Thursday, January 27, 2011

Between Lines Way.

Great Thursday! After a tough Monday and Tuesday in the work field, Leo and I had two really great days together. This morning he slept soundly until eleven. We met Mitch for a Jewish croissant at Cheskie's (more snap to it than a petit pain au chocolat) and a coffee at Naverino (Lo's counter). Lo's bakery supervisor, Anastasia, said the mom look suited me. So that's my look, huh. I laughed at that as I pushed Leo's orange buggy out the door with one hand and dipped my coffee good bye with the other. The afternoon went well together.

He is laughing so much these days. Everything is suddenly hysterical. Hey Leo, regarde! A ball on my head. Laughter. Leo, look here. An elephant. He giggles actually, it is so crazy to hear that everyday, get cheques for that! Awesome. So Mom, I am laughing more. We did his politically correct Recycling puzzle one hundred times and then danced for a bit while singing along with Adele. Leo is starting to sing. He has a real good ear for music already. And his dance! Arm flapping, lots of knee bending with a stupid grin on his face. I have quickly become akin to that Psycho Corydon Mother (you know the one I bet Erin) with the HUGE child strapped into his too small three wheeled stroller doing laps up and down the avenue. YIKES. On that note, it is incredibly nice to sing with and for someone every day, comfortably. He likes it too. Even in the streets. People laugh at us, babbling away.

For the parts of the day that I was alone, I floated on the idea of this new camera. A Russian camera being built by a Ukrainian worker, making it's ordered way. Crazy! This camera was apparently made in 2008 and has probably been sitting on a shelf since. It will definitely need to be broken in and used a bit. Roughed up. I can be so hard on my things, need to work on that. A new camera! Toot toot! Makes me want to hop on an Indian train. Train hat in India. Lately I have been thinking about a trip. The next trip. When that will be, I have no idea. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by writing not anytime soon, but not anytime soon.

Yesterday I had a crazy flash of Creme. Then again, I always think of him anytime I look at cameras (especially on the internet). A sudden idea for a project combusted in my mind, a collaboration of talents, each teaching the other. Creme has taught me the most and a lot about photography, in a read between the lines kind of way. Forman I've had teach in the same way, its a smart way. Lots of sporadic afternoons in the past 5 years were spent smoking dope and talking shop in his house, listening to awesome records new and old really loud. Each of us with our own headphones, which is the best way to listen to a record in my opinion. Then we would go to his room and look at all his gear. Pick up a camera, ask something. Look through it, pick out the best parts of everything you see through the lens. Focus, or don't. Listen to Cat Power, both of us holding something be it an old Super 8 movie camera or a Russian. You never know with that guy. He has lots of avenues, some are more heavily invested in than others. But he is consistent in quality. Oh Creme, miss you man. He also builds mopeds!

And that brings me back to India (I have never been).

I am interested in making movies, these days. Super 8. My grandpa won a camera auction for me (bless him) and there are three rolls just sitting in my cache, begging to be used. Creme has a few cameras and a bunch of experience shooting. I used to carry around a video camera EVERYWHERE when I was 16 or 17 (so strange, I know) just shooting, stupid teen stuff in people's parent's basements. Spookytown movies, those are plenitful. Getting really drunk for the first time, caught. Summer, riding a BMX and not knowing how to do tricks. Dusk, happy town kids eating tons of Freezies and then puking rainbows on the concrete pad in front of the Bank. Haha, this is what I filmed. What a wiener.

Now I would like to film an adventure. Just a couple of kids in India with cameras. God only knows what would ensue if there were rented motor bikes involved. This is dream, a goal, a potential. I am turning 25, gotta cut loose.

Bonne soirée.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Russian.

I hooked my Russian at last.

My computer is dying a fast death, so I will write quick while the Petit Poulet sleeps on. I am happy to announce that I have purchased my dream Russian medium format camera at long last. I rarely cruise Ebay, but for some reason I did today and the camera called out!

The latest addition to my stable is a Kiev-60 TTL black bodied beast; heavy as SHIT, as big as a truck, a two hander shootin' machine. No fumbling, rookie shooting or fast advancing with this thing. One great thing about the Kiev is that it has the same lens mount as many Pentax camera bodies, thus a myriad of lens options are now on the table. Wide angle? Fish eye? Okay. My F3 will pale in weight comparison to this honker. Creme said his weighs around 4 or 5 pounds, depending. Looking forward to sore wrists after 12 shots! Crazy!

