05 December 2009

So just to recap after a long pause.

I do this. I Blog like a maniac at times, and then go off it. Partially 'coz of moments where I feel like what is in fact left of me if it can all be read online, partially laziness, and partially those odd limbos between one chapter and the next of one's life, where there really just is alot to be done, and not all of it very interesting.
But a recap is in order, at any rate.
So some people do sudoku to relax, I study. This and that. For the past while it has of course been german, and it's astounding how much it assuages my obsessive nature, and what a relief that is. It's So straightforward. Unlike drawings, with language studies there is a right and wrong, there is an end to each exercise, and my investment in such things is more casual (inasmuch as anything I do in my life is casual.) It's like little happy smoke breaks from my tedious over-thinking in english, and from creative procreation (so to speak).

Other than that I've been designing Broken Pencil magazine, working at the Castle and marvelling at its infinity and ineptitudes, getting grants applications in, contending with kipple on a massive scale, and finally (FINALLY) putting together a design website. There are plans in the works. For my life. Not entirely reasonable perhaps, but OH SO AWESOME, but isn't that just in keeping with me? Here's hoping.

I've been drawing of course too, notably a new illustration out in the latest issue of Brick Literary Journal, an album cover for Fenja, an amazing singer/band out of Hamburg, and illustrations for a kids/young adult book by Ibi Kaslik.

I started life drawing again too. Yow. Humbling.
You never get to a point where you Know how to draw.
It's just Too Vast.
Like Love really.

But even writing this is leaving that "my blog is lame" taste in my brain. Meh. I'll get back to it when there's something amusing to recount. But there it is for right now.

19 August 2009

'Nuther Blogging hiatus.

It's all work and Berlin and projects for the next little while, folks! All hail respite from computer procrastinatory tactics.

07 August 2009


is a german word meaning "space" (as in the space between words), but literally translated it means "empty drawing"


05 August 2009

re: drawing

You wouldn't divorce someone you still Loved, would you?

29 July 2009

I miss you Shannon Gerard!

Just thought I'd write it as I was thinking it.
Dear Friends. Love 'em!

I know this isn't about Berlin

But this still makes me Happy.

Happy like biking to Charlottenberg in the morning, which is like attending a daily critical Mass. Like Erfrischungs Stübchen, this german candy that I had as a kid and thought had disappeared from the face of the earth and then found in a Spätverkauf completely by accident. Like speaking germlish extraordinarily well. Like an Obscene selection of Michael Sowa postcards. Like saying mundane things to strangers in a foreign language. Like visiting friends of 15 years ago who now live in Oman and Dresden and Paris and What Are the Chances we would all see each other again. Like some strange resurrection of my relationship to drawing, due to something in the air (?). Like cobblestones. Like well-designed pencil sharpeners, that I get Far Too Excited about. Like East German scooters. Like a five-day sprint to Milan (because it's an hour away) to wander through a graveyard with a life-long Friend. Like Italian Gelato. Like hand-made pasta. Like....Like....THIS.

Let's face it; this is a weird thing to have done. My purpose is maybe somewhat ambiguous, and I'm trying very hard not to think that it is a fleeing from pre-June existence. But I would so much rather be in some debt over this than matching dishware or carpets. MUCH RATHER. I wandered around yesterday just thinking Yes, YES, YES. THIS is how one should live. These are the leaps one should take. Perhaps not everyone. But Sweet Christ, this is My Life. GLEEE!

18 July 2009

My life.

MY LIFE!!! In Milan now. New Manics in the background. Lifelong friend at table. Leaving anon to explore. MY LIFE!!!

14 July 2009


In here, that is, not caught up, work-wise.
The thing about working from the other end of the world is that distractions are much easier to come by.
Whilst inputting changes to BP, I uploaded some photos. I think they can, to some extent, speak for themselves, bless them.

Check out Berlin: Part 1 here.
And Dresden here.

And now back to work.

09 July 2009

Yeah, I know.

I have the blog. But I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN.
Two and a half month cultural orgasm. I'll ponder it for the evening and get back to this.
HAPPY. So. Happy.

01 July 2009

You give me

10 hours in a new city with a bicycle, and I will give you a girl who Knows How To Get Around (with but a few occasional hesitations). This place is some kind of velocipedial Heaven. In fact, this place is Just Heaven. Full Stop. Tattooed men, bike lanes, old buildings, graffitti everywhere, Flöhmarkts, etc etc. YES YES YES.

30 June 2009

One more photo.

Just one more of great importance, and then it is time to leave.the.computer.

That's right, dear reader(s). TRAFFIC LIGHTS. FOR THE BICYCLES. GLEEEE!

Well that took all of four days.

I'm torn between the blog and Berlin, and the latter will definitely win, but a few things at least just a few days in...

apartment keys: check.
handi (german cell phone): check.
bike: CHECK!
internet: (still pending, but that's actually just fine for the moment, methinks.)

Sunday (Day three):
I ran into Liisa Repo Martell at the Flöhmarkt. I don't really know her, 'xcept she's an Amazing Toronto actress who has worked with Theatre Smith Gilmour, so I knew her right away. She's actually in Prague doing a theatre thing (I thought perhaps she was in Berlin with Volcano as part of the Four Horsemen project), and decided to come over to Berlin for a few days. I was also thrilled to discover her daughter(?)'s nickname is Pickle.

Purchased a bicycle. BICYCLE! It weighs almost as much as I do, and the pedals fell off a few hours after I got it (not unforeseen) But with a good cleaning and lubing, it will function just fine for the next two months, and sweet christ, it's OLIVE GREEN. AND it has those lights that are generated by the motion of the tires, which I Adore. ADORE. I have christened it Oliver B. Germlish, in honor my exemplary language skills.

Monday (Day four):
There I was, biking my bicycle (BICYCLE!) along the streets of Berlin, and who do I run into but someone I met in Sweden FOURTEEN YEARS AGO.
For those reader(s) who don't know the back story, I dropped out of university in '95 to move to Sweden 'coz there was a guy there (Micke by name) I had met in London the year before (at the Albert Hotel, no less!) and he wrote amazing letters to me, and that's just what one does when one is 21 in such circumstances. It was all very enlightening, to live in the tiny town of Västerås and kick barrels down a street and listen to the Pixies at full volume and blow out the speakers, and order pizza and eat pepper streaks, and go to parties in Malmo hosted by circus school students, and make strange sculptures out of charity shop finds. But I left two months later anyhow and went to London.
So Micke's best friend at the time was this guy Crippa, known for climbing through Micke's windows when he wasn't home, trying to sell his father's stamp collection, getting arrested in London for stealing CDs from HMV, engraving his name on a washing machine at the Albert Hotel, and wearing his grandma's angora sweaters. When Michael called me seven years ago out of the blue (and then disappeared again), he mentioned Crippa was in Berlin, making comics etc. But that was the end of that.


