Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Natalie Lyalin, Pink & Hot Pink Habitat


Opalescent

Your family is in flight. It seems that decades didn’t happen or happened all at once. The next few years are all weddings. On the end of holidays we wait for the next holiday. We remember bombed resorts and the constant cigarettes. People danced at parties with no regard for your safety. One summer the playground had long chains with rings and kids broke arms. All those dumb kids are now actors. The hardest thing is to let go of your retinas, to accept that they are dissolving. This terrible gap in your ground, this open maw makes the house less stable. Whether your fem is dusty does not matter. If it is ringed, settling scores, or waiting—all this does not matter. It is natural, no, expected that you are now afraid of everything.

I’ve only recently come to reading Philadelphia poet and publisher Natalie Lyalin’s sincerely playful first collection, Pink & Hot Pink Habitat (Atlanta GA: Coconut Books, 2009). Since then, she’s published twice with Brooklyn’s Ugly Duckling Press—a chapbook, Try a Little Time Travel (2010), and the full-length Blood Makes Me Faint But I Go For It (2014)—neither of which I’ve seen but hope to pick up. Part of what appeals about Lyalin’s poems are the structural range she presents throughout the collection, from clipped lyric poems and extended sequences to prose poems and short fragments, as well as the incredible amount of “serious play” she engages with. These poems are smart and sad and joyously fun, writing out and around and thrusting deep through a variety of distractions to get right at the heart of the matter, such as her poem “From the Suitcase My Back I an Arrow.,” that ends with: “There is no music for months. Put us in that truck. // Give chocolate to the ladies. Racecars to the men. I’m dead right now // and you have the cancer. Can we talk about it. Let’s talk about // your cancer. I have two sweaters. One has a house and chimney.” I need to read some more Natalie Lyalin.







Miss Sarajevo

Wears her own crown. By the entrance, flowers.
An idea of learned helplessness. Such as, when a
child does not know where to find a new glue stick.
Such as a pageant, where lucite strikes the faux-
Cobble stone. Diagrams reveal an overlap of interests:
Tennis and high fashion. Tennis because of hyper
balls, and high fashion because of cruelty in
the swagger. Miss Sarajevo walking across the stage,
by the entrance, flowers. A sense of removal from
that which is violent. From that which keeps
entering itself into the pageant. A unicorn is a mythical
being, much like Miss Sarajevo, walking somehow
straight and not at all violent.


Monday, July 06, 2015

Ongoing notes: the ottawa small press book fair (part four,



[Monty Reid talking to Amanda and Charles Earl at the combined AngelHousePress / Bywords.ca table] It might have taken a while (we were away for a bit), but here is some of the last of what I picked up at this past spring’s edition of the ottawa small press book fair!

See my prior reports here, here and here.

Ottawa ON: For some time now, Pearl Pirie has been producing small items through her phafours [see my Open Book: Ontario piece on such here]. New this time around are the tiny chapbooks not a woman by Kemptville poet Alicia Cumming, talking giraffes by Ottawa poet Michael Dennis, and glass studio by Ottawa poet Anita Dolman. As a publisher, Pirie has long had a good sense of the local, and previous chapbooks have featured work by an array of poets from the Ottawa area, including Phil Hall, Monty Reid, Gwendolyn Guth and Sneha Madhavan-Reese.

turning right

I was driving in rural Quebec
and looking for an old farmhouse
how many of them could there be

I had a house number
but no street or road name
I turned around a few times
and eventually
turned right into the laneway

imagine that

Given that the bulk of his three decades-plus of published writing hasn’t focused on such short pieces, one could argue that the eight short poems that make up Michael Dennis’ talking giraffes deserves attention for that fact alone. His poems have long dealt with a combination of observation and meditation, and these short pieces focus his gaze in curious ways. Composed as sketches, the lack of obvious endings in some of these poems are also quite interesting, allowing the poem to remain in the head, even after the final line. One of the most curious of the collection is the final poem, containing a wry humour (and even a slight sadness) that Dennis doesn’t often utilize. The poem reads:

beat humour

Richard Brautigan
was blowing pot smoke rings
at a bull’s eye on a poster
with a photo of Ezra Pound.
everyone thought it was funny
except Ferlenghetti, he never
laughed
at anything.

