Picture Perfect Coming Soon

Lining up the 78 sections into a Picture Perfect file to start the editing & stitching together of the sections. I have almost 190,000 words to deal with that written as part of Nanowrimo in 2014/15/16. My next step will be to look at each section & write up a brief summary of what is in it. 

I have my characters, their backstories, motivations & events fairly clear in my mind but will be discovering how much of that is on the actual page 🙂 Some portions had been lightly edited for blogging here as I was writing them but things changed by the time I got to the end of story arc in 2016 so changes are to be expected. I’ll resist making those changes until I’ve skimmed through all sections. 

I also wrote out of sequence so I’ll have make sure my timing is right. I also let myself follow tangents some of which will remain as they are seeds for my hero’s next adventures. I also stopped worrying about creating a publishable work, which allowed me to make some diversions that weren’t necessarily pushing the story line, nor were they seeds for future story lines. Something I learned from American Horror Story.

I’m not planning to blog chapter until 2020 – editing on the luge to the new year can’t be difficult but not impossible. Unlike Coal Dusters I imposed no restrictions on language or explicitness not am I doing chapter titles – I’m not even sure I’ll be doing chapters anyway. In City of Valleys I did it by seasons & days of the week, so that may happen with Picture Perfect as well.

Here’s the opening that sets up the main plot & two of the main characters –

“You’re not listening to me.” Sanjay took the remote from Dan and muted the TV.

“I was.” Dan grabbed the remote. “You said my sister had a good point.”

“But you are going to ignore her?” Sanjay tried to get the remote back before Dan could turn the sound back on.

“Some thing don’t change.” Dan  blocked Sanjay’s hand, looked him in the eyes and kissed him. “If I had listened to her, we would not be together. You know that that.”

“So you keep telling me.” Sanjay pushed Dan away from him, got up from the couch and stood in front of the TV.

“Sanj, If you want to distract me you’ll have to drop your drawers.”

“We’re talking a lot of money, Dan. A lot of money.”

“I’m not paying for you to drop them. Now, step away from the TV. I was watching something.”

“You’re always watching something when I want to talk to you. You’ve recorded this anyway, so you can go back to it.”

“You asked me to clear things off the recorder, remember. Now that I’m trying to, you want to talk me.” Dan hit pause. “You’re the reason I don’t think we need a cat.”

“What?”

“Cats ignore you till you are trying to do something and they are all over you.”

“You wish.”

“This is nearly over anyway. Ten minutes.” Dan unpaused. “Step aside?”

He pressed the back button to rewatch what he’d missed talking to Sanjay.

“What’s it about anyway?” Sanjay sat beside him.

“Missing kids on the east coast.”

“I should have known.”

“Yeah, everything is homework for … hey! That’s me!” Dan hit the pause button.

It was a photo of two boys on the front steps of a house. Arms over each other shoulders, grinning at the camera.

“You sure aren’t missing.” Sanjay said.

“Yeah yeah I know. It’s the other boy Timmy Dunlop. I guess.”

“Guess? I thought you were watching this.”

“You mean, trying to watch. My Dad took this picture. I remember it. It’s been years since I’ve seen it though.”

“Yeah, right. How many photographs have you seen?”

“Enough, but some you remember. I had a crush on Timmy. We played doctor a couple of times. When we moved I kept hoping to hear from him but nothing.”

“I guess you know why now.” Sanjay stretched. “I’m heading for bed. I leave you to your homework.”

Any reality show dealing with crime was considered Dan’s homework. He saw things in photographs that most didn’t see. His eyes had been trained to discover and recognized what might appear ordinary to the untrained eye.

He went back to the beginning of the program ‘Canada Cold,’ that looked at cold cases across Canada. He’d worked such cases with the RCMP and that had tweaked his interested in them. This episode was about a the disappearance of several children in the Maritimes in the mid-80’s. Dan had no recollection of it at all. His family had moved when he was eleven, the same summer of these disappearances.

As he watched he jotted down the names and locations of the children. None struck a chord with him expect Timmy’s. The place name were familiar, Stellerton, Digby, Wolfville in Nova Scotia; Small Town & Port Something in New Brunswick. His Dad had been an itinerant photographer, “Photos By James”, who travelled from school to school, taking class pictures and individual portraits. For the summer’s he would take the family with him, spending a day or two, or up to a week in various small towns. 