There I was, biking along yesterday afternoon, feeling very Kermit-like and content, and THERE'S CRIPPA. NO.WORD.OF.A.LIE. We looked at each other oddly, kept going our own ways, and then I exclaimed STOP! WAIT! YOUR NAME IS CRIPPA! And so it was. I cannot Believe I recognized him. He is working these days at a comic book shop in Berlin, making comics, and was carrying a freshly purchased black bicycle wheel.

Can you say GOOD OMEN?!?!

25 June 2009

anmelden anmelden ANMELDEN!

4.02am, Toronto time, Frankfurt Hahn airport. One more flight to Berlin!
I'm not sure what it is about Europe that makes me feel 20. Maybe the fact that last time I was here I was 20 something? Oh. 29. Anyhow, AWESOME. I'd be doing giddy cartwheels if I wasn't sure that I'd harm myself seriously with the fatigue factor.

AND, signed into blogger and it automatically went to a german version of the homepage. WEEEEEEEE!

13 June 2009

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.

But WHY, why, is there always so So much to do before leaving the country. How does it happen? Yeesh.

11 June 2009

MoCCA comic arts festival: index

Days spent in New York: 5
Days at MoCCA festival: 2
Number of places stayed: 2

Number of books (of mine to sell) brought with: 49
Number of books given away: 4
Number of books sold: 45 (!!)

Number of books read during trip: 5 (1 novel ["The Angel Riots" completed; awesome]; 3 silent graphic novels [completed; also awesome, and fascinatingly incomprehensible in one case, which was most informative, given my own stuff; 2 interviews from an anthology [David Hockney's Camera Lucida theory about the Renaissance painters; FASCINATING]; excerpt from Coco's as yet untitled masterpiece.
Number of books purchased during trip: (ahem) 6
Number of them that were in an unfathomable scandinavian language: 3

Number of gin gimlets drunk on my first night in New York, at a gloriously elegant bar with my even more gloriously elegant cousin: 3
Nibbles on toes from a tenaciously cute cat named Bix during my first evening in NY: 2
Number of onlookers at the time: 2 (blue japanese fighting fish, named Chet and Josephine)
Number of natural phenomena experienced during the trip: 2 (one full moon on the Hudson river in a sailboat, one lightning storm at 20,000 ft flying towards Toronto at nighttime)

Number of art exhibits attended: 4 (two at the Moma, two at Jonathan Levine gallery in Chelsea)
Number of bookshops visited: 4 (St. Marks once; Jim Hanley's Universe once; Strand twice)
Number of blocks walked over the course of the visit: (approximate) 121 (probably more)
Number of times I yearned palpably for my bicycle: 6
Number of times I got to lose total control at the Whole Foods Market salad bar: 2

Number of nights in Brooklyn: 1
Number of excited woops (all silent) at the sight of the hem of David Byrne's garment during a free concert at Prospect Park: 3 
Number of bars visited afterwards: 2
Number of beers that evening: unremembered
Number of regrets: 0

Most importantly, I decided to bring Art with me to New York, and we are getting along rippingly well. We've decided on an open relationship for the moment, and the many savory characters who showed an interest in our work made for an unforetold resurrection of my enthusiasm for it all. A close life disaster, averted yet again, in the very death throes.  YES.

04 June 2009

And tomorrow

New York City! MoCCA comic arts festival! Woop!

pic-tionary graduate. At last.

Before and during art school I drew only from life, never from photos. Years of just my eyes, real life, and paper and pencil.
When I started making my little books the idea of the story took precedence, and demanded particular pictures that led me to take specific photos to get specifically what I needed. But this has happened so much in the past couple of years that I've been feeling practically enslaved to it, like some surreal human photo-copier.
I was recently approached by an Amazing author to work on an even More amazing project, which is in the formative stages of formative so I have to mind my excitement somewhat. 
It is an illustrated book. Starting sketches for it, I decided it was time. 
Time to renounce the heavy reference once again. Terrifying.

The weird thing about breakthroughs in art is that not only do they make very little sense to anyone who doesn't do exactly what you do, but process is so solitary from the get-go that it hardly feels like a victory to anyone else anyhow.
I feel right now like someone who's been learning a language for ages, and is finally constructing sentences without using the dictionary (pic-tionary) to build them from scratch. Reference as exactly that: reference
And working on someone else's ideas is about the Biggest Relief I have Ever known at the moment. Extraordinarily Awesome. 

I think Art and I (as with most mercurial relationships of great infatuation and questionable benefit) are for the moment back together. Or in couples' counselling, anyhow.

Here are three of the first five drawings (drafts, not finals, tho' I of course got somewhat carried away.)

All blogging postponed

Due to grant application of magnificent drawing excellence, trip to New York, MoCCA art festival, and laundry somewhere between all of those things. News after the 12th. Yeeeesssshhh!

30 May 2009

Oh blog.

You are such a venue for late-night passive agressive email-like postings, aren't you.
That's okay.
It's my blog and I'll qvetch if I want to. 
All in the name of personal history.

29 May 2009

I actually realized on Wednesday

that what they say about tattooed people? It's pretty much True. I used to think not, but I've looked around enough to know now, that yup, it's true. All hail strategically worn long sleeves and turtlenecks.


to Berlin.
And Counting.

These days...

Despite what it must look like, with my life as it is and such, ALL I WANT (no, really) is for weirdos and trainwrecks (and their possibly-normal-but-who-the-fuck-knows-really friends who I DON'T EVEN KNOW) to leave me alone. 
Is it that I am marked for life in the weirdos and their "clever" ideas category? How. How did I get this stigma. And to whom do I write a letter to get it removed.
A bit of peace, and a bit of predictability, and a bit of foresight as well while I'm at it. 
Are these really so much to ask? 
In other words: TROUBLE FUCK OFF.

28 May 2009

I cannot remember where I read this.

But it re-occured to me last night, and again today:
There is no cure for hot and cold. 
(as in, they just are, there's no getting away from them; warm is an unreal and psychologically tepid contrivance)


27 May 2009

Brick 83

Is out in stores now, and somewhere in there I have a new illustration published. (I forgot to ask them what page number). So Go Forth and find it, and be amazed, won't you?

two words.