Witha couple of poetry chapbooks to her credit, Anita Dolman’s poems are often constructed as straightforward narratives, but the ones I find far more intriguing are the poems carved and boiled down into sharp objects, such as the final two of her short glass studio. Containing five poems in total, glass studio contains a mix of densely-packed short lyric and more expansive narrative, with the final two pieces examples of her short lyric. Here is the final poem in her short collection, a poem that suggests far more than it presents:

Circumstance

She breaks the glass
just like that, a new night. Oh.
Where to begin now?

Ottawa ON: New from Amanda Earl’s DevilHousePress (an extension of her AngelHousePress) is infamous Toronto writer Tom Walmsley’s chapbook of short fiction, Valentines (2015). DevilHousePress, as editor/publisher Earl has described, deliberately exists for the purpose of publishing “transgressive” literature that pushes the boundaries, and Walmsley’s stories are a perfect fit for the series. Containing the stories “Eilidh” and “Women and Children,” the first story exists as an accumulation of short scenes that shift from troubling to contradictory, deliberately kept unclear and precise at once:

            I was too old when I was sitting on his knee. I shouldn’t have done it. I don’t think I knew all this would happen but maybe. Also that two-piece I wore at the cottage. There are a lot of things I could have done instead of what I did. He was around too much in the summer. Both of us. I don’t think you can start doing something and then stop just because you feel like it. He said that once. It’s true. She said I was a flirt. Probably I was even if I didn’t know it and maybe I did. I’m sorry they broke up. Last summer I shouted and screamed on the front lawn and I know that made a lot of trouble. I didn’t hear any fighting but he didn’t visit me in the basement again. Both of them I think were mad at me but they didn’t say anything. It was the winter. I thought it happened in summer because it’s summer now. maybe because most of it always happened in the summer. I had my ski coat on so it was winter.



Sunday, July 05, 2015

12 or 20 (second series) questions with Jónína Kirton

Jónína Kirton : A prairie born Métis/Icelandic poet and facilitator currently lives in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish people. She brings her experience as a graduate of the Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio, as a sacred circle facilitator, and a student of Continuum, to her writing and teaching. She remains curious about memory and the many ways one can access it. She regularly seeks to open herself to her body and to what the ancestors have to offer. Her work has been featured in a number of anthologies and literary journals including, Ricepaper’s Asian/Aboriginal Issue, V6A: Writing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Other Tongues: Mixed Race Women Speak Out, Pagan Edge, First Nations Drum, Toronto Quarterly and Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine. Her first collection of poetry, page as bone ~ ink as blood, described as dark and delicate, was released in April 2015 with Talonbooks Visit her at www.joninakirton.wix.com/poet.

1 - How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
My first book, page as bone ~ ink as blood, was just released in March of this year. I have noticed that there is an empty space where the work of this book sat. I have a feeling of relief now that I am done with that challenging material (which was largely autobiographical). I wonder what is next but do not feel the need to rush this. I am currently living in the potent space of possibility as I wait for the next theme to present itself. 

With my more recent poetry I find that I am taking even more poetic licence and that I worry less about the elusive ‘truth’.  I trust where the pen takes me and that within my words is ‘a truth’, simply one of many versions. Losing the Fact Police and the You Can’t Say That Crowd left even more room for musings or imaginings that fall outside the dry details of any story I am trying to tell.    

2 - How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
I sometimes say that poetry choose me. When I applied to the Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio in 2006 I was hoping for assistance with a memoir about a particular time in my life. Our applications were to include samples of poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing. At that point most of my poetry focused on unrequited love.  It is safe to say that it was often sappy and although it might have made good lyrics for a country music song it was certainly not good poetry.  I had not read much poetry either so imagine my surprise when I was selected for the poetry stream. But they were so right. I am extremely grateful that they saw the promise in my work and knew that I was a poet before I did.

