How would you describe your style?
I wear many hats -- researcher, instructor, vocalist, writer, adept, etc. In all aspects, I aim to project an air of one playfully wise, or seriously foolish. Whichever is most appropriate.
How and when did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. Like most children, I appreciated a good story. I did a parody of “The Three Little Pigs” when I was 8 years old; this time, the father of the pigs from the original story terrorizes the sons of his wolf nemesis (my version is called “The Three Little Wolves,” and features revenge, dynamite, and force fields...). I told the story to my mother and she typed it up for me. Then, I did all the illustrations. That was published in BC through the school district!
Who are the most significant influences in your life?
Any good Cancerian would say “my mother,” so I suppose I have to say that. Also, the artistic friends here in Edmonton that have made this place another home for me over the past four years (too many of you to name; love ya!). In terms of Masters or Idols, I suppose I would have to go with the Irish archmage and poet, William Butler Yeats, and the modern American alchemist poet extraordinaire, Hilda Doolittle (or H.D.). Musically, I’d go with Trent Reznor and Björk!
What motivates your passions?
Knowing that any source of suffering or tragedy can be transmuted into art is rather comforting. When bad shit happens, it is more bearable to think, “that would make a good story” or “I, and others, can learn from this,” or “this will probably be funny in a few years”. I try to use my art to enhance whatever little corner of the world I’m currently in, to make life just a bit better for those around me. I don’t always succeed, but I try!
In the end, my Art will outlive me, as will the community I have tried to affect with it.
What are your long-term performance goals?
Although I’m no longer really trying to “make it” in music, being given over to academic study, I still perform as a vocalist/MC several times a year and try to release a recorded song or two every year. So, the aim is to keep up that pace and slowly build an archive over time. I just released a solo album on Valentine’s Day, 2018! It’s an experiment in vocal conjuration, as all the sounds on it are made using only my voice. It’s the first album I’ve ever done where I’ve been responsible for every facet of the production.
I have also been accepted at Reign Bough Fiddle and Astral Harvest festivals this summer as a poet/musical performer to do spoken word and vocal loops sets and host writing workshops. Keep your eye out for me this summer as a performer and emcee/host at Angelica's Basket at Astral! Overall, my lifelong and continuing goal is simply to collaborate with as many of my friends as possible, in any shape or form. In particular, though, I love writing songs of all styles with different musicians. I’ve recorded songs with most of my hometown friends, and hope I can work with more people in Edmonton now that I’ve established myself a bit more over here… (HEY YOU! Yeah, you! Write me.).
Have there been any writing or performance challenges you had to overcome?
I am currently working on my doctoral thesis through the English department at the U of A--it is quite the challenge, but one I truly enjoy. Still, I look forward to completing the program and then releasing a ton of stuff that I have been accumulating over the past four years. It has been harder for me to write longer pieces of fiction while working on a dissertation, which is a book-length study. I have managed to keep up on smaller projects like short poems and songs, of course. Always songs! But, it will be nice to complete this phase of my life and begin the next, whether that involves academia or the private sector.
If you could do anything in the world without limitation, what would you do?
Perhaps I would teleport all the most belligerent world leaders into a colosseum, wearing only diapers and armed with loaves of hard, dried-out baguettes. Then, they can just beat each other with these French loaves until they tire of their stupidity. War over.
I kid. With truly godlike powers, I suppose it would be more effective to just show every individual on earth a flash of our inter-connectedness to remind them that when we hurt one, we hurt all. We need to work together to survive.
But, really, I am tired of these international dick-waving competitions and think a good loaf-beating is totally called for!
If you were packing for a one-way trip to another planet and could only bring 3 things, what would you bring?
I would bring a journal, a black ink Uniball Vision Micro pen, and my bag of runes.
What is your favorite quote?
At least once per year, I teach “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare for my ENGL_102 or 103 class, so I will leave you with these words on performance, dreams, and impermanence from the magus Prospero:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep. (4.1.148-158)
If you could choose your last words, what would they be?
It would depend on my mood, probably. I’ve always been a big fan of Oscar Wilde’s mythical and insouciant quip, “either this wallpaper goes, or I go”.
Perhaps if I was feeling sincere and in the company of family, I’d gasp out something like “love each other, above all else!”. If I was alone somewhere and I saw Death approaching, it would be something more matter-of-fact, like, “So, that’s it?” or “Now’s the time, eh?”