Said It: Anne Frank, On the Power of Writing

Anne-Frank

“I can shake off everything as I write;

my sorrows disappear,

my courage is reborn.”

 

Last night Joe and I and our friend Kaci went to a wonderful reading series called Tell It Slant, which was held at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. The reading was in collaboration with the museum’s exhibit ‘Anne Frank: A History For Today’. I was particularly inspired by this quote from Anne Frank. I don’t think I read her diary when I was young, but have put it at the top of my reading list for this year.

If you are in Portland and interested in this Anne Frank exhibit, it’s on until April 14, 2015.

Q + A: Printmaker Dan Quinton on Confidence, the Canadian Landscape, and the Future of PosterBoy

Dan Quinton

When I first met Dan Quinton, founder of the Halifax-based printmaking company PosterBoy, we were both in our early 20s and living in Victoria. Dan was a painter in the process of immigrating to Canada from England. I was a waitress embarking on a writing degree. He and his partner Robbie loved to cook and invited me over for many dinners, during which I’d ask Dan to show me whatever new piece of art he was working on.

So when he launched PosterBoy last year, I checked out the site, fell in love with this screen print, and immediately ordered it. (It’s now displayed on my dresser.) I also asked Dan if he would be open to an interview on the blog, and here we are!

You might gather this from our conversation below, but let me reiterate that Dan is one of the most gentle, humble, and witty people I know, not to mention talented. I’m so happy to share a little of his creative process and artwork with all of you.

Q + A

What’s your earliest memory of feeling a connection to art?

I have always had an interest in art as long as I can remember. Even back to being a little toddler I recall enjoying doodling and colouring with wax crayons. My mother always encouraged me to explore my artistic interests as it runs in my family. My grandfather in particular was a source of inspiration, as he always had a few creative projects on the go at once. I remember a feeling of wonder whenever I was allowed to go up to his loft where he would sketch out his designs!

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You’re originally from England, and studied graphic design there before immigrating to Canada in 2003. You’ve lived in Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax. In what ways has the Canadian landscape and culture influenced your work?  Continue reading

Postcard: Mekong River Ride, 1999

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In honour of my cousin Heather’s birthday today, a flashback to our boat journey down the Mekong River in Southern Laos. She was 22. I was 21.

Behind the gentleman’s head is my guitar. I could always count on Heather to sing along to the same songs I played again and again.

Happy Birthday, cous!

ps. A Story of Cousins

Seattle: What Should We Do + See?

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Despite living just a two-and-a-half hour boat ride from Seattle for the bulk of my formative years, I’ve been to the city just three times: once when I was nine, with my next-door neighbour Audra and her mom, once for a girls’ weekend with Leah eight or so years ago, and once in November of 2013, for a 12-hour rendezvous with Gaeli.

My memories are as follows:

Childhood trip: No idea. We maybe/probably went to the Space Needle?

Girls’ weekend with Leah: Dancing at a bar that our restaurant server recommended, saying it was “just the right amount of dirty”, putting my phone number into the cell phone of a dude we met at said bar, hotel robes, wandering around Pike Place Market the next day in a daze while trying to take artistic photos of chilli peppers. The guy never called.

Rendezvous with Gaeli: Trying to surprise her at the hotel entrance but totally missing the moment because she came in the back door, pasta and wine at Tavolata until we were the last customers in the room, stiff mixologist-type beverages with ingredients we’d never heard of until 2 a.m., hotel robes and YouTube clips of SNL, three hours of sleep followed by room-service mimosas.

Point is, while I clearly love hotel robes, I really haven’t seen Seattle. But with your help, that’s about to change.

My friends Josh and Melinda, who live there, have generously offered us the use of their home while they are in New Zealand, so Joe and I are driving up Friday and staying until Monday. Other than dinner at The Pink Door Saturday night, we have nothing planned.

Have you been? What do you recommend? Is there a neighbourhood you especially love to wander around? A cafe/restaurant/bar or park we should check out? Best places for music? Any out-of-the-way spots we wouldn’t find on a “Top Attractions” google search?

We are up for heading out of the city for a hike or beach walk as well if the weather’s not too soggy…any favourite excursions close by?

I would so appreciate any suggestions you guys have! Sometimes I get a touch burnt out sifting through various websites for info on…everything. Planning a trip is so much more fun with personal recommendations. (I promise to post about the trip after and let you know what we end up doing, if you’re interested.)

Josh and Melinda have a fireplace, so no matter what happens, I know I’m going to love curling up with a glass of wine and slippers :)

Really looking forward to any Seattle tips!

xx~C.

Photo of Seattle waterfront art installation via public domain pictures

 

Said It: Louis C.K., on Life

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“It’s not your life, it’s life.

