Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Indian Summer

It was a busy week at the Indian Summer Festival and what a festival it was and is! The launch was hosted by none other than my favourite weather forecaster Johanna Wagstaffe. All festivals should be launched by a weather forecaster, since that means they also commence with a weather forecast.

The launch took place in the Sun Yat Sen Gardens in Chinatown and introduced us all to Rajasthan Josh and Chugge Khan who played a musical set. I hope you can hear their music in this lifetime. Youtube them in the meantime. On Saturday they played for several hours at SFU and improvised with local musicians. My favourite was the beat box number with the rapping and the wailing Sufi influenced medley in the background. I was kinda fascinated by how the younger drummers manage to sit with their legs all folded up for so long without getting cramps or severe pins and needles. The position of their knees and feet relates to supporting the instrument. There are a couple of variations, but beyond their superb musicality, I’m also taken with their cooperative muscularity.

The audience at our Urban Underbelly panel on Thursday were lively and committed. Thank you so much to everyone who came out, (what a great crowd) for your questions, comments and kind words. It’s a topic we shall revisit and expand. One of the great things about Indian Summer is the platform it offers for thinking and discussion about where we live: this city and it’s clues, blues, views and calamities.

I loved meeting and exchanging ideas and discussion with writers/thinkers like Sudeep Chakravarti and Jeet Thayil. Jeet also played a red guitar, wore red shoes and raised some raving performance poems like a Rolling Stone at the final cabaret on Saturday. While Sudeep has conveniently written a book called Red Sun. Now imagine a guitar solo in the middle of that.

Before the Hendrix solo was a storyteller and singer from Toronto Sharada Eswar — her voice was extraordinarily beautiful.

I had to miss some terrific events like the Deepa Metha one because my workload swamped me.

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I have not seen daylight for the past 3 days. Morning to night I wrote articles for editors, who have been generous enough to show faith in me. Each night I went out for exercise late and socializing very late on Saturday. Today though I popped to water the community garden and noticed a single tiny Mr Potato poking out of the soil. He was very small and had a green patch where he’d been sunbathing. But he is delightful. The first this year. I think I may have a grand total of 7, but nothing quite matches the first potato you unveil each year. (If you are organized enough to plant them). No other plant is so mysterious. You have some idea of what it’s doing, you can watch it’s growth, but Monsieur potato keeps a low profile. If I ever get rich I might have a whole garden full with potatoes because of that chance to uncover them each day. Carrots in contrast never satisfy possibly because I am unsuccessful at growing them.

I had a great moment of joy aside from the moment described above. I stood and stared at my little patch and felt a joyful calm. I was looking intensely at something when it came over me and then I realized I was staring, not at the abundant zucchini plant, but at the single Brussel sprout plant who refuses to grow. There’s joy in resistance clearly.

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I am rereading Michele Bernstein’s The Night. (without walking) More on the walking and reading shortly.

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Photo credits: Indian Summer Festival.

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