Thank you, Canada!
Canada rocks. While in Costa Rica with my family for the past two months, I’ve met so many Canadians who’ve impressed me with their kindness, humor, and generosity. A lovely couple from Montreal babysat for Maia last night, so Jonathan and I could finally go and enjoy a margarita on the beach.
They’re doing something right in that country, eh? This past week, I finished a piece for The Writer on magazines that specialize in articles on current events and cultural issues, and I discovered one exciting Canadian publication, and renewed my relationship with another that published some of my essays a few years back.
Zines are alive and well, according to the editors at Broken Pencil. Researching their publication, I recalled my teenage stint as a freelance writer for The Loon News, a long-running comic zine published out of Phoenix, Arizona. (God forbid any of the articles I wrote actually surface—I do believe they were fairly naughty.) Zines, for those not in the know, are independently published magazines that attract attention for their innovative, edgy content and design. Powell’s Books in Portland has a shelf devoted to them (back of the magazine stacks, bottom shelves, last time I looked). Editors at Broken Pencil publish news, reviews, and retrospectives on alternative and zine culture. Check them out!
What a privilege to talk with Kalle Lasn, editor at Adbusters Magazine (published out of Vancouver, B.C.), about his plans for an upcoming double issue that supports the Occupy Movement—which he and his staff helped to found–with social and political commentary on economic issues. Kalle’s the kind of person who, in a 20-minute conversation, leaves you feeling a little more hopeful, a little more energized than you were before you phoned.
I hung up and thought about what type of essay I might contribute to his next issue. In the past, Adbusters published my humorous critique of the University of Oregon’s MFA in Photography program, and one of my short essays, “Art and Insanity,” inspired after I watched the Andy Goldsworthy documentary, Rivers and Tides, and then walked past some pretty incredible stone towers created by a homeless man on Ventura Beach . . . art which the city bulldozed the next day.
The pieces aren’t on the web anymore, but here are a couple of my lines from “Art and Insanity”:
“There’s a fine line between art and insanity. Could it be that the difference between divine inspiration and toppled rock towers on an abandoned beach lies in who can afford to have his teeth fixed? Perhaps the distinction between a person who inspires public support and one who crumbles under public condemnation is even simpler. One is an artist who makes transient images. The other is a transient who makes art.”
Great health care? Little college debt? Zines? Economic revolution? Kind-hearted babysitters?