member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life


This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo


(Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keewaydinoquay

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
--Arthur C. Clarke


Keewaydinoquay


Keewaydinoquay transforms plants into a healing energy under the blanket of night during the blueberry moon...
The plants are flowering tobacco, a heavily-used plant source for her people; before going to pick plants for medicinal use, the Anishinaabe would make an offering of tobacco. This offering was made because the person was asking the plant for assistance, and the plant was to be treated as any other living being--human, animal, or spirit--when it was being asked for its services. Keewaydinoquay (walks-with-bears) got her name from an incident involving two very large bears as a toddler while her parents were picking blueberries (In her culture, each month names its moon for something important from that month; in this case, it was the blueberry harvest.). They had left her in a hammock in a tree, but when they came back, she had somehow gotten herself down, and was walking in between the bears, holding onto each by their fur in order to keep herself upright. She later became a medicine woman and ethno-botanist.
When I first started the painting, there were two simple vials, one in each hand. the lunar dew (blueberry-flavored) and the green and gold of the tobacco dripped into the bottom of one vial, mixed together, and traveled up a tube into the other vial, where it formed a larger petal-leaf that then shaped itself into a bird. Then i decided to make the one vial reach up for the blooms, so that no part of the process was not alive--so the other vial's opening also became a hand, gently (sadly?) relinquishing its grip on the transformed spirit that would now leave for parts unknown. Because part of the process of healing is letting go of the thing that is toxic to you, which is something we're not always willing (or completely able, without help) to do.

Here is a quote from Ovid, helpfully supplied by Goat, which relates a similar process of transformation, Daphne's metamorphosis into a laurel to escape an attempted rape-- this would underline the idea that above, she is somehow fusing with the plants which then become the birds, healing herself, or simply putting her own spirit fully into the healing process of her patient...:

"prayer barely out, heavy numbness seizes
limbs, soft breasts enclose in bark, hair
in leaf, arms branch, feet (so swift)
root; head, a tree-top"
--Ovid

This painting was my contribution for Ada Lovelace Day (March 24th), which honors women in technology, and was first posted here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fantastic writer and horror-blogger CRWM posted an appeal from a long-time friend of his for interest in a new project to support science-fiction writers via a brand new Canadian science-fiction magazine. The project excites me, and I hope it will excite you, too. Here is the story:

I grew up in a house full of old books and mildewed magazines. The entire eastern wall of my childhood bedroom was taken up with with bookshelves to store the collected and forgotten words of my parents. The novels and encyclopediae would hold my interest from time to time; Agatha Christie and J.D. Salinger and Encyclopedia Brittanica 1972. But the true heart of the library was in the magazines. My mother's collection of National Geographic and my father's collections of Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Asimov's Science Fiction.

In Asimov's autobiography, he describes growing up in the twenties and thirties, reading the pulp science fiction magazines. Over time, he says, the authors published in those pages came to seem as demigods to him. And he realized that what he wanted, more than anything else, was to be a demigod himself. I can't tell you how strongly I empathized with that feeling.
Science fiction was in my bones. I loved everything about it. I couldn't get enough. And, while there was a definite appeal to the majestic films and the grand multi-book series of the genre, it was always clear that the purest distillate of science fiction was to be found in short stories. It is a literary tradition built upon anthologies and magazines.

In college, I maintained subscriptions to On Spec and NFG, the two big Canadian science fiction magazines. Of course, I couldn't afford subscriptions to the American magazines, but I would read them all cover to cover standing in the magazine aisle at the big Bloor Street bookstores. Then NFG stopped publishing and On Spec shrank to a fraction of its former splendour.

And so it came that, last summer, I was lamenting that there was no longer a single Canadian science fiction magazine that qualified as an SFWA-approved market.

Well, Maya Angelou said it best: If you don't like something, change it.

So, I teamed up with an old friend named Adam and with Husi's own Kellnerin to see what we could do. We figured out that for just ten grand we could get a new magazine off the ground. And hey, what's ten grand in this era of interwebs and micropayments, right? Seems like a pretty piddling barrier between us and the awesome.

So look, we're not really asking you guys for money. I mean, if you're looking to give, we're not saying no, but we know that most people here are about as skint as we are. Really, what we're hoping is that you'll think this is a pretty great idea and help spread the word to those who might have a penny or two to share.


The link to help out is posted as a widget to the right and also here. Your pledge only becomes a (one-time) payment if they reach the $10,000 goal by May 15th. I hope you'll jump in!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Last Case

Here is my offering for the March 9th microfiction prompt from Continuum-Art:

The end was there in the beginning, in that accidental glimpse of a green shimmer peeking out from what she was calling a neckline. The green shimmer held me so I never saw what hit me. And then the old man with the gold-filled bucket was painting someone else’s name on my door.

--zoe



"The Last Stand"
by Patrick Richardson



on another note--sorry i haven't been around much. we are doing some home remodeling...
back soon!