Magpie is currently working on a writing project dissecting her experience as caregiver to her grandmother who lives with Alzheimer’s disease. Her work so far seems to be a negotiation with her genetic memory and her present grief. At this time she can willfully say that she is not completely sure where this writing will go but that it is definitely going somewhere. She gratefully acknowledges all the support, both tangible and in spirit, from her family, from the living people of Norfolk County in Ontario, the remains and the ghosts of those resting ancestors in the cemeteries of Norfolk, Brantford and Brant Ontario, my new cousin friend Grant Smith for all his document and excitement sharing and the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council For The Arts. More to come…
“Past Presence; Pleiotropy & the impossible cycle of being” is a collection of prose poems telling the stories of strangers and self from Magpie’s experiences of hitchhiking over 25,000km across North America in her late teens and early twenties. The 40 minute piece is a condensed, yet expansive piece of writing exploring the themes of adaptations, space, fear, faith, place, othering and the act of storytelling while following a rich Canadian landscape. As a performance, the project crosses the boundaries between spoken word, performance poetry and theatre with a reflective yet explosive eclectic electric soundtrack composed by James Lamb.
A Live recording from the Kootenay Storytelling Festival 2014 available for purchase at:
Thank you to Gregor Asch and J Greg Walters at Kootenay Sound Studios in Nelson, BC
“…the most captivating and original spoken word performance I have seen in years. Years of hitchhiking, memories and life lessons are distilled in a series of stories that are simultaneously life-affirming, terrifying and simply brilliant. Go see this show. For the sake of all things poetry, go see this show.“- Charles Hamilton, founder Tonight it’s Poetry – Saskatoon
“Every time I leave a Magpie Ulysses show, I vow that I will start paying more attention to the things that happen around me. But try as I might, I will spend the rest of my life failing to extract as much as she can from the the smaller details of everyday living. In “Past Presence,” Magpie stumbles across people and places that the rest of us would rank somewhere between mundane and odd, and finds within them stories that are startlingly close to universal, and intensely human.These stories teach us more about ourselves than we could ever hope to learn on our own. James Lamb’s musical accompaniment provides the perfect counterpoint. Lamb’s music moves through the words, tastefully filling the remaining spaces with the perfect levels of texture, emotion, and intensity. This is an exceptional piece of art that sets the bar for which we should all strive.” – David Newberry, singer-songwriter, Vancouver, BC
These poems are dedicated in the honour of the missing and murdered women of the highway of tears. May there be rest and resolution for their friends and families.
Thank you to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Columbia Basin Trust, to the many North American spoken word, theatre, recording & literary artists for their time, love, and creative support, to my dear friends and family for their generous emotional, mental, and spiritual support during my three plus years of creating this project. Most of all, thank you, deeply, to all the people who have helped me get somewhere by thumbing it, especially for your stories and your grace.