Pomegranate Sorbet.
Pomegranate Sorbet pretty much sums up (in a suitably awesome equivalency) the sublime nature of my life these past few weeks (the inevitable stef-stress factor notwithstanding)
It's Spring, everything is green, everyone around me is Awesome, I've been eating Most Excellently, and I'm going to Berlin. 
And though I don't have anything profoundly bloggable going through my mind, I would like to record, for the stef-lenk-annals-of-history-at-some-undetermined-later-date, that I'm quite thrilled with all of this, life and such.

20 May 2009


I have an excellent conversation from last week lingering in my mind; this reminder that since we are all predominantly similiar (made from a human template, as it were) the same truth might hold for our psychological makeup. And though this makes me very sympathetic towards the rest of the human universe (I'm sorry, dear reader(s), to think that your brains are likely as fraught as mine often is) it's very comforting as well. 

The key to it all then is to see who has the best coping tactics, and adopt them with great expediency.


24 June - 8 September.

14 May 2009

three times lucky?

So yesterday Mac FINALLY FINALLY replaced my computer, which was still faulty after SIX visits to the genius bar, where they had previously already replaced the logic board, display, and hard drive.
I would like to record here that, even with the botched attempt to use timeMachine, which not only doesn't work, but overwrote my previous auto-backup in the name of "migration assistant", a complete rebuild of my hard drive, applications, backup and all now takes me two hours. Two hours. And that includes defaults and preferences and all that pap, ladies and gentlemen.

Yes. I am proud of this.
Geek with a capital G. MISTER Geek to you(s).

And I spent the weekend at a comic arts festival, and ended it with a motorcycle ride and a viewing of Star Trek. And I'm recording it on a blog. While the sun is outside shining away.
All that's left is for me now is to move into my mother's proverbial basement, build model airplanes, get into D and D chat rooms, and masturbate vociferously to internet porn.

12 May 2009

Better late than never(?), even if it is on a bulletin board in Paris.

Last January I took a trip to Paris, in part as an exhibitor at the Angoulême comic arts festival. I was accompanied by someone I had been dating for 7 months prior to that, and things were unfortunately shaky between us before we even left (Read: we had broken up a week prior)

Anyhow. As a result of said strife, I backed out of a trip down to Spain we had planned months prior, in favour of staying in Paris and wandering around solo for a bit of peace from it all. Our agreement was to meet back up at Shakespeare and Co. on the evening of his flight back in, for the last couple of days before returning to Toronto. 
It was well-planned, giving him five hours or so to get from Charles de Gaulle into the city before we had to meet the woman we were couchsurfing with later that night. All relevant contact numbers for Paris were exchanged (there were three of them, two being people he knew and english speakers), and we went off our separate ways.
Well, I went to said bookstore at appointed hour on appointed day, and he wasn't there. Despite the fact that this tardiness was not at all uncommon, I waited for three hours (not the first time), and as a consequence missed the person we were to stay with and had to find a last-minute hotel on my own. 
I spent my last two days in Paris frantically worrying about what had happened, as he had contact numbers both for two of our couchsurfing hosts and one of my best friends in the city, none of which he used. Eventually, through a bizarre set of postage-stamp sized notes and near-misses at random meeting places, we managed to reconvene.
It ends up he had missed his flight. He didn't want to use the pay phones because to do so would mean purchasing a phone card for a hefty 7 euros. And though an apology would not have reconciled the relationship, it would have gone a long way to preserving a friendship, I felt.

So why am I rehashing this unsavory story now, dear reader(s)?
I am part of a housing list that sent out a posting this morning, as I am looking for a subletter for my place during my Berlin stint. A few hours ago I got an email from someone who recognized my name (on the housing list), and on the off chance that I was the same person, sent a photo she had taken of a note she found taped to a bulletin board at Shakespeare and Co. last May (five months after the whole incident!)
This note.

So a belated thanks goes out to Oz, I guess. It's a very sweet note.
Apologies, such as they are, are always appreciated; and  better late (I guess) than never. 


I'm embarrassed with myself at how long these drawings took to complete, but they are finally done. To appear, along with this one, in Descant Literary Journal's winter issue (theme: Dance) (They are accompaniments to an amazing prose-poem by a ballet dancer, forget her name...)


Pas De Deux

TCAF: a roundup of sundry thoughts.

opening night.

Friday night's opening event at Harbourfront included an address by Adrian Tomine and Seth, followed by an interview between Tomine and comic artist Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Seth's speech was rather protracted. Though I'm not a fan (obviously) of his tendency to deride people who wish to draw accurately or naturalistically in comic narratives, I did truly appreciate his observation that comics (cartoons, specifically) are a coalescence of graphic design and poetry. It's true. They can't quite be called drawing; cartoons are collections of shapes designed to represent people, places, things, and to convey a message, meaning, story. And it does become poetry, when one can successfully convey something human through a strategic co-mingling of non-human shapes. An excellent medium.

the event itself.

The festival was at the Toronto Reference Library, which is so my frequent haunting ground it was like showing up in my living room and inviting the public in for a look. The festival represented the same mix of exhilaration and melancholy I find doing all most book fairs this last while. Really overwhelming how much Good work there is, and sometimes hard to feel at home when what I'm up too seems rather out of place with the predominance of more cartoon-oriented comics. I also envy peoples' ability to tell stories simply.

The melancholy was, however, completely trumped by checking out the GOLD that is the work/publications of Tom Neely, Brett Warnock (Top Shelf), Dylan Williams (Sparkplug comics), Brian Musikoff and ever Shannon Gerard.

adolescence vs. real life.

And then there was Anke Feuchtenberger, (visiting from Berlin) who did a talk about her work. She and Renée French make me understand the phenomenon of fanboy-ism, when I actually went and lined up for the first autograph of my life. Embarrassing but true.

Anyhow, when Feuchtenberger was discussing her "W the Whore" series of books, it was commented on that the main character changes guise in each episode, almost to a point of being unrecognizable, except for her name. (In one of the books she looks a modern full-grown woman, in another a small child, etc.) This is only possible in visual narratives, as a written book doesn't do the work of description quite as accurately. A name is a name, and the reader fills in the rest.

The effect of this is of creating a really timeless narrative of this character in these surreal environments. Anyhow, this idea came up that during adolescence we live in a haze of clichés and ideas, and it is with adulthood that these are tempered by what is actually possible. Hence the development of this character whose only real consistency is through her name.

