SPAM for Tod

conopholis shovelful docket idolizer pileus gordonia lucullite supercultivated

posted to the site by some unconscious poet

Listening to music – thinking of you

I remember where i came from
There were burning buildings and a fiery red sea
I remember all my lovers
I remember how they held me
World without end remember me.

East. the edge of the world.
West. those who came before me.

When my father died we put him in the ground
When my father died it was like a whole library
Had burned down.
World without end remember me.

Laurie Anderson – World Without End

Painting and Embroidery

My Canadian friend Tod is quite opposite to our babushka though he is not a young person either. He does what he can and does not doubt much about his actions like babushka, who  always grieves that she said or did something wrong and tears out her hair distressed with what others will think or what consequences will follow, her favourite saying is “utter fools we are!”

Like babushka Tod lives with his daughter’s family, he does not speak much with his grandson as they do not have much to talk about: his grandson is interested in neither literature nor philosophy and Tod is unaware what’s on the TV, both of them just smile when they greet each other, that’s it. As for our babushka she immediately starts to take offence and to complain why her grandson does not talk to her if Arseny keeps silence being in his own thoughts, she wonders why a grandson does not communicate with a grandma, how it can be that way?

Tod does not visit the hospital where his hundred years old mother, who lost her memory, stays, thinking it does not make sense, if I start talking about our friend with whom, the only one in all Canada Tod could talk about arts, he replies that Curt died and it cannot be changed. When it just becomes warm babushka foresees how we will go to the cemetery and when she hears on radio that someone whom she had never heard about previously, passed away, she may easily have a little cry.

Tod does not congratulate me with holidays, he does not remember birthdays, does not respond to the compliments, forgets to answer questions, sends me one by one parcels with collages which he had made for the exhibition, then changed his mind, gave the pieces out and even lost some. Babushka follows rules and conditions: if she forgets to congratulate someone she will start to repent of it, she does not do anything crazy, she likes to comment on actions and events as if they have a capability to change depending on the angle they were presented.

Tod lives not looking around, he follows his own principles, he carries responsibility for his actions, if he does something wrong he says that it made a breach in his self-respect. Babushka lives in correspondence with common logic, she constantly checks and adapts, trying to be a mould of an existing sample.

Tod sometimes disappears: first I thought he was offended at me for something, now I know that even if I blurt out something silly or if he stops writing at all or if one of us dies nothing will change, everything will remain as it is.

Babushka believes in rituals and gestures, she wrings my hand trying to express her feelings, she pronounces words trying to put her soul in them, she becomes offended that I cannot respond the same way and she has nobody to talk to.

Tod lives as if improvising, as if painting his own way, he unusually mixes colours, he does not care of their combination, he is an authentic artist, he is confident in his work, nobody has ever painted like that before.

Babushka lives as if she embroiders on a tambour, she neatly fills in prepared little squares with the appropriate crosses, she does not invent, she does not dream, she is a good work-woman.

I wish to be like Tod, but I did not get away from babushka, I seem to do what I consider right, more often I do not care what others will say or think, but I myself invent samples with which I check my wrong actions as if with a punched card in a Jacquard. Having shouted to someone or having done something good and let someone know how dear it cost me I feel pangs of conscience and suffer, I carry guilt and am racked: I draw something and being afraid I step aside, I see it is bad and draw it again, get daub and scratch as a result: I am neither an artist nor an embroideress, I have not joined any school and most likely will never do.

Irena Borosova, Russia

strathcona memories

i remember Tod as the very committed photographer who made so many excellent portraits for Opening Doors, the oral history that Carole Itter & i put together for Strathcona, the neighbourhood  that your family lived in for so many years.  whenever i walk past the co-op on Union St. i still think of Tod & Fumiko.  he contributed a striking cover image for periodics, the small magazine of experimental prose that i co-edited with Paul de Barros.  there was something understated but remarkably “present” about his photographs.  i remember him talking about the quality of light in Strathcona as different from that in any other part of the city.

but i most remember seeing him at work in the studio on the south side of Hastings Street, that building now gone.  i rented a writing room from him & it was always a pleasure to see him or hear him moving about just beyond the wall where my writing table was.  i remember how he taught me to be careful with a calculator, always to double-check (i still push the wrong buttons) — a care i associate with everything he did.  that quiet, observant, & so attentive mind that is much in evidence in his piece of writing about his post-surgery experiences in hospital, “The Mother-Machine.”

Daphne Marlatt


Scanning some of my father’s photographs and posting them on this site, I am struck by the quality of the family photographs that he took as we were growing up. We always had three or four photo albums in the living room. They contained photos of our parents’ life before kids (inconceivable to us kids as that concept was) and many more documenting our growing up in Montreal and Toronto. While I always had a special place in my heart for those albums and those photos, and spent hours poring over them. I guess I took them for granted. Didn’t everyone have albums like that? Looking at those photos now I realize that no, most families did not in fact have albums like that. The photos also give me a glimpse into how our father saw us as we were growing up. He wasn’t particularly demonstrative as a father, at least verbally or even physically, but I see now what we meant to him, as reflected in these photographs. And that makes it all the more poignant to look at them now.


Nelson Visit

Amy and I drove to Nelson on November 7, two weeks after papa passed away. We ate and drank and talked. And laughed. Sitting in my parent’s place, surrounded by my father’s work–his furniture, his art, his minutiae–I decided to build this website. He and I talked about websites sometimes and he experimented with blogging several years ago but never got the hang of it. I built an early version of this site after I visited in the spring, but by then he was no longer interested in such things as he was starting to retreat into his private world, beginning the process of dying, I suppose.

I built this site on Remembrance Day, fittingly enough. We had just returned from the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Japanese Canadian cenotaph in Stanley Park where the father of Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadian) talked about losing his son in Afghanistan on March3, several days before he was due to return home. No father should have to bury his son . . .

I took these photos as Amy, Taiyo and I were about to leave for the drive back to the Lower Mainland. Left to right: me (John), Amy, Daniel, Fumiko, Taiyo, Rachel, Charles. Daniel is holding Tod’s cat. That’s Rachel and our mum below.



Tod had a fondness for the Palatino typeface. He would occasionally use another font for effect, for a headline perhaps, but for most applications he couldn’t understand why anyone would use anything else. He would sometimes comment favourably on one of my cover designs for The Bulletin, but would often temper his praise with a remark on the font used. Because I NEVER use Palatino. Read into that what you will. I did, however, use it on the header image of this site.