Saturday, December 12, 2009
New Profile Pics. This Post Is Dedicated To Andy
I hardly ever have pics of me because I'm always taking the pictures so i thought it was time I put some here. You know feeling all homey with Festivus and what better way to be homey than share something about ourselves. I'm pretty much in heaven these days what with Stagg here all the time. We work so well together I wish I was one of those people who could think of some kind of awesome job we could both do. I'm not really that kid of thinker though. We've been having a wonderful set of weeks. Sure, sometimes we go" gee, whats going on?" but most of the time we are...running errands. Or working in the studio, or playing online, or reading, or walking, or busking. It's been super cold this week but it's really nice today. So, we'll probably go out busking in a couple of hours. I thought I was doing volunteer work last night but got my nights mixed up. We landed up going to a local bar in Boystown2 and watching the hockey game. Oh my god. Well one thing I learned about being a Leafs fan is that it has prepared me to be a Hawks fan. Neither team is ever hungry. They just don't need it. Ultimately I'm a Canucks fan way deep in my heart but I am also just a hockey lover in my own little way.
Hockey for me was never about the big teams when I was a kid. I used to take figure skating lessons. Don't get any big ideas. Like most of school I wasn't any good but I do enjoy skating to this day. After figure skating lessons or just group skating...my girlfriends and I would wait for our rides from our parents while watching a local young peoples hockey game. I have a really strong almost profound memory of autonomy when we lived on an army base and I was about 11 years old. I was sort of free to travel with my girlfriends around Ottawa on the public transit. I had some sort of money I suppose it must have been an allowance. Frankly, I was a strange quiet child and I simply don't remember the logistics of this time and money. But I vaguely remember getting some discussion about allowance. This astounds me thinking about it because our family was fairly poor. I was and I can't stress this enough...I was simply not a smart kid. I was terrible at school and couldn't read and absolutely nothing made sense. I never ever, memorized the lyrics or words of childhood songs or games. And I was too shy to ever ask for help learning the songs or games...I would just mumble school playground songs.. I was a total poser for social survival. When I had my daughter and she was in grade school I was so happy she knew all these school game songs from the playground. I was so releived she wasn't a social misfit like I was in school. I was a highly over-protected child at one point growing up. I didn't talk back in fact, I rarely remember speaking. I would never dream of asking a question in school. I couldn't barely read but I did make some friends who I adored. I started really get into friendship during this period in ottawa. I kind of really ahd a massive social growing spurt you might say. I had these friends who I am not sure of all their names but Christina, Cynthia and Ian are three significant people I was friends with at the time .We'd get on the bus and go to the rink.
I had money in my pocket. We would skate and this is the time I remember with such enthusiasm of buying a hot chocolate and french fries. it's the first time I ever remember eating french fries and we would watch the kids play organized league hockey. Anything I know about hockey I learned here. And I thought french fries were the most amaizng food. I would put ketchup, vinegar, gravy and salt and pepper on them. It seemed like the best use of my money to put more things on to the french fries...which seems to be a kind of economic logic of a poor kid. heh heh. I wouldn't think to eat that now in a zillion years! By the way...I spoke rather good French. All children learned French in those days in Canada. I excelled at French right up to about grade ten and I went on a field trip to Paris during high school based on my enthusiasm and skill at speaking French? Go figure. I barely use French anymore so it's pretty much gone now. My friend Scott calls me an idiot savant.I agree with him about the idiot part...I have yet to reap or see that "savant" part ha ha. I am completely ignorant of most practical or popular knowledge but when it comes to very specific things, I am quite well versed with some things. Like natural history, indigenous economies, music, paleontology, wildlife, nutrition and pop culture. All things completely uninteresting and uncommon for most conversation. Trust me...just try to get someone interested in talking consilience. Good luck with that. (I've spent ten years online with hundreds of complete strangers from a variety of backgrounds and it's near impossible.) I don't have a clue about geography, specific war history or politics. Those subjects all fall under the general rules of adaptation and resource scarcity in my world. Drives my friend Scott crazy. Drives everybody crazy. ...So Scott says with a lot of love I'm an idiot savant. It's occurred to me looking back perhaps I was some kind of autistic spectrum child. I did have learning disabilities. I was in Remedial Reading for years. Remedial is a nice term for retarded. I have very strong dyslexia. I finally conquered reading a couple years later when I read more and more comic books and much the racy books off my parents book shelves. I had major breakthroughs in reading around the age of 15. I still fight the dyslexia especially when I am tired. But I found a way to read even though sometimes I have to read certain sections and certain themes over and over. i am now a very fast reader because I realized that "books on tape" only have a duration of 6-8 hours for a full novel. I thought...surely i can read silently much faster than someone narrating a story.
