Do not mention the flowers. Do not mention the–

I am resisting the urge to write about the insanely early west coat spring. Sometimes, it’s called “false spring”–I’ve got a story of the same name in my first book, The Jealousy Bone, in which a woman walks around the city, naked–under her velvet coat. Instead, I’ll just leave a photo of my blooming chaenomeles japonica, and write about what I did this morning, aside from planting primulas in the window boxes.

(Dammit! I swore I wouldn’t do that!)

Forgive me. And just look at these blushing beauties.

japonica 2015


But stepping back to earlier today….

I am sitting at Bean Around the World, my favourite Wednesday morning writing spot, among other single-seated people, our white mugs of wake-up juice working their magic. We all sit facing each other, our backs to walls of brick or plaster, which, like most surfaces in here, are covered with quirk and kitsch. Two giant parking signs—big blue squares with white Ps, in white circles—face me, and the little boy, who’s just arrived, is delighted. He keeps saying P! P! and naturally, his mother wonders if he needs the bathroom. Between the Ps hangs a large, red metal circle holding an eight-pointed star, the four directions marked and set with North suitably at the top, even though that’s not geographically correct. Below my notebook rests a map of Victoria, circa 1928, safe beneath well-worn glass. And beside the older woman reading a novel stands the biggest novelty here, although maybe it’s a contest, there being a package of squirrel underpants and a white dory suspended from the ceiling from which the light fixtures hang like capless acorns: the telephone booth, with a working rotary phone inside, free for anyone to use. And people use it—I’ve seen it—although mostly, they’re doing it for the irony, looking up their friends’ numbers on their iPhones first.

bean phone

Some days I write well here, or fool myself into believing that, while I’m doing it; other days what I scribble down is mostly quite bad. But I am out of the house and not at paid work; no one is asking anything of me; I don’t know the wifi password and don’t want to know it; and oh, those huge bags of coffee in burlap sacks, just behind the telephone booth, make me inordinately happy. Nearly as happy as I feel when I get one decent image down on the page. If that doesn’t happen, well, at least I am parked in the right place, and have a map and a whole canned chicken on the shelf nearby.


Although the act of writing naturally slides me into introspection, my other persona’s being called out over the next week, when I’ll be reading from The Pull of the Moon at two locations: Planet Earth Poetry’s Fiction Night, on Friday, Feb. 20th , in Victoria,  and on Wed. Feb. 25th in Vancouver, at the VWF’s Incite event. Maybe I’ll see some of you there?

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