Monthly Archives: May 2017

REVEAL Awards, Saskatoon and Winnipeg trips, so tired!

I’m back in Saskatoon from a whirlwind one day Winnipeg trip to pick up my REVEAL award from the Hnatyshyn Foundation. I shook hands with the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, and met Gerda Hnatyshyn, and saw a lot of friends, and generally had a good time. The first stop when we got back was the bank to deposit my cheque! So it’s waiting for the hold to get taken off and then I go get my new laptop.

It was nice being celebrated and celebrating 150 artists (109 made it!)! We had a cute ceremony when we got to all go up and get our awards. Chief Perry Belgarde made a speech at the reception and another at the ceremony and both times he got booed, it was pretty funny. They played God Save the Queen and the Canadian National Anthem at the beginning and a lot of us got super uncomfortable. Ha ha. Like “Thanks for reminding us we are colonized!” But then they had some drummers do an honour song and people got excited again.

Mom wanted us to do an IKEA trip so the whole time we were there she was talking about it. I was dubious, BUT I did pick out a couch I was interested in, so we got to sit on it and look at the cover swatches, and it was firm and comfy and I approved and so did Mom. And we found a really nice upholstered footstool that you can lift a lid for storage, so I think I am gonna get that too. But I’m obviously not getting it from the Winnipeg IKEA, so when I get back I am gonna order it from North York or Mississauga IKEA.

We are also planning on going to Glasgow and back with my Auntie Beth in September, so soon we are gonna get some tickets for our two week trip which includes a week in London England (I am only specifying because I have been to London Ontario so much). And also taking a detour to the Coronation Street set in Manchester. Which had a terror attack tonight, not the Coronation Street set but at an Ariana Grande concert. So, I think there was some other thing recently too, but we are determined to go and not let these attacks keep us from living our lives and seeing things we want to see in the world. I mean, we really have been in certain large cities within months and days of major attacks. Like we went to New York City in 2001 in April and of course the twin towers came down in September. And we left Paris just eleven days before the attack at Bataclan. There are lots of close calls. But I mean, things happen. And overwhelmingly things DON’T happen. So why stay home when you could be there on the many days nothing goes wrong? And also I live in the biggest city in Canada, probably someone wants to target it at some point. Canada is a pretty safe country, but you never know. Someday something worse than Maple Syrup thefts might happen. (Legit, there really are maple syrup theft issues in Canada)

I was actually in the airport heading back from the Awards when I got a notification on my phone about the Manchester attack. It was kind of awkward because I was with some people who wanted to talk about how amazing the last 24 hours was with the REVEAL awards, so I didn’t want to wreck it by being like “People died!” But when Mom and I got to the gate I told her, and I could hear people around us watching one of the first videos that came out of people running and screaming in the auditorium. I think the really sad part is I imagine Ariana Grande’s demographic is quite young girls and women. So I’m not looking forward to when we see who actually died. And targeting anyone, but especially teenagers, is so cruel. I’m getting pretty tired of these things happening.

To change the subject, I miss my dogs, they are at a kennel right now. I’m gonna see them tomorrow though, and I am looking forward to it. They will fly back home with me on Saturday. It’s weird sleeping in a bed without them. They are the best snuggly kids. And they help ground me and make me feel safe and happy. So not having them is hard.

Anyway, I should sleep! I’m truly exhausted! And I had a shitty sleep last night and woke up at 1am just to check in to Westjet because I had almost forgotten!

Going home for ten days, or Leaving home for ten days?

Today I did a talk at Gamma Space for a meetup put on by Akimbo and Charles Street Video. It seemed to go well. Jennie from Dames Making Games asked if I was still interested in taking my video game further, and I am, so she said I could drop in and have people help me with my coding. So I am going to once June is over and I have free time again. I’m so busy these days. But July marks the time when my schedule starts freeing up again.

I sent in Draft 2 of this outline to my story editor. I think the end is more interesting. Not sure it’s THERE yet, but closer I hope. I had to think about it a lot, but the end before was about 443 words, and now it’s about 1100 words or so. So it’s a big increase. And I think I feel more satisfied with how it ends.

Tomorrow I head off to my family in Saskatoon. With the dogs. I have a neighbour checking in on my plants. I went on a plant buying spree and got a few more to improve my living space. I am pretty happy with them. I hope I can keep them alive. I have kept the aloe plant alive for a year or so, so that’s a good sign.

I have some animating work to do next month, and finishing this OTHER video for a festival screening in June. So there’s still things to do.

I’m hoping to see some old friends this year, I am going to Vancouver in June and Montreal in August. Montreal is purely a hang out with friends trip. I want to see my friend Robin, and Irene, and Shavonne, and maybe someone else. Vancouver’s a work trip, but I am going to see some friends out there too. Like Lynn, and my ex Amber Dawn, and Stephanie. And probably other people. I also got one of those Canada 150 park passes, so I am hoping one of my friends and I can go drive to a national park and have a doggy adventure. Somewhere in there I am going to see Blondie and Garbage.

