Posts tagged ‘book review’

Social Isolation in Sea Major

week 6 in the books, week 7 on the door step:  the madness is full serve but we’re still in the game!  so far…  so good.  we’re past keeping our fingers crossed and now we’re just going with it.  if we ever get out of here, back to that island, we’ll be coming in “aged”.

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the crazy stuff you see in every direction these days.  as an anishnabe on the road, you can bet if i want to set me feet in the Manitou River, i’ll be setting my feet in the Manitou River.

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mental slippage is starting to show!  check this dude out:  he’s taking his walker up through the drive through at Rotten Ron’s!  as you know the in house dine is closed.  but this dude…  he’s going through counter clock.  i thought maybe it was a suicide in progress.  and check out Riverside to the right, one car rolling down the road at 6:30 p.m., Billings Bridge, O Town.  normally that road would be jam packed with insane drivers!

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our beloved mayfair, on Bank Street.  likely taken over by cockroaches by now…  so sad to see.  and THIS was on Friday afternoon, 3:30 p.m., when the war on Bank Street with the insane drivers is usually in full service madness.  that road at that point in time on a Friday is so bad, they have cops standing there between cars looking in at the drivers as they roll past.  this past Friday: you’d have better luck getting run over by a tumble weed!

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un flipping believable:  Laurier between Bank and O Connor, at 3:40 p.m., Friday afternoon.  now this one for absolute sure is a complete scene of lunacy during regular blah bitty blah blah.  you can stand on those sidewalks and see the animals rushing like lemmings, the horror.  but not this past Friday.  look at that!

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as if.  actually waiting in line to get into the LCBO.  what is the world coming to?  the spooks were in there too!  i managed to get out with my Tenuta Frescobaldi, Castiglioni, 2017.  we’re waiting now for that bad boy to get to room temperature.  wasn’t sure if my imagination was playing tricks on me the last time so we’ll give it another go around just to be sure.  (beauty afternoon for cooking!)

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today’s love poem:  That Sunday in August.

your love, sex.  Use it. Build it.  She, resting her hands flat…  feeling everything.  The lovely bed, the beautiful view.  She sent love and assurance.  She whispered “I will find you”.  She opened the floodgate inside and let it wash over.  She turned her inner river on.  

The Night Market.  a sly, charming smile.  Impressive, he said.  

She felt the warmth of his praise.  His magic swirled around her.  

And you liked it didn’t you?  You’re really going to enjoy what you’ve become.  You are mine.  

No, she barely whispered.  Her breath faltered.  Her whole body shuddered.  

You are lovely as ever.  And you are so graceful.  

He extended his hand.  She followed.  Yes, she whispered…

from the Found Poetry Book 5:  Heir of Autumn.  a work in progress.

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SUN INFINITY MOON:  the Moosonee Proof.  well the good news is we’ve spotted nearly all the outrageous errors in the first run of the novel!  true:  it was me who made 3 of them.  i let 3 slip past.  but when i said hit the print button, there were things i missed, things i definitely should have seen point blank, for example:  the cover!  the grade five clown they put on my project over at the layout, switched out my “coarse language” for his “course language”…  (ultra super mega DUH!  now:  we’re going back for a reprint with a new cover design and so i sent it over to them and it came back with…  you guessed it:  “course language” on the new and revised cover…  which means i’m going to have to go over there and kick that young dumb ass’s arse up around the moon by now.)

i was okay with the paragraph indent disasters in the first run, which had nothing to do with us!  that was them!  i was willing to let that slide.  but after we got to looking at it up close with our glasses off, like looking for gnat shit in pepper, it was then we saw the howling errors!  like i said, my bad:  i made 3 of them.  but the rest…  good gravy.

also:  i sent copies of the book to twenty so called professors in the indigenous studies departments, at universities around Canada and the US, hoping to hear back.  this was back last August.  i didn’t hear from any of them!  now i will say this:  a lot of these so called indigenous professors, Ph.D.’s, who claim to be indian, to me, sure do look like a bunch of white boys.  white boys in the same way our old scam artist and Grey Owl wannabe Joe Boyden looks…  and Joe B. is the biggest scam artist of them all in recent years.

when you’re an indian, a real indian, who actually looks like an indian, AND have spent the entire work career at the front with actual indians, you can come up with some pretty weird feelings watching white boys passing themselves off as indians, finishing first in the classic game of Cowboys and Indians.  but then: who IS owning and operating these publishing houses? (cool grammar huh?!!!)

i will say this:  i sent a copy over to the book reviewer at Anishnawbek News, over there near North Bay, Ontario (Anishnawbek News is a paper that’s been around for 30 years anyway) and i didn’t hear squat from them!  nothing!  or our old buddy at CBC in Suds:  Waub.  he never returned my call!  same with Rose over at UNRESERVED, cbc crazy indian show one hour a week!

so i’m at a bit of a loss over here wondering:  Just how does a real indian get in the door to one of these big league houses?

