Posts tagged ‘Indigenous writing’

September 11, 2019

oh the dates in history…  i remember it well 18 years ago:  we were deep deep deep in the bush, far from any radio, TV, internet, completely unaware of what was happening south of us.  as far as i could see on that morning:  the big woodland skies were blue, the land was filled with greens and the waters were dark and mysterious, the sand was warm to the bare feet.  our jungle gear was brand new, untested, like us.  i managed 7.5 years in that jungle, but my gear was pretty much worn out by the time i came back.  i think i came out of there in November 2008, darn near crawling on my hands and knees!

but as my old buddy Sallah would say:  life goes on Indy!

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we’re getting ready for a reprint of Sun Infinity Moon!  now…  yes.  i do know there are some spelling errors and layout problems in the first run.  the folks at the printers gave my project to some junior whoever, not sure how new they were to the layout position but anyway the man in charged assigned the young lad and away we went.  the problem of course is we were in a time crunch situation.  we had booked our little release party for July 20th, and there i was still fussing with the writing of it, on the morning of July 2nd, WHEN we sent it to the printers.  as far as i was concerned, when i saw those layout problems within the text, in particular, the business of paragraph indents, in the e version proofs, i was okay to run with as time really was running out.  (we had already missed a dozen deadlines.)

how i did not see:  “course language”, on the cover, i do not know.

where we really in that much of a time crunch that i missed that?  well anyway there are only 150 of them out there with that on the cover, so if you have one, you have the collector’s edition.  when we had the little release party we joked that yes, it is course language, university course language, not meant for high schools…  (ha!)

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Beaded Dreams, on Bank Street, just north of Gladstone, in Ottawa:  i dropped off a fresh bundle of books to these good folks so if you’re in the area, you can get your collector’s edition, first run copy of SUN INFINITY MOON over there.  same with Huron Island Time down on Providence Bay Beach although i imagine these days, this far into September, things might be a little slow in downtown P.B.  now sure of the hours they might be keeping.

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The Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa:  the show is still up but your chance will soon be gone to see “For MMIWG” by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook, up close and personal.  the canvas is 36×60 inches, Stevensons acrylic, and after this show, that painting is going into the Artist Collection, never to be seen in public again!

that is the great Peter Purdy’s artwork hanging next to mine.  title unknown, price unknown, 36×48 inches or there a bouts.  First Nations artwork.

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Mother Earth sketch, acrylic on canvas board, 18×24 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  we continue to play with the idea.

Found Poetry:  The Clone Trees, as read by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  The Found Poetry idea has been a lot of fun, we’re coming up with some mighty strange poems and artsy little books.  The starting point is of course you take a hard cover book from the goodwill, one with quality paper, toss the paper cover, and go to work:  much like you see here with the Clone Trees.  A book of found poems can be pretty telling as the days go by: it is not a quick fix project, book 3 was started in early May 2019 and finished just last week.  Very telling indeed…

Book 4 is in the works.  Fun stuff, crafty, artsy, and one of a kind.  And oh yes:  you’re suppose to pick a book with a title that says it all for you…

Let me know how it goes.

Labour Day Weekend 019

we’re a long way from that paradise today:  back home on the range.  even if we did have a car, there is no way we could have made that drive last night, having been awake for the previous 2 days:  in the field.

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Clouds over the Ottawa River, Thursday, August 29th.  we’re a long way from home out here.  every now and again though, there is a place of peace.

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the one and only blaze i got a chance to sit with this summer:  Thursday night in the woods, somewhere off the 6th Line, west of Ottawa, in the child friendly boons.  the troops had gone in for the night but i had to stay on a bit longer with this one.  kooky i know but i had two songs going to work on me, playing in my mind: song 1: Sick As a Dog.  and song 2:  No More No More.  both from ages ago and a long lost childhood back home on Manitoulin Island and in partic:  small town Mindemoya.  back in the 70’s.

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Screen shot:  page 15 from Sun Infinity Moon.  do you know those tunes and that artwork? (of course that wasn’t me in the 70’s, that was more like the 90’s!)

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Walking After Midnight.  a lot of that going on.  at night the city is more dangerous than the wilds and outback ten thousand acres north of the Manitou River, more dangerous by a long shot, especially where we are.

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The Great Jazzy Moon, watching my six, somewhere along spooky Montreal Road, sometime in August, after the 11th.

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Visiting from Over Seas-Deep in Indian Country, acrylic on canvas board, 14×18 inches, framed sometime in August.  Artwork by Anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.

