Keirartworks's Blog

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significant days

Day One

Rain begins, tentative, at 8:50pm.  I can feel the hush of parched trees; the lake is still, the birds silent. Thunder is over there, eclipsed by the subtle snore of a cat.  Rain stops.


There is no sound of water lapping.  This is uncharacteristic of the eastern shore, where even the gentlest of westerly breezes will make the water speak in rhythm over stones.  The twilight raccoons are quiet, the evening moths still. I can hear a hum, large as the world: insects, over the Bay.

Internet connection is gone.  That’s new.  First time in five years.

The white mycelium connecting all flora with intelligence, one inch below the forest floor.  The loons, nesting here again after a decade of absence.  They sing to the sunset.  The cat stops his hunting just then to still himself, and listens, facing the sun.

Later, myriad moths of all shapes and sizes wake, to flutter their bizarre night time dance.  It is as loud as the snore of the cat beside me.

Day two

Heavy heat, again. Everything is parched, dusty and all living things are fully engaged in gritty endurance. It’s been over a month of this, extended further by an ocean typhoon that just connected with China. On the other side of the planet.


My awareness of things is stretched by new curiosities. Hmmm.  Why the baby snail, 30 feet up on the slim tree, for weeks.  The curled baby garter snake, napping beside the path – why curled like that, just there. These become the moments I remember best, from the day.

follow the leggy grey-black spiders who populate and farm the hot shore rocks. I gaze upward at the forest canopy, the astonishing spiderwebs. I hear that birdcalls differ through the day, which has a clearly defined rhythm, in this place.  I feel compelled – hungry – to learn it. It runs deeper than my habitual rhythm, is more complex.

In the meantime I have a good list of chores, which I improve by deleting the trip into town for ice. Instead I stay put and read about the interpretation of drawings in Jungian psychology (Furth, 2002), and the Bonny Method of therapy which uses music to take clients ‘traveling’ into their own subconscious.  Juliet Hess (2018), Kari Veblen (2008, 2011, etc) , Kate Bolick (2015). 

I breathe the hot air, which is easier to do by the cool lake.  I draw a little. My broken toe is grateful for rest; a friend comes for dinner, conviviality, and a swim. Sleeps over down at the bothy, which I’m now calling ‘the shore’.


Day three

Perfect coffee on the cabin porch, to greet the morning lake.  Good conversation around and about metaphor.

Then Town for breakfast and World Cup soccer, England vs Belgium. I badly want England to win, but the young lads look tired and beaten, so sure enough, Belgium takes third place.  

Them the In-Town List pushes me trudging through more oppressive afternoon heat until finally, in late afternoon as I approach the hospital where they will x-ray my broken toe, the winds pick up, the skies darken… 

In the parking lot we are drenched to the bone in two seconds, yelling whoops of pure euphoria.  It’s good to be alive.


Day four

…begins loudly, one hour after I fall asleep.

The midnight raccoons have decided to launch an offensive, both inside and outside the house (no serious damage, but lots of noise and reckless spillage, which I think is deliberate).  Around the same time the cat brings two live moles upstairs and chases them, squeaking, to their death. There are three times as many months as last night – a sound so full of odd fluttering anxiety I could not have imagined it until now.  I fall asleep eventually at 4am, woken by a 7:30 text… impossible. 

Impossible.  No, I have no functioning braincells, am barely verbal.  I cancel all town plans, including watching the World Cup final.  Instead clean up after Raccoons, read articles, work on this blessed Masters.  Charge battery with solar panels. Find some sleep in between. Build some new living strategies out of thin air, which is hot, again…


But I’m right to stay, and learn more about this deeper rhythm. I sit in the evening sun, while it charges the battery to 95%.  I dissolve all that’s unnecessary in the lake.


9pm, the cat snores, the hatches are battened. I have Hess and Bolick to take me into sleep as the sun dips behind the western shore.  

Significant days, these.

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Unplugged yet more connected

Story Cake first instalment is coming – never fear.  It has been delayed by some time-sensitive physical and academic tasks, which have taken precedence over all else:
I’ve been packing up the old and building the new.

To the point where I’ve got twenty days left here:


during which I find places for all this house-ness,

and incrementally move my work here:


Where I can collaborate with the lake, the trees, the critters, the rocks, and the folk who come to drink it all in.  There’s often wifi connection from across the water; I have some solar panels and a battery.  I have paint, paper, books and simple recording equipment.
What a great big enormous blessing.

It’s been a life-long dream, this.  Ever since I first read about Emily Carr and her cabin.

Postscript:  For the next three weeks some paintings from #Selfie and Five paintings at the River are available for a reduced price, fully instalment-negotiable.  Tomorrow I will post a list with sizes and suggested prices, and my contact information.


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Story Cake

Here’s a thing I’d like to do, in collaboration with you guys  – some I know, lots I don’t – who read this blog.