Just thought that was neat.

the word "hobby".

Feuchtenberger also pointed out whilst speaking on a panel about European comics that she still considers her comics-making to be a hobby. As the pay she receives is never commensurate with the work she does, she said that her books were really a "gift" to her publisher. (She is an art professor in Hamburg, I think, by trade) It was an important moment, to have someone whose work I revere a great deal point out that it is not her living; that comics are not a realistic trade. Yes, 35, and I still labour under ridiculous delusions, 'tis true. 

There is no "arrival" in this business. Or rather, doing the work="arrival". It is easier to accept this, unfortunately, when it come from further up the proverbial ladder. It took some of the sting out of the word "hobby", to have someone use said word, who so obviously is dedicated to her work as Work.

thank god(s).

The calibre of work at the festival, and the quantity of it made me realize how long it's been since I've been around people concerned with pictures/words co-existing as a medium, and was fundamentally inspiring. Thank God(s).

08 May 2009

Tomorrow! Sunday! Toronto Comic Arts Festival

That's right, dear reader(s), it's that time again. This year's TCAF festival is happening tomorrow and Sunday at the Toronto Reference Library, where I (along with a veritable plethora of brilliant comic creators) will be exhibiting/selling my little booklets and prints of strange and disturbing artwork for your cultural gratification. 
Free event for all!
Scads of comic book creators! 
Visual stimulus for everyone! 

07 May 2009

The emergency of the western world.

So I had a completely fascinating conversation about medicine over the weekend, where it was pointed out to me that the emergency room is the only real place where western medicine with its drugs and machines and "immediate" cures has significant relevance. 
So what does this mean when a visit to the doctor, an average check-up, is handled with the same palliatives, the same emergency measures.
No wonder everyone is so stressed.

Teatime part 1

now online at TopShelf 2.0.
Would that I could produce new work as fast as this.

05 May 2009


Went to see this documentary last night, by the same guy who made Helvetica

It was fantastic, needless to say, and of course prompted a few sundry thoughts on objects, people, and grace.

This idea that what designers have been ignoring for so long when creating goods is the art of dying gracefully, so to speak. We create all these new things to satisfy our fetish for novelty, for new stimulations, ignoring the fact that there's always more, there's always the need for more, and dead things don't decompose organically the way people do.
At some point during the documentary someone asked "why do we create anything to be permanent?" People aren't permanent. Our love for things isn't permanent. Why the need for permanence?

Of course to me the question of far greater importance is the quality and function said thing provides during its time in anyone's life. This also applies to people. If you give someone shit while you are with them, no function, no kindness, you cannot expect anything back in return. 

Of course this does not apply to objects, and herewith lies the fatal misunderstanding. 
Living amongst things guarantees an impunity from selfishness, non-reciprocity is just a given in the relationship. 
Eg. I have a chair, it's lovely and comfortable, and I don't owe it anything for that service.

There are people who've been living amongst things (computers are things) for so long that they cannot distinguish, and behave badly. 
As someone who is on a computer constantly, I worry about this.

The very end of the documentary pointed out that the most valuable things  for people are the ones with attached emotional significance, that have had an intrinsic effect on peoples' lives...an old key, a teddy bear, a letter. 

The doc ended with a shot of a small wooden cupboard and on its drawers someone had etched the words: 

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

If only.

04 May 2009

new lease (well, chain) on life.

My bike chain derailed mid-ride this morning, and only the trickiest of swerves saved me from splattering all over a white car. But THIS is luck, it all happened half a block away from my bike shop. I went in, the repair guy looked at me agog, and said WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THIS CHAIN. Nothing, I insisted, that's what 365 days/year will do, I suppose.
He replaced it immediately, no wait at all, marvelling at the fact that it had not in fact snapped yet. I marvelled at the whole situation, given that I had had no intention of getting my chain checked, being quite lazy in this department.
He also secured my beloved Brooks saddle with some sundry chain links as well.
The moral of the story? Bike people are the Most Awesome, as are near feats of human flight in close proximity to a white car and a bicycle repair shop.

02 May 2009

Clean Sweep

With things going as they have lately, I feel much like it must be a very marked end of an old chapter and beginning of a new. As if to verify this, my computer, but 6 and some months old, needed to be brought in for repairs again today, not a month after the last time I brought it in due to perpetual insomnia (the hard drive refused to go to sleep. No, the irony is not lost on me, dear reader[s])
Anyhow, thankfully the mac technician was very lovely, and replaced both the display and the hard drive in one day (last time it was the logic board). On a Saturday, no less!
Of course this still means reinstalling all apps from scratch, rebuilding preferences, files, etc etc. Which I would like to say I have just managed to do app. 80% of in just under four hours. 
Ladies and gentlemen, I am up and running again and I am officially a MACHINE of macintosh computer restorative powers.

29 April 2009

Achilles Heel

(alternate title: trust.)

28 April 2009

And the answer

to the question of the stalled elevator, would be to give Rachmaninov the shotgun, were it to come to it.
Of course, of the two of them, Rachmaninov would not use the gun.
Which is the reason why the world keeps turning and people keep getting hurt.

(I am aware of course, that I am making a brash generalization about Rachmaninov based on his music, which is Also potentially bullshit, so really, there's just no answer to who's good and who's evil, is there.)

27 April 2009

Today i found out

that the world is home to people who very Consciously do not care about other human beings. 
i do not understand this. 
i Do Not understand this. 

26 April 2009

And what I am doing instead of looking for a job...

The Fantastic place I work.

Last weekend, I came into work only to bump right into the girl whose shift I've been covering (while she was on two weeks' vacation). I had known she was coming back, but thought perhaps her plans had changed since I received the call to cover the shift for the next month. We were both baffled. Went upstairs to check the schedule. Her name was completely missing. Two days later she had no further access to inter-office email. The scheduler blames admin and admin blames the scheduler, but basically she is the second person (with the same position I have) to be laid off without being told. After two and a half years. 
Awesome world. AWESOME.

What I want.

(besides a motorcycle, that is) is to know what would happen if you put Rachmaninov and GW Bush in an elevator together and shut it down. What would happen. How would they relate to each other, what would they say, HOW would they connect and make friends.
THAT is what I want to know.

Motorcycle Whore.

Using people shamelessly for their motos from 2006.
sigh. Perhaps growing up and getting my own is an idea.

24 April 2009

Again with the shower

Pondered this morning the interesting notion that I seem to cave in to doubt and cynicism and early warnings in every department except for that of other people. Faith is fickle, goddammit.