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hmmm.  you see that rack up there on the wall, sporting the gas mask?  i asked the young lad tending, if it was an original Marc Adornato and the poor kid, clumsy about the waist, had no idea who i was talking about.  this being the town of Ottawa, with CBC and all, i would have thought he’d have been in the know.

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went to see it, at the Bytowne over in Spookyville, on Rideau St., the Friday night the picture came to town.  now i’m not sure what it was but i dozed off somewhere in the show and missed some of the kooky high jinx.  so i went back for the Sunday matinee, bright eyed and bushy tailed thinking i was going to see what i’d missed the first time but nope!  dozed off again.  i guess i’m getting tired of see non indigenous people talk so surely about indigenous subject.  i will say at the Friday night show, all the Grey Owls and Joseph Boydens were out in full force, wearing their pony beads and chokers and medicine wheel buttons!  from what i could see i was the only indian in the joint.

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oh yes i forgot to mention: i was inspired by the Mr. Adornato and so went up to the St. V. d P. on Wellington and found this gem:  from January 1975.  i think its acrylic, it is on canvas, about 18×22 inches, by a “F.lait”.  googled the name and up came a page from the obits.  on the back there is a title of sorts:  Sandy Hill Road, Ontario.  so this boy alive and here in 2019 is going to HACK this painting!  yes.  lets see what a free hand and an hour can do.  (i remember the summer of 1975, not so much the winter of…  )

i’ll post a picture when i have this bad boy tuned up, HACKED styled.  thank you Mr. A for a fun idea.

and thank you too, to a Mr. Jackson Pollock, for those fun ideas.

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Putting our Best Feet Forward.  the summer is over.  and i have missed it.  yes i did crash two cars coming back from my island paradise but total days out there were just 14.  well i enjoyed them and made the most of them.  August 11th remains in my mind, one of the best days of the summer and likely of the whole year.

 

 

Dear Diary: August 15, 2019

oh my goodness where to start…  Well I can say the book launch party held at Huron Island Time at Providence Bay on July 20th was beautiful!  We had a great little crowd on hand, introduced the book: SUN INFINITY MOON, a little history, and opened the floor for questions and open discussion.  Now that was a lot of fun.  We have copies of the book available at Huron Island Time in Providence Bay, and if you’re rolling through the town of Tehkummah, they’re over at Ward’s General Store.

Here in Ottawa, we have copies available at Beaded Dreams, 426 Bank St., those folks are open 7 days a week.  And of course they’re on ebay, just type in Mark Seabrook in their search.

And so!  Between today and several weeks ago we’ve had some wild high jinx out there on the summer, late night, super highways between the town of Ottawa and home sweet home, Manitoulin Island!  My little red “war pony” took down a moose just east of Sudbury one fine and dreamy morning, around 1 a.m.  What a ride that was!  The cop got to looking at the car with his flash light and said:  You’re lucky to be alive.  (It didn’t take me long to figure that one out as I was ready to shake hands with the moose, up close and personal!)  And so my little red “war pony” was totalled.  The insurance guys gave me a beauty rental, a flash Malibu “Stacey” (ha!) and I was happy to have that limo, riding around the town of Ottawa and the back roads of Tehkummah, AC blasting.  On the ride back to return the limo, blazing back to Ottawa, 3 a.m., yes…  you guessed it.  I hit a deer full on.  BOOM!  And so the Malibu “Stacie” was totalled.

I sat there on the road side at 3 a.m., beauty night it was, freakishly warm, waiting for the cops, and wondered about this kooky stretch of weird luck on the highways this summer.  There have been some kooky adventures over the years:  Yes, I did survive the 60’s Scoop.  Yes, I did survive the Great Hay Wagon Disaster of 78.  Yes, I did survive being struck by lightning (although that one hurt!).  Yes I did jump out of a burning plane.  And yes I did survive a sinking at sea.  But 2 big game animals inside of 2 weeks?  Sheesh.  And I’ll be honest with you:  going eye ball to eye ball with that moose at 1 a.m., on highway 17 east bound, I really did have time to say to myself:  I’m dead.

With the deer gag, the cop settled me down, the tow truck took Stace away, and I was left there alone in the middle of the night, wondering the BIG WHY?

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Back home in Tehkummah, classic summer afternoon in progress, August 8.  Barefoot behind the wheel, barefoot on the field.

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The front of the house in Tehkummah, as seen from the trampoline/sun tan bed, on August 4th.