I found it for a song and sometimes--debt or no debt--purchases of these nature cannot wait. School, here I come. Wedding photography, here I come. Portraiture, here I come.

Ever since I shot around with Creme's SLR MF, I have had a very specific camera body in mind. For two years I have been on the slow prowl for a MF camera that shoots like a 35mm SLR camera would, but with larger film. Waist viewfinders have their expensive charms, but I was holding out for something with a little more character. Lucky for me, I held out hoping we would find each other and like great love, we did. There are a shit tonne of wedding photographers out there (especially these days with the blog world exploding with cutesie-wedding mayhem) and someday, I too would love for wedding photography to be my Bread and Beurre. But different of course. How? I continue to struggle with articulating how exactly I would like to market myself in the future. While it is quite obvious (by my messy Flickr and my slop personal blog) that I am not nearly ready to launch a business or my own website yet, the Kiev definitely feels like a step in the right direction.

For now, I am pleased as punch to continue shooting the weddings of my friends and loved ones. What an honor to be asked! Such trust. In retrospect, I have learned some hard lessons in photography this year. Failing to check the batteries before my OWN SISTER'S wedding resulted in about one and a half rolls turning out of a whopping fifteen shot. Fuck! What a dummy! Thankfully, there were two amazingly talented hired photographers covering the wedding circus (not to mention a handful of talented wedding guest photographers! What a day). But lesson learned: baby one's camera. After two weddings like this (you think I would have realized after the first, but nooooo), I ditched batteries forever. Manual ONLY for this girl. I look forward to learning the feel of the new camera. While I hardly know a technical drop, I know the feel of my F3 like I know my own hands. We have a pretty good connection (not to mention the spirit of Aunty Marj whipping through that body every time I pick it up), I trust my eye, I trust my lens.

Who knows about this new camera though. I really like the fact that I will now have the option to look through it or to look into it. Flipped and upside down or straight on images, ohhhhh baby. Exciting learning curve ahead, folks.

Drex and Danika, you are up next! My only booked wedding for 2011, can't wait! I have a date and he is Russian. 120 black and white candid portraiture only. PAR-TAY. Get ready!

So psyched to shoot and so incredibly hungry to learn. The idea of holing up in a darkroom alone at Concordia late at night in just a few more months excites me to my very core. This is what I am supposed to be doing! DARKROOM! My color days are slipping away. Excitement fills me.

Below, meet my new Russian. Willa, get ready. Aunty Madge just ordered some new gear!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's not a house, it's a home!

"Top of the evening to you Bob", she said. "I like your jam".

With limbs folded in tight grasshopper, I woke in JJ's lady bed to a soft buzzing. Bees? No, can't be. Beers? Nope. Spray? No, can't be on the Spray (no fallen logs to be found). Dad, hello? My phone. Shit! My phone! My phone!

I leaped out, quick as light. And then I remembered this part of that one Bob Dylan song (see below, just a scrap of a really good musical story) that has just been within me these days (while thinking of Willa, of James, of Giles and her girls, of Dirt Dog Lyle [where the hell did that cat get to, anyway?] of so many, a million faces reminding me who I should be writing letters to; thinking of you all! Walking fast with different parts of people smashing to the daily surface of thought).

And now, a part of a great song called "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest" by Bob Dylan, my no. 1 track listen these days.

Well, Frankie Lee he panicked
He dropped ev'rythimg and ran
Until he came up to the spot
Where Judas Priest did stand
"What kind of a house is this", he said
"Where I have come to roam?"
"It's not a house", said Judas Priest
"It's not a house, it's a home".

Well, Frankie Lee he trembled
He soon lost all control
Over ev'rything which he had made
While the mission bells did toll
He just stood there staring
At that big house as bright as any sun
With four and twenty windows
And a woman's face in ev'ry one.

Back to the phone. Hello? Dear Wind, you got me again! Anyway, it was Anna from EM on the phone. Turns out, their prep girl jumped ship for the second Saturday in a row and Anna was calling to see if I wanted to be the new Saturday prep girl. "Yup. I'll be there as fast I can". It took 47 minutes to RUN from JJ's above the Petshop on Parc at St. Joseph, to my house in Outremont on Dollard, a fast change and then back to Mile End to my spot at the butcher block.