3 - How long does it take to start any particular writing project? Does your writing initially come quickly, or is it a slow process? Do first drafts appear looking close to their final shape, or does your work come out of copious notes?
Writing can be a very long process for me. It took me seven years and many drafts to arrive at a completed manuscript for my book which in the end was a mere 80 pages. I recall first holding it in my hands and thinking “My god this is what seven years of work looks like. It is so small”. It was humbling to realize just how much writing is discarded as a manuscript takes shape.

I am not a prolific writer.  I tend to go through long periods of non-writing. There are the occasional gift poems. They come out intact but usually only after much contemplation of a particular theme. These are rare and often my favourites.  Most poems are hard-won works of diligent research on my chosen topic or theme. I will read books; spend time with my friend google, watch movies/videos, anything to spark thoughts on the subject. I am often contemplating more than one theme at a time and this sometimes brings poems that marry seemingly disparate things. Like many writers I always carry a small notebook and a tiny pen with me so that I can quickly jot down anything that floats across my mind as I grocery shop or attend meetings etc. When reading a book I always have post-it notes to flag things I want to return to and a larger notebook to write down quotes and various thoughts that arise. Sometimes as I make notes, lines for poems will come to me. So yes there is copious note taking. I am a little embarrassed to say that I have more than twenty journals full of notes and beginnings of poems sitting on my bookshelf that I have yet to fully transcribe. I do produce a lot of flotsam that needs to be ejected yet I cannot seem to part with those notebooks. Maybe I can still squeeze a poem or two out of them.

4 - Where does a poem usually begin for you? Are you an author of short pieces that end up combining into a larger project, or are you working on a "book" from the very beginning?
I have only written one book and as I mentioned earlier it took me seven years to bring it into the world. There were many versions of that book before it found its way towards the theme of death, desire and divination. While writing it I simply thought of it as a collection. The theme did not reveal itself until year six. 

5 - Are public readings part of or counter to your creative process? Are you the sort of writer who enjoys doing readings?
I would not say I enjoy doing readings but I really like being around other writers. I do them because I know how much I love to hear others read and I want to be a part of the literary community. I find attending readings can expand my vocabulary. If I hear a word that feels good in the mouth I will write it down. I benefit from hearing what other writers are working on and am intrigued by the things that inspired their pieces. I also find encouragement through their brave telling of their stories. The more creative they are in this telling the more I get from listening to their story weaving.

As for doing readings I am a shy person, one who never wanted to stand in front of a crowd. I prefer circles. Whenever I teach or offer workshops I use the circle format. I am much more comfortable with this type of setting which is rarely used for readings. To overcome some of my shyness I do practice with my webcam (fully clothed of course) so I can see and hear myself. I find this very helpful. And of course the more you do it, the easier it gets. 

6 - Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?
As someone who writes a lot of autobiographical poems there is of course questions around “whose story is it?” Is it ethical for me to share details of my life which cannot be told without revealing some deeply personal things about other people? There are no simple answers to this one so I do my best to not censor myself as I write and later tackle the ethical piece. In my book I included one piece, Mystery Man, to offset some of the more negative things I shared about my dad and our life together. I felt more comfortable offering the less savoury moments once I had included the other sides of him. 