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Clouds over the range: a classic summer afternoon in progress, barefoot with the medicines, at peace while the war rages, many miles away.

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Looking east, at home, late afternoon: heavy duty storm clouds brewing!  Good thing it was going east!  There was an incredible wind happening when I snapped this photo.  I asked my old buddy Scott, how far away is that?  I mean yes, over the Georgian Bay, but is it over Parry Sound and Muskoka?

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“For MMIWG”, acrylic on canvas, 36×60 inches, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  The show is on going at the Atomic Rooster, Bank Street, Ottawa.  There is still time to get over there and add this one to your collection!  Priced to sell at $3 500.

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What a difference a frame makes, twenty four little dollars…  Found this frame at the goodwill, repurposed it!  That is an authentic twinravens acrylic on canvas in there, 8×10 inches, and ready to go!  (The frame though wasn’t 24 bucks, it was really only 4 bucks!  I dressed it up with some black acrylic paint and ta da!)

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Memory lane:  found this photo, after the 2nd car crash, hanging in the upstairs, cobwebbed.  That is me and Levi working through the first 5 minutes of D. Taylor’s one act play:  Toronto at Dreamer’s Rock.  The date is June 8, 1991.  We’re on stage at the Northern Story Telling Festival, Whitehorse, Yukon.  We’re 80 plus shows into a national tour which started at Membertou First Nation months earlier, so we were a well oiled machine when we hit that stage!  I’m playing Rusty and Levi is doing Keeshig.  That’s the second stage, not the main stage, and this was our first show at the festival, of which, if memory serves, I think we were booked for 4 shows over the weekend.  So this would be sometime after midnight, Friday night.

The festival organizers had no idea who we were or what we were about so they all sat in front row seats to see this Indian outfit all the way from Manitoulin Island:  Debajehmujig Theatre Group.

We rolled through there like a bunch of bobcats and tore that place to pieces!  Like I said, we’re 80 plus shows in, and when you have that many readings stowed, you really know your lines and how to say them.  We worked them over until they were laughing themselves silly and at the end, sobbing wrecks.

The festival organizers immediately re jigged the game plan and took us off the second stage and put us on the main stage including top of the bill on a packed to the rafters Saturday night, which of course we owned.  We did a Sunday matinee and by this time the fans were in there thick!  Yeah…  first time I ever played a festival where every show had a standing ovation.  Very cool.  And a cool photo to see, after all the wild high jinx of this crazy summer.

 

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

SUN INFINITY MOON

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There it is!  With flash book marks to go with.  Wow!  Those folks at OJ Graphix in Espanola did it up nicely, quickly, and exactly.

Book launch, island style, will be this Saturday, July 20th, 7 p.m., at Huron Island Time, on the beach at Providence Bay.  Flash art show as well, and hopefully, live music by one of the great island musicians who we know, going back 45 years.

Here are a few sample pages:

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Opening 2 pages, Sun Infinity Moon, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

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Opening 2 pages to SUN, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

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Opening 2 pages to chapter 2, SUN, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

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Opening 2 pages to chapter 3, SUN, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

It is a short read:  just 250 pages:  perfect for the cottage on a summer afternoon.  Mind you it IS a horror story…

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Back cover, SUN INFINITY MOON, by anishnabe artist Mark Seabrook.  Copyright 2019.

It will be available on ebay soon!  Amazon to follow.  Book launch on the island this coming weekend and city book launch here in Ottawa coming soon.  So stay tuned!

Miigwetch!

Saturday morning in Ottawa

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she won’t be happy until she scares the living CRAP outa me…  (i’m putting the icing on a novel project and here we are now, this morning, with a brand new idea for horror…  )(where did THAT come from?!!!)

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waiting at the diner in Westboro, hoping she will show, Friday night, an artist in the city, alone as usual…

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“Afraid to Wake Up”, acrylic on canvas, 22×28 inches, from September 13, 2000.  Private Collection.  (so nice to see you again my friend, so much has happened since September 13, 2000 man.)

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Found Poetry Book 2, started on December 20, 2018 and finished on May 9, 2019!  an enjoyable project, telling too!  i thought i was finished with the idea, Found Poetry: repurposing hard cover novels from the goodwill but the other day i came across a brand spanking new, never been opened copy of Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man.  i guess it was too well written for someone!  i grabbed that one off the shelves for 2 bucks and we’ll see what we can do with Bill’s flash words, the quality paper of 1994, and an Anishnabe’s wild and unruly hand of savagery!  go Daddy!