Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recuerdo - Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable--
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry--
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, like a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, 'Good morrow, mother!' to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, 'God bless you!' for the apples and the pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.


The plan for today involves blankets, the flannel pajama pants I stole from Tim, a pile of books, a pen, a postcard, and OpenOffice. It does not seem to involve a shower, or a bra, or proper meals. Among other things, I have a postcard from Glynis to respond to. It is hard for me to admit, but as often as not, this outward laziness is my best creative catalyst, and sometimes staying in bed all day is the hardest thing (but the most productive thing) for me to do. What can I say? I come by it honestly. You all know that writers look dingy and haggard when surprised by the media while at work, or else are in the bathtub smoking cigars.

If you are worried, this won't last long. Tim's parents are due for supper here at six, and tomorrow I'm at the deli all day before I fly off to a Metric concert.

Happy Thursday, you all!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Since opening a shop of my own, I've been spending more time on Etsy. And I've come to notice my enthusiasm for Nice Things being renewed. Not only have I wanted to buy things (spoiler: mint green leather shoes are soon to be sported), but I've wanted to make (more) things, and to properly fix the things I have, and to invent new designs, and to perfect my techniques.

I had no idea so many people were so skilled, that so many beautiful objects existed.


Today's posies. My lettuce is blooming like there's no tomorrow. (Which there isn't, for it.)

Inventor envelopes

These are in the Etsy shop. I made them today. Tim lent me his Swiss Army knife (because my pocket knife is too lethal) for the scoring, so you know these are thoroughly, thoroughly scored.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Another Contest!

I have received four requests for another writing contest, and I am all too happy to oblige! As before, creative writing of any sort is submittable, and you may enter as many times as your like. Plagiarism is strictly prohibited, obviously. Two winning entries will be published in Tom-Tom #8. The deadline is August 10.

Please email entries to

To Do

- finish the dishes: done
- wipe the counters: done
- sweep the floor: done
- vacuum: done
- ship a set of envelopes
- clean my desk: done
- laundry: done
- banking: done
- make pizza dough: made stir-fry instead
- write
- read: The Stuff of Thought, American Gods
- run: went for a long walk instead
- gather some flowers: done
- drink at least one glass of wine: done
- water the tomatoes

Friday, July 23, 2010

The warp and The weft

The warp

warped Yorkshire
when it rained.
Wet sheep.
My dad,
painting in oil
drained the ground
of greens and blues.
I drew
with a common
black pencil
in front of him
I left for London.

The weft

wove me close to one
man twice.
We took off.
staring through the eyes
of an angora
goat, handed me
colored yarn,
a teacher.
In wool
I was told
to paint Yorkshire.

I had the pleasure of composing this poem for Karen. From one artist to another. Enjoy!

July 23

On Wednesday, after a bit of a lapse, I started riding my bike again. I feel more and more that I need (very) regular exercise and good food to stay sane and healthy. Summer does not last forever, however, and I am not going to fool myself into thinking I'll ride my bike when it's icy outside, and minus 30 C. So today I need to say hello to running, my old nemesis. I also have to go to work for the first time since I cut myself. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

maybe I woulda been something you'd be good at

I do think my life has been somewhat lacking up to this point. I began listening to Tegan and Sara last night, and have not stopped. Those are two sexy sexy, talented twins.

The hurt finger is back in full swing today. The flap begins to reattach, and although it is bruised, I've got feeling back. I've been washing dishes, cutting flowers, and making business cards all day. Frustrating being without the use of only one finger, for only a couple of days. I appreciate my hands, and being able to use them, immensely.

The weaver likes the first draft of her commission. I'm thrilled, relieved, and ready to finish the poem for her.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just like Donne

This is my hair. I think I'll like it a tad better when it's grown about half an inch, but it sure is cute now.

I am about to start work on round two of my first commissioned poem. A weaver from Argentina has asked me to write a piece for her, and I am throwing myself into the challenge. It's been more difficult than I thought it would be, trying to write from her perspective, hoping I'm not being too presumptuous. After all, all I know of her I know from an Etsy shop and a few short messages.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

poetry for the confused, amused, and unenthused (and a giveaway)

I printed and stitched up copies of the book last night. 16 short chapters, providing complete instructions for beginning to read poetry. Complete I tell you, complete. And friendly, too. I can be very friendly in print. I would love to send a book to each and every one of you. Unfortunately, the cost would kill me. Only the first person to comment on this post gets a free one. I am however, planning to list them in the Etsy shop today.

(I dedicated this book to Tim. If I want anyone to understand poetry, I want him to.

No crises today

I swear I never want to sleep in again. Yesterday morning I woke up to a clock which read 12:07. I hate knowing that half the day has gone on without me. I become frantic and pitiful when I am left behind.


work on the poetry commission
format and reprint TT #4
a new Etsy banner
350 photos to sort and edit
listing the new book
attentive attention to my library books
washing the windows?

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14, 6:22 pm

I am afraid that, despite my best intentions, I am shipwrecking worse than The Noisy Plume ever did. My house is dirty and ugly, the presence of anyone is disturbing me, my hair is a mess, and I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO BEFORE I CAN READ MY LIBRARY BOOKS. Ugh. Deep breath. Off to put on make-up, fix my hair, and write up a list.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

little boats

I finished the book. Tim really likes it. He thinks it's good. I can't wait to print it up and put it in the Etsy shop. I drew a cover for it too.

