Friday, October 29, 2004

peregrine travelling


click map to enlarge

Travel does broaden one's horizons, and you acquire a feeling of respect for the people of the countries visited if you judge them with an open mind for their situation and not in the context of yours. Not everyone wants the North American lifestyle. Simple is better and there is something to learn from every society.
Some of the countries that I have been fortunate enough to visit, and even live in, follow here;
Andorra, the tiny country between France and Spain - Austria - Belgium, the best pommes frites in the world! - Denmark, with all those mellow Danes! - England - Finland, paternal heritage - France - Germany - Gibraltar, you couldn't get there from Spain before, you had to go on a boat (the Mons Calpe) from Algeciras to the continent of Africa at Tangier, then back from there, even though 'the Rock' actually overlooks Algeciras! - Italy - Liechtenstein - Luxembourg - Monaco - Netherlands - Norway, maternal heritage - Portugal - San Marino - Scotland - Slovenia, (Jugoslavia then) - Spain, easy living on the Costa del Sol, hurra por la siesta! Andalucia is a wonderful place to idle away time or write your novel - Sweden - Switzerland, I know where the best restaurant in the world is, but I can't tell you - Vatican City - Wales.
Morocco - Lebanon - Iran - India - Thailand - Singapore - Hong Kong - Japan - Hawaii, before they were a US state.
As a writer, the memories and experiences of travel find their way into all your writing, images, snatches of conversations, the ambience, and the people you meet remain in your heart.

And when you're back in BC, think of it as the best province in the best country in the world!
Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 23, 2004

city photography

the parade's gone by ...

click picture to enlargePosted by Hello
© Masalla Galleries 2004

excerpt from The Bertrameister ...

Uncle Bertram was larger than life. An oversized man. Tall, with a wide frame and huge belly that started at his throat and plunged to somewhere around his thighs. He had a squared head with close cropped reddish hair and ruddy cheeks below powder blue eyes that seemed like two bullet holes in a cardboard cut-out with the sky behind it. His eyebrows floated on their own like furry little Hindenburgs and he wheezed through nose hairs thicker than English thatch. I know he wasn’t eight feet tall but as a small boy I thought so then. His legs, revealed to us several times each summer when he wore short pants - Lion Hunting Shorts, he called them - were thick and sturdy, resembling snooker table legs, except they were glaringly white with only a few orange hairs. He was given to grand gestures, and when he might lay his five-banana hand upon your shoulder, you knew his bones were hard and heavy. Everything about him was overdone. He was a grown-up Katzenjammer Kid.
He relished expansive dialogues, often told unexpurgated stories of rather inconsistent adventures that seasoned friends ceased to believe, but with which my older brother Andrew and I, were transfixed. Uncle Bertram had done everything dangerous and been everywhere exotic.
No one ever called him Bert. That was too disrespectful and common for a man of his Germanic intensity and immense superstructure. My father nicknamed him ‘The Bertrameister’, which was fitting and he seemed to appreciate the Teutonic title with a Kaiser-like dignity as if it were his due. One always knew when Bertram was around.
Especially, when he farted.

© RC Westerholm

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

excerpt from my screenplay - Nashville Dreams

The bullet ricochets off the steel and the sound zings away. The trio crouch in one motion. FDR's eyes are wide. They're watching the speeding car, helpless to evade.

If them guys ever stop to aim, we're goners.

Well they ain't aimin' t' stop.

They lie flat atop the boxcar. The road beside the tracks curves away and the automobile disappears behind a cluster of roadside trees. The train heads into a long slow curve toward a trestle in the distance, crossing a green river.

That car out there's gonna cross this river somewhere too, an' then the road 'll join up with the tracks again. This's our chance comin' up.

The river. Yep.

You m-mean j-j-jump for it?

Them hillbillies in that car's gonna get beside us again an' get a good shot. We're the targets.

FDR (wide-eyed)
I don' th-think I c-c-can jump.

