The one thing people forget. Chiclets and Wrigley’s were designed in many ways to get saliva into the mouths of 2nd WW soldiers going into battle and in the field. Mouthwatering is a constant thing with humans. So is the dry mouth of fear.
But more poignant a memory is that it provided lubricant. On the spot. Anywhere. Anytime. And girls who went out on a date with a stick of gum were always good to go. Even better if they met you with a cheeky smile casually chewing gum, head tilted to the side and their mouth open just enough to see their tongue work that wad. They always had the most hilarious laugh because it was so completely in your face and they knew it. Brazen and alive, Linda Lee, Paloma, Bunny Frazier they were all really good at it. True artists. Studied professionals of the sisterhood. These are the same kind of champions you find at Roller Derbys. They birthed a movement.
There is nothing like a full on righteous-feminist war against the mother at the front of the room. She was our state parent after all.
But the one thing she did not like were these girls and their gum. Their ‘Gum Chewing’ …It was satanic …most likely.
Gum had something to do with comic books, dark unlit places, and the lower classes.
It was communism. The whole lot of it. Red Commie Crap & Everything That Goes Along With It! Ever since that hulabaloo in Russia …Well that and teen music. But let me tell you right now mister. This is going to stop and it’s going to stop right here! right now! Those gum chewing little sluts. We’ll show them.
God they were intense.
And here we are.
I’m going to try and explain this the best way I know how so forgive me..
I am not perfect, I don’t expect to be any time soon, but I have come to know this at a very very high price.
The love you are feeling is pure and natural and yes overwhelming. It is not for nothing that when people encountered god or his angels they buried their head in the sand and yelled for it to go away. God stopped appearing to people.
My brother said something to me a couple of months ago about his current journey.
He said “I felt all this love. I didn’t know what to do with it. It was immense and I wanted to share this love I had. And then I learned it was not my love at all”.
“I learned that it was just flowing through me like wind blowing through me like november maple trees creaking and strong and bare of leaves. I learned love was a force. An intimate force that flowed everywhere and I learned how to channel that love I felt. I learned to be a conduit. I learned to let it flow through me as a channel. Powerful, good, strong, clear. I could feel that love and wasn’t scared of it any more. It carried me along and I gave it a place in my life where it coulld live”.
“And then one day. while all of that love was flowing through me. Channeled through me by the grace of god. Some one took away the conduit. And it was magical. This tube I had been living in. Feeling this powerful love flowing through. It was gone. There was no wall. And I immediately knew that this love was flowing through the entire world. The entire universe. With the same force it had flowed through my channel only now I was surrounded in it. Bathed in it. It was there the entire time waiting for me. God is love. This is the message we were asked to remember”.
I know this is really cryptic ..but it concerns the foundation of ‘why’ art.
Alex Coleville once said that the only value of a piece of art was in understanding that it may have taken the artist twenty-five, thirty, forty years of constant concentration and meditation on an idea before he can actually grapple with it as a subject. Personally the expression wrestling with angels would not be an understatement.
He does the absolute best his soul can muster from absolutely everything from his core and depths of his inheritance, culture, antiquity, acumen and skill. To discern properly is what it is about. To discern from all the other possibilities that it is in fact this clear. That it can be represented. That it can be brought into the world and exist.
And the artists struggles with this in the wilderness as a shepherd watches over flocks in remote fields. It is appropriate. And then he returns to the marketplace. And he sells his goods. They are valuable.
[What has changed is the next bit. And it is everything…. ]
The person takes the piece home and lives with it not knowing they have purchased a ticking time bomb. A grenade with the pin pulled waiting to go off.
They will live with it for years and years and years. In a hallway, over breakfast, in a kitchen or somewhere common. Somewhere unubtrusive and common but in constant sight.
And then, just like the artist. Often years and years later. One day they will look at the painting and it will go off like a bomb. All of a sudden they will get exactly what this painting is about.
And like a crashing symphony, for a brief period, our world comes crashing down while we try and reorganize and understand this massive shift in what we thought to be common and everyday.
Exhilarating, frightening, shocking, liberating, sensual, passionate, often hypnotic and absorbing. It is a disturbing experience to come to realizations about ones selve and this world. Who we are and our place in it.
It is something the artist struggles with from the moment they are born. And as Picasso said. The best they can do in their sojourn into the wilderness is to plant a way-sign here and there to say we have been here before and give hopeful and meager comfort to one another engaged in this journey.
We can make our pieces, our little homilies, exhortations and prayers and cast them upon the wind. And through our work we may be able to hammer just one more plank onto the struggling raft of life.
I don’t apologize for putting it this way nor for paraphrasing the words of my brother, picasso or alex coleville. All heroes and well known to me.
Everywhere I went this morning, the burdock and chicory were in full bloom.
Just a Short Note: To all of you who have been following over the years. Thank you!
It has been an extremely difficult year and I appreciate everyone’s patience. I have sorely missed my work here and on the Incowrimo page. I have til the end of the month to find a suitable place to live longer term and hopefully re-obtain a permanent address which will allow me access to municipal and regional services.
There is a great deal to fill in. All in good time. Thanks again to everyone.
There’s something to be said about having two or three hours behind you and another ten or so ahead. Sade cranked up way too loud in the overheated cab.
The window’s still wide open beside your head. With a constant wet hiss from the road, you can almost tast the salt and heavily sanded moisture in the air.
No particular rush to get there. You’re making good time and the light’s still good..
You settle down and crank up the window. Leaving it open a crack.
Something to be said for days like this.
Traditionally a large round heavy flat cake of unleavened barley or oats cooked cooked in a pan that could girdle it about (a griddle). Bannuc has been made in Scotland, Ireland and northern England since before the 8th century. It was often cooked directly on a flat piece of sandstone shoved into a fire.
Almost every culture has an unleavened flat bread that sustained them, acorns, camas bulbs, maize, wheat… and over time as we discovered leavening they became the basic staple comfort foods that we have today. Queue de castor, pfannkuchen, våffla, youtiao, churras, chiacchiere, hush puppies and naan.
It is considered to be one of the two national Canadian dishes found everywhere in the 450 odd years of sustenance and settlement in the northern half of the continent, all the way to the arctic.
The most recognized ‘traditional’ bannock comes from the supplies that were available for trade through the Hudson’s Bay company and eaten by traders and trappers anywhere in the country a good fur pelt could be found. Later it would be associated with the supplies the English doled out to indigenous people to compensate the loss of the traditional land and the food resources that sustained them.
Hearty and simple like the canadiens, it is a valuable, hardworking, forgiving, and practical dough ready for even the most rudimentary conditions of survival.
Without going the whole hog and crushing the grains between two rocks to start; this is one of the oldest and simplest recipes that has stood the test of time from coast to coast to coast.
2 3/4 cups of flour are stirred together with 2 teaspoons of baking powder and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 3 tablespoons of lard are cut into the flour with two knives and 2/3 of a cup of ice cold water are gradually stirred in until there remains a slightly sticky dough.
This is rolled out or flattened into a cast iron pan until the edges are girdled so they don’t split apart (my pan was too big). Alternately, the rolled dough can be cut into strips and wrapped around a stick and cooked directly over a fire.
The pan is placed over a fire and the bread flipped once. Slathered in butter and served with a hearty soup. it can be made anywhere. A vacant lot, under a bridge, by the side of a lake, and even in your kitchen. A living heritage of survival.