Posts in travels
the dutch in old amsterdam do it

Landing in Amsterdam was landing inside an infinite diorama, yet with real roses on vines, and the indecipherable, en masse murmur of another language all around. It was the first time I was an outsider. It was the first time I wasn't sure how to move without being in someone's way, or without looking like someone who doesn't belong. It unfolded around me like a giant pop-up book, like magic.

Read More
alberta alberta

I watched for raised eyebrows among parents and teachers, because I come to oil country with a book about radicals who wish for the end of pipelines. But that's not what it's about. It's the friction point of prosperity and concern, ability and disability, the loss of bodily presence and the gain of ghost messages. It's misplaced outrage and well-placed courage. It's banjo song and smoke in your eye. Stories hinge there, swinging this way and that.

Read More
the Griffons tour Alberta

It begins on Sunday: a suitcase full of books! Pirates in oil country! I fly into Edmonton and from there it's buses and rental cars all around the province, to schools in Lethbridge and a blessing ceremony in Stand Off—lucky me happens to be passing through for a smudging and I'll be there soaking it up, reading, and stocking their library with Missy and airborne resistance.

Read More
Alberta trilogy

If you're writing an environmental revenge fantasy, the big story, for now, is under that big sky. Or one of the big stories. All that black gold. In a restaurant in Banff I sat next to a guy who'd grown up in Fort McMurray, where the oil sands are, and he told me he doesn't recognize a single street from his youth. He said over and over again I don't know what happened. Everything's gone.

Read More
by the big land

The Labrador Creative Arts Festival is almost in its fortieth year, the oldest of its kind in Canada. Every night there were spoons, a fiddle, a snare drum, guitars, more stunts in overstuffed living rooms, everyone piled and sprawled and feeling fat and thrilled and rich, looking at each other bleary-eyed and spinning, all of us teetering on the edge of sickness. Keep going.

Read More
next you're dazzled by the beauty of it all

Teaching teaches me, though to call it 'teaching' isn't quite right. But maybe it is. I always start off heavy, with a cast-iron pot of the required stuff of aperture and directional light and focusing modes. I begin as a school marm, a hardass, because I still believe inspiration is rootless without the language to self-diagnose. Then we play, and I sprint from one shoot to another and it's exclamation marks all over the place, and that's when they teach me.

Read More