I spend a large chunk of my time making art, so when I find art unexpectedly, it runs shivers into my soul like the first trill of a songbird in spring. Some art forms deliberately make the viewer uncomfortable, and street art is an excellent medium for this, while others settle into their natural landscapes like a bird onto a branch, reminding me that we can be a part of nature too.
This cheery stone greeted us from atop a post at the entrance to a popular hiking trail:
and then there was this:
and this dark wonder of low tide beachscaping:
The next bunch we found at Barn Marsh Island beach near Cape Enrage, NB (Canada). The TARDIS and dalek were built in 2017. You can’t see the dalek’s eye stalk because I prioritized safety (the cliff in the back is unstable) so you’ll have to trust me it’s there. I’m guessing the left-most sculpture relates to the Doctor Who theme as well but I haven’t figured it out yet. As it’s more rickety than the others, it may have been added by another artist later. There’s actually driftwood inside the dalek and the TARDIS to keep them sturdy, and they were SOLID. They lasted a full winter of nor’easters, blizzards, and storm surges before disappearing early in the summer of 2018, and I still suspect someone might have kicked them over at that point.
These next two are from the same beach, same spot, just this past week. I like to think it’s the same Whovian artist because of the style and the use of driftwood to balance the rock.
above is the side-view, and this next one is looking head-on at the wall with the Bay of Fundy behind it. Gorgeous.
Do you find art in unexpected places? I’d love to hear about it if you do.
In writing news, I have a sci-fi drabble, or 100-word story, in the Storming Area 51: Survivor Stories anthology from Black Hare Press and we hit #1 on Amazon in the U.S. last week. Woohoo! You can read the reviews and learn more about the book by clicking here.
The maple trees bring us maple syrup in early spring and now it’s early summer they gift us with visits from Rosy Maple Moths. These vibrant little beasties lay their eggs on the maple trees where their larvae will hatch and munch the leaves. Their populations are reasonable enough our maples don’t sustain permanent damage (although this could change with climate collapse) so we’re free to delight in our candy-colored visitors. They certainly help boost this writer’s sense of wonder during the dreaded summer slump.
Today a book containing stories from a few friends and critique partners is dropping for pre-orders: Dystopia From the Rock. This is a collection of short dystopian stories from Canadian authors. I reviewed the last From the Rock book, Chillers, a few months ago here. If this one is anything like Chillers, it will be stuffed with quality short stories. Especially the ones my friends wrote *wink* Go check it out!
I’m still making my way through Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass. Both of my girls have had birthdays in the past few weeks and I had a few deadlines which slowed my progress. That’s the beauty of an online class, you can schedule it to fit your life.
Something amazing DID happen regarding the class. I heard my writing voice. A non-writer friend recently asked me what a writer’s voice is and after some thought, I told her it’s “the sound of your accent to someone from another country. You can tell when you hear someone else’s accent, but hearing your own is another thing altogether.” When I finished up the voice exercises in Neil’s class, there it was: my voice, sitting right there on the page, clear as spring water.
I did what any modern writer would do. I tweeted about it. And then this happened:
I didn’t fall off my chair, but I should have, for dramatic effect. Instead, I giggled at random for twenty-four hours.
There’s a liminal nature to abandoned or neglected buildings which attracts me. The place in these photos is an old gypsum silo situated at the back of the village of Hillsborough, NB. The dock where ships laden with gypsum moved up the Petitcodiac River into the Bay of Fundy is gone but for bundles of wood emerging from the shifting mud.
White gypsum pebbles, a form of selenite, dot the earth. Some make their way into my pockets.
The concrete silo is the closest thing to a castle you’ll find in these parts.
The graffiti is a beautiful, hidden expression by individuals trying to exist as liminal as the structure itself. Most of us are that person, desperate to leave a mark, any mark, at some point in our lives.
There are beautiful graffiti artists who leave a memorable image, knowing it will not last. It is art meant to be destroyed to make way for more art. I struggle with this metaphor as a creative person. I dream of a story that echoes through generations and lasts forever. This is that dream’s opposite and I cannot look away.
There are other graffitists, too, caught unprepared with a can of spray paint and a sudden desperation. They scrawl a curse word when they panic in the moment, unable to think of anything clever and too uncertain to make something beautiful. These curses remind me of a primal scream. Of something trapped. I imagine this feeling repeating itself in a future lunch room, a coworker’s unexpected get well soon card laid before them, their mind blank and unable to think of anything more clever than the card already says. They don’t swear this time. They sign their name instead. Maybe they’ll remember the old castle tower in the moment, maybe they won’t.
The tower doesn’t care. It watches the tide go up and down on the river and dreams of pretty white stone.
At long last, I have found the place where stars go during daylight hours.
I saw a single firefly last night in the rain. His little blue light glowed beneath the shelter of a plantain leaf. The light reflected back from the raindrops all around, and he didn’t seem lonely at all.
When vines run out of room, they start reaching for the sky. It’s said to be lonely up there, but no one ever told a tree as it stretched for the sun, or a bird as it soared in the freedom of almost-endless space. I think, sometimes, these things are said to keep us from the disappointment of falling short of stars when we are reaching for the moon. Or, perhaps, some sinister emotional gravity to keep us weighed down on the ground and not obstructing someone else’s view. But who am I to say, after all, for I am just an owl, waiting for the night to fall to soar up in the sky and dive down for a mouse.