Anyways, I loved buying a load of french fries and watching live hockey at this time in my life and nothing beats a live game of hockey for excitement. The cold air, the cheering, the suspense. The snacks. I thought of this in the back of my mind last night as we watched the game at the bar and chatted. The audio system was very good and this was the first time I had been in a bar in Chicago where they not only had a hockey game on but they also had the sound of the game. I swear my eyes teared up when there was a brief set of notes of the organ during the game. Most of the time hockey doesn't get half the attention in a bar here as it does in Canada. Having been to NHL game here the audience doesn't get as worked up as the NHL games I've been to in Canada either. But I was so excited when we walked into this bar last night and all you could hear was the hockey game. I felt pulled back to that dreamy quiet child who saw everything in a mist without clarity and saw games as mysterious forces she couldn't follow or understand except as vague patterns. I basically began looking for what patterns I could see and articulate. I took my very first art lessons in Ottawa that same year. They were on Saturday morning at a local community centre. Somehow game theory became a fascination for me and it related to social life and to natural history. I have been working on a general theory of the world in all the short films, poems and paintings I have struggled with ever since my first formal art lessons in Ottawa. I remember my teacher who taught us drawing in that class so long ago how he could bring a clarity to our subjects. I remember thinking how confident I felt in that situation. How I felt I could communicate so much easier than using words. It was a feeling I had with the animals I grew up with too. I felt my closest communication was with our pets and I often was the kind of child who spent a lot of time playing with our huge menagerie of animals. We had several cats, two dogs, a squierrel and a spider monkey. Getting out of the house and making friends wa sa huge stepping stone for me. At this same time, I got a radio. I had a little transistor radio in my room and I was utterly addicted to it. I started getting familiar with the local djs voices and the songs they would play. I was obsessed with people phoning in and making requests. I felt the same sense of power and autonomy as going to art classes and the local hockey arena and ordering a snack.
Last night as Stagg and I were chatting and just enjoying being out and people watching...I was overcome with the clarity of seeing how profound this time period in my life was for forming all my interests. The co-mingling of learning social skills, of having a sense of autonomy, of animals and art lessons and trying to learn the organic patterns and play of hockey. In my short films I have struggled with trying to put all these elements into action.I have got a kind of holy grail I've been messing with for many years now. It's a feature film script with these very particular elements in them: patterns, game theory, storytelling, radio, natural history, paleontology, indigenous peoples pre-literate transmissions of knowledge, image making and music. I often feel like I'm that 11 year old in the community centre taking art lessons and making the same painting and set of images over and over wondering if I will ever get the clarity to share this vision with anyone else. To me this is the very root of freedom and autonomy is to make, tell a story and share it. I am grateful for the ability to attempt like Camus' Sisyphus to keep rolling the ball up the hill and even if it rolls down again...know that I am happy doing it...I some how managed in my life's trajectory and interests to not learn anything that is practical or makes money. But...all are perfect for seeking a holy grail. For me freedom is the essence and luxury of practicing this weird mixture of seeking and making primal connections.
P.S. One of the reasons this post is dedicated to Andy is because he is interested in art-based research. I had never heard of this concept before...but I realized that that I have been doing this all my life> Art is the only way I've been able to learn and over-come obstacles of comprehension through art. And the idea for this film is a little bit about art-based research and learning.