Dan pulled himself out his reflective daze, replayed the ending of the show again and wrote down the number one was to call if they had any information. He’d call once he had found those photos his Dad took of him and Timmy. Stellerton had been one of the longer stays and one of the last as he recalled. 

They’d been there long enough for him to renew his friendship with some of the boys he’d palled around with the previous summer. They left pretty quickly. He remembered being pretty pissed because the Happy Hippo Carnival had just set up and he wanted to so badly to go it. 

Moving to Toronto wasn’t as important to him then as seeing the side shows. Even his sister was somewhat disappointed because she was seeing some guy their mother didn’t approve of. He figured that was why they were really moving away and for years blamed her for ruining his childhood.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicenseHey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees 

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Dominion Beach Party

On my August Cape Breton visit I spent an hour or so on Dominion Beach. I can’t remember the last time I actually stood in the Atlantic Ocean 🙂 

Dominion Beach before the crowds

view of the Lingan Power Plant from the beach

‘the beach has changed once again’

public shower

horizon

TOpoet.ca under the horizon

feet in the sand

clouds over Dominion

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop


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Out and About in Sydney, Cape Breton

Cape Breton sunrise

where I had great ice cream on the Sydney Boardwalk

stone stairs to nowhere in Sydney

the welcome feet of Sydney

stone in the Park/Brookland/Hospital Sts triangle

close up of the stone

stained glass in the CB Regional Library

CB highland dancers on Charlotte St.

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop


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“I danced for the Devil”

Does this sound familiar: rabid anti-gay rights activist caught making pass at a man in washroom – admits he is gay. The accuser being guilty of what he accuses others of – this is a part of the many layers of guilt in The Crucible. Guilty of one crime you are guilty of all crimes. Accusation = guilt. Being innocent doesn’t undo the stain of the accusation. The Crucible functions on many levels – the use of authority is more important that justice, the denial of guilt is really an admission of guilt.

My last theatre day trip to Stratford was to see Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. A play about witches in October – what a concept 🙂 The production was intense, riveting & the political allegory hasn’t dated a bit. Except these days many don’t care about guilt if the guilty are rich enough – a president can admit to ‘grabbing pussy’ (underage beauty contestants should be flattered he grabbed their privates) & is still in power. But I digress.

The simple set with side pieces of tall trees moves silently & easily to accommodate several locations. The ambient sound before the play starts create a a sense of forest. Once the plays starts with the ‘possessed’ child (nice nod here to ‘The Exorcist’) it moves with constant intent & mounting emotional & physical intensity.

The performances were strong for a cast who clearly enjoyed these characters, had dug deep into the text itself, & gave unexpectedly raw performances. Tim Campbell as John Proctor & Scott Wentworth as Reverend Parris gave amazing performances – perhaps the best I’ve seen by Scott Wentworth. I was drawn into the dense emotional mire both men were feeling on opposite sides of the conflict.

Shannon Taylor as Elizabeth Proctor was strong – her moment of ‘truth’ brought gasps from the audience. The tempted ‘girls’ lead by Katelyn McCulloch as Abigail Williams were given great dramatic moments of demonic possession. Katelyn was good but was more saucy than vengeful. They were women not girls or children, as they were referred to on the text.

I had seat in 4th row orchestra so had a very close view of the superb costumes plus I was impressed by the meticulous wig work. This is an excellent production, perhaps the best I’ve seen this season & one of the most compelling I’ve seen of stage in some time. Jonathan Goad’s direction brought performances that were deeply effective & made a challenging text engaging & challenging at the same time. 

“I danced for the Devil; I saw him, I wrote in his book.” Arthur Miller

other 2019 reviews:

Costume Warehouse Tour – Me? Caped Crusader https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vQ

Henry VIII – ‘Abject Object’ https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vW 

Our Father Issues  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3CB

Cape Breton (Liberation Army) Day 7 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Gj

Mae Brecht’s Sex https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ND

Plant Food For Thought https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Oo


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & 2020 theatre tickets. Thanks paypal.me/TOpoet 

Japan India Dominica Germany


This next mp3 collection is a trip around the world starting in Japan with Kuni Kawachi: Love Suki Daikirai. Someone in my tumblr feed posted ‘Graveyard of Love’ a track by Kuni & I loved the title & the song itself. This is moody, sweet early 70’s folksy psychedelic music. Kuni has an appealing voice & I was delighted by the songs. Do I understand Japanese? No, but that isn’t the point.

