Sunday, 10 February 2013

Almond Blossoms & BRICK

Sunday noon and I'm still in pajamas, having spent the morning in bed reading the latest issue (90) of BRICK, the literary journal that always arrives over here in France a little late. I'd been looking forward to it with much anticipation since reading Elizabeth Hay's blog a few weeks ago, in which she declared her delight in the section from the David Milne archives. I too have been in love with Milne's painting for a very long time, discovering it through an NFB film about him and his work back in the early 1960s. The late Hugh McIntyre (one of the Nihilist Spasm Band musicians) used to show NFB shorts at the London Public Library, and I remember going back to my apartment that evening knowing that I'd found an artist who spoke a visual language I could understand.  After that aesthetic awakening,  I sought out everything I could about Milne in the years following, every postcard I could lay my hands on. A couple of years ago, when I discovered room upon room of his paintings and sketches at the AGO it was with such a rush of pleasure that I almost yelped. There's something about his technique that speaks to me of how a short story is written, existing in a different world from the vast, thickly painted canvas of the novel.

So, BRICK on my knee, I turned first to the Milne, and then went back to have a look at the essay by Robert Hass, a remarkable study of the meaning of war...and from there, I kept going all morning: Alice Oswald, Dionne Brand, Colm Toibin, Leon Rooke... An amazingly rich BRICK... pure gold.  If you don't already subscribe, you are missing one of life's huge feasts for the mind and the heart -- and the perfect excuse for staying in bed of a Sunday morning.  At the very least, check the shelves of your local bookstore for this issue to get started.

Still in pajamas, I threw on a coat and my boots just now and nicked out to the garden, to take an update-photo of the apricot blossoms I spoke of yesterday. Yes, those lovely little pink explosions exist, but they are being slowly blanketed by snowflakes... Nothing like the weekend snowfall in Nova Scotia, but nature is trying its best to remember that it is still winter, no matter what.

Hmmm..I have the feeling that a haiku is lurking here.....