Blog

Parallel Prairies

Parallel Prairies cover

Update: The Bran­don launch of Par­al­lel Prairies will hap­pen dur­ing Bran­don University’s Home­com­ing cel­e­bra­tion.

Update: The book now appears on the publisher’s site.

Some­time this fall, my short sto­ry “Vin­cent and Char­lie” will appear in Great Plains Pub­li­ca­tions’ new anthol­o­gy Par­al­lel Prairies edit­ed by Dar­ren Ridge­ly and Adam Petrash.

My story’s ele­va­tor pitch is “ET, with a retired farmer with demen­tia in the role of Elliott”.

Pre-order from: McNal­ly Robin­son | Amazon.ca

Once I have more details about how & where to order, launch­es, etc, I’ll be sure to post them.

Geminids

In the pho­to above, I caught what I think was a C-130 Her­cules turn­ing. I think the mil­i­tary might have been doing some flight train­ing.

I caught a few mete­ors on cam­era tonight. It was mild in town, but the wind out in the coun­try made it very cold.

I think I might have seen more mete­ors than I pho­tographed, actu­al­ly. They were all over the sky. And even the bright­est two, in the pho­tos below, bare­ly show up.

I guess I’ve got some more learn­ing to do about shoot­ing mete­or show­ers.

 

Sunday morning police blotter

Police Car -- from Unsplash

This past Sun­day I had to run a cou­ple errands. As I left the house, I noticed there was a police car parked fac­ing the wrong way on the street in front of the house a cou­ple doors down.

When I returned there were about four police cars. I went up the back alley, plan­ning to loop around and park in front of my house. But there was police tape strung across the back lane, and anoth­er police vehi­cle block­ing the way. I backed out and parked fur­ther up my block. I made a men­tal note to check the police web­site lat­er, to see if there were any details in the dai­ly media release as to just what was going on.

Well, there were:

On Sun­day morn­ing at approx­i­mate­ly 07:52am, Police were request­ed to attend to a res­i­dence in [my block] for a female who had been stabbed mul­ti­ple times in the arms, legs and mid-sec­tion. Police learned sev­er­al items includ­ing the victim’s vehi­cle were stolen at the same time. Police believed two male sus­pects were involved [note: turned out it was a sin­gle sus­pect] and may be armed with firearm. […] At approx­i­mate­ly 6:10pm, the sus­pect was observed leav­ing the res­i­dence on [anoth­er street]. Police con­duct­ed a high risk vehi­cle stop and the sus­pect was arrest­ed.

—Police media release

So yeah. Wow.

Pho­to by Tam­my Gann on Unsplash. Not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the police cars around town.

Stairs

You go up, you go down.

I saw this stair­way on Twit­ter, and thought it looked, well, amaz­ing. It made me nos­tal­gic for the stairs in my child­hood home, to wit:

Dad made the ris­ers. They’re var­nished wood, crazy slip­pery in sock feet, shaped like the end of a canoe pad­dle. The cen­tral col­umn, if I recall cor­rect­ly, was weld­ed by a close fam­i­ly friend, Gilles.

Man, I loved those stairs. They were the best.

Down in Fraggle Rock

Today I learned that…

Den­nis Lee, Cana­di­an poet, author of child­hood favourite “Alli­ga­tor Pie”, was also the co-founder of the ven­er­a­ble Cana­di­an press House of Anan­si Press (which, even though I’m ill-versed in Can­Lit, I’d heard of).

And he wrote the lyrics to the theme song for Frag­gle Rock.

And he co-wrote the sto­ry for the movie Labyrinth.

[Cita­tion need­ed]

Unfinished Stories

The Grove cartoon by Steve Groves

A friend of mine, Steve Groves, was a tal­ent­ed writer and an amaz­ing car­toon­ist. I think he had a hard time believ­ing it, though.

For a while he drew a week­ly strip for a local news­pa­per, called The Grove, that fea­tured humans and ani­mals in a small town. The main char­ac­ter had moved home from the big city and would often ques­tion just why. The humour veered between gen­tle and bit­ing, as all the best satire does.

A sam­ple car­toon is at the top of this post. I often told Steve that The Grove remind­ed me, in tone and in exe­cu­tion, of Bloom Coun­ty. He’d always mum­ble some­thing in an embar­rassed voice about how it “can’t be that good”, but it was.

(He would some­times tell me that he found my suc­cess in writ­ing inspir­ing, and I’d mum­ble some­thing in an embar­rassed voice, because I know how much rejec­tion I’ve col­lect­ed, how much fur­ther I feel I have to go. So I guess that par­tic­u­lar knife cuts both ways.)

Steve died last year after a bat­tle with can­cer. A mutu­al friend, one T. Kei­th Edmunds, set about on a project to gath­er some of Steve’s work into a memo­r­i­al col­lec­tion. Mine arrived on Thurs­day, and it’s gor­geous. 96 pages of car­toons, draw­ings, sketch­es, and notes for projects that run the gamut from “kid’s book” to “night­mar­ish mon­ster hunter”.

Thanks, Kei­th. And of course, thanks, Steve.

Unfin­ished Sto­ries: The Art of Stephen Groves is avail­able for pur­chase, as are select prints of Steve’s work.

Whoops

In the end, it looks like lightning, kind of

I call this one “I didn’t mean to set it to 6s, f/32, ISO1600, but look how it turned out”.

Edit­ed in GIMP: basi­cal­ly, stacked the same lay­er about 5 deep, with all but the bot­tom-most set to “Mul­ti­ply”.

A borrowed Lensbaby

Trees at golden hour

Last week I got my hair cut. My hair­dress­er, like me, is an ama­teur pho­tog­ra­ph­er. We got talk­ing lens­es, and she said she had a Lens­ba­by but had no idea how to use it. She offered to lend it to me.

I said “Sure!” I’ve been curi­ous to try one out, to see what it could do, but not curi­ous enough to buy my own.

I did some exper­i­ment­ing. It’s not like any lens I’d used before; you focus with two fin­gers, and you can maneu­ver it so that you’ve got a sharp focal point, and the rest of the image is blurred—almost motion blurred, real­ly. It was inter­est­ing to use, but not some­thing I’d prob­a­bly buy for myself. Cer­tain­ly not at full price.

Then last night—Hallowe’en night, no less—I glanced out the win­dow as I was get­ting my stuff togeth­er for judo. After a day of unbro­ken clouds, I saw that the sun had bro­ken through, and was throw­ing gold­en light every­where. I raced upstairs with my cam­era (which still had the Lens­ba­by attached) and snapped the above pho­to, of the trees in my front yard.

I like it. I think it turned out pret­ty good.

Now I think I need to do some more learn­ing with the Lens­ba­by.