This idea came to me out of ten years of astonishingly terrible experiences with people who I’d been close to for a very long time.  I’ve done at least a partial inventory of what happened:  there were big money fights, betrayals, a flat tire on the 407, illness, deep lies, shameful disrespect of self and other, triangulations, abuses of power, several counsellors, epic misunderstandings, two kayaks, petty and powerful punishments, lots of lawyers, appraisers, fires, storms, a Jungian therapist, at least one great lake but maybe three, hammers, guilt, exhaustion,  embedded ancestral control issues, and plenty of old family furniture, old books, obscure memories, inheritances…

There were two cars but three license plates, an arm injury, breakups, new songs, broken friendships, cedar shakes, a dentist, six large windows from Sundridge, a new bridge made of books, 3 gifted walnuts from a squirrel friend, seven binders of journal articles, a new cabin, 30,000 km of road, broken connections, new connections, three howls in the night, an old bothy, two perfectly healthy but nevertheless felled trees, a polydactyl cat; there was exile and isolation…

….all adrift without anchor, all seeking a new story.


In retrospect and inspired by Foucault, I can see some telling things that were missing.  If there had been more laughter, for example, there might not have been so much illness.


Comedy is the missing thing that most applies to this new project.  I want to put it back in to the story, and see whether this might lead us all forward and through, smiling.

A re-make of the story cake, if you will.  With better ingredients.


For example, here’s the set up for  Re-tell vignette number 1:  Thanksgiving.

Protagonist:  Pamela, a 50-year old artist (straight, white, female colonial), now living cheaply and illegally in her studio after leaving her abusive husband.  She is relieved and exhausted, determined to build a new autonomous life for herself.  Her best friend is a polydactyl cat named Knuckles.

Bystander:  Frank, a very intelligent, often belligerent anarchist with mental health issues who prefers to live on the street.  He is an excellent horticulturist, and is addicted to Listerine.

Antagonist:  Pamela’s Great-Great-Great-Half-Aunt Margery, Matriarch of the Industrial Patriarchy, and Active Ghost, who has grown in subtle power through the 100+ years of her hauntings in town.  She is judge, jury and sentencer for anyone whose actions run against the grain, and has the ability to extract punishment for any wrongdoings that offend her sensibilities.  She is an early colonial, and lesbian, though she would never admit either of those things.

The story-cake piece comes in my next post, your part comes after.  Stay with me.

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A multitude of tasks and their stressor partners slow-dance around my house like dust motes in the sunlight; I am happily, if overwhelmingly engaged in the actions of living.


Every so often pressures collide with sensibilities and swirl the dust mote dancing into a frenzy. Through and over all of this a thin cicada song of anxiety – I’ve mostly learned to ignore this, like the writer who works beside a busy train track.  Some days are better than others.


I am doing my utter best to lay solid groundwork that will take me/us somewhere new, satisfying and truly relevant in these times.  To connect need to need in a way that can reveal surprising, intersected solutions.

To make functional use of art and music, in valuable and valued service.


Need to need, like bee to flower. Then honey, more flowers, a resplendent spring.

I seek nothing less than an active, challenging, collaborative peace.



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The white chair

The test for old chairs is in the sitting, and this one more than passes, happily. It’s an online auction chair, old and formal-ish in the picture that prompted me, upholstered outrageously  – in cream and white.  It looked comfortable in the photo, but this could have been wishful thinking.


Old White and formal-ish comes with a history I can only invent. I find myself doing so in collaboration – my back against hers, my body held softly but with just enough firmness, my lap at just the right height with feet on footstool.

It becomes the chair I write from in the mornings.  The chair claimed first by my visiting daughter.  The chair that lends lightness to the room, drinks in sunlight.

This chair beckons, but does not compel.


Old white was intended for the cabin, where comfortable things are welcome, though curiously it seems to want to stay here, in town.  I sit in its welcome, listeningly, and feel happiness.

Outside the window is springtime.  Conversational starlings and squirrels (both black and red), a carpet of scilla on the tiny back yard, humming with bees.

Yes, that’s what it is.  A simple, welcome, peaceful happiness.



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Driving Time

In July 2017 I bought a car.  At that time it had 45,000 km on the odometer, which is partly why I bought it.

In our tradition of car-naming my daughter and I named him Thom, short for Thomas. Not Tommy, ever.

He is an indigo Blue Honda Fit.


By now, April, 2018, and Thom and I have racked up another 30,000km together.  There have been things to do and people to see.


While we were driving (by ourselves, never when witnessed), a song came.

It became an earworm.  Then it grew, longer and longer….

back_leftI recorded bits of it into voice memos. A few weeks ago when we parked at home, there were enough bits, so I wrote them down, strung them together and recorded a rough version.

Here it is…



…complete with frogs (one from Costa Rica, another from Toronto) and badly played xylophone (I’m a cello player, not a percussionist, damnit. Also at one point the frogs had a falling out).

Warning – it is an earworm.


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After a year of howls, gifts.

Not sure I can articulate this, yet.


Harness has become a listening blanket.


Rage has become discernment,

patient, like a well-fed shark

constantly in motion.



Pain has become beauty,

complex, like music.

like sky and lake.


There is time.

I am grateful for this, since it will take some time to make a new story.


I can feel the new story coming

from across the lake.