Monday, September 21, 2009

Chicklit for the Massess (and the Knitters)

This weekend, instead of doing the laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, or any number of domestic chores that I should have been doing, I indulged myself and read a couple of books that had been recommended to me by a good friend. The Friday Night Knitters Club by Kate Jacobs, and the follow up book, Knit Two, where certainly the antidote to the mental chaos I have been going through as the single mom of a tween girl.

These books chronicle the lives of a group of very diverse women who come together as a knitting club. I know, I know, stop yawning - I found the stories of these women to be extremely engaging, especially the relationship between a single mother and her daughter who is just entering teen-dom, and has her absentee dad show up out of the blue.

I connected with many of the characters in these books. I am very lucky to have some relationships in my life of the caliber that these women have with eachother. (You know who you are ladies and gentlemen.)

Apparently there are tons of book clubs that read this book, and I can totally see why. There are excellent discussion points for people who are interested in building relationships, and in growing their ability to be compassionate.

These books were a salve to my spirit this weekend. Oh, and they inspired me to get back to my knitting. Coming soon... fingerless gloves for typing on cold winter morning in my super cold house! Brrrr...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wil Boucher - The Flat Iron Building

Wil Boucher has evolved from network administrator and master of online pinball to a very emotive and stylized photographer. Strangely, this architectural shot is very similar to a building found in Vancouver's Gastown, where we first met.

Wil's personality comes through in spades in his photography - he treats architectural elements with reverence, and has a unique eye for color while he photographs people in a film noir fashion, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. Be warned - his work can be challenging; it is also very emotive. And rather R rated if you know what I mean - he does tend towards the fetishistic.

I would like to see more of Wil's architectural and color photography on his site; it looks like that style of photography is a clearer representation of the lighter sides of Wil's personality. You can check out his Etsy shop here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Stone for Sam

Life can be very fleeting. It has been a number of years since my particular friend died, and yet I still find myself thinking about her in the spaces between activities. I think about her family, who I never knew, and wonder if they are thinking of her too.

It is easy to be cavalier about life. It is easy to forget how fragile we are. It is much easier to forget about her, than it is to remember her.

Vancouver is a city of forgotten women. Women and girls disappear into the streets and are swallowed alive by drugs and abuse, and few people really notice, or choose to recognize that they are gone. I do not want to forget her.

This painting was done shortly after she died, and the poem was done the day following her death. I intended the poem as sort of memorial.

Hey Angel:

Find your way home
In beer stained sweaters.
Leather boots,
We’re dancing
Joint in hand.

Hallelujah, but
You’re spiking
You’re spiked.

Too high to fly,

You dropped
Like a rock

(and stopped.)

- Chelsea Bell

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Single Minded Mommy

When my daughter was born, I found that my perspective shifted. Life became an adventure dedicated to the care and feeding of my bald little girl, and my opinions on many things in life altered radically. I think most new parents experience the single mindedness that comes with a new new child; suddenly the music you listen to becomes the music the baby listens to. The television you watch becomes the shows the child likes. The books you read become the books you read to your little one.

I drew this little sketch during nap time when my little girl was just 3 and a half months old, to the music of JP Harrison's Story Time, which has a song that was written just for her on it called '(Just Like a) Silver Bell'. If you have not yet heard JP's excellent childrens album and you have little ones, this gentle rag-time inspired album comes highly recommended. I love the 'Dream of a Tree'.

Wrapped in the soothing sounds of JP's guitar, I drew this picture.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

keu a ka u'i

All of my life I have seen pictures of Hawaii, and not really believed that a place could really be quite that beautiful. We were lucky enough to be taken to the big island by my fiance's parents, and it was - surprisingly - as picturesque as a travel brochure, although much more rugged than I would have thought it could be.

Life clings tenaciously
Taking hold of Kilauea
Lizards hide as tiny orchids bloom

The Honu look on tolerantly
As we goggle at them
And then gently return to their grazing

The ocean is infinite
The island stands firm
Beneath an unimaginable quantity of stars

- Chelsea Bell

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not a Fragile Flower

Images that look like one thing but are composed of something other have always intrigued me, and have often been the subject of the little doodles that I leave laying around the house.

When I wrote this poem, I enjoyed the dual imagery, and thought it went along rather well with this sweet little sketch.

More of the cactus variety, really,
Then, say, an orchid or a petunia

Comfortable in arid climates
And not too concerned with drawing blood

Happy then, to be sharp and
Somewhat succulent

- Chelsea Bell

Sunday, September 6, 2009


The rain begins again; in this city, the fall is a time of subtle change and circumspection. I wrote this poem during a cold autumn about 12 years ago, yearning for something that I could not name or taste. Five years later I met him, and now find myself in the unimaginable position of having become engaged to him.

This poem was the first that we knew of each other.

With the laying on of hands
I give you
Everything I can
A tupence worth
Of affection
And pomegranate juice
With which
To wash
The winter down

Oh fair one
Oh fond one
Oh lover bright
Oh strong one

I would heal us
If I could
I would recite incantations to dark goddesses
I would light candles and gather flowers
I would breathe your name in like perfume
I would lay my hands over my womb
I would touch your hair
I would whisper ancient things
Out under my breath
And bring forth spring

With the laying on of hands
I give you
Something fragrant
And warm

- Chelsea Bell

Thursday, September 3, 2009

You Gotta Love Coco Love

Monday night found us at Havana on Commercial Drive listening to the incomparable Coco Love Alcorn, with an incredible group of musicians backing her up, including: Will Fisher on drums, Lindsay Alcorn on background vocals, and Chris Gestrin on keys.

I remember first meeting Coco back in 1993. She was an incredibly gracious and talented lady then, and has continued to blossom from a richly textured jazz singer into a truly unique and beautiful vocalist with a great emotional and stylistic variation.

Coco was in fine form, using her exquisite range so emotively that it brought tears to my eyes, especially when performing 'Falling Into You' (a co-write with her dad, John Alcorn) and the jazz standard 'Funny Valentine' done in a not-so-standard mixture of styles. Chris's quirky and flirty keys warmed up the room, while the incredible Will Fisher found a percussive vocabulary that was both rich and varied.

I feel very humble to have been able to introduce my daughter to Coco, who she has idolized since I first played her Coco's 'Intellectual Boys' video. It was wonderful to be able to share such a special night an performance with my little girl.

If you have never been to see Coco Love Alcorn play live, now's the time: great artists like Coco come along once in a lifetime. Coco has class.

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