To a large extent my writing is about identity. Where do I belong as a mixed race woman whose father was no doubt wounded by racist attitudes to those with Aboriginal blood? Who are my ancestors and how does their story intersect with mine? I still want to know more about the lives of my ancestors (including my parents). I feel that they live on within my body hence the name of my book, page as bone ~ ink as blood, which is a telling of their stories as much as it is a telling of my story. There are also a few pieces about other young women that I could relate to. One such piece, Lucidity, is about a young First Nations woman that had a psychotic break in her early twenties.  She so reminded me of myself at that age and although I have never had a psychotic break I can certainly relate to the inner shattering that comes from having nowhere in life that is safe. I can also relate to how so many men want to rescue you only to get close enough to move in for a taste of your flesh. While she was in hospital I often thought she may have done better with culturally sensitive care. Was she having a psychotic break or a spiritual awakening that the hospital staff was not equipped to help her with? With this piece came the question “whose story is it?” In this case I did get her permission to share the poem and her story in my book. But I did not ask for permission from my father to tell our story. It is impossible to tell my story without including him and he would never have granted permission. This fact may disturb some people but one of the questions I explore throughout the book is how to break free of the oppressive nature of a harsh childhood, of a patriarchal world that values men more than women, and white more than non-white. We need many voices to overcome the powerful incentives to stay silent and to allow the status quo to continue. I am simply one mixed-race woman joining my voice with others who are speaking to issues of race, of gender and who gets to tell the stories in families and extended communities. 

7 – What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?
I don’t feel that there is any one way a writer “should be”. I love diversity. There is room for us all. Having said that, when I began writing I had hoped to be the female version of Rumi; that my writing would be inspirational but what kept coming was very dark. I soon realized that despite my many years of spiritual seeking I was to tell my story, to speak the truth of my experiences as the only daughter in a mixed-race patriarchal family where the curse of internalized racism was strong. I had to let go of the idea of being spiritual or inspirational and what followed was magical. I discovered a whole other way of being and writing. One that was more genuine and honest. I became increasingly comfortable with the dark and delicate words that kept coming.

I believe that there is no doubt that writing can be a vehicle for change. Storytelling has always been one of the most powerful ways to teach. It has saved my life; first as a child when I read Anne Frank. Reading of her challenges and resilience gave me hope that I could do the same. Reading Nancy Drew I dreamt of a better life, one in which I was the heroine. The ability to dream, which is essential to creating a life, can be fueled by storytelling.  

8 - Do you find the process of working with an outside editor difficult or essential (or both)?
I have found it challenging at time. Just ask my husband who is always my first reader. I also feel it is essential to get feedback. I have been very fortunate to work closely with Betsy Warland. With each editing suggestion I learned more about writing poetry. That kind of one-on-one attention is invaluable but too many opinions can leave one feeling jostled. It is important to protect your voice, to know when to say this does not work for me. Our resistance may be warranted but how to know this is an ongoing question. 

While working on my manuscript I went through a number of editing sessions with a variety of editors. I did feel myself becoming unsteady at certain points. It was a little like having someone pick you up by your feet to empty the contents of your pockets. At times I was too attached to what I had written and once the shaking was done I would want to go back and pick up some of those pieces. But when I did, at times I was surprised to find that they no longer seemed to work and I often I had no idea how to fix it. What the changes needed was some breathing room. A little like a fine wine, when first opened it can taste bad but after having time to breath the released flavour is quite marvelous. My editor, Greg Gibson of Talon Books, was very patient with me around this.

9 - What is the best piece of advice you've heard (not necessarily given to you directly)?
Betsy Warland reminded me often to trust my readers. I had a tendency to want to explain things at times or wrap things up with neat and tidy endings that did the work for the reader. She encouraged me regularly to allow the reader to do this for themselves. ….. 

10 - How easy has it been for you to move between genres (poetry to memoir)? What do you see as the appeal?
I find prose so much more difficult to write. It is as if poetry is my first language and prose is my second. There is so much more effort involved with prose. That is unless it is quirky lyric prose. Think Ikea commercials… must be the Icelander in me.

The appeal of poetry is the freedom from the restrictions of sentence structure, commas etc. I like to use white space, line breaks instead of commas and periods. I am quite visual so to have the opportunity to work with the look of the piece as well as the words is very satisfying. I enjoy the use of metaphor to offer visceral experiences, to say things that cannot be said any other way. The challenge of being concise excites me. Every word is important in any writing but somehow more important in poetry. With poetry I can feel the influence of call and response chants and ceremony/prayer in my words. When writing poetry something takes over. Call it the Muse, the Creator or the Great Mystery. I cannot limit it by labelling it or claiming to even understand it but I am sure that all who write know when they are in what might be called “the zone”. Ninety percent of the time when I am there what presents itself is poetry.

