of our teeth when we have better things to do, such as compose immortal verses. This is why I will accept the idea that imperfection is the heart of beauty, that bad teeth are a sign of talent, and I shall wear my cavities as a badge of honour (until one day I find a few moments in my busy life as a talented author to get them fixed).

3

Poem by Gregory Corso

I Am 25 by Gregory Corso

With a love a madness for Shelley
Chatterton Rimbaud
and the needy-yap of my youth
has gone from ear to ear:
I HATE OLD POETMEN!
Especially old poetmen who retract
who consult other old poetmen
who speak their youth in whispers,
saying:–I did those then
but that was then
that was then–
O I would quiet old men
say to them:–I am your friend
what you once were, thru me
you’ll be again–
Then at night in the confidence of their homes
rip out their apology-tongues
and steal their poems.

Now, this doesn’t mean I’m “ageist.” It’s more about the spirit of the “old at heart” poets and writers.

I wanted to post this poem by Gregory Corso, a beat poet, because I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom of expression and that youthful spirit of writing which I mentioned in a previous post. The beat poets of the 50s and 60s definitely had it, and I think many poets today still do.