Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Throes of Ecstasy

Madness comes in many forms; sometimes it's the bucking, rabid Pony of Animation, that you cling to and try not to get bitten by..then fall off and chase until you can clamber back up on its back once more. Sometimes, it's the personal challenge of the unknown..the darkness that resides to the far left of the soul; the unblinking staring of the hazel eye in the reflective surface..the hollow depth of the pupil echoing back at you going: Well? WEELLL??

On the topic of Madness, I must confess, I have signed up for another tour of physical, mental and emotional challenges (not unlike the 41 hr deadline, or the 3 24-hour comics I've managed to complete.) No, this is the longest yet.. the 3-Day Novel Writing Competition. I'm not alone apparently; the loony bins have emptied their patrons.. they are staggering about the streets, typewriters in hands, stubbed pencils firmly in grip.. menacing blank sheets of paper with their gimlet eyes :-)

For some great info on the challenge, check this link! For information on my pals Troy & Carol Little and how they are coping with the challenge..check THIS link out. For info on how I'm doing.. well, you'll have to wait til Tuesday I guess... or Wednesday. The next Three Days are slated for the pure undiluted gesture of mad creativity, burning burning like Roman Candles.. Me and Jack bursting bubbles of soporific humdrum and zapping outside the megalomanic walls of existence.. until spent, one flops to the tiled floor in oozed somnolence and begs for sweet Morpheus to bear one aloft on starry steeds of sleep.

Ok, I've used up all my words;
the novel will consist of CAT
& possibly


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Plums in PEI

It is a beautiful long weekend summer morning on the Island. The sun is shining, a cool breeze wafts gently through the dark green maple and chestnut leaves, dappling the Little's new deck in cool shadow.

The drive from New Brunswick down the 11 out of Miramichi and through Shediac was fine. The road was clear and the speed limit quite high, so I made good time. Just before the turnoff to the 16, there was tons of traffic however. There had been an accident; I could see the black smoke rising from a cluster of vehicles in the distance. The sky turned dark and thunder rumbled in the distance. Rain hammered on the windshield as I listened to an old Music from the Glen (Atlantic Bridge.) I was hung up behind a huge camper with another truck and camper right behind me.

We waited, waited, waited. I turned off Cherry Bomb (the red Echo) to save gas. Also, she's been making this odd *thrummmming* noise sometimes, so I was a little worried about it. Cars further ahead decided against waiting anymore and did U-turns in the road, heading West. Some cars peeled away from the back and drove forward on the shoulder, then cut across a dirt track to try and get some headway. I thought it would be better to wait; since I didn't have a clue where the "dirt track" lead. My map said to go on the 15, and after my previous mishaps vs Lake Simcoe, I decided not to chance it.

After about 1/2 hour of sitting, cars slowly trickled out, heading towards me from the accident. One tooted joyously at the release of the jam. I threw on the Pogue's "If I should Fall from Grace with God" and found myself lurching forward as well. We spooled like thread, closer to the scene of the accident; as slow as cars trailing a hearse at 20 km/h. We passed two cars with a crumpled one between. Ahead was what I thought was a broken transport rig's cab. What it was was the front end of a tow-truck with the empty burned out shell of a huge camper hanging on it. All the belongings were charred; it was so pathetic and awful. Bicycles dangled from the back, forlorn and out of place.

The cars drove soberly by the scene, passing the rescue vehicles, police and other crew. I couldn't believe that the other truck that had driven towards us had beeped merrily like that... how could you do that if you had HAD to have seen the accident? What kind've person could jauntily honk at the sight of a burned vehicle..not even knowing if anyone had been hurt (or killed?)

I drove, listening to the Pogues and watched as the sky bled rain, then cleared. The sun burnished the clouds like pewter, then silver. I saw the Confederation Bridge and my heart jumped in my chest. I was almost there! The sea shone like silver, glittering dark where the clouds reflected against it. Over the rise of the bridge, I could see PEI's farm fields like yellow strips of gold against dotted green and black. The wind was crisp and tangy with salt. I left the mainland behind and eagerly drove the last stretch to Kensington. Finally, arrived around 4:30pm and got wonderful bone-crushing hugs in, just as it started to rain once again. Settled with beer and chats, girlie giggles from the twins and hearty halloos from Troy and Carol, I felt the last knotted tension in my back release.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mangoes in Miramichi

Well, it's morning #2 in New Brunswick, and I am thankfully well rested, happily full of yogurt, raisin toast, Bridgehead "Monkey" coffee.. ;-) and a chopped up mango. Slept well on the pull-out couch/ air mattress combo in Robbie & Bobbie's living room in their new house.

