Scene 2

 

costume choice 1

Week 7 of make-a-scene brings me one week closer to the end of the workshop and closer to our graduation  Red Nose District show. What has somewhat dismayed me is the attrition rate for the class – we started with 11 gung-ho people and so far three have dropped out – I suppose some people have money to burn.

In past workshops I know some people aren’t ready for the amount work that is actually involved – for a writing workshop they don’t expect they’ll have to not only produce work for the class but also read and comment on the work of up to another dozen people – that is if they want the most out of the class. I recall one where a member only showed up when his pieces where to be looked at & he rarely had anything to say about one else’s. What’s the point?

 

costume choice 2

The past few weeks of Scene we have been workshopping the pieces for the show. This, for me, has been very productive. Some had a concept but nothing more and so a piece was built by doing it – by getting on stage and acting through possibilities – as opposed to sitting around and merely talking about what one could do – this pushed things into new shapes and sometimes new directions. Often finding an ending is the crux of things.

I’m more of a discovery writer – so this process suits me, though the piece I brought to the table, as it were, was pretty complete already – I was able to reduce it, focus it and find ways of bringing it to life on stage – I didn’t resist suggestions or defend what I had already intended to do with it – going with the flow works. Besides my own piece I’ll be appearing in a couple of the other scenes.

 

costume choice 3

What am I doing? You’ll have to come out to see it but I does involve an inflatable.

 

samp01

a rant from 2007:

 

Taking it Personal

 

I try not to take the personals personally

what they want

is a little sliver of perfection to control

to hold in an unalterable limbo

out you go the moment there is

a disagreement over anything

betrayal takes hold bitterness sets in

so that they become

even more precise in what they want

 

as those parameters get smaller

the pool of possibility gets shallower

they aren’t looking for anyone shallow

you must be complex

have a sense of humor a job

go to a gym twice a week

or at least have a big dick

that magic wand

can wave away the deeply needed

personal attributes they are seeking

 

I know when they are talking long term

they mean only as long

as you are obedient

as long as you fulfill certain

fantasy requirements

until someone with more money

or a bigger dick comes along

 

I’ve meet someone

who are none of the things they are looking for

I wonder if they read the ad they wrote

wonder if they know what they want

because even when I am

exactly what they are looking for

I’m not

 

I try not to take the personals personally

and so far have succeeded

never met the wrong guy that way

never met the right guy that way

not looking for perfection

certainly opens the field

though I don’t waste my time

with those looking for perfection

I know they are only seeking

the safety of the impossible

with a bigger dick

redbulge03

Getting Wired and #NaNoWriMo Prep

pretty lowe?

Electricians have infested my house as the wiring is finally being upgraded from mortar and pestle (or some such configuration) to what I presume will be state of the art. This mean, amongst other things, no power for several hours a day, until the work is complete. The plan is to have it done within two weeks, so there’ll be no interruption for NaNo in November.

The other thing about the re-wiring is moving stuff, lots and lots of dusty of stuff – bookcases overloaded with books that have to moved to make baseboard access possible. Forcing a long needed purge of books to the Trinity College book sale (I hope) and probably some long neglected dust bunnies to be sent packing as well. Perhaps that missing sock will surface.

how lowe can you go

But now to the topic at hand. NaNo preparations: my plot came to me a few years ago after a visit to my Cape Breton home. I visited several local historical museums. I loved the details about lives that I was mainly unaware of – the large black community for one – not only in Sydney but in the mining towns as well. Miners were imported from the Bahamas etc. I think of this as lost history.

Plus the number of other immigrants who worked those harsh jobs underground, at the steel plant etc. Photos of their fraternal organizations, church picnics, sports teams and schools.

