Coffee-coloured Like Me Sulamon Kathwaroon, Coffee Chef at Romano's If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you'll see an article by my Dad about my grandfather (in the picture above) and the jobs he held in restaurants in London. Those of you who have met me in person know that I'm about as pale as they come, with no distinctive East-Indian features at all. I like to think that my thick wavy hair is part of that legacy, but otherwise, I burn easily in the sun like all other blue-eyed white girls. I always thought it was cool that I came from such a diverse background. On my Dad's side, his father married a woman of Eastern-European descent, and on my Mom's there's French, Scottish and Alsatian (not the dog). Given the sheer number of recessive genes in that mix, I guess the ghost-faces won out. I've begun to realize how different my family must have seemed to other families in the small town of Dorion, where I grew up. I always thought it normal to serve Indian curries on Limoges china (a legacy from my Mom's side), to have a Dad who "tans" much deeper than other Dad's, and to listen to a Mom speak perfect English with an accent that can't be placed squarely in any continent. I guess my only regret is that my Mom never learned how to make butter tarts, a dessert I've always associated with English Canada for some reason...but, no one could surpass her chou a la creme.


Back from Banff The "Writing with Style" workshop has turned out to be one of the best I've particpated in. First of all, the level of storytelling by all the participants was one of the highest that I've encountered. I reviewed a lot of work that was publication-ready, a rare encounter in any workshop. Second, the setting couldn't have been better--imagine walking out to breakfast surrounded by mountains, craggy and capped with snow. Finally, of course, the three authors who ran the workshops (Wayson Choy, Lisa Moore, and Tim Wynne-Jones) were generous and always gave incredible insight into the work we were trying to perfect. On Thursday night, I read two pieces I produced at the workshop. The second was a work-in-progress that turned out to be far funnier than I had intended. As a human, I've always wanted to be tall and exotic-looking. As a writer, I'd like to think of myself as serious and deep. The reading on Thursday indicates that I should re-think my literary persona and perhaps go with the gifts I have. Apparently, I'm a hoot. And short.


Writing with Style? "Writing with Style" is the name of the workshop I'm attending here in Banff. Lisa Moore, our workshop leader has some incredible insight into the writing process and into human beings themselves, and I'm inspired by the discussions we're having and the work I'm doing. Last night, I worked on an assignment that was an exercise in setting tone and atmosphere for an event leading up to a trauma. We were asked to write two pieces: one with a light tone and another with a heavy one. Each foreshadows the same or similar traumatic event. Here's one of the pieces: I stand at the bottom of the stairs and understand instantly why deer stay trapped in the lights of oncoming cars. Fight or flee; they can’t decide and nor can I. Paul is upstairs mopping up the water that came gushing from the bathtub faucet he dislodged with a single blow of his fist. I’ve just come from the basement, where I’ve turned off the water main. I’m wet and there’s still soap in my hair. I hear him swearing at the mess he’s made. He calls down to me for more towels and a mop. Get your own damn mop, I think. No, I better get him the mop. No, I don’t want to go back upstairs. I hear him coming towards the landing. I’ll get them, I say, and his footsteps recede. I turn away from the stairs and I look at the door of the laundry room at the end of the hall. The top of my head feels hot as I choose some clothes from the clean pile on top of the washing machine. I pat myself dry with the guest towel in the downstairs bathroom. Where’s the fucking mop, he yells. Coming, I say, as I snatch the car keys from the hallway dresser. I don’t bother closing the door. I race to the car, put it in reverse and peel out of the driveway. As I make my way to the intersection, in the rearview mirror, I see Paul come running out of the house. Swerving around a car stopped at the stop sign, I don’t know how to avoid the truck coming straight for me.

View from Tunnel Mountain, Banff Springs, Alberta

View from Tunnel Mountain, Banff Springs, Alberta
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.


Am I Bothering You?

Am I Bothering You?
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Arrived at the Banff Arts Centre this afternoon for a full week of creative writing.

The last time I was at the Centre was when I first started at Softimage. They held a Games Summit that combined veteran game designers with po-mo middleweights (David Braben meets Sylvere Lotinger). It was quite the conference.

I'll be in workshop all week with Lisa Moore, whose saucy and brilliant stories have been nominated for the Giller Prize. She has a way with detail and dealing with mundacity that is unique. Imagine an entire story centring around whether the main character should get her hair streaked: yes, your life can be the stuff of creative fiction.

Hopefully more pics and more news tomorrow.


3D Like Me A computer graphics discussion list I belong to recently listed a number of 3D graphic-related domains currently up for grabs. One of them was "3DMag.com", which got me thinking about registering "3DMaggie.com". Imagine the fun I'd have with taglines and catch phrases like:
  • Multidimensional in all the right places
  • "Don't hate me because I'm well-rounded!"
  • "Does this extra dimension make my ass look too big?"
  • She moved forward when other people just stepped aside.
  • If God had wanted us to have depth, he would have made us that way
  • "Well, Toto, I don't think we're in Springfield anymore!"


Butterfly Says "Don't Touch Me"

Butterfly Says "Don't Touch Me"
Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

One of several pictures from the "Butterflies Are Free" exhibit at the Botanical Gardens. We got there before lunch and the sun was out in full force over the greenhouse. There was a better than usual display of butterflies flitting and feasting on the flowers and fruit available to them.


Small Purchase I know they're cheap and a bit smudged, but they're purple and they have rhinstones in the corner. If style is really all about accessories, what do these say about me?