11 - What kind of writing routine do you tend to keep, or do you even have one? How does a typical day (for you) begin?
My favorite way to wake up is with a cup of coffee or soy latte in bed with a good book.  Sometimes my husband who is an early riser will deliver my coffee or latte to me and on those days we have a morning chat which often involves talking about writing. He too is a poet. Too frequently Facebook and emails eat up time that should be spent writing. My best writing days are when I get my own coffee and I sit down at the computer, do not open emails or look at Facebook. On those days I do not eat or shower before 2 pm or so. No one can talk to me or I lose the thread I am following and I might as well shower then get out for a walk or run some errands.

12 - When your writing gets stalled, where do you turn or return for (for lack of a better word) inspiration?
Over the past five years I have taken Ingrid Rose’s writing from the body many times as I find her techniques for priming the pump to be exactly what I need most often. A good book can also get me moving towards writing.

13 - What fragrance reminds you of home?

Nag Champa and patchouli remind me of my home as an adult. As a child I would have to say the smell of sweaty socks, hockey equipment, cigarettes and beer. I had three brothers hence the smell of sweaty socks. My father played hockey and often had friends over. These two worlds could not be further apart.

14 - David W. McFadden once said that books come from books, but are there any other forms that influence your work, whether nature, music, science or visual art?
I do love the language of science. There are so many beautiful ways that they explain the many wonders in the universe. I also practice something called Continuum. Some have called it a moving meditation but that is not quite it. It must be experienced. Ingrid Rose introduced me to this practice through her writing from the body workshops. I believe our body holds not only our memories but the memories of our ancestors. I regularly ask my body to share what it can with me and then do my best to transcribe what I have felt/heard.

15 - What other writers or writings are important for your work, or simply your life outside of your work?
There are a number of books that I read while writing my book. Each one has greatly influenced my writing and my life. Some of my favourites were God is Red by Vine Deloria Jr, The Alchemy of Illness by Kat Duff, When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams and Singing Home the Bones plus Love Medicine and One Song by Gregory Scofield. Each one is a great writer so I spent a lot of time contemplating not only the teachings they offered but also what was it that made their writing so rich.   

16 - What would you like to do that you haven't yet done?

I dream of going to Iceland and L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. Apparently, my Icelandic ancestors were among those that came to L’Anse aux Meadows around 1005. They had the first European born baby in North America but did not stay.  I want to do more research on my Icelandic ancestors and to feel the lands they inhabited. This may be my next writing project.

17 - If you could pick any other occupation to attempt, what would it be? Or, alternately, what do you think you would have ended up doing had you not been a writer?
I came to writing late in life and have done many things prior to becoming a writer. I have done much of what I desired to do. The one regret I have is not becoming a psychologist.

18 - What made you write, as opposed to doing something else?
It was an inner urging that got louder and louder. It demands my attention. In fact it has begun to squeeze out many other things that I also like to do.

19 - What was the last great book you read? What was the last great film?
I know there has been some controversy re The Orenda but I found it to be a remarkable book. Joseph Boyden is an incredible writer. I rarely read fiction but I could not put that book down. No movies come to mind but a few TV shows do. I have so enjoyed series like Deadwood, Justified and Outlander. Great writing and brilliant actors have made these shows something I looked forward to as I watched them.

20 - What are you currently working on?

Not sure yet…

12 or 20 (second series) questions;

Friday, July 03, 2015

the week we went all over Toronto;

For the sake of Christine's work, we were the entire last week in Toronto, which meant Rose and I wandering for the sake of wandering, and visiting as many people as possible, from our hotel on Jarvis, right across from Allen Gardens. We drove in on Sunday, and starting Monday, Christine would disappear every morning just before 9am. Our days usually involved leaving the hotel first thing, ending up back around noon for lunch and nap, and out again by 2pm for another few hours (which meant we were most often crashed by 5pm). We were in visiting mode: a variety of folk I had been wanting to see for some time, all of whom I would have pre-baby not gone to see for the sake of work. Work! Work! Work! It gets in the way, sometimes.