As for this Art business, maybe this is the three-year (Art) itch. 
To push through, or to step back, to push through, or to step back? 

The answer of course; a bike ride, a sketchbook and skinned feet at the anatomy museum.

23 April 2009

fiction vs. fact.

Realized this morning, whilst in the shower, that I've been expecting Art to save my life for Far Too Long. From the 8 year old with the pile of paper and pencils copying picture books before giving them away as birthday presents, to the 35 year old who looks at every single situation as if the strategics of artistic fate are going to solve it/make it come clear/workable in a real-life platform.
Ass is ass. Doesn't matter how good the story is or the drawings look.

22 April 2009


Since I don't have alot of it at the moment (ah, the life of a freelancer) i decided this morning to look up the term itself to see what I am in fact missing. The Oxford English Dictionary (1980; illustrated version) dedicates two-thirds of a page to this little word and its offshoots alone.

The following are selections from said definition:

- operation of a force in producing movement or other physical change
- something to do or to be done
- literary or musical composition, product of any fine art as statue, picture etc.; person's writings, compositions, paintings, etc as a whole
- internal mechanism, moving parts of piece of machinery
- Engage, be engaged, in bodily or mental work; make effort; be craftsman (in some material)
- Carry on, manage, control; have influence or effect, exercise influence on; bring about, effect, accomplish, produce as result.
- gradually become (tight, free, etc) by motion
- Knead, hammer, fashion, into shape or desired consistency; artificially and gradually excite (person) into (a rage, etc)
- bring gradually to efficient state; elaborate in description; advance gradually to (climax); excite, incite, stir up, arouse (to)
- stir up, make up (materials), compose, produce, construct; study (subject) carefully and in detail.

I Love work.
Everything should involve work.


20 April 2009

The Haircut

now re-published online at Top Shelf 2.0.
All hail previously completed work.

How I wish The Editors wrote novels

given song lyrics like these:

...every little piece
pulls in its own direction
please love, don't be scared
it's just your own reflection...

grave decision about trial separation with Art

was of course followed by finally being able to get back to sleep, and a subsequent dream of strange and unsettling proportion.
A while back I made mention of my Draw Cuter Things campaign, and perhaps this is what prompted the subject matter, tho' of course never far removed from my trademark Bleak.
In my dream there was a bird bleeding to death that flew in the door and landed in my apartment (which of course wasn't my apartment) I was horrified, grabbed it and put it out the door into a flower pot, so it had somewhere to nest while I called the SPCA (or whoever one calls). It came back in and there was blood Everywhere. I put it out again.
Then I was lying on the floor looking at a baby bunny that came out of nowhere (oh cuter things) and the bleeding bird came back in and settled on my back and would Not be removed.

I wonder if anyone can be committed based on random blog entries like this.

me and Art

After mental disputes that have been escalating for a few months now, me and Art (my art, specifically, that is) had it out at 4.30am this morning, and have agreed to a Trial Separation. And while I'm not convinced the separation is permanent, and it makes me extraordinarily sad, I do think the decision is at this point anyhow, a healthy one.
One reaches a point where one's partner must needs offer up either an explanation for its unwillingness to put out, or walk away, and Art has not been able to provide this adequately in the past few months. It is perpetually underemployed, and demands relentless nourishment. It speaks to me incessantly in muddled terms that are time-consuming to untangle, and taxing on my brain. 
Tho' I do tend to partner with fickle communicators, it is time for a New, simpler, less trouble-ridden epoch.
So as with life, so with Art.

This transition (which makes it quite certain that "The Fairy Tales" launch will unfortunately be delayed to late this year/possibly next), is assuaged by a few illustrations I have committed to an upcoming issue of Descant Literary Journal, as well as awesome author Ibi Kaslik, who has approached me about possibly illustrating a kids book for her. Though this is only in its preparatory/first draft stages, it's something I'm really excited about, and poses a great relief hitherto unforeseen with independent projects. So, Yay!

18 April 2009


Yoga, Beer, Bicycle, Movies, A Best Friend. All In One Evening.

17 April 2009


The thing about growing up with paper for friends is that it makes real life quite a bit more difficult. 

Paper allows you to see the entire story, all at once.

Paper doesn't move around or change. 

Even Paper's lies have been cemented in ink, so that they become the Truth. You can go back and reference Paper, and understand everything in context. 

Paper and intention are not the same thing. 

If you Follow the Instructions on a piece of Paper as you see them, you will reach the desired result. Rules can be rewritten on a piece of Paper, and every player has a chance to decide beforehand, in an unchangeable state.

And Paper will accept anything you offer it, and will wait patiently for your answer, and will not judge until you reach the end of the page, or the end of your sentence.

I couldn't decide before, really, but this photo above really is more accurate than this one. 

This Paper isn't abstract; it's not a concept: it's a thousand shredded people/Possibilities and one unopened instruction booklet. It makes me Sad.


Like trying to rest my head on a pillow only to realize I'm lying on the edge of a staircase with my head facing down.


Feel like this post bears revisiting. It is Fundamental that what one puts into the world through words, and what one puts into Action in the world— it is fundamental that these things match, as closely as possible, at the very least. 
It is hard. But one must be accountable, for this, I believe, if for Nothing else.

10 April 2009

Boring details about my eating habits, followed by the revelatory nature of High Park and the humble tomato.

So I've started this diet. 
I would like to preface my posting on this with the Fervent conviction that I think diets in general are FUCKING RIDICULOUS. The idea of denying onesself food of any sort at any time is torturous anathema to me, and contrary to life itself. 
This is a brash generalization, true. There is stuff you really just don't put into your body on a regular basis if you have an ounce of logic to you, and people also have a tonne of different reasons/concerns with their food consumption or lack thereof. I also appreciate we have obesity in the world, and related problems, but I'm quite sure this is a problem of inactivity, not of consumption. 
Whatever. I try not to judge. I Do, however, judge self-torture. Harshly. No No No. I want to go out having had as much ice cream and french fries as spinach salad and green beans, and happily so.

Pourquoi, then, dear reader(s), pourquoi, you may ask, am I even entertaining this outrageous D word in my life, much less in my blog?

Well, it's a new (hopefully tiny) chapter in my ongoing experiments to find out why I'm such an over-energetic and constantly anxious Nutter. The latest theory is that I may have an allergy to certain foods and my body is in permanent panic mode having delayed reactions to them. So far I've seeked (sook?) four opinions and three of four say it's a possibility, one of them being my mum, who said my father claimed a severe allergy to gluten and wheat which caused much histrionics and anxiety. 
So for 21 days in gustatory hell eliminating practically everything good, I may find out a thing or two about the effect certain foods (read: everything) have on my body. In short, no cheese, no dairy, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no chocolate, and, worst of all, no tomatoes. For 21 days. And then re-introduce them, see what happens, etc. etc.

And, dear reader(s), I will give it a Try, whatever I may think about it. 
The crucial thing, I feel (as with everything) is Not To Judge Before Trying.

Enough boring details about eating and food and such. Dear reader(s), you really are most tolerant. NOW ONTO THE TOMATOES.

So I went for a walk in the park with my good friend jrbi today and was lamenting over the imminent lack of tomatoes in my life. He too was reserving judgement on whether or not the whole D--- was going to meet with any success, but pointed out I may well learn a few other things about my psyche inadvertently, which could be cool.

For instance, he pointed out:
Here we are standing on a street corner talking and the only thing that is true at this moment is that you are not eating a tomato. If you were not presently forbidden from eating tomatoes, you wouldn't be thinking about your tomatoeless state two days from now at all, much less three weeks from now, but because you now have this restriction, the panic sets in. Really though, standing here not eating a tomato is not causing you much pain, and probably won't tomorrow, nor the day after that. THIS is the significant thing. The moment of understanding that it is all in your brain. This concern over tomatoes. And the future.

And he did, as he often does, have a Very Good Point.

08 April 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

I think about the title of this book So often, in So many ways, and with So little levity. 
And I can barely remember what it is actually about, it's been so many years since I've read it.
I wonder how many authors would bother completing their books if they realized how much they had accomplished merely by putting the title to paper.
Bad weather in my brain all day long.

07 April 2009

Shredded paper and empty sketchbooks and foreign countries.

I went to bed thinking about the photo of shredded magazines (below) and had the most lovely dream that I was stuck on Toronto Island for some reason and had to camp out in a bookshop that was floor to ceiling 360 degree books 'xcept for a little bunk much like the sort you'd find in a ship cabin, also covered in books. The lighting throughout the whole dream was (of course) the sort you would find on a stormy early evening by the ocean. So excellent!

As someone who would cut off my own toes before letting a paper shredder near my house, I remain fascinated to death by this photo. There's something so valiant about shredding so much paper, all of which held some sort of record of somethingthat was once significant on its surfaces. Photos, writing, whatever.

It's like leaving the country with just an empty sketchbook and a pencil in your bag.

I have just got news that I have an apartment sublet for Berlin this summer. And with both a subletter and an emergency backup subletter for my place here, and my passport in hand, ALL'S I NEED IS MY TICKET. YAHHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

05 April 2009

yesterday's fascinating reminder

that paper and people are not the same thing.
Easy to forget, but easy to relearn.

02 April 2009

(this morning's) Deep Thought. by stef lenk.

It's always easier to justify hypocrisy from the inside out. But try justifying it from the outside in, now there is the challenge.

01 April 2009

Gleefully reincarnated online: The Alteration

For those of you who haven't seen it yet (SHAME!), The Alteration is now up at Top Shelf 2.0 for your online viewing pleasure. As always, real-life full-colour books of the story (that one and others) available at steflenk.etsy.com

And today, ladies and gentlemen

I am thirty-five-and-a-half-years-old.
Another six months of successful (?) living.
And a friend of mine remembered said event before I even did this year, oddly enough, presenting me with a cake last night in celebration.
I was unexpectedly touched. All thirty-five-and-a-half-years of me!

31 March 2009

Ironic, and in keeping with today's theme.

Here i am, all "people should talk about themselves" and "navel-gazing is great"... I have just now been inadvertently reminded of proof that perhaps my thinking is flawed, in this respect.
I was asked out on a date of sorts a while back. It was a fairly lovely evening, if you discount the facts that said gentlemen left his cell-phone on and actually answered it three times over the course of 4 or so hours, stated on two separate occasions that this convening of ours was one of three events he was expected at for the evening, and managed to tell me oh so nonchalantly that one of his books had been reviewed (or something) for the New York Times.
We ended up at some point back at my little home regardless (these are tough times, dear reader(s)), where said gentleman told me about his latest novella, and when I responded that it sounded very interesting, he said "you should read it, I have it right here!", took a USB key out of his pocket (yes a USB key) and saved said novella onto my desktop. 
Two days later he emailed me asking if I had read it yet, as well as forwarding links to the latest additions to an online project he works on, and an interview he did with someone of great notoriety (or so he indicated) that I had otherwise never heard of.

This insistence on my attentions from a gentlemen who does not show up at book launches himself, and didn't even see his way to asking what I get up to when not AT other peoples' book launches.
Conclusion: navel-gazing=acceptable, but it should perhaps be acknowledged that it is the height of rudeness to carry your navel around on a USB key and presume other people are interested in looking at it, especially when you have no interest in looking at theirs yourself.

Also, judgement is inevitable. Let's face it, never date an artist. No, Really.

Now holy FUCK do I ever need to get back to some real work. Bloody blog.

and, pursuant to the previous posting...

And this is why, dear reader(s), fiction, embellishment, and lies will always make the world go 'round. Whether I like it or not.

the answer to the below.

Well, that was quick. I went to wash my dishes and discovered, somehow, the answer to my very own question.
People don't want to be judged harshly. 
And worse still, silently.
And who, really,  could blame them?

Why does navel-gazing get such a bad rap? (skip past pictures for actual post, my dear english reader(s))

First. My own bit of navel gazing. In a foreign language.
I did this German presentation last night; my first attempt at writing something in German beyond an email here and there. It's the first thing I've written in german First (as opposed to translating from english) and tho' what you are seeing has been corrected to death, I remain rather proud. (I would like to point out this will be exactly of No interest to the reader(s) of this blog, being in german, but at some point when I am eighty I would like to look back and see what all the little dead-end expenditure of my time actually accomplished, so  here we are. My motivations are entirely self-serving.)

NOW. For the actual post.
So far, my favourite presentations in this class have been by one student on her part-time work as an actress, and another (who is a flight attendant), who played travel agent and took us through all the necessaries for our dream-vacation in Germany. All the presentations have been a blast, don't get me wrong, but my fondness for these in particular was to be given a tiny somewhat personal window into some of the people I've been sitting next to in the past year or so. I suppose if I was more discerning I could see the personal details in a presentation of a historical monument or a cultural entity, but these ones were a more open doorway, so to speak.
I've been glum over the past four days, and last night I was pondering the above. (In english).
What I would like to know is why navel-gazing seems inherently to have such a bad rap (sp?). People make Such a concerted effort on a daily basis to say Nothing personal about themselves whatsoever. We all sit and socialize and discuss world events, the weather, other peoples' gossip, but tactfully avoid talking about ourselves at any cost. (This is, incidentally, a reason why I was so thrilled with that "25 things" meme that was going around on fb some time back) Those of us who do talk about ourselves are considered selfish, self-absorbed, disinterested in the rest of the world. (And I am not, incidentally, speaking of those who feel the constant need to regale us with extensive lists of their accomplishments and badges of distinction. I am speaking of people who speak about personal moments in their lives.)
I do very much appreciate that there is a time and place for discussing one's dysfunctional family or dissatisfaction with one's life choices, and around the water cooler is not that time or place. But "professional" hour has to end sometime in the day, does it not?
And isn't there a possibility that people who do have a tendency to navel-gaze might also be intrinsically interested in the belly-buttons of others? That they are hoping, with their own discussion of personal details and tid-bits from their own daily lives, to find out more about the people they are surrounded by, and therefore feel a little less lonely?
With some amount of realistic temperance, it just doesn't seem like such a crime to me. 

29 March 2009

Frozen food.

So a few weeks ago I noticed a book on a friend of mine's shelf entitled "Eat Me", and commented on it. He said he hadn't read it yet, actually.
Then a few days ago he told me the book had been lost. 
["The book you hadn't read yet?" 
"Well, I decided to start reading it, and then I lost it. I just can't figure it out."]
Then yesterday he sent me an email—he had just found the book in his freezer. 
He couldn't fathom why, and then remembered spilling water on it and putting it there to get rid of the sogginess. 
Utterly Novel.

28 March 2009

Thumbnail drawings.

Like having the same argument between lovers, in a thousand different ways, where the lover never gives in, and rarely compromises.
Paper stronger than rock. Where are my scissors?

Kathy H., are you out there?

A few weeks back, I received this mystery postcard in the mail:

(address taken out 'coz in these days of wine and google, nobody's safe!)

I asked the handful of people I know who are living in NY, but none were responsible. I found out, incidentally, that a friend of mine who teaches comic stuff in NY in fact gets his students to make comics based on overheard/unfinished conversations of strangers.
Anyhow. The handwriting is Really Familiar. And tho' the mystery is half the appeal, I can't stop wondering. I've had it perched on the shelf above my drafting table since.
Then this morning I think I got it.
I have all your other postcards somewhere, SOMEWHERE, but I have four suitcases of old letters and can't find them to double check. SEVENTEEN YEARS, if so. COOLLL!!!!

How Proust Can Change your Lie...erm...Life.

One of the chapters of this Alain de Botton book that I am presently re-reading is called "How to Open your Eyes". 
It starts with the following sentence: "Proust once wrote an essay in which he set out to restore a smile to the face of a gloomy, envious, and dissatisfied young man
Proust had a theory that seeing a painting by Jean-Baptiste Chardin could quell said young man's need for the lush and opulent goods he was so often seeing (and missing from his own life) in other works at the Louvre, and how he could learn, through seeing this artist's subject matter, how to see the beauty in simple things such as a sideboard, a loaf of bread, or a coffeepot, just as much as in villas and kings and diamond-studded door handles. Because, with this diversion, the man could once more associate himself with the greatness of art, and an art that actually lay within his corporeal grasp.

...beauty is something to be found, rather than passively encountered...it requires us to pick up on certain details, to identify the whiteness of a cotton dress, the reflection of the sea on the hull of a yacht, or the contrast between the color of a jockey's coat and his face. It also emphasizes how vulnerable we are to depression when the [painters] of the world choose not to go on holiday and the pre-prepared images run out...
The moral? That we shouldn't deny the bread on the sideboard a place in our conception of beauty, that we should shoot the painter rather than the spring and blame memory rather than what is remembered...

25 March 2009

Vanity and scissorial remorse.

This photo found whilst going through reference material. Don't remember it being taken AT ALL, or who took it, even. I always find it odd when that happens.
Why, oh Why did I take the scissors to them?!?!
LOOK at those Glorious Dreadlocks! 

Fundamentally process.

So I am involved with an art show taking place in Connecticut this September, showing process and finals from my Details books. And I am Pleased as Punch about it. 
Now. I have this preoccupation with making sure (that my tiny corner of the world anyhow) remains aware that art=Work. It adds to its legitimacy, and it sheds some of the bullshit illusions that are out there that we art sorts live a charmed and lazy life, especially where worktime and funding are concerned.
So. I spent about a half day just going through all my process material for the book, and this is some of the stuff I found. And I mean Some. I would say about a quarter of it.

Because I am not being paid for the show, nor are they paying the shipping of the work, I have already had to put together a grant application to get said funding, and accept the fact that I've been handed an opportunity with a potentially up to 1200$ price tag (and that was just the estimate for shipping!) 
I'm not complaining about this (well, not really), but I think it's important information that never makes it up onto gallery walls. There's always a method (and a price tag) behind the magic.

Anyhow. Beyond any of the administrative rubbish, looking at Process is SO.Cool. 
I usually just tuck this stuff away and keep going. But look at these little doodles! This is one of a Tonne of these pages! WHO KNEW! (click on image for full size)

24 March 2009

Morbid Anatomy. Blessed blog followers, blessed Morbid Anatomy.

Sally Smith knew, (thank you, Sally!).
A stray posted comment from a fortuitous stranger led me today to Sally Smith's blog, which led me to a list of blogs she follows, which led me to this Other Blessed Gem: Morbid Anatomy, which couldn't BE more perfect. Thank you thank you, Sally Smith, from Deepest, Darkest, Essex.

(I should clarify, I'm new to the world of blog following and such things, I don't click around too much on the internet, I find it too easily overwhelming. But in this case, Most Happily Overwhelmed. GLEE!!)

I could lose years of my life

to the smell of old books. 

Thank you Doctor.

There is no indignity in being afraid to die, but there is a terrible shame in being afraid to live.
(THE Doctor, that is.)

Das Leben einer unbekannten Kunstlerin

So I'm putting together a presentation for my german class, and have, of course, decided to do it about me. And, while feeling lame and abashed for once again caving in to navel-gazely (sic) tendencies, there is a certain honesty to knowing that I am the only thing that I can really speak with any honesty about, and even here I cannot speak with learned certainty. I have no knowledge of german beers, german landscapes, german film history. But I have some sense of what I get up to when I'm not learning german. And maybe it's a bit interesting. Maybe.

Anyhow. Whilst looking for old pictures/drawings to create my little chronicle, I came across this stuff. I'm proud (not so much of the content as the fact that it exists.) I've been at this for a while. I can't say that about many things in my life.

(self portrait, not exemplary, 2000)

(life without travel; 03/04?.)
(ACTUALLY DRAWN FROM LIFE. No photos here. Can I even believe there was a time. Nostalgic sigh.)

Love and Envy

This shot also from the Spring Equinox on Toronto Island on the weekend. (The best shots aren't mine; this for now.)
About this fire.
About fire.
I Love fire, and I Envy it too.
It's so astounding to me how it's Just Fire. Everything/everyone can sit with each other, strangers, say nothing, do nothing, for hours, just staring at fire. There are no questions, no doubts, no debates.
It's Peace in the face of something so Fundamentally Dangerous.
Somehow it feels like all the answers are in that.
How can fire breed calm, in such an effortless way? HOW?!? 'Coz it does. I could stare at it Forever and Happily so.

22 March 2009

Never learnt not to touch the stove-top when it's on.

I imagine it would have helped, but I probably never will.
How people can resist it at all, ever, is just Simply Beyond Me.

photo by Chriz Miller

15 March 2009

Lounging and listening to music yesterday...

I realized that some people collect alot of stories to feel as though they are living their lives completely, and some people don't need alot of stories to be living their lives completely. 

13 March 2009

Closer. (thank you, Patrick Marber)

Ever seen a human heart? It looks like a fist wrapped in blood.

11 March 2009

drawing, drawing, diy comics-primer

I am completely exhausted today, but can happily say it is as a result of five hours drawing which led to COMPLETED work, as opposed to stuff I'm going to likely sit down and just erase to nothing tomorrow morning. Awesome.
Also, I did final edits on a diy self-publishing primer I originally wrote for the Xeric Foundation when they gave me a grant last year, and that Jim Munroe, No-Media-King-extraordinaire, so kindly offered to post on his site. And now, dear reader(s), it is! Up on his site! Here!

09 March 2009

ordinary life.

The mother of a friend of mine who I stayed with periodically during and after high school once said that I was ruined for ordinary life. At the time, I of course took this to be a compliment of the highest degree.
Last night I lay awake wondering if this is in fact a good thing.There is alot of ordinary life to be lived, what does one do with it all in contrast?

Anyhow. I'm without my computer for a week due to a faulty logic board, which keeps it from going to sleep. (Here I thought it was just taking on its owner's characteristics)
Needless to say being at the mercy of other peoples' computers at work and otherwise is going to drive me just shy of Completely insane. God. Where's that heroin, again?

Of course this bodes well for drawing, so yay!

05 March 2009

Top Shelf two point OH!

I am thrilled to the tits (ahem) to have been asked to have work on Top Shelf's amazing online publishing compatriot, and the first of my Details books (Carnival) is now up here for your online viewing pleasure.
Dearest reader(s), do remember, if you like what you see, you can still buy a BOOK (yes, a real printed book of the matter) from ME! They are available here.
Just think: you can bring books to bed with you, while Top Shelf 2.0, is restricted to computer viewing. (Unless, forsooth, you are prone to bringing your laptop to bed. If this is the case, likely you have far more entertaining materials on there than my small booklets, and can therefore feel free to forgo the rest of this posting)
TopShelf2.0 will see the five (completed) episodes of The Details find some life online, followed by an online reprint of The One-Night Stands, (which has alas sold out of paper copies), followed by a new project called The Fairy Tales, which will be launching at this year's Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and subsequently in New York at the MoCCA art festival.
And so on, and so on. Work Work and more WORK!

Although I frequently forget

Every so often I am reminded of the intrinsic reason I have built my life this way, and why I love it so. The other evening, I was invited to attend an editorial meeting of a literary journal that has asked me to do some illustrations for them (about ballet dancing.) (Ballet Dancing!)
We drank red wine and spicy tea and ate home cooked glorious food as we discussed the this'n'that's of the magazine, the pieces already chosen for it, etc. Then we lounged in a cozy salon-like picture filled living/dining room of Uncle Monty-esque furnitorial (sic) splendour. And whilst a cat named Mr. Book curled up beneath my chair, we discussed everything from Obama's hands, to the gender dynamics of traditional ballet, to the struggles of Paul Klee, to the anatomy of dancing feet, to the collapse of the world economy and beginning of a new world.

Biking home, I remembered a conversation I had with a friend of mine a few weeks ago, that being around a large ratio of extraordinary people means that one often becomes inured to that very thing; Extraordinariness. How utterly lovely when the veil lifts again. Dear reader(s). It is, impoverished and stressful though it may be, a Good Good life.

03 March 2009

Receiving this by (e)mail the other day

made me realize how many friends I still have that have known me for over 10 years. (about 12 that I'm still in contact with, to varying degrees, and despite many clamorous moments, in some cases)
Which means they have know me over many chapters, really.
Here's to sending that in the mail. 

(click on image for full size)

02 March 2009

Paper. Fire. Deaf.

The building fire alarm went off THREE times last night. 
You know, I appreciate the need to wake people up in times possibly fraught with danger.
The need, however, to DISEMBOWEL THEIR EARDRUMS with relentless unstoppable high-pitched beeping seems highly unnecessary.
Anyhow, the fire department got called the first time around (the second and third I just stayed in bed. Perishing in the flames, I decided, would still be preferable to opening my door that sound again.)
But yes. The first time. In a highly foggy manner, I thought to myself perhaps this could be an incident fraught with some danger, and I collected up my drawings, in case I should have to vacate in a speedy fashion. I put my laptop in my bag, and my camera as they are the only expensive things I own, and stood in my living room, thinking about the end of my world. 
Why, you ask?
There are five archival boxes of completed drawings in my home. At least a dozen more drawings/paintings on the walls. We won't even attempt to count the books, visual ephemera at least 500 postcards strong, etc etc.
And then I put all the drawings down, save the present unfinished six. 
Let's face it. My entire life is made of paper. If I'm going up in flames, it's over.
Then I stared with no small amount of irony at a photo on my wall of me spinning (fire) on Toronto Island last summer. 
Conflicting interests, could we say?