Whether it was The New Yorker or The Economist or the TLS I don’t recall, but I was reading one of those improving journals one night in my loft with my dog beside me on the couch when an idea strayed into my mind.
They had figured in my previous life in very minor ways. As a hippie drop-out I’d done a couple of coffee house shows with them, years before, and every now and then I had found myself sketching little scraps of puppet dialogue: violent, obscene, funny. They constituted anarchy, what Freud would call the “Id”. They stank in a teasing, potentially intoxicating way. And on a deeper level - perhaps the deepest of all - they spoke to me, drawing me back to places that I was unwilling to revisit, places I’d long since put aside, rejected as taboo.
What a dumb idea.
I went back to the improving reading.
But the idea didn’t go away, and maybe, I thought, just maybe, if I spent some time channeling my right brain, that unknown sphere that I had either neglected or misused in all my dutiful left-brain years, some new and strange and beautiful creatures would emerge from the shadows and I’d find something new to write about, something fresh and full of life.
Maybe they’ll speak to me.
So I enrolled “Sculpture For Beginners” at the Ottawa School of Art.
And that’s how it all began.