Next stop is Germany with Gunnar Winckler: A few hits. Once again thanks to tumblr. I follow an lp cover list – usually cheese album covers from around the world. The cover for Gin und Rum was sweet so I  checked out Gunnar. There were only a few of his tracks on iTunes. A late 1950’s hit maker in Germany. The music is rock-a-billy fun.We jump from there to India with Ganesha – My Lord. A collection by various performers of chants, rajas & spoken word in tribute to Ganesha. This a great exploration of this genre of ‘sacred’ meditation music. Some tracks over 20 minutes that are journeys worth taking.

Next we visit Guinea with music by Djelimoussa Cissoko – Kora. A kora is a 21 stringed lute-like instrument. Cissoko is considered a master of the instrument. On this lp he plays a variety of classic styles. The sound is melodious, at times meditative, sprightly & enticing. There are some jazz groups that are based around this instrument. I love this particular set though & it makes for an excellent introduction to West African music. 

Finally we come to a more modern sound with Adventura – The Last – this is a Bronx-based Dominican boy band. Latino boy bands still exist! But the competition of J or K Pop is giving them a run for the money. Fine harmonies, funky songs, nice production & in the videos they look more like men than boys.

Another Sunday Drive

“Look you little shit I’m only taking you along because Dad is here. Remember that. Get out of line and you’ll be sorry. Got it.”

“Yes, I got it.’ Dave glowered at me from the front seat of the car. He was still pissed at me for the other day, I guess.

Dad came out of the cabin and got into the front seat passenger seat.

“Okay Dave, let’s see what you’ve learned.” 

“Sure enough, Dad. I’ve been practicing all week. You know …. just driving Mike here down to the beach.”

“Sticking to the private lane I hope.”

“Of course. Dad. Didn’t I Mike.” He slowly backed out of the drive. 

Slower than I had even seen him back out. I sat quietly with my eyes peering out the window. Dave had driven me to the beach exactly once. He had been out in the car every day. Going on the highway to the store in town a couple of times. I wanted to tell but had promised not to say a thing. 

When we got the beach Dave puleld into the parking area and backed the car into a spot. This time he didn’t back right into bushes that separated the lot from the beach.

“Very good. I’m proud of you son.”

Dave beamed. “Thanks Dad. Maybe I could take us to town. We need … milk.”

“Maybe when you get your beginners. This is enough. Might as well enjoy the sand while we’re here.” Our Dad got out of the car.

We got out too. By the hotdog stand where two of the girls Dave had his eye on.

“Hi Dave,” the shorter of the girls waved and walked over. “Can you drive us into town again this afternoon?”

He scowled at her and glanced back at my Dad. “Hi Sally, this is my Dad.”

‘Oh! You taught Dave to drive great. He’s like a race car driver. He never misses a curve.” She ran her hand along her hip.

“I see.” My Dad’s eyes narrowed, as a thin smile played across his face. “You don’t say. Well, Dave why don’t you show me how you take those curves.” He pushed Dave gently back toward the car.

“Mike, you stay here till we get back.”

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Ousmane Sembène

As I mentioned last week during September I watched a couple of amazing films by Senegalese writer/director Ousmane Sembène: Emitaï, Ceddo. I’ve also seen his Black Girl, a look black displacement & diasporia in France which I found predictable & so didn’t resonate with me. Emitaï, Ceddo were constantly surprising.

Both are set in Senegal & presented an Africa I was barely familiar with. I grew up with the Africa of Tarzan & countless white safari movies. The blacks were toters of luggage – often superstitious, cowardly and/or stupidly obedient. Also the men were usually stripped to the waist & given to wearing ceremonial tribal bones, feathers & the like when running through the jungle. Their lives were peripheral to story even when the story was about them.