Holy fuck that felt good! It has been months stacked on top of months since I had stood at a station in a kitchen, on a payroll, holding a huge knife and having to decide which mountain to climb first--tomatoes or coriander? Coriander. Okay, I will back up as I am getting ahead of myself with excitement. This morning at 10:45 I stepped into the kitchen at EM Cafe wearing my first whites (that may sound strange, but considering how stinken' many kitchens I have cooked in in the last 7 years of my life, you'd be surprised what a pleasure it is to slip into your first cooking smock. It felt good! One size Petite left. Merci, I'll take it). A high and tight black apron against my white belle, a getting long braid and a toque. Face as plain as my nails.

"Hello boys, I'm Meg". Chef Benoit--who I doubt would ever want to be called 'Chef'--the fast flippin', fast talking French man is hysterical. He was tough and told me not to pinch my lips when I laughed because it offended him. Ha! I laughed aloud at that, teeth everywhere. Benoit doesn't have time for fumblers or criers or the lazy in general. Fast work, okay, I can do that. It took me a bit to get the feel for potatoes. The most efficient way to chop a vegetable 101 was flashing in my mind. What?

I was tisked on my first round of hash (too small, which is always better than too big) and praised for my small knowledge of reforestation (bless you, Ontario). Benoit's right hand, Simon (Nick Adamson's identical twin in face and spirit, how nice) who smiles calmly under the mustache while he plates food, greeted me and gave me my first task: potatoes. I took a quick look in his eyes and then at his feet and pants (wearing something James would wear) and I relaxed. Okay, I can do this. And I did. Hashbrowns start to finish, guac, Pico spicy hot, salad a million ways, grill bitch, breakfast burritos, bacon, all kinds of food were whipped up.

The table that is my latest work station has quickly climbed to the top of my Dream Dimensioned Work Table list. Weird, I know. But there is a certain feel to the length, breadth, depth and height of a work table (especially for the kitchen) and it is something I seek, something I look for first when I walk into a room. Furniture has so many stories (the older the better), and I am in love with it. But back to the kitchen table, it was the perfect working height for standing and mincing, chopping, you name it. It is two and a half inches of THICK heavy grained and heavily stained wood (not sure what kind). It is almost a square but not. It is tucked in next to a sliding door fridge. Underneath the wood is bread storage and in the fridge: dressings, leaf four ways, odds and ends, cheese, 'slaw and things like that. It felt nice to work really HARD! And fast. At one point during the brunch rush, I was told I was "efficient and dangerous". I was holding the mop. So this is my life, on Saturdays to come! Party. I skirted the conversation for the most part, just happy enough not to talk and just stand there whipping through a bunch of red onion.

Mercy! Who would have thought. This morning, when the buzzing stopped at hello, I just had a feeling today would be the day. Awesome. That was one of the best kitchen shifts I have ever worked. Looking forward to the Year of Learning, starting yesterday.

Saturday night, time to party in my room.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Easy does it.

Above, was one of the best days of 2010. All of this because I am missing lady company these days. Good memory.

Below, one of the best looks I have seen on the internet in while. Sass, respect. Chanel, POW! I love a good look.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Papa Bear.

Two times this week I have caught myself haphazardly drawing a hairy bear wearing a crown and playing upright bass. Colton, I have been drawing him as a bear playing Bob Dylan. I smell a bear. Today, with my mother in mind, I dug a little deeper and drew one hell of a house. The best house I have ever drawn. Once I figure out how to work my scanner I will put it up.

Thankfully, I am in much better spirits today. Say what you will, but I have hung a hard Larry onto Au Naturel ave. and am into it! Hairy armpits, take it or leave it. I smell like Will Belford these days which is nice as it reminds me of not only of William, but also of Maude. Funny how the scent of my own body oder can muster up so many feelings of longing for Winnipeg. Today was my first day wearing a D cup. HA! Always doesn't know SHIT!

I am listening to Bob Dylan's eighth album and my personal favorite, John Wesley Harding. I'll be your Baby Tonight. Oh yeah. Bring that bottle over here. I'll be your BABY tonight. The bass line just killllllllllllllllllllllls it on each track. Stand up. Upright, all the way. This album just gets me grooving. I am not quite sure what it is, but whenever I listen to it I can't help but think of my one and only Papa Bear, Colt Krachan (we might wed someday) who also kills it on the bass. Any kind of rhythm needed, that man knows how to shake it! Many a party in the bush started with Colt playing the drums with two sticks on an up turned pail.

I miss that guy. I had never met anyone quite like him and then we just kind of fell into each other, the way creatures of the same nature tend to do. I miss being called "Meggs and Bakey" in the morning. What a man! What a man, he is really something special. I have never met his parents Mike and Debbie, but I think it is safe to say they did a damn good job raising this man. We had a special understanding in the bush and were on the same crew. He is also as large as a bear. Colton, I love you.

