Sunday, May 31, 2009


I was raised in Cressy. Where is Cressy? Well . . . Cressy is in The County. The County was the last place that God made when he created the earth. He waited until the eighth day, after he had a chance to rest. From Heaven he looked down on creation with fresh eyes and saw that something was missing; that’s how The County came about. That’s why you can see it so clearly on any world map—it’s the bit that's out on its own in Lake Ontario. Cressy sits at the most southeast part of The County.
You see, after God finished The County he said to Himself, “God,” he said, “it’s still not quite right.”
Then, with the final stroke of His divine brush, Cressy was made. And though you can’t still see the brush, it’s there. So that’s where Cressy is . . . at the tip of God’s brush.

Copyright © Colin Frizzell 2009. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I don’t think I believe in evolution or intelligent design. I see little evidence of the human race evolving or being intelligent. ;)

Copyright © Colin Frizzell 2009. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 25, 2009

If you’re searching for someone who has all the same likes and dislikes and is just like you on every level, are you really looking for a partner? Or, do you love yourself so much you need two of you?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I walked down the back lane with my dog, Oreo; he's a mix of Border Collie, German Sheppard and Golden Retriever—dogs don't discriminate. I stopped and smelled the pink and white blossoms on the crab apple tree and listened to the bees buzzing through it, gathering pollen. Do bees know why they make honey or do the just know it needs to be done and do it without complaint? A couple geese honked a hello as they flew overhead and my gaze turned skyward. No tools, no money, no worries, everything just playing its part . . . perfection.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Never underestimate people

Never underestimate people: their abilities or ineptitude, intelligence or stupidity, kindness or cruelty, wisdom or folly, arrogance or humility, greed or generosity, loyalty or treachery, honesty or deception, selfishness or sacrifice, empathy or their apathy; we have surpassed all boundaries.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Killing Time to Chill

I have been telling stories and writing fiction for pretty much my whole life. I wrote my first book, Killing Time, in grade eight —I imagine my mom still has it, somewhere. It was about two boys that built a time machine out of an old dishwasher. They traveled into the future. I recall there being creatures that had the bodies of men with the heads of wolves — perhaps they were the CEOs of corporations, or something to do with government, I don’t recall. I remember describing the fighter ships, which the boys got to fly, as looking similar to the ones on the original Battlestar Galactica. I lost marks for using a pop culture reference. There’s a double irony in that, considering I use pop culture references in Chill and that Chill is about a teacher that knew not of what he spoke.
I stopped trying to be a writer (but never stopped writing—it was a compulsion) when I went to high school and was told, flat out, that I could never be one. The reason was, that I was (and still am) a poor speller. But as Andrew Johnson (the 17th President of the United States) said, “It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.”
Negative statements are often said with greater conviction than positive ones, and since the person was a guidance counselor I reckoned, at 14, that she knew what she was talking about. Why would an adult discourage a kid from becoming something he/she had a true desire to be without a very good reason? Why would anyone do that to anyone? It was solid logic at the time, especially after growing up in a community where we could do pretty much anything. I think I was ten the first time I drove my Dad's blue Ford pick-up truck. My driving instructions were my Dad saying,
“You know the difference between the brake and the gas, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“Well then, just put it in D and go.”
I ran into the rusty red Holland hay baler, which was pretty much the only thing in the field that I could run into. That, the square bales (stacked to look like little tepees) and the old grey Ford tractor; or maybe it was the red McCormick with the front-end loader, I don't recall. Regardless, there was no harm done and Dad let me drive the truck around the field later — after the baler was put away.
Always being drawn to creative endeavours I later thought of becoming a photographer and was told, by the same counselor, that my skills at drawing weren’t good enough. I still haven’t been able to figure out the link there, but at the time I reckoned she knew something I didn’t. When my marriage broke down, I went to see a counselor then, too. And, though I know I shouldn't generalize, it would seem that while I've changed in the last 23 years, counselors haven't. I ended up going to see a priest, even though, at the time, I wasn't a Catholic, or even overly religious (at least I didn't think I was) . . . but that's another story. The priest encouraged me to follow my own conscience and not let others unduly influence me. Which reminded me of Chill.
When I was offered the chance to write a book for Orca Soundings I asked myself, if I could go back, what would I tell a younger me? Chill was what came out of that.
I wanted to encourage students that maybe didn’t have a lot of encouragement coming from elsewhere. To show that words, most certainly, can hurt you. Not to let anyone take your dreams from you, to not forget about your friends when you pursue those dreams and that there's a lot of hard work involved in fulfilling them. And that opinion is just that, an opinion; no matter who says it or with how much conviction it's said; as the saying goes, it ain't gospel.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." -
Proverbs 13:12

" . . . truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." - Matthew 17:20

"Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts (and minds) may thus use reason and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts which are in their breasts." - Qur'an [22:46]

“The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood.” - Buddha

Follow your deepest heart, use your reason, and don’t let anyone break your spirit.

There is, after all, a vast difference between critical thinking and just being an idiot.

These are things I need constant reminders of myself.

Just get it started . . . Thank you Dad.