Before this trip, all I'd known of Allen Gardens before this was from Lynn Crosbie, the poem "Alphabet City" from her selected poems, Queen Rat (Anansi, 1998), that includes:

We walked to Allan Gardens, and disagreed some more. Daniel's writing
is economical and pure, I said. I thought he gave up after writing poetry,
he said. He said some other things, and I didn’t see him again. I did not tell
him that the last time I saw Daniel he told me he had spoken in his sleep.
He said: I hate lyrical poetry:
Monday, June 22, 2015: We began our day heading east on the Dundas Streetcar towards the Danforth area, visiting poet Hoa Nguyen over at the house she shares with Dale Smith and their two sons. She made us smoothies (which Rose refused to touch), and I envied their garden. Apparently they were hosting a reading on Friday night in their living room, but there was no way we could make it (Christine and I read there moons back, when we were just pregnant enough to know, but not enough to start admitting). We gossiped about more than a couple of folk (including a particularly cranky American poet we both know), and Rose tore her way through much of the house (discovering some toys in one of the upstairs bedrooms). We talked about poems, and the speed one begins to write once the distraction of children appear. Everything takes so much longer to attempt, if at all. We spoke of the workshops she's been doing lately, both in person and online (check her website for information; they are pretty cool).

In both directions, the streetcar showed us a part of the city I hadn't really known about (including a very cool train station on Dundas East converted into bicycle rental), and Rose fell asleep on the ride home (see photo of such, above).

The afternoon included some time across the street from our hotel (where I discovered both playground, and the fact that we were at Allen Gardens). Rose took some time to chase some of the pigeons before allowing herself to enjoy the small playground. Brand new, it would seem, the playground, and even labelled for children from 2 to 6; impressive! The sky was clear marble blue. From Gardens, we made our way north to visit father-in-law, way up at Yonge and Shepard, where Christine met us for dinner.

And what was that industrial building behind the swings? Intrigued; wish I'd time to better explore.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015: We spent our morning at the offices of the Literary Press Group and LitDistCo (who distribute our Chaudiere titles) visiting everyone there, who were kind enough to gift the wee lass a colouring book, a storybook and various other items. We were even able to see poet Chris Chambers in his offices right next door, as part of Magazines Canada. Did you know he finally has a new book of poetry?

Post-nap, our afternoon took us west to the home of Sharon Harris and Stephen Cain. I can't believe it has actually been five years since I helped move them into that house. Rose laughed and laughed, and Sharon presented her with a full plate of blueberries (I'm surprised Rose left any for them).

I asked Sharon about the two manuscripts she's been working on, and found out that Cain has a new book forthcoming with BookThug. Cain also mentioned that Allen Gardens houses (somewhere) a plaque for Milton Acorn, which we couldn't quite find (I should have attempted to look it up, but never managed to remember). After her first few minutes of hesitation, Rose began pulling on Cain to walk through the house, the back yard and a variety of other places, over and over and over. Hand, she says, reaching up.

On the way back, Rose and I caught some buskers in the Yonge/Bloor subway playing a variety of music (she responds very much to music), including an accordian player who noticed her watching, and switched to performing some kids songs. Lovely!

In the hotel, Rose doing laps around the room even as late as 10pm. Our lack of usual routine on this trip has certainly worked to her advantage (if not ours). But oh, how she slept...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015: Our morning began, once again, at the playground at Allan Gardens before heading west once more for the sake of some book-purchase, and a lunch over at Future Bistro (the former Future Bakery) on Bloor West, right by Brunswick Avenue (see a post I wrote on such in 2010; and a poem composed there a year or so later). Impressively, she ate far more of the fruit than the home-fries. I've been going to Futures for twenty years now, as my usual go-to spot to spend a couple of Toronto hours writing and what-not. I might not have been able to get any work done, but Rose did sign a birthday card for her Gran'pa McLennan, and a variety of postcards for others.