Emitaï deals directly & mercilessly with French colonial attitudes & actions. When the villagers resist sending their sons to fight in WWII they are treated like children who don’t understand the right of the French to do what ever they want. When the village is also ordered to give all its rice to the war effort & refuses as it means they will starve they are treated like selfish children whose cultural values aren’t valid. 

The film shows their ordinary daily lives, their tribal religion & burial rituals as well as rice planting. All ordinary & all in direct relation to the land. They are more interested in maintaining their own dignity & families than they are in defending France against the Germans. I loved the scene where the native militia doesn’t understand how de Gaulle, a two-star general can over-rule Pétaina four-star general.

Ceddo deals with religious colonization with Islamic persecution of villagers who won’t convert. The class system, enforced as much by guns as history, is one that runs through many cultures. The disregard of other belief systems as illogical superstition is still one of the middle east’s bones of contention. The Christians aren’t much better mind you.

I was quickly drawn into each film & appreciated this ‘insider’s’ look at colonialism – cultural & religious – that wasn’t balanced by the need to appease either the French or the Islami. Both films are in native languages & maintained the rhythms of their everyday speech. The performances were excellent & I loved the music in Ceddo by Manu Dibango (Soul Makossa). I found the Ceddo soundtrack on iTunes 🙂

If you want to step out the confines of the usual film story-telling these are two films worth tracking down.

The Trade-Off

what I want

what it’ll cost

is that the price I’m willing to pay

is the sacrifice 

going to be worth the result

 

it is so unfair

why can’t I set the price

is that too much to ask

I’m willing to compromise

but when is enough enough

when can I say no

to what want to say yes to

when I think I’m losing 

more of myself 

to gain something I think I want

 

if my price was unreasonable

I’d understand

but they’re not reasonable

with their barriers of cost control

 

you can have this steak 

but you have to eat it with a spoon 

I suppose that’s possible

how can I say yes 

and no 

at the same time

say yes

I want what you offer

but not the conditions you offer it with

 

don’t forget

the cost of keeping it

will be greater

than the cost of giving it to me

who doesn’t want it

anymore

even for free

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

September Recap October Sneak Peek

September had many days with over 60 hits. India top the list with Canada at the top of the hit list, 2nd place, with !! Kenya 3rd & USA sliding down to 4th spot. Increases seen from Mauritius & Nigeria.  The blog now has 358 followers (up from 298 at the start of the year). 218 Twitter followers; 241 Tumblr followers. Steady increase is best. Managed to keep plugging away on Coal Dusters while I was in Cape Breton with 126,000 words posted so far – maybe another 15,000 to go to wrap things up.

Theatre outings were good. My reaction to Mae West’s Sex was mixed, an excellent production with a disappointing leaden lead. My last theatre day trip is to Stratford to see The Crucible in mid-October.

 

Little Shop Of Horrors at Stratford was amazing. A play about witches in October – what a concept 🙂 Other than great theatre & was the launch of Hot Damn! season six at Buddies In Bad Times.

 

The most interesting September event was seeing Justin on the Danforth one morning on my walk. He was shaking hands & stopping for people to get photos with him. I dodged a couple of other cellphone photographers & managed to get a decent shot.

October might bring the end of Coal Dusters 🙂 it gets a little longer each week but I am in the final chapters now. What comes next? I do have a another over 200,000 words of another novel to edit but first I have to stitch it together. So maybe Tuesdays will fall silent for awhile. Sundays will see postings of my Cape Breton photos.

This October will see a return of my horror poems. A new one every Thursday. I may ‘discuss’ past ones on Wednesday. Tackling horror tropes is fun as I push myself to see or use those old cliches. The new season of American Horror Story: 1984 is doing that with summer camp mayhem & I am loving it, so far. This year I’m not doing Nano in November. I seem to have lost my need to push so hard. I suppose my blogging has refocused that energy somewhat & also satisfies my need to write nearly every day anyway 🙂  

Watched a couple of amazing films by Senegalese writer/director Ousmane Sembène: Emitaï, Ceddo – more about them next week.

Sex: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ND

Little Shop Of Horrors: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Oo

Hot Damn! launch: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3OC

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Plant Food For Thought

Seeing Little Shop on the last day of summer seemed appropriate. I’ve seen a few productions of the musical & also the rather dull film version & of course, the original film. The star of all is Audrey II. The plot is wildly non-Broadway musical but the songs are pure show tunes with amazing melodies & clever lyrics. The subtext – consumers being consumed is still powerful. 

