Tuesday, August 31, 2010

polar bear dip

like, literally.
74 degrees N

Sunday, August 29, 2010

this is how i work

“What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through.

I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art.

The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.”

Virginia Woolf
(And Alfred Einstein's desk.)

dairy dreams

Dairy Queen

This photograph means a thousand things and a thousand questions that stay with me long after I walk away.

I'll leave it at this.
At what point do people just start eating their ice cream inside the place where they bought it, where there are tables and chairs and other people we do not know?

Further reading on Justine Kurland is highly recommended for her ways of thinking about: girlhood, nomads, open roads, the Wild West, running away, mamahood, landscape and trains.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Reese House designed by Andrew Gellar in 1955 in Sagaponack, NY. Credited with creating the A-frame house trend that lasted from the mid-fifties through the seventies. And living for eternity with me. I am possibly super not cool.

Allow me to introduce my love for the A-frame house. Its inspirations are as follows:

  • Al Purdy's triangular dream house in Ameliasburgh, ON. It was beautifully crafted by his own hands and was kind of a scene of a literary generation (ow a trust has been created to try to preserve the home as a heritage site and a Writer-In-Residence program). Run out and buy The Al Purdy A-Frame Anthology. Lots of Al, lots of A-frame.

  • Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter. Entirely beautiful movie with amazing set design including a 70s-tastic open concept A-frame with a jungle of plants everywhere and a mattress on the floor.

  • general philosophies I have on the merits of roasting one's own coffee in a cast-iron skillet on a woodstove.

There is a wonderful, crumbling A-frame house here in Resolute. It's been long abandoned and there are rumours that it was never finished. These days it's mostly a place for kids to get in trouble (and/or seriously maimed), but I love it simply because of its shape.

I know, right. Shut up and get a tumblr.

If you also have way too much time on your hands, I totally recommend reading this interview with The Sweet Hereafter's costume designer.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The truth has been slowly whispering its way into my heart: I'm not one of them.

I might not be a northerner. Not a thirty-years in lifer, and probably not going to be one. Although I always wished I might be. You know those people with their romantic and rugged austerity in the face of those two mighty arctic elements: nature and time. For me, the words "polar night" are a bit scary.

At the root of the matter is the fact that I'm a farmer at heart (in whatever context the word could apply: I am a naturally-inclined homesteader, I am interested in planting seeds and gathering harvest and the husbandry of many good things), and this is a place with no farms.

That said, I'm not ready to retreat south of 60 yet. I've enjoyed many experiences and gifts in my arctic sojourn so far, and here are a few things I've learned:

  • I'm living in a town with a population of 200. This has taught me the safety of being known and knowing. The joy of acknowledging casual acquaintanceship. The excitement of being welcomed back.

  • the pleasures of living without a lot of stuff are many. I'm currently living out of two suitcases' worth of books, craft supplies and clothing, and doing just fine.

  • the pleasures of living without a lot of stuff to buy are also many. The only store in Resolute is about the size of my apartment's living room. This is not a downside.

  • learning to read and enjoy the sky just as much as the land.

  • Just a few telephone lines and the sunset and the horizon for miles. I don't even believe there's such a thing as a silhouette below the treeline anymore.

  • if you dress properly (as opposed to fashionably), winter is really fun.

  • wild and local food sources need to be protected as vital sources not just of nutrition, but of culture and community-building.

Now that I've had some time to think about it, I might just stay.

Photo of the Louis Saint Laurent, a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker that is currently breaking ice on its way here. By Yann Arthus-Bertran