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some real indians:  that’s me and Mr. S.C., 50% of the rock and roll band:  No Reservations.  AND!!!  Brothers in Arms.

anyway.  the tuned up version of SUN INFINITY MOON will be ready soon.  for those of you who bought a copy of the black and white cover version, the first run, i owe you a 7×9 inch acrylic on canvas board painting!  just send me an email and detail where you bought it, and i’ll send you a selection of 7×9 inch canvas boards you can choose from and i’ll send you one free of charge.  how is that for a deal?

like i said:  i didn’t see all the howling errors in the first version.  i should have taken more time when i looked at the e version the layout folks sent.

ah.  it is what we artists call:  The Artist Proof!  and if you bought one, well i owe you.

bottom line though is:  the HORROR story is there, intact.  with or without the jungly super errors throughout the layouts.  (the hard copy is more horror than the actual story!!!  ha ha!)

here is one of my favourite pages from the novel:  BE WARNED:  COARSE LANGUAGE AND ADULT SUBJECT MATTER.

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ha ha!  from:  INFINITY, of SUN INFINITY MOON.

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ah well.  here we are, at the end of week 6 in this ridiculous situation the world has gotten itself into, week 7 soon to start.  we’re lucky to have a few levers to pull: what do we want to do:  paint pictures?  write song lyrics?  write stories?  create new music on the guitars?  or maybe it’s time to crack open that red, it must be up to room temperature by now.

lastly:  every now and again i see at the bottom of my posts that the comments are turned off.  i don’t mean for that to happen!  if i could figure out how to use this blog thingy, that stuff would never happen.  because we want you to leave comments!  and we enjoy hearing from you!

many thanks, miigwetch, and best of luck staying healthy!

oh yes and i almost forgot!!!  some of you asked about the H.L. cooking scenes with those sweet “preparations and kitchen sounds”!  found the vid on youtube and so here it is!  you might want to put the headphones on for this one.

always enjoy!

SUN INFINITY MOON Book Review

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Mark Seabrook is multifaceted with a tremendously creative spirit and a flair for storytelling, using the musical, visual and literary arts to carry forward his unique “voice”.  

SUN INFINITY MOON is the latest literary offering from Mark and is a collection of anecdotal accounts – years in the making – as told through an Anishnabe character named Sun, whom, along with all the others who make an appearance in this book is reportedly fictitious, existing, as Mark states in the foreword “wholly within the author’s imagination”…  ”Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locals [sic] is entirely coincidental.”

For readers who may be familiar with Mark Seabrook’s life and works, the coincidental resemblances are pronounced and one finds it impossible to refrain from attempting to deduce what is real and what is imagined.  Perhaps that is precisely the way Mark intends it to be?

We begin with:  We found a pile of human bones on the floor of the tree house.  A pretty great opening line for book of stories!  There was no order to the way they were piled, it was all abstract expressionism, Jackson Pollock style […] It was that fuckin’ skull, upright, jaw missing, top teeth gnarling on the coarse floor boards, frontal and parietal blaring like a pair of brand new stripper shoes mailed in from L.A., that caught my attention.  At some point in time that was someone’s think tank.  Someone’s whole of everything was up there, everything they could imagine and cherish, childhood memories, first love, the nightmares, were stowed and secure in that brain case, which was now bone dry, on a floor.  Empty.  The maggots had cleaned house and run off.”  Mark’s phrasing and descriptors all throughout the book are marvellously evocative whether they are conveying Anishnabe angst or reflecting on non-native practices.

And there is A LOT of Anishnabe angst.  And anger.  And revengeful ravings.  Amidst the playful dark humour and erotic tales there is an unmistakable undercurrent of humans behaving badly.  Such non-edifying things I have trained myself to avoid – but as Mark is a friend and I was proud he had followed through on his goal of publishing this book, I thought it was important to give it a read and gain some understanding.  

Mark had a compelling desire to convey a “sick and disgusting story” (his words, private correspondence) without an editor’s assistance, for fear that any editing would perhaps make the stories less “his” and risk becoming adulterated by the influence of non-native manipulation.  Such close protectionism causes the book to suffer, however, and I understand a second printing is in the works, with some essential grammatical improvements that should not conflict with the telling of these tales.

Nevertheless, for all it’s disjointed recapitulations and errors, SUN INFINITY MOON is actually rich with layers of meaning, above and beyond the unpleasant disrespect the characters (both native and non-native) show for each other, for non-human creatures and for the environment.  The deepest layer Mark Seabrook crafts for readers is that a great wrong has been done to Anishnabe youth with lingering, festering wounds that continue to hinder mental wellness and self-actualization.  That dark layer of meaning is the type of wrong that occurs in all cultures, worldwide, and to this reviewer signals a psychological malfunction present within the human species itself.  It is a darkness that when illuminated by awareness, inspiration and inner discipline can be channeled into human constructs that ennoble, enrich and transform, allowing each of us to better discover our inherent talent and live up to our full potential.

