Week 9 of the Artist’s Way was about compassion – examining the inner blocks of resentment & past discouragements that block our creativity today – so this is compassion for ourselves. I can remember being discouraged in my time at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design by the technical ability of most of my fellow students. Those who did the most realistic drawing got the most praise. I was not one of those.

The more abstract, non-representational work was judged on concepts I didn’t appreciate either – use of negative space, colour balance etc. There was a pre-set standard of commercial potential underlying all the classes so that creativity was a product not a talent.

One of the Ways tasks was to read your morning pages. One of the things I uncovered in my covid cleaning frenzy was a binder of my hand-written morning pages when I first went through the book in 1997. I’ve done them daily since then. We only had the one desktop in the house then & I didn’t always have access to it. Many of those were done on the old eMac & sad to say all of that stuff is now lost to upgrades. We had those 5.25 inch diskettes back in the day.

Pen to paper doesn’t rely on the latest operating system to be accessed. There are lots of names with faces lost to the mists of time. I was using nicknames, abbreviations that are now meaningless to me. At the time was artistic director For Bushwack & also managing the Lab on Britain Street. So there was lots of frustrating creative energy  flowing around me. One show of mine got a particularly scathing review but someone who didn’t get the names of the characters correct 🙂 I posted it in the lobby without comment.

Week 9 talks about dealing with reviews 🙂 That review didn’t hold me back. Compassion is to be proud of them. The exercises & tasks focus on setting goals & what actions one can take now, over the next month, over the next year etc. Part of the process is past resentments/fears one might have in connection with the project: others have done it better, not emotionally damaged enough to have an authentic insight, etc. Compassion tells me that authenticity is overrated.

Corner Store

why does a group of teens 

still scare me

I walk past a corner store

where they hang around

shoving each other

smoking toking vaping

swearing on cell phones

fuck you timber bone


what the hell is timber bone

I’m so far from street talk

to know if that is even street talk

I try not to walk too fast

try not to look too long

my eyes flick quickly 

from hooded shrouded faces 

pants so baggy 

they need to be held up by hand

girls with pale lips arched eyebrows

look at the boys with that mix 

of love  distance  and boredom


what makes me anxious 

is it the mix of blacks asians

am I fearful of violence

that one of them might feel

the flick of my eyes 

and confront me 

“what you lookin’ at faggot”

why fir trimmed parkas

on mild spring days

what are they hiding under those hoodies

a generation gap never to be crossed

I know the closer they get 

the unsafer I feel

by the time I get home

I’ve forgotten that moment of anxiety

I really didn’t expect anything to occur 


I wish that corner store wasn’t so close

wish I didn’t get that ripple of worry

wish I could lose the memory

of me at that age

never one to have guys 

to hang around with

wish I could forget being

the brunt of their dumb shoves

of their sneering exclusion

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it. 

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