Life is bigger than you.

Life isn’t something you possess,

it’s something you take part in and you

witness.”

 

ps. A great interview with Louis C.K and Marc Maron

*photo via screenplayhowto.com

Postcard: Monkey Hug, Pushkar

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Joe and I spent an afternoon hiking around the outskirts of Pushkar, India in March of 2012. Standing just a few feet away from this mom and baby hugging was one of my favourite moments.

Life Flash: First Week of January

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How are you guys doing? After a busy fall and holiday season that was filled with travel (Vancouver, Chicago, and Victoria), work, socializing, and a couple tough setbacks, I’ve taken the first week of the new year to take stock and refocus.

It’s felt good.

I prioritize making sure I stay connected with the people in my life (it’s a big part of what makes me me) but since we got back to Portland I’ve pressed pause, and gone inward. (Literally. Joe and I cancelled going out for New Years Eve, and stayed in with nachos and movies instead.) I’ve had some time off from my magazine job, and have loved having the mental space to develop new plans and series for the blog, clarify direction for my freelance business, and decide what my next steps are. (And aren’t.)

The theme for 2015: Focus.

In light of this, I decided to try playing around with the list below, inspired by Pip Lincolne’s Taking Stock posts. It’s actually such a cool (and easy) way to hone in on where you’re at currently, emotionally/creatively or otherwise, respecting that life has cycles, is constantly changing, and that each phase is a part of the bigger picture. I also found it clears the mind—always a good thing, right?

Lots to come, friends. xx

Making: Career decisions

Sipping: 2 cups of Trader Joe’s ultra dark roast, every morning

Feeling: Determined

Thinking: About the future

Watching: The Theory of Everything, Get On Up

Sorting: Through drawers

Noticing: How quick the days go

Loving: My cozy living room

Reading: Old issues of Vogue, Elise Blaha Cripe’s’s excellent blog

Wanting: The perfect pair of grey jeans

Remembering: What drives me

Want to try making your own ‘Life Flash/Taking Stock’ list? Find a blank one here. If you have a blog you post it to, be sure to link back to me so I can check it out!

*photo by Liane Metzler via Unsplash

Song to Stop For: Thieves “Never Meant to Know”

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Remember the interview I did with Adam Kittredge, frontman of the Canadian band Thieves?

Well, CBC Music’s Sonica released their top 50 songs of 2014 earlier this week, and “Never Meant to Know” from Thieves’ forthcoming album is #5!

Adam and I spoke about the song during our interview, but not all of the conversation was published. This is what he said:

“The lyrics are more to do with thinking about being a parent, how fragile a child’s innocence is, and the fear of contributing to their loss of innocence. What I like about the video is it’s also saying let children be free, let them experience the world and enjoy the outdoors, don’t worry about them scraping their knee, let them learn for themselves.”

Check out the video below—it was filmed last winter in Atlin, B.C., a stunning community in the northwest corner of the province. Congratulations to Adam and all the members of Thieves, I can’t wait to hear the entire album. (Releasing soon!)

ps. You can read my full interview with Adam here.

Line Break: ‘The Journey’ by Mary Oliver

shootingstarYou know what I miss?

Poetry.

Reading it, talking about it, even writing it, though poems are the most difficult kind of writing for me. For a time during university I read poetry almost every night before sleep, absorbing the way a line break could completely alter the relationship between words or how the clarity of one perfect image could translate an emotion onto a page. Poetry was a revelation for me. In 2015, I want to bring it back into my life.

So, once a month or so I’m going to share a poem I discover here, with you guys. I decided to call this series ‘Line Break’ for the obvious connection to how poems are structured, but also because I think pausing to read a poem offers a wonderful (and essential) break from the excess noise in our minds and lives.

This poem by Mary Oliver felt particularly fitting for the start of a new year. xx

The Journey 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

*photo by Juskteez Vu via Unsplash 

My New Series: ‘Round the Web (December 2014 edition)

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How have the holidays been for you? We arrived back in Portland yesterday, and I’m a combination of filled up with love from our visits and completely exhausted.

Going home always brings up a mixture of emotions for me: I get excited for the trip, and while visiting start feeling a little nostalgic, wishing I could somehow transport the connections I have there to my everyday life. Seeing my mom always leaves me feeling raw, as her health issues are an ongoing challenge and I’m caught between trying to make sense of/find solutions for them and just enjoying our time together. One thing about getting older is recognizing your emotional patterns…and preparing for them. I need a couple of days to just be quiet and regroup after a trip home, which I’m lucky to be able take right now.

Anyway, I’m excited to introduce a new monthly series I’ll be featuring here on the blog called ‘Round the Web.

Continue reading

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