Oh god I am so tired. I had better go to bed. Tomorrow I have to clean and pack still. I’m debating on bringing or leaving my audio equipment. On one hand, it might be nice to record ambient prairie sounds. On the other hand I have some light fingered cousins who help themselves to my things, even ones costing hundreds of dollars.

It’s weird going home. I feel like my life is in Toronto, so it’s a big interruption to leave it behind. On the other hand, there is a REASON I am going there, for my Grandparent’s feast. And I already have plane tickets leaving from there to go to Winnipeg. So it makes sense.

OKC Frustration

I feel like there are things I want to talk about, but I’m either writing here or in my diary, and I’ve kind of said the same exact things in five consecutive diary entries. And I am no closer to an answer on it either. So like, I dunno, it’s not helping me work through that thing. What do you do when you can’t keep working through the same thing because you have no answers because it involves someone else? NOTHING! I have to move on I guess and try to think of other things in life.

I did some writing today, which I’m pretty happy with. I have two more days of writing then I am in a plane heading for Saskatoon and it’s really hard to write there. I’m gonna try though! My career depends on it. I find it helps if I put in headphones so no one can bother me.

The dogs are fine. We had a nice day, went for a walk and got drippy rain on us, Posey marched through her favourite puddle and Little Mister came with us. I dyed my hair last night and did my nails, which was a nice self care thing to do. I got hair dye on some clothes though which sucks. Even on my new bra! I’m sad about that, but also no one is gonna see it anyway.

I almost shut down my OKC this weekend. I feel pretty frustrated with online dating again. I know I should keep it around though because I did get a few dates out of it. I’m thinking of changing my wishy washy “I could do polyamory or monogamy” to “Looking for a monogamous relationship.” I could do poly, but do I have to??? I feel like the only reason I’ve done it all the time is because I didn’t have the self esteem to demand more from people. And is it really fair to do poly but not actually have more than one lover? Like, maybe I should just get one and that’s it, because I really only ever have been able to do one at a time. Once I had two lovers at once, but it’s because one girlfriend was an asshole. Ok that’s not true, I was gamely trying to be poly. But it kind of is true she was an asshole (not for the poly reason). I think I am just a big disappointment to the polyamorous lovers I have had in the past because I’m not romping around. And I’ve never been a big romping type. And why pretend? I don’t really care if they have other lovers, but I think THEY care that I DON’T have other lovers so maybe it’s a bad idea to keep going for the polyamorous types.

I sent what I thought was a cute message to a linguist on OKC, BUT I made a typo and only realized after I sent it. Then I followed that up with a ridiculous “I have already failed” message hoping she would see the humour in the situation. But she never messaged back! I really did fail!

Ahhh it’s so late and I’m sleepy and maybe it’s bedtime for me. Today I got some new plants and pots and repotted them all and they are super cute and I am loving having so many plants in my house. I have one big Aloe Vera, two baby Aloes in a smaller pot of their own, a young Jade plant, a Spider plant, and I potted a pink Gerbera daisy I got as a prop for my video a couple weeks ago. So much green! 🙂 So nice! I hope I can keep them all alive! My aloe vera has been doing pretty good. I got it after my last Jade plant died (it died because the pot it was in had no hole! :O It wasn’t draining and the roots rotted!).

Anyway, yes it’s bedtime.

Indigequeer/Indigiqueer

I’m a lil stuck on my writing I need to do. I was so busy this past while, getting two videos done. Then the majority of this week was devoted to rewriting. But I’m stuck. I read some notes again, did a little more research, but there’s something holding me back from really going all out on the ending. It needs to be way more complicated and difficult and involve struggling much harder.

But instead I spent a while on Twitter reading about the appropriation prize some white journalists were fundraising for. It was very frustrating. Some ended up apologizing for it (it happened last night on twitter in prime time drunken hours) but it still shows what they think of Indigenous people. ESPECIALLY since they were all associated with most of the major media publications in Canada, including Macleans, CBC, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Walrus, and a bunch of others.

Depressing.

But something interesting came out of that. I read a response to the whole appropriation article from Joshua Whitehead entitled Notes on Indiginegativity: An Addendum which uses the word “Indigiqueer.” Which is super interesting because in 2004 I made that word up to title the Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Indigenous/two-spirit program I had programmed. Except I spelled it “Indigequeer” (because Indigenous has an E after the G). But still I was like “OMFG did I finally coin a word?” I did a little google search and saw a prof in Calgary using the term “Indigiqueer Survivance” for a class. Oh my god did I finally do it? Did I make a word!? I think I used it because some LGBTQ Indigenous people don’t feel as comfortable with the two-spirit title because it implies some dual gender stuff, which some people just don’t feel describes their identity. I know a lot of people don’t ID with the Queer label either. But I liked the idea of Indigequeer. Because Queer is kind of a confrontational label, it’s one of those old reclamations that makes people uncomfortable. Indigenous isn’t a really confrontational label (although everything else about it is because we are all still all over the globe resisting) so putting the two together makes this word I really liked. I’m really fine with it being spelled with an i instead of an e. But since it’s out in the world it’s not really my word anymore. And to have it used in academia is fascinating to me. I have a masters, technically I’m an academic. But I never really felt like I was up on the academic lingo, sometimes reading academic stuff gives me a headache. But having a word I made up being used and talked about and maybe defined (although it’s a very self explanatory word) is so interesting to me.

