The moment is finally here. Hundreds of you have asked me for it… the film the Winter of the Dance is finally availble for viewing on Current TV. (it was chosen as the staff pick.)
This film has really taken on a life of it’s own and we (my husband Jeff Pitcher, Mike Schwartz and I) have been amazed and awed by the experience. Filmed in my small town of Flesherton Ontario, the short film documents what happens when Jeff and Mike start dancing publicly for a period of several months. It is important to note that the film was created with a canon digital elf, (in film clip mode) and is a wonderful example of “use what you have” to make art. It has screened at festivals everywhere including, Palm Springs, Sonoma, Westwood, Ann Arbor, Nashville. It also received a standing ovation in Ann Arbor (which we missed sadly).
Hope you enjoy it. You may never think the same way about your small digital camera again. Maybe you will be inspired to do a dance of your own.
*note: in the section where Jeff really lets go and goes crazy, (you will know what I mean) he is listening to “Get Behind the Mule” by Tom Waits.
Mike and Jeff are currently hard at work on their next film, the winter of the beard.
Today I got a letter from my foster child in Zambia. His name is Chinga. He’s been in my life for six years now (I think). I don’t talk about him much because I don’t know exactly how i feel about the whole ‘foster child’ in a foreign country thing, (ever since reading the book “the poisonwood bible” by barbara kingsolver I have been turned off of missionaries. I think helping people is good, but helping people in order to convert them I have a hard time with. Plus I find it a bit weird to call this person ‘my child’, though I suppose it helps to give people the feeling of family.) I started with the whole thing years ago and didn’t think about any of these things. Whatever the case, I love him dearly, and I’m not stopping now. my girlfriend did some work with the company in question while living in India many years ago, and saw first hand that they do good work, so my conscience is relieved for the time being.
Today’s letter included a photo, which they do once a year. How amazing to see this human on the other side of the world change and grow before my eyes. How little I know of his world, and how little he would comprehend about mine. One of the best things I have gotten from this experience is the consciousness that there is another human on the other side of the world who’s life in some weird way is connected to mine. I think about him from time to time and wonder what he is doing. I know he enjoys playing soccer because the drawings he sends to me are often of little figures kicking a ball around. The most recent drawing included a car, which was a first. I wonder if the car is a new thing in the village, or if he has just reached an age where he is interested in cars (as all eight year old boys seem to be.) There are no words ever. These drawing act as a cryptic form of communication. I am the detective, left to decifer the code. There is a longish building with what seems to be a door with a long handle, (possibly the school), next to that a tall spindly plant with large leaves grows up to the sky out of a big pot, it grows as tall as the building. The only spot of color is a scribble of green on the pot. Below that a standing human figure. arms on his waist, and knees bent slightly, (or maybe those are just knobby knees.) There is a strange circle on his arm, (a watch perhaps?)
The thing I love most about the drawings is that the often have dirt marks on them, fingerprints even. Leaving me to picture Chinga sitting outside on the ground somewhere with his pencil and paper. The closest I have been to seeing his little hands are the prints he has made with them unknowingly.
this is the best kind of art for me, the kind made by accident.
I spent several hours sitting on the floor in Mrs. Dalloway’s, one of my new favourite bookshops. I slowly flipped the pages of many books, including a new one about artist’s houses, a book of essay’s by Pablo Neruda, the artist’s mentor (which had some wonderful quotes), and a small volume about the love of bookstores. None of which I bought, though now I wish I had. But alas, I am trying to lighten my load before the move. So I settled for a postcard from the store which I glued into my journal, so when I look at it I will recall my afternoon spent there. There is nothing like a bookstore where the books are handpicked by an avid reader and the staff talk excitedly about books all day long. I should know, I used to work in one of the best. (secret note: If you look at the photo on the front page of the site it might intrest you to know that the painting “opens” to reveal a secret cupboard behind it. The whole store was designed this way. Mr. Hoare has excellent taste in paintings and several of them are original group of seven pieces.)
I am in the rather hermetic state of finishing a book. and packing. and trying to find a home.
There are days when i feel i would just like to write books forever and ever, it’s like being a kid and finding a great new play spot in the backyard. The ideas flood out like mudpies on a conveyor belt. There are also days when the ideas don’t come at all, and I ride home from the cafe, head down, tired and discouraged. You never know what kind of day it will be when creating. A good nights sleep changes everything. After a rough day I will say, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”
Writing that made me remember being at the cottage as a kid, my sister and I were explorers who lived in the woods. We had a base camp that had log chairs and a small earth table, and beds made out of pine needle piles. We lived off the land, foraged for food and explored the wilderness by day, taking hikes for several hours, climbing over creeks, scaling hills, making friends with horses in farmer’s fields. I always carried some kind of satchel with a bit of food and survival gear, kleenex, some kind of screwdriver (I’m not sure what for but I knew the great explorers all had “tools”), and a notebook. Eventually we would make our way back home to a lunch of baloney sandwiches and grape Quench.
My heart yearns for this today, (i feel excitement in my belly just remembering it). This must be why I love the woods so much, I still pretend that I live there and search for the most inviting places to sleep under cozy looking trees. Today I will take a break from the work and head to the woods for a few hours. Maybe you will see me napping on the pine needle floor.