Ice Rising

I watched the ice rising up, like a submarine, baring its shiny hull, and then another crack and a fury, the iceberg disintegrating right in front of them, gone into snow and dust. It was shocking to see it there and then gone, a solid thing evaporated, the sky, crystal blue, where it had stood.

The remains spread out in the water, shards and chips, like oil, filling the bay, leaving two pieces bobbing, crashing into one another and then drifting amongst its refuse

Beware the Anti-Masker

I finally got out of the city for some exercise and air. Most on the trails were courteous and respectful regarding the mask. They either already had it in place or quickly slipped it on as we passed.

Others not so much.

When asked how I was doing by an older white fellow without his mask, I replied, “I would be doing better if you were wearing a mask.” His reply: “I don’t believe in that stuff.

Further down the trail, a second man, similar age, ethnicity and lack of mask, replied with a chant, arms in the air, “Vaccinated! Vaccinated! Vaccinated!” I reminded him that I and many others still were not.

Good Ole Death

I left, half expecting her to be beside me, but she wasn’t and I found myself alone on a darkened path going toward the harbor. I listened to the sound of my shoes on the cement, sharp and clear and then gone.

There was always death, an expiring, a no longer. The world as only I know it – my memories – all of that done. Then nothing, a stone, dead and gone. Whatever I did, good or bad, it was just some story.

Messages With Death

I’ve seen death hanging about lately, mostly in odd faces and dreams. Not Death death. More like vice principal death, the sort that stands there, arms crossed, desperate for attention and has a bad temper.

Anyway, amidst my physical therapy appointments and travel plans, death cropped up in my messages. It wasn’t a surprise, given the many mortality-based messages I’ve opened as of late.

The message from death was better news that I had expected. A room had opened up with a view of the desert. And so I booked that.

Anori Extract: Apollo Kills a Galapagos Hawk

They were down from the mountain, the sun hazy through the low trees, so much hotter here, already past the conservancy camp, walking along the rocky edge, when Apollo ran ahead through the tidal pools and leapt at a hawk on the rocks.

Crabs scurrying away to tidal pools on Fernandina Island

Everything else scattered – cormorants, boobies, sea lions and crabs – as Apollo pinned the bird, the frantic brown bird fighting back, catching Apollo with its beak and talons in rapid succession.

“Apollo! No!” Dee stumbled down the rock face.

Apollo held hard to the bird as it flopped around, reared up, spasmed and shrieked.

“Let it go!” Dee yelled at him. “Drop it!”

Apollo hunched away from Dee, gripping the bird firmly.

“Apollo! I said drop it!”

“What the fuck, man.” Pax arrived from the other side of the pool. “Seriously, what the fuck.”

“Galapagos Hawk.” Dee sighed. “It’s a threatened species.”

Galapagos Hawk on Fernandina Island

“Apollo just killed an endangered species?”

“Not endangered.” Dee replied. “Threatened.”

“Well, this one’s fucking extinct.”

Young Chronicles: Rocks from Across Canada

I collected a rock from every province/territory on my Cross-Canada Hitchhiking trip in 1983 and described each one briefly in my journal.

Rock #1 Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island: Smooth and rounded, a single white stripe down the side and bit of ocean scum

Rock #2 Cornerbrook, Newfoundland: Jagged, almost gold, sparkling, a 3-D trapezoid

Rock #3 Sydney, Nova Scotia: Small, white polka dots on white, a few glitters

Rock #4 Kouchibouguac National Park, New Brunswick: Orange and broken, rectangular

Rock #5 Metis Beach, Quebec: An unfinished sculpture, black with streaks of green; looks like a bird, jagged and rectangular, when stood on one end

Rock #6 Wawa, Ontario: Dark, weathered and a broken top

Rock #7 Regina, Saskatchewan: Yellowish white of small proportions, chipped

Rock #8: Edmonton Fort, Alberta: Rounded, light brown with white streaks. Pock-marked and lop-sided

Rock #9: Grey Mountain, Yukon: Egg-shaped and worn. Covered in moss shit.

Rock #10 Wreck Beach, British Columbia: black, warped, dent in one side, speckled with grey.

I failed to get to a rock from Manitoba. Not sure why. There were plenty of rocks there.

My backpack at the base of a Trans Canada Highway sign in Manitoba

Writing Process: Finding My Self

Reviewing my notes for the Young Chronicles section of this blog reminds me of how little I had a sense of who I was as a young man. More to the point, it makes me realize how much I remain the same person. My sense of self lost in mist.

