Finally! Since I’ve been back I’ve checked my mail box multiple times a day; looking for manila envelopes that should have arrived while I was away. Sometimes I think Canada Post holds on to my desirable mail till they can deliver several at once. They did open the packages, maybe someone was reading these zines on break.
I grew up playing in the nearby graveyard, feel butterflies when I see a local cemetery and get disgruntled when no one else in the car wants to pull over and explore; left to my own devices I will always make time for a graveyard no matter how big or small. When MissMuffcake released her Cemetery Gates zine I also ordered a couple from her long running series; The Stay at Home Girlfriend and even though it’s spring, I can’t resist anything themed after the spookiest time of the year and picked her Easy Vegan Fall Issue recipe zine. She also put in a rad little Graveyard Girl booklet and a Taphophile button. I will wear it with pride to work tomorrow. Thanks Kendy -this is awesome- I’ll be back for more!
Jessie Lynn McMains aka Rust Belt Jessie is working on a book of nostalgia called What We Talk About When We Talk About Punk. I dig Jessie’s writing and supported her fundraiser towards getting it published. She sent two short stories she had cut from the book: Treehouse and Insect Summer.
I feel like I’ve had no brakes, going full throttle all week. I had one day off then started back at the shop which was busy being the long weekend. I called one customer a misogynist and as a passive aggressive reaction to another customer I side hucked a book across the counter. As the book projected from my hand, my brain went ‘Ohhh fuck Lysette control your temper!’ At least he didn’t see me do it and my friend, who was behind the counter with me and was almost hit by the flying book, helped talk me out of my overwhelmed state. I am so grateful for his infinite patience. With only a month til my next contract at the farm for the summer, I’m trying to tackle house stuff too. I spent yesterday mixing and pouring concrete in the unfinished basement and parging gaps where small chunks of wood have long rotted out of the hundred year old walls. Today it’s stucco patching and as many landscaping dump runs as I can fit in before returning my brother’s truck. At the end of the day when my spirit is beat and body battered nothing is better than reading a personal and resonant journey, handcrafted, photocopied, folded and stapled. Long live the zine!
Mid week during dinner break I was in the kitchen stabbing some of Jason’s bbq’d portobello mushrooms, the popcorn girl/ dish angel was standing next to me eating a bowl of vegetables and asked me if I was vegan. I nodded and said ‘You’re vegetarian, right?… You should go vegan.’ She broke into the brightest smile and said ‘I would but my Mom would never let me!’ I didn’t know how to respond so I just smiled and shrugged at her. For a closing night gift I wrapped up Elizabeth Castoria’s book that I had found on a discount table in a new bookstore and a few stickers that had come with a Pioneers Press order. Being a school night, she wasn’t sticking around for the closing night party. I gave her the package before I headed back to work. I never saw her open it but I’m sure I’ll see her next month when we start prep for the summer show.
Karli was brushing Ray’s coat and asked me ‘How many people are on the farm right now?’ I started counting on my fingers ‘Uh I don’t know 28? 35 maybe… do you mean staying on farm or company as a whole?’ She said she just needed a rough number. We settled on 32 as a safe bet. The next day before the half hour I found her around the back side of the tack shed under the shade of the lilac tree with a cigarette hanging out the right side of her mouth, pliers in each hand and a box of horse shoe nails pinched between her knees. ‘Karli, what are you doing?’ She laughed, exhaling smoke ‘Nothing, nothing at all.’ I told her I didn’t see anything. She made everyone pendants out of horse shoe nails as closing gifts.
Lisa and I nested with the dogs in the office till the cabaret started. Introvert reboot headquarters, though more people are figuring this out and coming to hang out with us. I woke up the next morning with the bewildered realization we had closed the show. All the intense layers and prep of a summer/winter show, with less crew and a third of the run length… no wonder I was sick. Eight performances in a week and out. I’ll take a day off then spend the following day packing up props, turning the dressing rooms back into the rehearsal space, pull up the stage tape in the gazebo and clean up the stage management gear strewn across the farm. An early night sleep. Morning espresso across from the railway tracks in town with Lisa and Buddy. Luka and I then hit the south road for a month of slinging used books till the summer contract begins again. The cycle.
During tech last week Anita, Stephan and I were in the Timber Barn setting levels and lighting cues. It was 11pm, freezing cold and possibly the worst day of my strep throat. I was delirious, mildly miserable wrapped in a blanket and we were all trying our best to be patient with each other. Then Stephan pointed up to the rafters ‘Look!’ A barn owl had flown in. I spat out ‘Oh fuck! It’s Beltaine!’ In the furious clusterfuck of tech week I’d completely forgot. Stephan smiled and said ‘This is a good omen.’
He gave me this sculpture on opening night. The bones are found in the forest where he lives. The owl head was gifted to him from friends who run a puppet theatre/ organic vegetable farm near by. They’d found the deceased owl in their field. He buries the bones till the ant’s pick them clean then re-animates the creatures usually with motors and lights. I talked more about is studio here, here and here.
The puppet eyes are mounted to urchin shells, which I guess he picked up on a coastal beach; we’re about five hours from the ocean. The base is a solid piece of steel on mauve velvet. He’s shown in galleries across the country and has figured out pretty skookum shipping boxes.
“One farmer says to me, “You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with;” and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plough along in spite of every obstacle.”
-Henry David Thoreau
I read this Thoreau quote on Bart Schaneman’s Tumblr this morning. Bart is a writer living in Nebraska. I picked up his travel zine Trans-Siberian through Pioneers Press. I hope he publishes in print more, reading online isn’t my favorite even though I find myself reading screens more and more these days. The internet connection on the farm has been weak and spotty this spring. It’s made us reminisce when not that long ago, we had no internet at all. We spent nights sitting around the cookshack playing games or reading newspapers. Tonight there’s a dance party which I promised I would stay up for even if I just lurk in the shadows. I’m feeling a lot better today so I don’t have much of an excuse to be anti social anymore. We opened the show last night. Lisa and I hid in the office with our dogs; letting the party find us and visit in our soft lit, wood walled space.
This morning Sonny was laying down in the field. It’s not good for draft horses to spend a long time lying, something to do with their internal organs. Scared he was sick, hurt or dead I ran over. His head on the ground and top lip folded up exposing his teeth, I called his name as I got close.