So that was an amazing thing to find out. I think it’s still a very fledgling word. I’ve also noticed it is used as a hashtag a lot too.

Ha ha so I found out I coined a word 13 years ago, and today I am stuck on my important writing of my script outline I need to do. But I made a word 13 years ago! That should be all the writing I ever have to do! Ha ha just kidding. I think the enormity of making work about this story I am working on is weighing on me. I need to approach it a little differently. It’s fiction. It’s total fiction with some very true things referenced. I feel a responsibility to my community. But I also need to be able to feel open with writing about my community without needing to please EVERYONE. I feel the weight of positive representations, but life isn’t all positive. People are complex creatures and hurt each other and the couple in my story doesn’t have the greatest relationship. And anger can get out of control sometimes and consume you. And I think I better end this blog while I’m in a writing mood and go make some more notes to myself.

Thoughts on Censorship and Bravery when people want to throw you in the trash

I ordered a burger that I’ve been craving for two weeks and I’m mildly satisfied. I mean it fed me, it was just more money with delivery and tip than I wanted to pay. :/ Next time I order food I’m getting a bunch of stuff.

ANYWAAAAAY! I am nearly done the super busy part of my life (for a while). I finished that 2 Spirit video last weekend, and yesterday almost finished a video that is due tomorrow. It needs some more visuals, the talking head stuff isn’t interesting on it’s own. I mean for sure all the audio is getting used, I just think maybe something to intercut to would be good. It’s also constrained to four minutes, so like, I’ve been SUPER brutal in my editing. Some funny stuff got ditched just because it didn’t fit. Some funny stuff stayed tho! But yeah, it needs SOMETHING and I only have a day to figure that out because I need to send it by Wetransfer tomorrow at the latest, and I also have a ticket to go see Phillis Nagy talk at TIFF Bell Lightbox about the process of writing Carol tomorrow night. So I’m busy! And Wetransfer might take a while to upload, it really depends.

Then the rest of the week I am writing, or rather, rewriting. Which is going to involve more problem solving of my storyline. I’m at this weird part of my script/project where I really need to push it because it’s horrific and talking about real things going on that are horrific. And I’m so nervous people aren’t going to like it, and that they’ll be SUPER offended and like “You AND your film belong in the trash!” And there are so many people out in the world who want to vet creative projects and art, and it’s really difficult because it’s (to me) a kind of censorship. And I mean if something sucks then yeah, you don’t have to program it/watch it/curate it, etc. But I kind of think the feeling in the Aboriginal art/film world that we have to get approval from elders/cultural gatekeepers/etc is hindering us. I think the community doesn’t need consensus for someone to make projects. Especially for people who are also on the margins of the Aboriginal community, like 2 Spirit artists/writers/etc.

But shit man, even I feel it sometimes. When I was an emerging video artist I made some pretty “edgy” (read homosexual sex) stuff and it definitely offended people, of all ages. And in fact one group of youth started talking about how Indigenous artists needed to start a censorship committee which was totally shocking to me. It flies in the face of contemporary art practice and activism from the last 100 years. But that thinking has kind of stuck around trying to find ways to assert itself in the guise of being honourable and traditional. Like we have to ask for permission now to express ourselves because we are owned by this community. And I can see why people talk about community accountability etc. etc. But I still think it can head in a really problematic way towards outright censorship. And censorship has historically been levied against queer/2 Spirit/trans/women/POC artists and writers. So I have issues with it, especially since I fit under all those (and other) marginal identities.

And especially since the Aboriginal community hasn’t always treated 2 Spirit people well, especially since residential school and Christian indoctrination that brought homophobia and transphobia into our communities. And fuck, pre-Columbian Indigenous art often had very explicit homosexual imagery and stories, so claiming it’s not traditional is not true.

But anyway. Yeah, so my story editor is being a really good sounding board for the work I am doing on this script. I think if I had to seek out community consensus on this project, it wouldn’t turn out for the best. I think it would get really watered down and palatable and so not me.

I never really thought about having to be brave just to write/make something before. I mean people have said some of my stuff is brave, but I never really felt it was, even the super personal stuff. But this project really makes me nervous. Like I’m stepping out of my lane. It deals with violence against Indigenous women, culturally specific phenomenon, vengeance, and just happens to have a rocky relationship between two queer women in the middle of it. It’s a lot to juggle and a lot to think about. And I’m writing from my own position as an Indigenous lesbian and still feel nervous! I think part of it is that people are always harping on about wanting “positive representations” and while I can see how those are needed, they also get boring really fast. Film is all about conflict, so a positive representation doesn’t go too far.

Anyway, ha ha I don’t have a real good answer for all of this. Except I am going to be writing most of this week and trying to stay brave and bold and fearless. Not sure if there’s a ceremony for that.