You got twenty seconds to decide boy!

The river appears deep and slow moving. The road is no longer in sight.

This be our only chance.

The train nears the trestle. Elijah stares hard at Jackson.

Quit lookin' at me like that. You're all grow'd up, a free man you keep sayin’, you didn't have t' come!

ELIJAH (smiling)
Didn't say nothin', man. You jus' feelin' guilty.

Y-You jumpin' Elijah?

I is jumpin’, Boy. Socks need a wash anyway.

It's all in the timing.

They brace themselves as the train starts across the trestle, clutching their instruments and bags. Whistlestop has been forgotten. Jackson hands his violin case to FDR and whistles for the dog. Whistlestop runs to Jackson who picks him up, holding him tightly.

We can't forget your dog, FDR.

FDR turns to look at Jackson, surprised.

MY dog? I th-thought he was YOUR dog!

Elijah jumps.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Expectations by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Sir Lawrence's complete understanding of light makes him one of my favourite artists. One can feel the crispness of the air in his work and his detail is unrivalled. Expectations was painted in 1885. Go to the CGFA website and also look at Alma-Tadema's Unconscious Rivals and see if you can figure out his intriguing use of converging lines and unexpected colours. Alma-Tadema's sense of composition remains fascinating to me in all his paintings. The CGFA's Index (link below) allows one to browse the world's great art at your leisure. (even download for your desktop wallpaper) Don't forget to bookmark the page.

Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 10, 2004

War Poem

written by a character in my novel - A Place in the Sky


The ghastly red games
the spatters of blood - like measles all over my face
the huddling together of cold human crud each in an unhuman place
The melody screams an anthem to death. A nightbird floats in the skies
in darkness the black-hog hovers above - - - on petrified wings it still flies.
Efficient deliverance of anguish and pain - the tracers point out who will die
The screech and the roar, the yells we ignore, tonight it could be you or I
The reek and the stench of hot burning flesh
the death and the torture of fear
the reach out to touch
the nothing to feel
the blood and the sweat and the tears
The calling to arms
we know who we are
we’re numbers just numbers not names
and the ones who control our body and soul
play their wonderful
red games

© RC Westerholm

Friday, October 08, 2004

Late Summer in the Fraser Canyon

The table lands between Lillooet and Lytton above the Fraser River. Often Canada's hotspot, summer here lingers on with indifference to the rest of the vast Province.

click picture to enlargePosted by Hello

© Masalla Galleries 2003

excerpt from my motorcycle fantasy - Vital Mission

Two Velocettes have been on my mind for years after seeing them one squall-threatened, darkening night at a deserted Canadian border crossing. One had burnished gold accents over its
black and the other had writing on the front fender - Venom Thruxton. The leathered riders attended to their business with an aura of mystery as I watched their small tail-lights fade into the mottled moonscape.
And now my own game is afoot. You’ll catch a glimpse of me slashing across the pavement, a stab of sunlight and I’m gone, chasing my vanished youth if you like. But now I am a young rider, alert, aggressive, pitched forward with deliberate intent - from a line of William Aytoun; Like a tempest down the ridges, swept the hurricane of steel. I am a Royal Knight plunging fearlessly into the dark den of danger, reigning my black champing steed, brandishing a flashing Excalibur. Vanquishing the chimera of languor.