Miss you buddy. Below behold, my friend Colt. And after that, another photo of Mama and Papa Bear taken in the Sand Pits of Sioux Lookout after a HARD six day work week by my friend Dylan Marshall. We be chillin'.

Love, Meggs Kracker.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Europe dreaming.

Okay, post three du jour. Time to think of some joyful things. My grandparents leave for Hawaii tomorrow! Aloha, goodbye, have fun you darlings! Be good, don't burn your skin! Travel, oh sweet travel. On nights like these, the open mouth crying face kind, dreaming of travel is all one can do.

Hand me a dog eared map, a sheet of looseleaf scrawled with Erin or Giles' Must Sees of Bali or India, five grand to piss up a rope, 25 rolls of 35mm color film and 25 rolls of black and white, one medium format Russian with 15 or so rolls for that, and one 8mm movie camera. Concordia won't know what hit them (when I learn how to write grants). Traveling Asia by moped armed with cameras and shooting a movie in my mauve dress and big hat, this is my current dream. I dream of India, I dream of blasting through a million rolls during the "Festival of Color".

A few days ago, I decided that after two or so years of school I am going to give everything I have to be able to study abroad come hell or high water. Amsterdam. Brussels. Bruges! Belgium was good to me, perhaps our love affair is just beginning?

White Widow jazz here I come. Europe dreaming, as always.

Sans everything.

I need to eat some kale. Or brussel sprouts, or bok choi, or something green and life giving. The idea of cooking life giving food is nice (and usually a priority in my day to day life) but lately it has been a series of cans and wrappers and bread and butter and toast and cheese. Crap. I feel like crap these days! (I just burst into tears writing that. Headphones and Adele made me forget that walls in Outre Mountain are paper thin and hand to mouth sobs can be heard all the way down the street, nevermind). Back to feeling like a big dump (as I spoon yet another bite of tomato soup into my mouth), this month has been an ass kicker so far. My work with Leo has been rough lately, he is frustrated, I am frustrated. He can't seem to express himself in any other ways than screaming or standing defiantly on the coffee table (not allowed). I can't seem to express myself in any other way than eating and crying. Crying and eating, eating and crying; I switch it up. The million miles treaded between my home here in this nice room and Leo's are innumerable. I wish red yarn rolled off of an unseen spool in my back each time I left one house to walk to the other. What a pretty pattern it would make. I switch up my routes, and cry on the walk home.

I don't feel like sewing (or showering).

Not to mention being incredibly conscious of time these days, tick-tocking away above the head of my bed on the wall; a constant reminder of the mountains of work to be done. And yet. And yet, what? Nothing is taking shape. No ideas, no imagination, no path. Footloose Margot. No clue where I will print my photos, no clue when I will make the time to draw eighteen more dossier worthy illustrations. The bitch of it is, time is not the issue (there are spots of time while Leo snoozes), it is pizzazz. Or lack of it. I am sans gumption and inspiration these days, weeks, months. I am dry and down, WORST feeling as an avid maker of things.

* Okay, so I am still sad and at a loss, but now armed with a letter from my mom in one hand and one more from Helen in the other, and thus I am digging. Digging for that something, whatever it is. I love to laugh, going to work on that. Begin anew here in Montreal, gear up, melt into this little person with crazy eyes, and just try to relax and just draw, even if it kills me. Mom before I read your letter, I drew a bear playing stand up bass. So thanks for the encouragement. I hope that DUMP is behind me. HA!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Willa Darling.

Willa Margaux McLaren has arrived! She was born to mama Andrea and Papa Scott on Wednesday, January 12th at 5:04pm. All 7lbs, 9oz, 21 inches of her. I love her already and I have no idea what she looks like. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh you two, I am so proud of you. Welcome to parenthood darlings.

As for baby Willa (best name), can't wait to make your acquaintance.
*Photo by her new mama, Andrea.

Running Room.

Help! I am at a crossroads.

Everything I see today is in contrast. It has been a great day to shoot. It took me so long to get home today from the Plateau. I had biked down there this morning (hoping for a Leonard Cohen sighting at Bagel Etc.) and when it came time to ride home, there was so much snow! Brown sugga. Natural Sugar. Anyway, I did something I don't normally do and walked Jessica Alba home, hand guiding her. Along the way I stopped to shoot anything that caught my eye. Freestyle street. I didn't have the gumption to ask for portraits this afternoon, as I felt too clumsy with the white bike in tow. Spotted two incredible tables for mine and Lo's soon to be home. Again there were no free hands so I kept on, unabated.

