Sunday, April 19, 2015

Creating a Treasure Map: Trying to draw the two-dimensional roadkill of a sorcerer’s dreams

I've been trying to make a treasure map for Yiddish for Pirates, my pirate novel. I wanted it to have the right admixture of mystery--arcane Kabbalistic symbols, Hebrew letters, sea monsters--old fashionedness, and wonder. And a kind of submerged piratical humour. I'd like it to have some cryptic clues, jokes, or red herrings (or at least flamingo-coloured smoked salmon.) Also, it should riff off the Treasure Island map that Robert Louis Stevenson created for his novel because my novel borrows many elements of the descriptions of that map and the search for the treasure from that classic tale.

I haven't yet been successful. 

Above is Stevenson's map, stripped of all the place names and with a newly made compass rose. I had planned to add all the elements above, but I'm thinking that even with these it won't be as interesting as the map suggested in the text. I'm wondering, if I should actually try to represent the map that I describe. Now that I try, I'm feeling that describing something but not showing it creates more mystery and wonder. The suggestion is more powerful than the realization. Perhaps a countermap is less powerful than the described "counterfactual imaginary."  Like making a movie out of a book in some cases.

But maps in books are always beguiling. I remember as a child discovering the map in front of The Hobbit. The clear line of the mapmakers/ hand. The contrasting red elements. The drawing of the pointing finger. The unintelligible but powerfully communicative script. I'd return to the map during readings of the book, realizing what it was about, using a key to decode the runic. The map which strongly evoked the world and sensibility of the novel.

Below are the bits where my imaginary map is described. There are also images which I hoped to plunder or be inspired by for elements of my map.

There was much we recognized. The broadside islands of Hispaniola and Cuba with their fussy ongepatshket shores. And below, the pokey little skiff of Jamaica rowing up from the south. And above, the pebble-scatterings of the Bermudas, like stepping stones to nowhere. 
The map was the two-dimensional roadkill of a sorcerer’s dreams, a brainbox of arcana pressed into two-dimensions against the vellum. Archipelagos of eyes, cluttered across the Caribbean, their preternatural gaze drawn as radiant points of a compass rose beaming across the sea. An undulating dolphin-dance of Hebrew script twisted between inky waves. And curious sigils, perhaps from Solomon’s time, marks of demons, angels, cartographers, or whorehouses flocking like alchemical birds on both land and deep.

It was more-or-less apple-shaped, about three leagues across, and had a shaynah fine natural harbour where we could drop anchor. There were, as Moishe had remembered, two enticingly zaftig hills, like the twin knaidlach of a rotund tuches, which dominated the island. They were farprishte-poxed by three marks in red ink: one on the north part of the island, two in the southwest.  Moishe explained that they were Hebrew letters.  Hay. Vav. Hay. In a valley in the centre of this triangle was a small, neat letter Yod written in the same red ink . Buried beneath it: the books. Once we had found the island, and located the valley, we would know where to go.  The tree must be the Yod. 


for Geoeof Huthth

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Authors for Indies: May 2nd at Epic Books.

On May 2, for Authors for Indies Day (note: that's not Authors in Undies Day, I'll report on that another time…)  I'll be at Epic Books in Hamilton between 2 and 4 where I'll be writing a I will solicit the brilliant ideas of customers/passersby and together we will create, well, whatever it is that we'll create. A story. A narrative. A tale. A poem. An epic. 
There will be a monitor in the window so that the happy denizens of Locke St. in Hamilton can see the story, and indeed, be so captivated by its beguiling narrative and so invigorated by the power of literature, creativity, bookstores, and independent thinking, that they'll bring their strollers, lattes, children, golden retrievers and imaginative selves right into the bookstore feeling radiant with ideas and suggestions and participate in writing with me. And if not, I'll just write about that time when I was a teenager when I got my braces caught in my girlfriend's sweater while we were on a roller coaster. For the entire ride.
I also plan on posting the story-in-progress here on this blog.
Oh. And you want to know more about the Authors for Indies event?
To quote the blog Epic Books: Authors for Indies is
a new initiative that’s taking place Canada wide where authors will be volunteering to help sell books for the day. This is a huge event with over 100 bookstores and 500 authors signed up! Epic Books is one of those bookstores and as of this moment we have 6 amazing authors that will be joining us. There will also be goodies, giveaways and so much fun to be had.  We love a good party and that’s what this is going to be, a whole day filled with book love and we really hope you can join us. See more here
The schedule at Epic Books is below. The full national schedule is here. Epic Books is at226 Locke St. South, in Hamilton, Ontario. 
Epic Books Author schedules for Saturday, May 2:
11 – 1: Sally Cooper
11 – 1: Gisela Sherman
1 – 3: Sylvia McNicoll
1 – 3: Ariel Gordon 
2 – 4: Gary Barwin
3 – 5: Amanda Leduc

The Science of Poetry, the Poetry of Science

InterNaPwoWriMo: Autopsymbolic Autopsychology

Tuesday, April 14, 2015



What's there? Cloud. Fly. My square eye. Something something something. My dog. Warm, yes. Your round eyes. And soft as a cloud. but out of the about five things that I know for certain, you're only half. I walk far away from you. You don't get smaller, except to my eye. I move my face in close. Now everything is you but there are no trees or clouds. I wish you were something certain. Spelling for example. Something lookupable. What changes? 



Saturday, April 11, 2015

InterNaPwoWriMooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo: Werids Weirds Wireds











Saturday, April 04, 2015

InterNaPwoWriMo 8: #4 For Bob Grumman

Pwoermds for Bob Grumman 

grummarkable grummany grummemories bob

________  = Grummore


should've ry 



Friday, April 03, 2015

















Thursday, April 02, 2015

InterNaPwoWriMo8 #2





Wednesday, April 01, 2015

IntertentionalPwoermdRiddimMince 8



I will read autopsies.

Whose autopsy will I read?

I will read autopsies.

Each autopsy is always my own.

To whom will I read autopsies?

An unremarkable tree.

The chair. Its autopsy.

Humans. Their autopsies.


Who will listen when I read autopsies?

Who will weep?