Oh, how I miss Book City on Bloor West.

Later in the day, finding out an Ottawa friend of mine was, at the same time, right across the street having a lunch meeting at the old By The Way Cafe. How random is that?

She was asleep, of course, before we returned to our hotel.

Our post-nap visit went a bit north, over to where the incredibly patient Lola Lemire Tostevin lives, spending some time visiting with her and her husband, who generously presented Rose with some animal masks and a big book of stories, along with some paper to colour on. I was able to hand over her contributor copies of Touch the Donkey #6 weeks before it releases (mid-July), as well as a mound of other items I've been working on lately.

I think Rose was more worked-up than normal, and even I was beginning to wear down from her tearing around, and guiding her husband out to the garden multiple times (much the way she led Stephen Cain around), and into their front room. Rose only calmed once she and Lola began colouring.

We spoke of writing and publishing, and the madness of industry. Literary publishing, I've decided, is like a bumblebee; it just shouldn't fly, and yet does. She has a collection of essays forthcoming with Teksteditions this fall, which everyone should keep an eye out for.

On the way back to the hotel, a brass band performing at the corner of College and Yonge Street. I was thinking that Rose must think Toronto is magical, given all the buskers and live music she's been aware of. We never wander into the places such is played back at home.

Thursday, June 25, 2015: We began, once more, by heading west, but this time along Queen Street by streetcar, for the sake of Type Books. We were a bit early, only to discover a park and playground just by, at Trinity Bellwoods. Unlike the one near our house, this park was packed full of kids and parents and running around. She ran up the structures and ran across, but turned around (as per usual) at the top of the slide, for the sake of climbing back down the steps (she hates slides, for some reason).

Afterwards, we stopped briefly at the Japanese paper place that Christine likes, and made it finally into Type, where we saw that Derek McCormack was working. Did you know he has a book out this fall with Semiotext(e)? Extremely cool. Rose admired the books and the typewriters and the multiple ramps throughout the store. I picked up a book for her (after she had pulled down about a dozen or so from the shelves). Best I didn't get anything for myself, really. Not that she gave me much chance to look.

We had lunch at College Square with a Tim Hortons card Christine had passed along. Since they hadn't highchairs there, I sat her in a chair like a big girl. Later, a woman with her teenaged daughter in tow complimented us on our comfort with her in a big chair, given how small she is. She was fine. Much muffins were eaten (she won't eat the sandwiches).

Post-nap, we met up with Mark Goldstein right by our hotel (apparently he lives two blocks away, with bill bissett between us). We were nearly running late, so had to slip Rose into the ring sling while she still slept (after a two-hour nap). She woke in the hallway of our hotel, and wrote postcards at the coffeeshop while we waited. Given she was wiggly once he arrived, we return to Allen Gardens, where, of course, she immediately made friends with some kids on the bouncy-see-saw thing (of course). They were bouncing and laughing and letting go occasionally (wasn't sure what I thought of that). And the kids didn't mind; it actually gave Mark and I a chance to talk about various things, including poems, screenwriting and birth-mother stuff (he's been instrumental in talking me through some of my experiences over the past year or so). Did you know he's another book forthcoming with BookThug? Very nice. He is such good people (even though he's cat-allergic and can't come over to our house).

Friday, June 26, 2015: We checked out of the hotel, and Christine went for her last morning of work, and I headed off to see Jay and Hazel MillAr, en route to father-in-law's house. Given we haven't a clue where our GPS disappeared to, I was amazed I managed to drive over without getting lost (there are parts of Toronto I know a bit, but mostly I've no idea), wandering the further-west of St Clair and Runnymede. Hazel made muffins and Rose was barely contained, managing to run and run and eat and run. And they were kind enough to pass along a BookThug totebag! We spoke of poems and pianos, and children and baking.

After, we drove up to father-in-law's house, where she slept and she slept, and waited for Christine to return. We were a night there, before heading off to Woodstock, Ontario for some further adventures...