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Portraits 1: Hubbard Squash

It’s been a long transition, seems like, from Artist-in-Residence to Resident, at The Cotton Factory, and as of this week, in Hamilton.

In fact it hasn’t been long, considering the details sorted and schedules set, leases signed and accounts set up. Futons purchased and assembled, movers booked, packing strategies set in motion…


Two weeks. I’ll admit the first eleven+ days have been dented fairly seriously by some intense emotional rites-of-passage. I felt strapped in, then jettisoned, like a hubbard squash at Kemble’s Punkin’ Chuckin festival, off the safe warm planet I know and sailing through the air into deeply unfamiliar territory…

It takes me until mid flight to realize that I am NOT a hubbard squash. That I can control how and where I land.  A good time and place to reunite with your objective self, is mid-flight.


Mid-flight’s an excellent place to realize that others have gone this way before, and landed well. I’m glad some wrote their stories, glad some were to hand.

A good time, as it turns out, to pull an all-nighter, as the newly arrived guest-house neighbours fight at top-voice and Melbourne Nat from downstairs texts at 3am: I don’t know what to do! It feels like it could turn violent… Nat and I both wide awake, both triggered, trying to read.


Still time, the next night, to toss and turn on the red studio futon (away from the fighting) while the traumas and the memories dance their processing dance around the birth of nine new paintings and a brand new Fairy Tale.

As Marina Warner writes in Once Upon A Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale (2014),

Even a writer as dreamy (and privileged) as the German Romanic Novalis defined the form as a way of thinking up a way out: “A true fairytale must also be a prophetic account of things — an ideal account — an absolutely necessary account. A true writer of fairy tales sees into the future.’


After some ridiculous walking in circles, some determined but fog-shrouded reading and drawing, a 6km walk, some Netflix, more drawing, I finally find a full night’s sleep at the guest house. At 5am I wake, blinking and grateful beyond words to feel articulate again.

Somewhere in mid-flight, in my non-panicked heart-brain, the new fairy tale is formed and performed – with frogs –  to friends, family and the Wilfrid Laurier MACM panel.

Feels like prophecy, to me. Also feels like I need to write a hubbard squash into the story now.

I really do hope you’ll come, and be part of it.

April 30 and May 2 @ The Cotton Factory. May 4 or 5 in Owen Sound:  Portraits, and a Fairy Tale. With frogs.

2 thoughts on “Portraits 1: Hubbard Squash

  1. golden or blue hubbard?

    1. HA! Definitely blue.

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