Current outfit, just because.
-Running Room jacket, black
-Shitty broken black pants
-Striped leggings
-Long socks
-Wool socks
-Pink waffle with white hearts
-Grey MEC from Rags
-Yellow Scarf
-Mizuno running shoes

Laundry is done, time to see Eddy (who is visiting from Toronto) for a flash. Gotta run. Gotta SEW.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Year of the Rabbit.

Today is Hump day. Tossed Christmas trees line the streets of the neighborhood. Every horizontal tree Leo and I passed this morning on our walk to nowhere fast, he put a little finger against little lips and went "Shhh". Shh is the new black at Casa Spry. Leonard Arthur Spry learns to shush.

Christmas is over, Christmas is very over. Leo's latest discoveries make me swell with pride. He is laughing so much now, I can hardly believe that two months ago I nearly fell over the first time I made him laugh. Now he just laughs at me. One of my favorite parts of our day together is when he peaks through the window of the front door and laughs his head off as I haul the stroller up a steep flight of stairs. I make faces and he shushes me. Someone has to. I wish I knew how to upload the photos I took of him playing outside today (with his papa's millionaire digital Nikon), but there is no connector to be found and the entire process is far beyond me.

Oh my goodness Leo, I love you. I love you so much that I will even make a fool of myself at Mama Dance with your Baby class at the YMCA. Sometimes my daily life astounds me. In the first five minutes of our first Mama Dance with your Baby class, Leo slit his lip open on a tambourine during a wild Parisian dance number. Ooooof course he did. I tried to casually stopper the blood coursing down his chin while jiggling to the beat. We are quite a team. Eventually, he was over it and spent the last 45 minutes running and screaming around the giant gym as work out buffs in the mezzanine looked on laughingly. Oh Leo, you beauty.

When I am not with the Petit Poulet, I can be found in my work room, up to my neck in limbs. Lady Longbods have long been replaced with Year of the Rabbit rabbits, my new thang. Last Saturday, the idea just blasted into my head and along came a much better way to sew them. That, along with one hundred tips from my tireless and dear friend JJ (Maggie Moonchild), my product is getting better! Stronger! Phewph. I still feel like I am a million days away from portfolio production, so right now I am keeping my head down and just adding to it blindly without an idea in the world as to how much I have, or how much I need. And I have been drawing again! So Year of the Rabbit rabbits for all.

My single resolution this year is to just relax. Just RELAX, whatever that means, however it happens, that is the goal. Relax in life and love, in breathing and worrying. Just relax Margot, this is your life, right now, today, relax. No more future dreaming, it is so far beyond my control that I am putting a stop to all the worrying. What happens happens. In the interim, I will sew Rabbits and draw! An etsy shop is in the wings, but first I must crank out a healthy inventory. Sometimes the RIGHT NOW stuff that is cool on the internet depresses me, makes me tired and want to crawl into bed. Too many hours are spent under blankets watching Casablanca and Breathless over and over, and not working. So. No more movies! Two days ago I watched Rosemary's Baby, which was just pure bananas! Holy shit.

Moving on to a new topic: Mother Hen Pride.

I am so proud of my sister, Erin! Her and her amazing partner in collection crime, Stef Heibert have banded together at last to birth their latest baby brainchild: Oh So Lovely (clicccccck on it), a brand spanken new internet post bursting with potential. Both women have such star power (I am so proud!) and sterling characters, not to mention each woman's personal sense of style! Whoa, walking into either of their homes is just something else all together. With their twin love for Sixties gems and years worth of stockpiled vintage clothes and flare, these two are going to BLAST the blog world with success! And they are both workaholics grounded by good men and family. Sounds like success to me. Erin, I love you, I am so proud of you! The new blog is packed to the tits with cuteness and personality. I would like to interview them, stay tuned.

Speaking of birthing, Rags are you in labor? Holy shit, the idea of baby Chillllllz being born already is nuts, and so is the idea of you being in labor RIGHT NOW and me being too far away to snap inappropriate photos. I would give away a kidney or an ARM to see that girl fresh out of the oven. Tiny dancer, my dear friends daughter so near the surface of this crazy world. HEEEEELLLLLO Babes McLaren, welcome to a sea of people who love you so much. Whoa, I am overcome with emotion. I love you, I miss you, I am so proud of you Rags! Agggggghhhhhh, can't wait to smoosh that baby's face into my own. And THEN I can hardly WAIT to strip her naked and cart her off to the nearest room with the best light and just take roll after roll after roll. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. There are not enough Year of the Rabbit rabbits in the world for this girl. Wheeeeeeeeeew, I am full of love.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I made a rabbit today. It has black boots and no face and ears too big for it's body. I also found a metal bill sorter on the street today. Laura said it was cool if I hauled it to her house (my soon to be house). When I walked in, it smelled like a couple having breakfast together and it made me tired. I took the long route home, sweater tucked deep into my overalls.