 

We have Seymour (Andre Morin) consumed by his heteronormative longing for Audrey & the cult of fame, Audrey (Gabi Epstein) consumed by her longing for a suburban wifedom. The direction and choreography of Donna Feore was well-paced, while music direction of Laura Burton maintained a nice period Motown sensibility.

The performances are all strong, singing is spot on, the staging is top-notch, a Greek chorus (Vanessa Sears, Starr Domingue, Camille Eanga-Selenge) in wonderful costumes & a cast that clearly loves performing this show. I was quickly & completely caught up in it. Dan Chameroy, almost stole the show from Audrey II as Orin Scrivello, the charming dentist. I’ve always wondered how the ADA feels about this portrayal of their profession? I’m sure the AFA would approve of Steve Ross as the flower shop owner.

The puppetry for Audrey II (by Jason Sermonia, Henry Firmston, Evangelia Kambites, Jordan Mah) was perfection. The mostly immobile plant was given great personality by the operators. I particularly enjoyed the moments where the leaves reached out sweetly to stroke Seymour as it convinced him to fulfill its feeding demands. Matthew G. Brown voicing A II was both threatening & seductive & was perhaps the most complex character in the show, I was glad to see him brought out for bows at the end of the show.

Considering the current trend of gender & race blind casting it might have been fun to see more of that here: Suddenly a Simone, or an Aubry, would have given the show a real sense of edginess that would have put it over the top. I throughly enjoyed this production & if I could afford it, had the time & could get decent seats I wouldn’t hesitate to see it again before the end of the run.

 

other reviews:

Costume Warehouse Tour – Me? Caped Crusader https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vQ

Henry VIII – ‘Abject Object’ https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vW 

Our Father Issues  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3CB

Cape Breton (Liberation Army) Day 7 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Gj

Mae Brecht’s Sex https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ND

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything

why you are asking me

are you trying to make a fool of me

which by the way

isn’t that hard to do

 

so you didn’t have to put so much thought

into asking me anything

but first I need to know

why ask me

 

right that isn’t answering your question

so try someone else

or say what you mean

because you don’t want an answer do you

 

it doesn’t matter 

what answer I give

you are trying establish 

that I’m not as smart as I think I am

 

while I am willing to admit

I have no answer for you

for any question you might ask

so ask away

 

I’m listening


This piece is about the asking of questions. I see film stars interviewed about who is in running for office, yet never see politicians interviewed about who is in running for the Oscars. This reminds me of a commercial parody – “I am not a doctor, but I played one on TV, so I recommend ^^^ for you.”

 

I recall being interviewed, with a couple of other poets, on the radio. The host asked the others about their inspirations, aspirations & upcoming events. When the host got to me the questions were about my record collection. Apparently their interest in me a poet was non-existent. Oh right – the other poets had creative writing degrees too, so they were real poets.

 

This is also a variation on my theory people only ask what you think so they can tell you what they think. What you think is irrelevant to them. I’ve learned to say things like ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ve never given that much thought.’ Both relatively harmless replies. I once did ask directly ‘What difference does it make to you what I think?’  They had no answer.

The ‘ask me anything’ also reflects a willingness of my part to share things about myself freely, if I think they are relevant. One my recent trip to Cape Breton I had a great conversation with my niece about the nature of novel plotting, publishing & satisfaction. She actually wanted to hear what I had to say & actually pushed me into more complex answers about the psychological drive for writing.

Once when I was in Indigo someone asked me where a certain section was. When I said I didn’t know they got a bit miffed that as an employee I didn’t know. I said that I was a shopper not a clerk. They muttered something about bad customer service & wandered off. Ironically it turned out I was in the section they were looking for. Why ask me?


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Sydney Sights

Cape Breton Highlanders cenotaph on Kings Rd.

Highlanders cenotaph on Kings Rd.

haunted haircut house

haunted haircut house

Wentworth Park War Memorial

Wentworth Park War Memorial

The big hands of the founder (the scarf gets replaced regularly)

I went to these schools ‘*’

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop