(Photo by Eagleclaw Thom, Intro by Shayna Stock)
In order to help me introduce Evie, I’ve constructed the following found poem. Every line in the poem is from a text message that Evie has sent to me over the past few months.
Hey, do you eat meat?
I bought yummy sausage from the market and I have a lot of heliotrope potatoes.
Want to come over for breakfast?
I don’t think I’ll go to the mispon screening.
I’m still trying to get over a cold.
Just hanging with my parents
Doing a puzzle
Finishing renos to the office
Pretty tired but wondering what’s going on tonight
I have kale
Do you have any plain yogurt?
Don’t think I’m in the mood for a night club
I fell asleep at 7:30 :(
I love going to bed early :)
Evie’s actually a lot more fun than this poem might suggest – especially if long and thoughtful conversations are your jam. I couldn’t go to her place for sausage and potatoes. But I did go over for cedar-planked steelhead trout a few weeks later (the plain yogurt was for a delicious dill sauce, and we had kale and zucchini on the side). We talked about relationships, politics, and our sun signs. Evie is a good friend, a committed introvert, a conscientious storyteller, a tenacious activist, and a Cancer with Leo rising.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
I’ve been road tripping to communities in southern Saskatchewan to facilitate digital storytelling workshops for the Genealogical Society. I’m also an artist in residence for the Cathedral Village Arts Festival (CVAF). For this, I’m working on a series of digital stories commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fest. The stories will document the CVAF’s history, with archived photographs and audio that I’m collecting from interviews with Cathedral artists and festival organizers. I’m also going to attempt to create a short narrative-driven audio walking tour of the Cathedral neighbourhood.
KC: What is your day job? What do you like about it? What is challenging?
I recently took on a full-time Communications job after being self-employed as a freelance journalist for six years. I also taught Women’s & Gender Studies at the University of Regina. I liked setting my own schedule and working on creative projects for a living, but not having a steady income was stressful, and sometimes I’d panic – like this summer, when I ended up taking a temporary job cutting greens and fairways at a golf course for $13/hr. I’ve happily traded in that anxiety for a steady income, but I’ve also given up the ability to take mid-afternoon walks around Wascana Lake and work from home in my underwear. It’s a wonderful job, though. I’m lucky to work on a creative team with smart, competent people, and on projects that have the potential to influence political decisions, and make a real difference in people’s lives. I wholeheartedly believe in the values of the organization.
KC: What is important to you?
My parents, and making sure they know it.
Disrupting dominant discourses, challenging gender norms, not letting people get away with casual racism and sexism. Recognizing my privilege and using it to question injustice when I see it.
Something else that’s important to me is solitude. I really like being alone. As an introvert and someone who’s continually striving to be better – kinder, healthier, happier – it keeps me sane and helps me grow.
KC: What do you like most/least about Regina?
This is a loaded question for me. I took a very public verbal beating in this city for calling out a business for gender policing. What I like least about Regina is that it’s steeped in misogyny, heteronormativity, and racism, and that many closed-minded people here are in denial about this.
Still, there’s a lot I like about Regina. One of my favourite things is Queer City Cinema’s film festival and performance art festival, Performatorium. I’ve been fortunate to see some hilarious queer films and edgy performances in this city, thanks to Gary Varro’s brilliant curatorial talent. It was at this festival, where I got to meet and experience a durational performance by L.A.-based trans artist Cassils, whose work involves putting their body under extreme circumstances (like lighting it on fire) to challenge societal norms and the gender binary.
Much of what I’ve seen at Performatorium, if not all, would probably freak the average Reginan the fuck out, but it inspires me. Instead of trying to appeal to the mainstream, Performatorium carves out a cozy space for the strange – and being at a festival like that makes me feel like I belong to a community of people who “get it.” That’s important in a city like Regina, where a disappointingly large number of people will stereotype and try to silence those they don’t understand or feel threatened by.
Another thing that I love about Regina (and SK) is that projects like this blog exist. I was reading through it the other day, and it reminded me that many smart, critical-thinking, racist-intolerant, feminist, artistic weirdos live here. That’s comforting.
KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?
I grew up there. When I think of Saskatoon, I think of the river, Broadway Avenue, toffee cheesecake at Calories, dancing at Diva’s, and Wildwood golf course – a shaggy, affordable, kid-friendly course that holds a special place in my heart.
KC: How do you survive the winters?
Hot yoga, homemade soup, long underwear, and a solar-powered rainbow maker that hangs in my bedroom window. When the sun shines, its crystals throw dozens of tiny dancing rainbows on my bedroom walls. It’s magical, and it amazes me every time.
From the Proust Questionnaire: What’s your motto?
I met a writer in Banff last year, with whom I later corresponded, and she signed every email with “Beauty all around you.” I’m not sure if it was a wish, like “all the best,” or a reminder, but I started saying it to myself – “beauty all around you” – and the more I think it, the more beauty I see.