This is stupid. Here is the latest Margot Polo creation.

Reading material.

New work taken without permission from here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ruby & June.

Part deux de jour.

I wish I painted this. I didn't; this is stolen sans permission a l'internet for Giles and her girls. Thinking of you bigtime this afternoon. I hope your back is healing and this letter finds you in a good place today. Maybe in bed? Maybe at Cindy's? Wherever you are, know that I love you a lot.

Your dogless friend, Margot

Things in their place.

This morning I woke to bright light pouring into a bedroom not my own, the bed empty save for my own body. I leaped out, afraid of being late and threw myself together. Last night's stripes, broken pants, lines from the bedsheets on my face, sweaters on my teeth.

Pat was waiting for me downstairs holding a bike lock and a snowboard helmut. Happy riding indeed. He kindly lent me his ten speed Peugeot (made me think of Alfie) and I flew downtown in mere minutes (I had not ridden a bicycle with gears in over two years, so exciting), arriving just before the doors swung open at the Health card place. Health card, check. One step closer to Quebec residency. Woooh!

I peddled light and easy (low gear) back up the mountain, northwards, pushing exhaustion aside and looking so forward to eating the giant orange tucked in my messenger bag.

Leo was asleep by the time I arrived at his house, and now I can hear him singing gibberish in to the toy microphone he got for Christmas. One present in a sea of a cool million, and the microphone is his no. 1 choice. Yesterday he walked around the house talking into not one, but two old phones, the spiral cord snaking through the house. Where is Leo? Follow the telephone trail. What a guy.

I tossed and turned last night in bed, fitful as all get out which is usual for me. Names for new business, the sudden idea of a very hungry Lila (she is constantly at the forefront, a cat! Who would have thought) who I forgot to feed, images of crests brandishing themselves into the soft walls of night-thought, art projects, portfolio, portfolio, portfolio! It is nearly that time!!!!!!!! I am so exciting to begin the construction of my newest portfolio. Once I am settled into Lo's I will then begin the addition and plucking process, but for now it is all papery works, mental checklists, ideas ideas ideas! It feels good to be back on the inspiredtrain again. Goodness, what a dry spell this winter! Dolls and a few drawings, meager crop. But the best part of winter is nearly here (the great close of the season, my favorite) and like last year, I have two months to draw, draw, draw, to sew, sew, sew, to write, write, write. Most of my photowork for the Photography admission has been nipped in the bud thanks to the last photo crop. I will need help with selection, but thankfully I have wonderful people around me in this city who know how and why I shoot. This kind of groundedness and group critiquing making it all the easier on me when it comes time to trim the photo fat.

It is the Studio Arts portfolio that has me stumped. I see a crest. I see a crest. I see a crest. There will be a goddamned crest!!!!! But how? Oh the hours I have spent stewing in bed, a cauldron of ideas simmering, not quite ready to serve. Last year I took a mail themed route, and this year the simple thing to do would be to do something similar. Fuck easy! I detest the easy route, that is just not me, even if it kills me. So, what then? I should explain: what is needed is a holder of sorts to keep both the Photo and the Studio Arts (silkscreen, textiles, illustration, etc) portfolios close together. The presentation of this very marriage of the two is of upmost importance to me. I want this unknown panel of people to open something handmade when the time comes. Something that can be passed around, opened with care, examined, touched, held at an arms length. This yet-to-be-created vehicle that somehow ties my two creative interests together seamlessly telling a great story in the process. Like two parts of the body, together and separate. A soft package, beautiful all over. How? How? How? Aghhhhhh.

In retrospect, I can imagine the exact moment after Sara's 26th perogy birthday on January 25, 2010 at Aunty Marj's house in Rosie when I returned home to the Golden Studio and sat on the floor when it came to me. A letter. If I know anything at all, I know letters. That knowing has yet to come, but I am so looking forward to it! In all honesty, I anticipate it won't make an appearance in thought until I am GOOD AND SETTLED in my new home on rue Clark. Mise en place. Everything in place, that old familiar post-move feeling which NEVER came to me (now knowing it never will) after moving into my current home on Dollard Avenue. And that is okay. I look forward to that feeling, to the first nail head ringing out: I am home!