Headed off Tuesday morning after a relaxing stay up at Anders & Vicki's place on the Big Rideau (pics to come!) Needless to say that although I got up at 5:30am July 31st, by the time I was done packing, making lunches, checking the animals and generally getting my crap together.. it was about 9:45am before I finally rolled out. It still felt good though; exciting and exilarating to leave the burbs and plunge the red Echo on the hwy.

Listened to Imani Coppola, a few mixes and, as I pulled closer to Montreal, put Leonard Cohen's "The Future" in the tapedeck. Oh, glorious tapedeck! The one thing my lovely white Mustang never possessed. There was a stalled car in the tunnel of the Hippolyte, which caused back ups, but after that, it was clear sailing.

The weather was staggeringly beautiful; intense blue sky, puffy clouds that look like they'd been painted on and the changing Canadian landscape that made me almost crash as I snapped a few pictures along the way... Cruising up past Quebec City is when the St. Laurence is visible and the lovely hills beyond, shrouded in mist quite inspiring.

What was less inspiring was the interminable road-work in La Belle Province. I guess that's what you get for traveling on a weekday :-P The worst was just outside Joly, where everyone just sat there looking glum. I had an old 1987 live recording of Spirit of the West at Massey Hall in TO to groove to, so as John Mann, Geoff Kelly and Hugh Mcmillan sang Homelands, we finally rolled forward.

The Echo cruised easily, barely using gas. Including the top-up near Rigaud, then just outside Riviere-de-Loup, I spent $58 on gas. I nibbled on fruit, PB & J sandwiches and blueberries, as well as demolishing an entire bag of red licorice... too good! I finally made it to the NB and kept my eyes peeled for the turn-off to Grand Falls and the "108" which turns into the Renous, a mythical logging road that twists like an epileptic octopus through the NB highlands. I didn't have to worry; all the roads were clearly marked and soon I was on my way. During this leg of the drive, I had a "Taste of the Maritimes" mix tape with Stan Rogers on one side and a variety of folks on the other..all singable and setting the mood. When it got too dark to see, I just flipped the tape over and listened to it again, instead of rooting through the bag for a new one.

Everywhere I looked it was pure beauty; the hills rising and falling before me, the thick shaggy spruce, and the coming sunset bathing everything in pink/orange. Oh yes.. the coming sunset.. twilight.. and finally. Night. Night on the Renous. :-O Dark as pitch, not a streetlight in sight on the old logging road..which went from paved to, paved & bumpy, to crumbly bumpy (including the humourful sign: Bumpy Road, next 10k!) to gravel.. And long! It was the longest gravel road on which I've ever driven. A deer flicked her ear in the shadows of the road & a rabbit did a zig-zag jig in front of the car before darting off the road and into the shadows. During one of the bumpiest parts of the road, I remember singing "Farewell to Nova Scotia" sounding like I was sitting on a spastic washing machine..very vibrato!

Finally, the moon slid like a dusky orange peach from between the black branches. She glided skyward, brightening, buttery; a freshly risen loaf, a golden cheese! I felt amazing...on the cusp of Lughnassa, caught up in the beauty of the moon & feeling connected to the drive, the land, the movement. Some otherworldly power kept watch on me as I sped through the night and finally, exited the Renous on the other side, grateful and sighing, unclenching white knuckled hands from the wheel.

I got a little turned around trying to get to Rob & Bobbie's... inadvertently crossing the wrong bridge. Glad I topped up my cell; a quick call, a few directions and I was making my way to the final leg of the 12 hour drive. There was Rob on the lawn waving and at last the Echo ceased.. the odometer read 1038 km. Whew...

A Pump House Ale was presented, along with many delighted hugs! We sank into comfy couches and I related my tale.... More posts & some pictures to come.