Just a note to let you know this site is on a break. I’m concentrating efforts these day on my photography site at www.dondenton.ca/blog. Check it out.
While in Vancouver I came across this unusual little store, The Regional Assembly of Text (3934 Main Street) stocks cards, postcards, zines, artists’ books, kits to make zines and books, t-shirts, all made by the shop owners. They also have a tiny reading room full of artists’ books and zines. They hold a regular letter writing evening on the first Thursday of every month supplying the goods to write your letters. All very cool. More info at their site www.assemblyoftext.com.
In the reading room
The electrical plug in gives you an idea of the size of some of these books
Zine/books for sale
Back counter with typewriter collection
Not sure if this is literature or visual art, a combination of both I guess, but these words from a poem by Liam Gillick adorn the outside of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel at Burrard and Cordova in Vancouver. The window washers were a nice touch on a wet Vancouver day.
I’ve been away in Vancouver covering the Olympics and have a few things to post regarding things literary but for now will just post this photo I took on Main Street.
Sometimes you don’t need a face for a portrait.
I had photographed the late Timothy Findley for my first book First Chapter and following that photo session he sat down for an interview and lunch with then Calgary Herald books editor, now best selling author in his own right, Ken McGoogan. I joined the pair and Findley’s partner Bill Whitehead and continued to take a few photos but mainly listened in. What I was treated to was an entertaining hour and a half as Findley and Whitehead, the practiced tag team that they were, traded stories, memories, observations while eating, smoking and drinking wine. i think Ken just hung on and tried to get it all down. It was an incredibly enjoyable lunch and I think this image showing Findley’s hand, glasses and wine remind me more of that encounter than the other, more traditional, portraits I took that day.
My apologies for the lack of updates, interviews etc.
I have been busy, away etc. and the downside of one person operation is that it’s one person.
I had hoped to get the site rolling again tonight with photos from the David Sedaris reading at Bolen Books but that won’t be happening as I was told that photos were not allowed, not before, during or after. I’m not sure if this rule comes from Sedaris himself, his management or publisher (please be clear it was not from Bolen).
One reason I really like to photograph writers is because they don’t usually act like stars.
The closest I’ve been to anything (besides an actual book, anybody read A.A. Gill’s journalism, he’s cranky but fun) connected to writing were these reminders of the poet Robert Service in Whitehorse. Service, before he went to the Yukon worked at a bank in Victoria, the bank is now a very nice pub, The Bard and Banker.
A bust of poet Robert Service in downtown Whitehorse, Yukon territory
Sam McGee’s cabin in the McBride Museum, McGee the inspiration for Service’s classic ‘The Cremation of Sam McGee’ actually lived a full life and moved back to his American home before dying of old age.
More about photography than writing but for anyone concerned about cuts to the arts.
Partners in life and work, writer Sandra Shields and photographer David Campion work together on long term projects, chronicling subjects they find both important and interesting. They now have a site dedicated to their work, www.fieldnotes.ca. The stories here have appeared in a number of places, magazines such as Geist, online at The Tyee and in books such as Where Fire Speaks, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. They’ve looked at, and explained, life with a disability, a tribe in Africa facing wholesale lifestyle changes and the Calgary Stampede.
I’ve always thought that documentarians were the poets of the journalism world, under appreciated and under paid, but they get closer to the core of a subject than anyone else and these two certainly prove that.
These are the two opening paragraphs from Sandra Shields essay in Valley To The Sea:
‘JEN SLEPT IN HER CAR outside the Deroche Hall for a few nights the spring she met Rope. She was seventeen and had just gotten a rose tattooed above her right breast and didn’t want her dad to find out. Her parents lived across the field from the Deroche Hall in a house they built when they got pregnant with Jen, next to a trailer court named in honour of Jen’s great-grandfather Joe Kelly, who had once been chief of the Lakahahmen Indian Band.
Rope was twenty-five and lived in his own trailer in Joe Kelly Estates. He was a white kid who grew up on welfare in Surrey. He moved out to Deroche when he got a job in a sawmill near Mission. When he learned Jen was sleeping in her car, he said she could stay with him for a while. They had met a few days earlier on a double date and had gone to a movie that none of them liked, and in the back seat on the drive home Rope fell asleep and spilled beer all over Jen. They became buddies but didn’t want to date each other. He slept on the couch and gave her his bed. ‘
Those two paragraphs draw you in and tell you more than you thought possible in such a short burst of writing.
David’s photographs both complement Sandra’s writing and tell their own version of the story.
This is the full uncropped version of the photograph at top. Photograph © David Campion
See much more of their work on their field notes site. You can also look at some of David’s fine art work at www.davidcampion.ca.
Sculptor Glenn Clossom created a sculpture to honour Carla Funk, Victoria’s first poet laureate, that was installed at the corner of Government and Broughton Streets in downtown Victoria February 2. The sculpture, a 4.5 metre metal tree, has Funk’s poem Hide and Seek displayed on metal ribbons woven in the tree branches.