Earlier this month, I was in Saskatoon, where I spent $75 in 20 minutes at McNally Robinson. That book store is really dangerous.
Gettin’ me some free culture at the Mendel
I also visited the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon. I hadn’t been there since I was a middle-schooler, and I decided to stop in before it moved to the Remy.
The Mendel had a few interesting exhibits going on. I spent a lot of time in the miniature portraits exhibit (picture tiny portraits of loved ones people used to wear around their necks, or display on their mantles).
Some of the lockets had the subject’s hair plaited on the back. It reminded me of a couple hair wreaths my great-grandmother had. My ancestors’ hairs were woven into intricate patterns. I wonder what it is about hair that inspires people to weave it, wear it around their necks, or mail it to rock stars.
But it was one piece in the “Home” exhibit that burrowed into my brain. I haven’t stopped thinking of it since.
(Please note this post contains a small amount of mild profanity. Well, I think it’s mild, anyway).
About five years ago, while I was still living in Edmonton, I shaved my head to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. It was an annual event at my workplace. My colleagues would fundraise, and then one afternoon they’d sit on a stage while someone shaved, dyed, or cut their hair (if they were donating it for wigs). The neighbouring building participated too, so there was always an audience of hundreds.
My wonderful co-workers pledged plenty of money with absolutely no prodding on my part. It was a celebratory event, and in the weeks preceding the shave the I.T. guys almost had me convinced to take it “down to the wood” (i.e. Bic it).
I guess I’m a little vain because I was worried I’d cry in front of everyone when my hair came off. So I spent a week trashing my hair beforehand. I dyed it black, then green. Then, the night before the shave, my husband cut it into a mullet. He kept laughing in my face, and I started to cry, but that just made him laugh harder.
On Monday Alexis Kienlen, my friend and colleague, tweeted about Project Bookmark Canada. The people behind this project are placing plaques with excerpts from Canadian literature at the locations described in the work. For example, there is an excerpt from Fugitive Pieces at College and Manning Streets in Toronto.
Alexis is now campaigning to bookmark the Prairies, and from the brief Twitter conversations we’ve had with the Project Bookmark organizers, they seem quite open to this. So if you love your Western Canadian lit, be sure to sign up as a reader so we can get this train moving!
I’ve been on a Wilco kick for the last little while.
It started with a spring blizzard in late March that closed highways and made me question my sanity for living in Saskatchewan (it’s been winter here for six months). Cabin fever soon set in. Corey, my husband, talked me into watching a doc about the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, one of Wilco’s albums.
I don’t know if you go through this, but sometimes when I get into a band/musician, writer, whatever, I get slightly obsessive. The kind of obsessive where you read every book/story you can get your hands on, or listen to every album over and over. Neko Case has inspired this type of madness in the past, as has Sherman Alexie.