I'm back.

Monday, July 12, 2010



As you can see from the sidebar to your right, many of the blogs I read, and follow like a shy, snooty cat, are written by people of zest, creativity, and a strong work ethic. They know what makes them leap up in the morning, and they leap up to do that very thing. They are dead-set on becoming masters of their craft, be it drawing, silversmithing, cabbing, enameling, tooling leather, sewing, sculpting, or bookmaking. Their days are free, because they are so focussed that they find ideas and fresh inspiration everywhere.

These past few months, I have felt resistant to my own work. I've vaguely wanted to write, but I have not sat down at my writing table. I have not taken the notebook out of my purse, or kept it beside the bed at night. I've wanted to make things with my hands, to talk to my husband, to sleep, to wear lipstick, to cook, and writing became too alien an activity. I was afraid of being caught up in something that affects me like heroin, making the rest of life pale in comparison, driving me to distraction.

I am trying to break through. I am trying to accept the craziness of the writing life, because there is nothing I love better in the world.

I've started a new project. I am writing a short book of instructions on reading poetry, for the novice. I want visual types, and athletic types, and math types to understand poetry, and grow to love it. Many of them don't know how to approach a poem, I think.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8

Goodness. I don't think I will ever venture into the Etsy forums again. Those critique-the-shop-above-you threads are simply brutal.

Believe it or not, I spent the day writing a book.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Science of Sleep - a wonderful film

"I am collecting beautiful objects. A pair of shoes. Some glasses. A telephone. Typewriter. They are made from wood and felt, with apparent stitches. Their delicate and finished appearance is friendly, and they are quiet. Stephanie made them and I will expose them in an exhibition. There's this amazing blanket. It's thick red felt with big white stitches. Wild animals are running in it. She smiles. I bend over a rock to try to reach her. But my stomach, compressed, hurts."

The Envelopes

Now in the Etsy shop!

page log - Tuesday

The Stuff of Thought - Steven Pinker: 26

grand total: 26

(the envelopes really got in the way)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

pushing the envelope

The reading schedule got pre-empted this morning by a bicycle trip to a posh stationary store downtown. I had a plan.

Two years ago (three?), while Tim and I were still leisurely dating, we used to take turns inventing novelty envelopes and origami boxes for the notes we wrote each other.
I came up with one that I still can't quite believe, it's so brilliant. This morning, I re-taught myself how to fold it, and decided that I was dying to see the effect of expensive paper on my design. So I shook Tim awake (four times), and off we pedaled to Notables, the place one goes in Edmonton if one is planning to spend thousands of dollars on invitations to a destination wedding in an Italian vineyard.

We bought some lovely crisp paper (apricot coloured, and white, five dollars for twelve sheets). On the way home, we stopped for a scoop of gelato. At home we ate pasta. I folded five envelopes. They're fit for a celebrity - so sleek, so cleverly self-sealing. I'll be listing them on Etsy either later tonight or tomorrow. Right now I've got some reading to do.

blonde feathers

Etsy is grand. I feel like a queen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

page log - Monday

The Stuff of Thought - Steven Pinker: 42
Writing Down the Bones - Natalie Goldberg: 19
American Gods - Neil Gaiman: 58

Grand Total: 119

Reading Week

I've been busy lately. I need to return to my books.

This week is reading week (not nationally officially, only in my house).

Reading shall be my main occupation, seconded probably by tea-drinking.

I'll log my pages read, here, at the end of each day.

It is summer vacation, after all. I'll pretend I'm in one of the reading competitions hosted by the local library for the under-twelves.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Things that have fascinated me

- Anne Frank
- letters and packages in the mail
- The Borrowers
- notes in library books
- old books
- Amelie
- Harriet the Spy
- diaries
- Sophie's World
- abstract patterns
- poetry
- Emily Dickinson
- heroes
- messages in silver balloons
- truth tests
- dissections and microscopes
- sprouting plants
- confessional graffiti
- faerie rings
- terrariums
- sea monkeys

Friday, July 2, 2010

peonies in the morning

I've waited for these to bloom.

A Concoction

1: Brew a big pot of pomegranate green(or cranberry or rosehip) tea. Let cool.
2: Mix with sugar and lemon juice to taste.
3: Add ice and frozen raspberries

July 2 (Happy Birthday, Sam)

Waiting to go to work, listening to recordings of Gwendolyn Brooks on The Poetry Archive, stitching zines. Sometimes I think I am so hopeful, that my opinion of myself is so elevated, that I cannot help but succeed--or fail miserably. At the same time it is quite likely that I will end up quite averagely.

I want to succeed. I want to write great poems, and I want people to love them. (The two go hand-in-hand.) How will I do it? Even when I ignore the present state of poetry-awareness in the world, I have to worry that I do not have great poems in me.

I've made 8 sales on Etsy. These strangers know nothing about Lizzy Derksen. Have I said anything they will understand anyway? Have I said anything they will recognize as unspoken in their own minds? Will they be back for more?

I don't know, and all of these pressing thoughts have to be put on the back burner until three o'clock.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1

It's Canada Day here in Canada, a day to laze around in front of the government buildings in one's swimsuit until the fireworks start. And that's just what we're going to do.