12-14 hour shifts

So many fascinating details about families, wives, husbands, relatives, music and daily lives. All so heteronormative I wondered if there were gays in those days. Gay history isn’t lost but hidden, unrecognized or unacknowledged.  I realize there really wasn’t a language at some levels of society for otherness. That lead me to thinking of what life might be like for men with such feelings yet with no way to describe them even as they acted on them.

the lunch room

My research into sexual mores of the time lead me to conclude that often leisure time, education and money play a big part in awareness and judgment. People who work 12-14 hour grueling shifts don’t have the energy to care who sleeps with who.

samples

here’s a piece from 2007:

Aphrodisiac

I know you’re sore

after that gal you’d been hitting on

walked out on you

after three drinks

I heard you moan to your pals

how the last two chicks you dated

dumped you via text message

one of them still won’t return your calls

that they turn into such selfish bitches

when they know they can get

what they want from you

but just because I’m a clean old queer

doesn’t mean I have any interest

in your macho macho meat

the fact that you’re straight

ain’t my aphrodisiac

I agree it’s too bad

every woman you’ve known

thinks you are some sort of egotistic jerk

who only thinks of himself

when all you want to do is please them in bed

then roll over to fall asleep

I suppose it’s unreasonable

that you show up on time every time

you say you’re going to pick them up after work

yeah I guess those bitches are just lazy

unfair and expect way too much

when all all you want to do

spend a few hours watching TV all weekend

I can see how that is pretty mean

but the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac

you may think I’m one of those

predatory homos you are sure

are always lurking around

that I’m hungry for any straight guy

to come along and fall

into my eager mouth

well honey

you are living in a dream world

the fact that I checked out our jeans

was because I was wondering where you got them

so why don’t you go back to your buds

because you aren’t getting anything here

‘cause if them nasty hos

you always end up with

aren’t interested I’m certainly not

the fact that you’re straight

just ain’t my aphrodisiac, mac

tables

The Beautiful and The Scary

paper backspace writer

The October BuDa was a chilling event. With horror poems from wicked host Lizzie Violet, vampire fiction from Monica S Kuebler, to my chainsaw patricide all the bases were cover plus a hot set from L’rock to take some of that eerie chill off before sending people out in the cool of the evening.

After fine open stagers I was up first with my Go Bump set. I find that when I don’t stick to what people have come to expect of me – out-there-queer, sexual, funny they aren’t sure how to react. So my darkish set met with a luke-warm response – without punchlines or tender endings, audiences aren’t satisfied. I did sell some chapette books & made enough to cover my basic costs. The set was recorded by Myke Mazzei for a future cd.

christmas shopping before halloween

Second set feature was Monica S Kuebler who read a choice section from her online serial novel Bleeder. A seasoned spoken-word performer she picked the right scene from Chapter 6, one the right length to hold our interest. ‘blood crusted tank-top and bird’s nest hair’ quickly sketched in the heroine – ‘gristly clean-up in aisle twelve’ offered a bit humour in what was a very tense as the heroine realizes ‘this was a blood farm and she was the prey.’

gutter (g)love

Music feature was Laura L’Rock who did a great set of radio friendly rock – a nice change from the Mitchellesque folkies who often hit non-electric stages. The catchy songs were built on strong melodies, lyrics and sweet, yet rocking, acoustic backing supplied by Nik Beat & well, to be honest, I didn’t catch the other guitarist’s name. “I feel you choke me through the telephone line.”

writing sample
writing sample

a piece that almost made it into Go Bump

Give Me A Little Sign

a bluejay feather dances over snow

the first full moon of the new year

a silent wrap of smoke

forms the letters of a name

whose name   mine   yours

our hopes for the future

a dangling curtain moving at dawn

a pale   handless shape

peers out into the fog

before the fire burns pure ashes

to scatter sooty on the snow

for the next fitful omen

a bus pulling up at the right moment

an old friend alive

where you least expected to see them

the number nine keeps popping up

how many times before it has meaning

like that bluejay feather

it has to have a meaning

a good moment to do something

but I don’t know where to begin

play the lottery  submit that manuscript

make that phone call I’ve been putting off

should I act blindly

or bide my time for a better opportunity

a voice in an empty room

a phone call that goes unanswered

was that wrong number the right one

where are my lucky shoes

what do the stars have to say

entrails of run over squirrel tell me

it isn’t wise to dash across a busy street

grounds in the bottom of my Tim’s cup

tell me it’s time they cleaned that damn machine

that look in your eyes tells me

it’s time to drop my guard

will our clothes piled on the floor

the fold of pants legs and t-shirts

twined accidentally in the dark

be a sign of more than pleasure to be had

is there a message in the goosebumps on your back

in the fevered breath on my thigh

can I let a kiss be a kiss

not the next fitful omen

bunny

@TorPoet
@TorPoet

I Am Not A #Camera

Napa ’04

I was gifted my first digital camera several years when I won a trip for four to Napa Valley – one of the people I took with me gave me the camera. It became a constant companion for a few years, always in my shoulder bag, just in case. Plus a must have for what travel I did. But it had limitations – hard to turn off flash, couldn’t get closer than 3 feet & stay in focus, and useless for night shots. Video had 10 second limit & no sound. So I pretty much stopped using it expect for special occasions.