In due time.

Now, the microphone boy has fallen back to the wayside of sleep (hallelujah!) and all I can do is keep on crest dreaming, keep on drawing weird versions of people I find on the internet, keep on shooting strangers and practicing my meek french. Est ce-que je peux prend votre photograph? Sorry if I butchered it. Pourquoi? Parce que vous etes charmaint. Aunty Daryl, comment sais dit "because you have a charming face" en francais? Yikes, I have a lot of work to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, to close, here is a video that Richard and Sara sent to me on the same day! I have to name one of my children Vivian now in honor of this quiet woman. Her work is spotless beauty. What an eye. Goodness, counting down the darkroom minutes.

Click HERE to watch.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mystery connoisseur.

"A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve," mused 19th-century author Oliver Wendell Holmes. Advice that wild could just as well have been dispensed by a feral saint living in a cave in the woods. And now I'm passing it on to you, Aries, just in time for the beginning of what may be your wildest year in a decade. In my astrological opinion, you are ready to be a connoisseur of mysteries that purify the mind and nurture the soul . . . a daredevil of the spirit in quest of seemingly impossible dreams . . . a fierce adept of the wisdom of uncertainty who's in love with unpredictable teachings.

JJ sent the excerpt above to me this morning. Just what the doctor ordered. When I got to work there was coffee waiting for me and a sleeping boy (very rare). I happily settled into my usual nesting spot at Leo's table with my Cafe Olympico delight and a hot bowl of Virginie's (Leo's mama) sage and squash gnocchi leftover from last night. Good morning to me. Leo woke laughing in his little bed. I could hear him clapping through the walls. Sweet boy.

Yesterday, opting not to take the stroller, Leo and I went for a walk walk down St. Viateur to visit Lo on Parc. I couldn't believe how many people actually stopped in their tracks along the way to laugh at my tiny companion. It took so long to get there (a four minute saunter that took 15) but so worth it. Toddling little legs. To seen Leo from behind, one would guess that he is two or so, but up close, it is clear he is still a really little guy. Baby in big body, it is hysterical. By the time we walked there and back, he was pooped and ready for nap numero deux! Genius. I love finding new ways to tire my squire. Oh my goodness I love this boy.

In other Margot news, I am moving AGAIN. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeah. I know! I just moved three weeks ago from Mile End to Outer Mountain, Quebec and it is just plum too far. So I am moving back to Mile End, it is where I want to be. Lo offered me a coveted spot in her home on Clark so that is that. It feels really nice to be excited about moving! This is a good step in the right direction.

And speaking of les bebes, how cute is this wee girl? Taken without permission from somewhere.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A trip to the homeland.

Sometimes, there are no words necessary when one has photographs. What a wonderful holiday. Up in the woods, in a tent fit for four queens, smoking on frozen water, mealtimes and cups of tea with pregnant belles, wandering town sidewalks with my family, scenes of a city at magic hour, wandering through the brush by the river with my brother Rudy, walking alone in Winnipegtown with my camera and bare hands.

Christmas holidays, as seen through my Nikon F3. Enjoy.

*The single photo of myself as well as the Candle Seance shot both taken by Lisa King.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January Jones.

A cultural day today. January has begun. I feel like a shallow tree with my leader in the clouds, roots scuttling the earth looking desperately for good soil to bear down into. Instead these old shoots are reaching out, forever spreading in search. In search of what? Je ne sais pas. Don't spread yourself too thin. Okay.

Writing feels strange today, the well of wit and cleverness feels empty these days (a lack of connection makes me scour the dark and sleepy neighbourhood like a dog in search of a bone), the dipping pail hitting the bottom repeatedly (a dull rhythmic reminder of a hard year on the homestead). Coming up empty, coming up empty, coming up empty. Empty or non, it feels good to write. 2011, another year of letters. This is an open letter to myself, for anyone. Three years in the making. I began writing while living on Wellington; openly, publicly, knowing people may or may not fall upon it during the roaring Myspace era.

After Wellington, I moved into a beautiful home on Jessie, my first home alone. Two great years there, bookended by two European excursions and one bigtime broken heart. After a great many experiences in between then and the bush, I found a new home on McDermot in the golden studio. That was a GREAT home. Great friendships, great laughter, great music, great pop ins, great resourcefulness that comes with living on nothing. Smith House with Mitch took off like shot and back into the bush I went, wailing. Then came time to pack with equal parts sorrowfulness and hopefulness. Montreal opened her arms to yet another wanting anglophone and another beautiful home was made at the Ghost House (complete with a ghost). Now a quick home on Dollard which is more of a resting stop than anything, and soon a new beginning on Rue Clark.