I am a writer. I know that. I’ve been writing for 37 years – novel after screenplay after novel – but remain unpublished. I’ve also taught for 22 years and enjoyed that. But I feel more the actor on that stage. I do not belong there, as administrations remind me again and again.

It is not that I need praise for my work. That isn’t it at all. Writing is definitively the most comfortable place in this world, a refuge from the blur and nonsense, where I truly know who I am. But it is fleeting. I come back to here, this blog, and think that maybe I’m not.

Young Chronicles: Hitchhiking Summer 1983

I hitchhiked across Canada in the summer of 1983 in search of something. I told everyone that I was looking for Canada’s soul – sad but true – but it was clearly more about me.

10,000 miles and 110 different rides later, I can’t say I found anything much but laziness and fear. Not to say that I didn’t try. I stayed at Cavendish Beach in Prince Edward Island, buying enough peanut butter, jam, bread and juice for three days and thinking, “Okay, I’m going to really dig into self-reflection now.”

Sad, lonely view from my tent at Cavendish Beach, PEI

But I didn’t. I just read, wrote nonsense and walked around, counting down until I could eat another sandwich and have another juice. I was marking time, nothing more.

Trying to look confident and cool at Mile Zero in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

I did two things with regularity on the trip: take self-portraits and write nonsense. This was my path to becoming a writer and developing a sense of self. That’s what I told myself.

Self-portrait on the side of the road in Prince Edward island

But it all rang hollow. I was closed. To myself and everyone around me. The writing was horrendous drivel, and I just kept looking down the road to see what might be next.

Research for Cx Trilogy: Dark Matter Propulsion

The power source for an intergenerational space is a matter of great conjecture because the technology does not exist as of yet.

The spaceship in The Cx Trilogy, Aqaara, is powered by Dante, an immense engine – the size of a concert hall – made up of a series of collider chambers which process dark matter during flight. The process is highly unstable and requires a reconfiguration every three days.

Young Chronicles XX: Vancouver to Toronto

August 10-13, 1983 Mileage 2896 miles

The Young Chronicles details my 1983 hitchhiking trip across Canada. Having completed the bulk of my journey, I spent time in Vancouver before heading back to Toronto. Once I had worn out my welcome with university friends, I moved to the Vancouver Youth Hostel and paid for room and board by doing the dishes.

On the porch of the Vancouver Hostel

I had dinner with an old friend, Ellen, and her husband on their sailboat docked at the marina and impatiently ducked under a moving train to get there. The caboose man yelled after me that I was an idiot. I have thought about that moment many time since, wondering what might have happened.

I lined up early at A&B Record store where the first 30 customers got three albums for $10 and bought 1999 (Prince), Time Fades Away (Neil Young) & Security (Peter Gabriel).

I went to the inaugural concert at BC Place with The Tubes (T&A show), Peter Gabriel (great lights) and David Bowie (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Space Oddity, Fashion, Stay, Scary Monsters, China Girl, Putting Out Fires, Rock and Roll Star, Young Americans, Station to Station, TVC15, Stay, Breaking Glass, Let’s Dance, Heroes, Jeanie Genie, Rebel Rebel).

Ride One: Vancouver to Winnipeg. Van. Met group at hostel, including Obbie (owner), Stephanie and two English guys. Paid $35 for gas.

Me, Obbie and the guys from England.

Ride Two: Blue truck. Winnipeg to outskirts of town. Middle-aged man told me to open the glove box where there was a porn magazine and asked if I wanted to go to his cabin to get a blow job. “I know a lot of guys who aren’t gay but liked to be sucked off.” I declined. He asked if I just wanted a sandwich. I declined again.

Ride Three: Outskirts of Winnipeg to St. Anne. 1955 pickup truck. Dean, a Native guy who ate sunflower seeds and got me high. Offered me a place to stay. I was anxious to get home

Ride Four: St. Anne to Falcon Island Provincial Park. Two young women who were unsure of me. I confessed to them that Dean had got me high.

Heading into the hills North of Lake Superior

Ride Five: Falcon Island Provincial Park to Toronto. Brown Rabbit. Di and Wax. Listened to Def Leppard too much. Had dinner at A&W. Was asked to drive but I had never driven stick shift. Wax tended to drift into oncoming lane on winding roads and almost hit a truck. Took me right to my house. I should have invited them in but I didn’t. I was tired and being selfish.