golden gate ’04

Then I signed on to WordPress to raise my online profile. One of the hints for increasing an audience was to have pictures on your blog, so I dug the camera out and starting taking pictures again. But the focus limits bugged me. Once I got my income tax return this year I splurged on a new camera. More bells and whistles, sound for video etc. Plus a 12X lens, a memory card that’ll hold thousands of pictures.

At first I was taking pictures of anything – flowers, architectural details, amusing signs, sleeping cats and the sky. But I have friends who do similar things, and much better too, so I did some thinking. For travels some of those things are fine but even then my picture of a field of flowers in Cape Breton could be by anyone. Memories for me and a bit of color for my blog about the east coast.

(g)love in the shadow

I wanted to limit my range a bit as well or I’d be spending all my time taking pictures of people’s gardens, broken windows and abandoned furniture. Something that has always spoke to me is random shoes, pieces of clothing – there’s a story in how and why that one shoe is there on the street. What pleased me is that when I started in on my ‘cast-offs’ gallery, more often than not, there would be another and another and hence a focus was born.

going to the hop

I may not have a great eye, technique or bother with composition but I do have fun. I’m more an observer – reportage as opposed to an explorer or revealer. It’s up to the viewer to slip beneath the surface if a picture speaks to them. What I see and what you see looking at the same moment are often very different things.

sample

an older piece – sort of seasonal –

The Fright

here’s comes the fright

that belongs to lovers

that covers the sight front

we put on to keep others

from getting too close to the truth

if they know my deepest secret fears

they’ll use them

dismiss me dismay me measure me

who is this they

what is this hidden treasure

under cover of might maybe not now

under the radar

not even a blip beat

heart sneaks down and around

wanting to be caught taught a lesson

wanting to be fearless

creeping away instead

why is it we choose to reveal ourselves

only to the one we fear to lose the most

as if this revelation will become a glue

that can keep the fright

from pulling us apart

feeling no gain

wishing there was another way

to say what doesn’t make sense

except in the beat of the moment of suspense

between trust and fear of truth

push me closer to the think again buster

I’m not the one you want

I’m merely the one you need

and the bedroom isn’t a threat

but a motion of grace

a station of the come across

does that make sense build fences

or are you like me

another of the dearly parted

ready to depart from chances to changes

from dinnerware to underwear

losing sight of the fright

devising ways to make me sorry

don’t make me put down my ideals

just to reach something in you

so you feel safe enough

to put down your questionable attitude

your heart isn’t a noose isn’t bad news

someone might see me naked

catch sight of the short coming

the longing clinging shame

this fright is the same the world round

staggering subjected to the next opportunity

the expectation that  some sort of salvation

can only come through

the transcendent shattering of self

by shooting the biggest load

into the warmest trusting affectionate

accepting person

who will look you in the eyes in the morning

tell you everything is all right

they forgive you

for wanting more than enough

for not getting everything in a single gulp

knowing that they measured your treasure

and found it haunting

transitselfie

Stretching for the #NaNoWriMo Dash

Making the initial little steps in getting in NaNo shape – first by doing short writing sprints in the morning – ten min max – spewing out snippets of scenes that may show up as part of the my NaNo novel start – one of the secrets to NaNo success for me has been not to worry about writing a finished work – there’s always next year to finish it 🙂 focusing on word count lets me shut down part of the editorial brain to just get the quantity out there – out of quantity comes quality. So I’m doing improv with my characters to get used to them and how they talk & act –

never know where the steps we take will lead us

Speaking of improv I took the first of the Make-a-Scene classes Wednesday night at The Centre of Gravity Circus Training Studios. We meet up at The Side Show Cafe at 7:30. There are 11 of us in the class plus Allan Turner our our fearless leader. He explained the intent of the workshop – 4 weeks of improv & theory; then 4 weeks of rehearsals leading up to a show (t.b.a).