There are one hundred things to pen at once and fluidity is gone. I should drink more water.

Auntie Marj continues to be wept for, missed tenfold, millionfold. I carry her with me. Great crashing waves of grief come and swallow leaving no room or enthusiasm for stories. She was the storyteller of all storytellers. The simple idea of trying to pick up a scrap of her legacy makes me tired. Hollow. Empty. Why bother. Now I am just mad she is gone. But what good is anger. No good.

--- L - I - N - E - B - R - E - A - K ---

Brain break. Heart break. Line break. Because sometimes that is all you can do, make a break for it.

Moving right along at the breakneck speed I live by. Back to my cultural day. First, a quiet breakfast. No, before that, a slow and warm wake up with my girl Lila beside me (finally calm after an insane crack-of-dawn hallway marathon, my cat is incredibly strange and also quiet), followed by a morning shower (dead rare for this dark bather), then came the breakfast of oatmeal and coffee with a fast textathon between 37 weeks and a bit along Tiny Moms of Winnipeg and myself (not quite as good as bellying up to the same table, but good all the same). Both of us sipping coffee in between the punctuation. Toasted tuna sandwiches and shitty soup (I want beef borscht please) for lunch and then three hot metro rides to the Centreville to see the Otto Dix exhibit at the Musée des Beaux Arts.

Okay, new paragraph for Otto Dix. For the french, because it sounds better, "Que celui qui a des yeux pour voir, regarde!"; and for the english, because I cannot actually translate and comprehend the above on its own (yet), "Those who have eyes to see, look!". This quote by Otto Dix greeted me as I stepped through heavy black velvet curtains into a red world, the light of the grey tree-filled atrium clipped off in a second, and on the other side of that instant, a new world completely separate and foreign to the one I am only beginning to know. The exclamation mark at the end of regarde/look sealed the deal. I knew it would be a good exhibit, and it was. The show was also PACKED to the tits. Closing day, how exciting! A line to enter the museum as long as a Winnipeg block.

A quick admission, there are few things in life more thrilling to me than weaving through a packed gallery armed only with a pen and paper. Crossed arms, annoying bangs. Human pawns we were, Dix would have been psyched! I went straight for the watercolors, having heard they were incredible. The watercolor works did not disappoint. Neither did the giant oil paintings, the copper etchings, the chalk and pencil drawings. Sailors and prostitutes, smeared mouths, aureolas (Lisa), green eyed doctors, breastfed babies with scary faces, watery curtains with blue stripes, Dix's sure lines filling four, five, six rooms! I lost count after falling into that river of art after the black curtains. Great hands, long necks. Upon entering and weaving a good fifteen feet in, there was no choice but to walk through a long looming barrack of stacked wooden beams, rough hewn, giant nails. It gave such a sense of depth and feel, what must that have been like, barrack living? War. Art during the time of war. What would that have been like to watch an entire life's work destroyed? I can hardly articulate the feel of the show, it was something powerful, special, fleeting. I won't bother to try, because it do it justice.

I walked around and around, words slashed into myself, into my paper, burned in in an attempt to remember the feel of it. A quote clipped out of a white lettered paragraph block pasted to the wall, a simple line explaining one of Dix's many motives in terms of capturing his many sitters: Emphasize their idiosyncrasies. And then another, straight from the horses mouth "In 1939, I completely withdrew. I took refuge in the country and painted and painted. I didn't want to know anything about the war. I only wanted to be in peace", a quote by Otto Dix.

It was quite something. Then I ate a tonne of Burger King and missed Erin a lot.

While walking it off, an underground theatre that Jillian had told me about rolled into view. Dissatisfied with the Hollywood hoo-ha showing downtown, this tiny theatre happened to be showing 'Breathless', a Jean-Luc Godard film. Perfect. No cup holders, no previews, no credits, just the film in all its black and white splendour. What color were Patricia's lips I wonder. We'll never know.

Ten rolls of holiday film are coming. Ten rolls of Montreal, Winnipeg, the country, the woods, the car, the North End at magic hour, the quiet morning in the new snow before leaving for home. I don't know how to begin writing about Christmas or the turn of the New Year, so I won't. Maybe it will come yet.

Year of the Rabbit, fast and soft, I hope.