Before My Eyes

Been sick as a dog. Still not over it, but there’s work to do. Here’s what I’ve spent the last day or so working on:

Yup, it’s the latest StinZine, for which I’m handling the layout duties again. This one doesn’t have any new drawings from me, although it has a great cover illustration from my lovely wife, artist Dawn DSKI McIlmoyle. I recycled a couple of older cartoon drawings from previous Zoe Christmas cards. I’m under orders not to draw a new Zoe cartoon. I WAS going to draw a staff cartoon (in tacky Christmas sweaters), but I’ve been too ill to do any serious caricature work, which takes a little out of me. I also owe an interview with Maggie, who is a fascinating woman, so not exactly a hardship, but time and opportunity have been scarce. Plus, #ChestMuckPlague2014, y’know?

The new novel is SO not getting written at the moment. I’m falling way behind, and the fact is, I’m not so sure I’ll be catching up, because the StinZine needs doing first, and I’ve got other dramas to manage, too, including but not exclusively the delays in paying the rent and bills, owing to a very opportunistic parasite organism called Total Credit Recovery, which dipped into our joint bank account and scooped out our rent payment for the old VISA debt.

My so-called foray into local politics has been less than visible of late. I’m not sure what’s on the horizon for PBW2, as Councillor Jason Farr has been a bit of a blur since about a few weeks before his (successful) reelection campaign. Now, I don’t expect actually expect or demand updates from Jay, but I can’t tell the PB faithful what sort of PB we’re going to have in the new year, and the gang and I have determined that we need to get the new programme up and running ASAP if we want PBW2_2015 to run smoother and be more successful than PBW2_2014 ended up being. We lost approximately 50% of our participation, and I chalk that all up to visibility. PBW2_2013 was a success in part because it was amazingly high profile for a pilot project, thanks in no small part to the persistence and hard work of Norman Kearney. This year, we hired two wonderful ladies to fill his shoes, but I think even Karen and Nathalie would privately agree that 2014 was a lot bumpier than it needed to be. I knew from the start that it would be an uphill battle to recover the momentum, goodwill and support of the ward after the incidental press dramas of 2013. That was my biggest goal for 2014: find a friendly new face for PB to rekindle the flame with. Sadly, it’s a slow burner, it seems, so more work needs to be done, and time is of the essence.

The biggest problem for me right now, aside from #ChestMuckPlague2014, is that there is no practical network connecting all of the various PB volunteers, so I can tap into it and keep everyone up to date and on point. I suppose that is sort of my job, but that also requires City (aka Adam Watson/Al Dore/Ryan Leverton)’s cooperation, and as well, the good will of the PB faithful. Many of the people currently involved in getting the PBW2_2013 proposals breaking ground haven’t even met me, so they don’t know me from Cap’n Ahab, and with this chest cold, I haven’t exactly been able to make house calls. Dave Stephens has been more hands on than I have, and he has only been able to update me infrequently at best.

So, I managed to inadvertently alienate someone I had up until recently considered a friend, because her working relationship with another friend had turned sour, and she believed that I had sided with him in the matter. The truth is, I did like his project plan a bit better than hers, but it really wasn’t a matter of choosing the better project; J’s plan was on paper (I never saw M’s plan) and had been explained to me in much greater detail, so I understood it and could see how it could be done.

As well, most of the information I had received was of a project that was proceeding as agreed upon by the two proponents… until it stopped working, for whatever reasons. However, as complimentary/competing artistic visions go, I wasn’t actually that interested/invested, which I now see was a mistake. I should have taken a more proactive hand in things much, much sooner to make sure M’s vision was maintained and realized as best as possible, before the confusion and hurt feelings crept in and the working relationship broke down. If the team had reached to to me sooner, I might have seen it coming in time, but as it was, no one thought to involve me until it started breaking down.

I really just wanted to help the two parties get their project done before the frost came. I also didn’t want to believe M would jettison all of the progress they’d made if she didn’t feel she was realizing her (changing?) artistic vision. So, when things did break down, and getting them to work together proved unlikely, I stepped in to help effect the separation, so they could both get back to work and contribute the most good to PB before the year was out.

Sadly, it hasn’t turned out as well as I’d hoped, as neither seems to be getting anything done at present. J’s contribution to the Cultural Garden project at Bayfront met with similar artistic frisson with their designer, who it seems wanted more solid black granite than J could provide, so he has moved on, taking his granite with him (again). Meanwhile, M’s garden is looking pretty rough, as it hasn’t progressed significantly in weeks.

As communications, such as they were, have completely broken down between M and I, I now have no idea when she will recommence work, although it seems fairly obvious that work can’t continue until spring, because it’s probably going to start snowing any day now. All I know for certain is, more help is needed on the Shamrock Park Spiral Garden site, and I genuinely hope M gets the help she needs. I believe the City should be pitching in with that, and Dave is looking into getting more funding so M’s plan can be more fully developed and properly implemented, most probably in the new year.

My list of PBW2_2013 updates is almost complete. I’m just waiting for a little more information, which I may have to go hound a few people for, if I can just stay focussed long enough to write a few emails, amidst the chaos that is my life right now. Then I’ll send it out to Jay and the PB faithful, and start promoting the successes and solving the problems with the proposals in progress.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I’ve got right now. I’m gonna start work on a couple of new abstract paintings sometime in the next week or so. I’ll try to document their creation as best I can.

Time to put some thought into making breakfast and getting dressed. Thanks for reading.


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