Unlike the writing workshops I’ve taken, this one has an even mix of men and women. Some bring experience, some open minds and willingness – the first 30 min are spent in the Cafe chatting & getting acquainted – I had an excellent butter tart (for energy) – but found the music a bit too loud for conversation.

At 8 we went up to Studio G – via the outside fire escape – essentially a large, high-ceiling space with a mirror. Some low benches to sit on. Allan talked about the theory of play and where ideas come from. We did several group improv games – all physical with one that involved some language: the rant choir – each of us was assigned a random topic to talk/rant about when pointed to by Allan as conductor – hand signals for more intensity, quiet – one at a time or three or four at the same time.

My random topic was avant-garde fashion – about which I said “I was walking along Queen West the other day and came across a Lady GaGa pop-up store. She is selling as high fashion surgical bandages – I was able to buy this knee brace ( I was actually wearing one) allowing me to be cutting edge stylish and injured at the same time.” I had more but that’s all I got called on to say.

porch futurism

Having both sides of the brain activated by this workshop will get me in top form for the NaNoWriMo dash in November.

[September 2020 – The Centre of Gravity is no longer at this location at Gerrard/Greenwood, same for Side Show Cafe]

writing sample
writing sample

one of my morning NaNo stretches [plot points revealed before now]

Jim and Birk stood at the rear of the men. MacKlusky was pounding on the front door of the company store. Two other men had gone around to the back to make sure Seldon [the store’s manager] didn’t slip away.

“He ain’ going anywhere.” Birk muttered. “Too much stuff inside. He’d never step away from a profit.”

“Open up Seldon. Man, we know you’re in there.” MacKlusky shouted. “We don’t want to harm you. We know it ain’ your fault wha’s goin’ on [miners are on  strike] but we have families to feed too you know.”

A window on the second floor opened. It was to the left of the front door. A woman’s head stuck out. “Dan’l t’ain’ here.”

It was his wife.

“He’s gone up to the big office. He was sent fer at supper time. He ain here.”

“Then let us in mussus.” MacKlusky stepped back. “We means no harm to you and yours.”

“I canna let you in. It’d be the end of me. He dinna want this to happen. But he’s got no choice He’s sorry he ever let his brother talk him inta runnin’ the cump store. Swore it was easy money. But it isn’t. It isn’t. We has to pay for everything just like you do. Even if it don’ get bought and goes bad we still has to pay for it.”

Birk had never heard Mrs. Seldon talk for so long.

you're no frond of mine so get out of here
you’re no frond of mine, so get out of here

Make-A-Scene

Back to school changes even the lives of those with no kids, or need to go back to school themselves. I live in a hub of schools – at least 8 within walking distance of my place. The start of term means more police cars driving up and down our laneway, fresh tags on our garage door and clumps of smoking teens by the little store that only opens for the school term (2019 note: closed a few years ago).

tags

Some years I sign up for some sort of fall workshop – past years have been the UofT poetry master class, Jacob Scheier’s writing about loss at Ryerson, Spoken Word with Andrea Thompson at OCAD – this year I twigged (thanks to Lizzie Violet) to an Allan Turner workshop: Make-a-Scene – it is lead by a zombie clown, so my spoken-word might become spooken-word in time for my Go Bump set in October. Best part is that The Centre of Gravity Circus Training Studios is a ten minute walk from my place – another neighborhood school to add the the list. (2019 note:Gravity has moved to 2019 noteQueen W.)

samp03

another of the Montaigne prompt pieces:

Of the Arms of the Parthians 66

we had sand

they had rocks

we got bigger rocks

they got sticks

we got tree trunks

they got nets

we got brick walls

they got clear plastic shields

we got radioactive particle dispersers

they got hot woman

we got french ticklers

they got hand guns

we had hand grenades

they took no prisoners

we made no bargains

they had hidden snipers

we had secret agendas

they televised our every move

we learned to moonwalk

they had night vision goggles

we had X-ray specs

they killed on sight

we dressed to kill

they had satellite surveillance

we leaked their every cellphone call

they got mirrored armor

we used mirror balls and dj’s

they got bass and drum

we went tribal on their sorry asses