© RC Westerholm

Armistice Day, Victory Square

click picture to enlarge Posted by Hello
&3169 Masalla Galleries 2004

Sunday, October 03, 2004

the Eleventh Hour

The cherry tree in Victory Square gives up another yellowy leaf fluttering softly to the damp ground.
The Cenotaph. The eleventh month, the eleventh day, the eleventh hour.
Nearly a century after the signing of that first armistice in November, 1918, we are gathered on this cool autumn morning to remember the darkest hours. The large crowd is not restless, there is too much respect in the chill air to be restless. Only soldiers’ ghosts have the right to be restless this poignant hour. Looking over shoulders toward the marble monument, flags bright against the morning dull of overcoats and scarves, the cherry tree steals attention. Burnt orange and yellow and faded green leaves now sparse on its dark wet branches. The Vancouver Bach Youth Choir sings beautifully beneath it, an ethereal sound, angelic voices coaxing the leaves to let go, asking our hearts to remember.
The 15th Field Artillery Regiment begins the 21 gun salute with a dull thump in the thick misty air, startling nervous pigeons to fly in circling squadrons. Marching cadets and full dress troops arrive in staccato rhythm, heels upon pavement, commanded to halt by a disjointed voice. Military uniforms are especially crisp for this day and polished boots are perfect.
People singing Oh Canada with softness and pride, knowing we are the best. A patient grey sky of swirling cloud holds back its rain. A large plane with full flaps glides as slowly as possible overhead.
Another cannon thump. Gulls wheeling, watchful of food. Curious crows disappear into the dark evergreens. A poem written by a high school student is read with quavering emotion. Children’s voices echo. Murmurs. Here and there a solemn glistening tear on a worn face.
Many younger families clustered in an area they would never go to normally. A car alarm squawks irreverence, perhaps a comment to an almost forgotten generation. Bagpipes wailing, reproachful of modern interruptions. A phalanx of antique planes now circling with buzzing engines.
The earth smell is not unpleasant. Nor the odor of damp wool. Pipe smoke floats through the assembly. Coughs from some who shouldn’t be here remembering others who couldn’t be here.
An elder Sergeant’s voice giving directions to the parade troops, losing its strength with a crackle. The Chaplain speaks a prayer, I catch words, ‘in the journey through life’, and give a silent thanks that my passage has been without the fright of war, without the fear of death, without the tragic loss of dear ones.
My mind drifts to Belgium, a few years ago, of feeling a duty to visit Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Canadian World War II Memorial, even though I had no name to search carved on that monument. Standing amid the wheat fields in a summer breeze where a sprinkling of red poppies still grow, giving thanks that I was allowed to roam at will in a free Europe. There’ll be Bluebirds over, the white cliffs of Dover, tomorrow, you just wait and see, Vera Lynn promised, and there were.
And in my free Canada, the laying of wreaths begins, dignitaries, officials and crippled old military men weighted down by their chests of medals, saluting a memory, a face, a daring-do friend, perhaps a chipper smile from long ago. Their bodies are crisp and straight for the salute, if only for a moment before they hobble back to their place in the hushed crowd. A man’s valor can never be extinguished.
Another thud from the artillery. War is different now. Can individual bravery and courage exist today? The choir sings, Abide With Me, and the beauty of the music and words hang in the mist.
The cherry tree sheds another leaf, then another. Dropping silently to the moist brown earth, as many soldiers did in a strange land. A song I once wrote drifts into mind -
Oh that man there might have been your uncle,
or a brother who was very dear,
or a father, never having seen his little son.
Now he’s lying softly in the grasses,
and he keeps on looking at the sky,
and he’s slowly giving up his dreams, one by one ...

Again the thump of artillery. Two minutes of silence. A frail woman’s voice in prayer. Yet not disturbing to those in reverie, they have liberty because of these fallen GrandDads. Lest we forget, lest we forget, at this moment, Kiplings greatest lines.
The clusters of dress parade troops begin to move off. Straight-backed solemn young cadets in a rhythmic shuffle, perhaps understanding for the first time what glory is. And crumpled old veterans, walking as best they can. Able to show a resolve in their eyes to all who would see it. Leading the way even at this long time from the event of their courage. Perhaps able to incite the young men gazing at them to be the very best they can be. And I hoping that they are able to sense and receive my thanks as they pass. And not sure, so I say it aloud. Thanks.
The eleventh month, the eleventh day, the eleventh hour.
The cherry tree gives away another yellow leaf fluttering down, though not to die in vain, but to give life to that tree for a future world.
Remembrance day, any year.

© RC Westerholm

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