If the intention of this book was to amuse and entertain while unveiling a host of deleterious behaviours and events, intermingling sweet memories with frightful ones, it has achieved that end.  It may have been cathartic for Mark Seabrook to write such a series of tales…future works will reflect that or not.  Within Mark’s character “Moon”, we see it is possible to develop awareness…perhaps in a future literary exploration, Mark can expand upon that and use his creative storytelling techniques to help humans transcend the species-wide affliction of destructive behaviours.  That would be a book I would be glad to recommend!

L.  Manitoulin Island

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Page 15, from “May 11, 1996”, SUN.  Sun Infinity Moon, by Mark Seabrook.

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Back cover:  Sun Infinity Moon, by Anishnabe artist and author: Mark Seabrook.

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Missing In Action, painted face masks, acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.

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Missing In Action, on display in Ottawa, 2014.

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Killed In Action, painted face mask and acrylic on canvas, 30×30 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Private collection.  (On display in Ottawa, 2014)

Sun Infinity Moon Book Review

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“I finished the book yesterday, I couldn’t put it down! The sex scenes were hot, humorous and I loved Mark’s rawness, his truth, the details, the characters, journeys, their thoughts: so real!

I could hear his voice and the way he talks, and jokes, telling the story!

The history and raw truth are so touching, I wanted to hear more. I felt a deeper compassion hearing his experiences. The “nish” accent was hilarious but true to our men. I laughed a lot and ohh that ending made me cry!

His detail is impeccable. I wanted more about their journeys. So many more avenues: more books, a play, a movie!

His readers will want more.

So glad I went to the book launch and got my copy. I can think of so many that would enjoy this book and could relate: namely native males I know, with similar tough journeys.”

M.D., Manitoulin Island F/N.

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Back cover of the artist proof:  filled with typos and layout errors!  Ah well.  The reprint will be here soon and hopefully bug free…

I have a couple of more book reviews coming in soon!  But I’ll tell you this:  writing a story like this and having folks give it the once over, the response is SUPER telling!  i.e.:  one gal was all friendly and happy and poops and giggles before, after…  she wouldn’t even look at me!  I mean she would cross over to the other side of the street when she saw me coming along!  WOW!

I get that this IS a tough sell.  We’re a long way from the Disneyland and Hollywood Indian stereotypes.  But I’m not a Joseph Boyden or an Archie Grey Owl!  Ha ha.

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twinravens on November 5th, acrylic on canvas board, 8×10 inches.  One of the 25 or so pieces we have ready for this weekend’s pop up art show in Perth, Ontario!  Details are on the Facebook page.

Book Review by Steve McPhail

SUN INFINITY MOON
a novel by
Mark Seabrook

“Mark Seabrook” is a renaissance artist from the “Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation”, also known as “Many Rivers Joining-Human Beings”. Sagamok’s culture and language is “Anishinabek” / “Anishinaabemowin” and is made up of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Pottawatomi bands. (The Sagamok reserve is approximately 120 kilometres west of Sudbury, Ontario.) I first became aware of Mark’s brilliant “Woodland” style of painting at the “Providence Bay Harbour Centre” on Manitoulin Island, where his work illuminates the walls of the “Huron Island Time” ice cream parlour.

“Contemporary Canadian native artists have produced three major schools – ‘Westcoast art’, ‘Inuit art’ and ‘Woodland art’. All three have been based on ancient traditions that, despite the persistent and pervasive forces of acculturation, have endured to the present day. The woodland style developed as a direct result of the imagery ‘Norval Morrisseau’ brought forth into the world in the early 1960’s. Despite censure from elders in his community, he chose to make public the spiritual concepts inherent in the ‘Midiwewin religious society’. Common to contemporary and prehistoric traditions is the prevalence of images of ‘transformation’: representations of a man or an animal being two life forms at the same time.” – (http://www.native-art-in-canada.com/woodlandart.html)

For the record, “Midiwewin” is a religious society made up of spiritual advisors and healers, known as the “Mide”. The Mide serve as spiritual leaders for the general populace. They perform religious ceremonies, study and practise sacred healing methods and strive to maintain a respectful relationship between humanity and Mother Earth.”
– (https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/midewiwin)

Though Mark Seabrook is no stranger to expressing himself in the written word, as a musician, poet and playwright, only recently has he released his first novel, “Sun Infinity Moon”. Much like his brilliant work in the visual arts, Mark reveals the story of a narrator’s “recapitulation” of his memories of childhood friends on Manitoulin Island, in a non-linear manner. (“Recapitulation is a core shamanic technique used to heal emotional charges. On a deeper level, it is used to reclaim energy and return it to one’s self.” – (http://toltecnagual.com/toltec-tools/the-recapitulation)

Whether these various characters are different people, or aspects of the narrating character’s fragmented personality, is up to interpretation. On the book cover is the warning: “contains course language, violence and sexuality”. Whether the reader identifies as Indigenous or not, take no offence at the harsh and humorous collage of scenarios depicted. As one follows the narrator’s struggle through his personal transformation to regain his “Indigenous soul”, consider the act of visualizing this story a personal shamanic journey.

Derek Stephen McPhail

Providence Bay