In the spring, when we had all that rain, the front field flooded. I had to grab the rusted spade out of the drive shed and walk down to the shore to open the culvert that ran from the field, under the old road, and out into Lake Ontario.
The old road is the old road because the road used to run down along the shore but it kept washing out so they moved it. That was well before I was born and you can hardly tell it had ever had been a road now, it’s so grown over; but when I was growing up we always called it the old road—so that’s what it is.
Anyway, we’d had quite a few storms and the lake got awful rough in them and when she gets in one of her moods she’ll throw great heaping handfuls of rocks and pebbles up onto the land like it'd done her wrong. The culvert was covered. I couldn’t see it for stones. I reckoned that it was going to take me damn near forever to clear it out with that old spade.
I shook my head and walked to the other side of the old road, found the culvert and then followed it back so I could get a rough idea of where I should start digging.
It wasn’t that helpful.
I stood and stared at that limestone; all those smooth, round, pebbles and rocks piled right up to the old road.
Then I remembered what my Dad had told me,
“You don't have to do it all. Just get it started and nature will do the rest.”
I stepped onto the shore and went down below where the culvert should be. There was a little bit of water coming out from the rocks, and that’s where I started digging.
It didn’t take much before the water from the field was pushing strong enough that all I had to do was stand back and let it come.
Every once and while I’d pull a few rocks out of the way, but for the most part, I let the path clear itself.
As I watched the mini rapids running and the little river widened, I kept thinking,
“Just get it started and nature will do the rest.”
What a great piece of wisdom to pass on.
Thank you Dad.

Copyright © Colin Frizzell 2009. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One from high school

This is one that I wrote when I was attending Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, in Picton. I was 17 when I wrote it.
I share it in honour of my last week as writer-in-residence at James Cardinal Mcguigan, the courage the students there showed in reading and submitting their pieces, and the hard work they put into creating them. They inspire me.


There it is
Can you hear it?
You must.
There, there it is again
You have to hear it, you…
You don’t.

Oh, nevermind.

Copyright © Colin Frizzell 1989. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Einstein, Connor and I

Einstein was a rebel. I quoted him (through the character of Connor) in ‘Just J’, mainly because I’m a fan; have been since I was a teenager. Much of life is spent either trying to fulfill, reliving or trying to get past, the dreams and experiences of our teenager years. The influences from those years follow us throughout our lives.
At 16, I had a door size poster of Einstein’s quotes on my wall, and a bookmark with the his quote “I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are details.” I also had a picture postcard of him next to one of Marilyn Monroe—who I was deeply in love with. I heard Marilyn once said that Einstein was the “sexiest man she ever met.” I’m not sure if that’s what led to me learning more about him or not. You know, discover more about what she liked, in case I ever traveled through time and got to meet her; I could capture her heart and give her the undying, unconditional love she needed and longed for; saving her from herself. If you’re going to dream: dream big.
I once told Jordy (before the annulment, or marriage for that matter) that my nickname used to be Einstein. She thought I was joking—I don’t think she was ever sure when I was serious and when I was joking, which is odd considering that she thought she could read my mind, and since I always knew . . .
Then one day I was in Picton with Jordy and we ran into some of the guys I used to play darts with.
“Einstein!” they shouted.
“I told you,” I said to Jord, with a smile.
I left her in shock for sometime before explaining:
I didn’t get the name Einstein because I was brilliant, or even bright; it was simply because there were two Colins at the bar where I played darts (I was playing darts in a bar by the time I was 17, but that’s another story) and that night I happened to be wearing an Einstein t-shirt; the one that read, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” But the quote isn’t important to the story. My t-shirt had Einstein on it, so I was re-Christened Einstein. I had a few other nicknames but—regardless of how I got it—Einstein was the coolest, and least embarrassing.
My sister even bought me a mug with Einstein engraved on it. I still have it. It’s great for the ego, that and my ‘Bigger than Jesus’ mug, which I picked up at the Rick Miller and Daniel Brooks play of that name. I reach for them when the insecurities, that stay with you from high school too, rear their ugly heads. It balances things out and enables me to laugh at myself. The world needs more tongue-in-cheek humour—and people laughing at themselves. Mind you that type of humour is tricky on the web, you need to add a lot of :) …jk…;)…lol, or there can be major fallouts. The net, in general, is horrible for that. I’m still learning.
The Einstein quote that I think meant the most to me in high school was, “Don’t worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.” That gave me great comfort. :)
Last week in Books and Company, in Picton, I saw the magazine ‘Discover Presents Einstein’, which spurred me to write this. I had to get it. Here are a couple things from it that I like and wanted to share:

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein

“How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people—first of those upon whose smiles and well-being our happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to a frugal life and am often oppressively aware that I am engrossing an undue amount of the labour of my fellow man. I regard class distinctions as unjustified and, in the last resort, based on force. I also believe that a simple and unassuming life is good for everybody, physically and mentally.” – Albert Einstein

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yesterday in class the students shared their work. I was so proud of them. How personal they made it, their willingness to share, and the support and encouragement they gave one another: funny, sad, vulnerable, individual, human voices.
It was great when they each got up and performed for everyone. It reminded me of when I was in Ireland, or nights spent around the campfire in The County; people sharing their individual talents: singing, telling a joke, reciting their favourite poem, passage or adventure—never letting the "truth" bog the story down. Cold hard facts are good for some things; but the heart should be neither cold nor hard; so, in sharing the human experience, facts are a solid foundation to be built on; but they remain ill-equipped to relay the whole story on their own.
Exaggeration and imagination are needed to add depth and dimension—to give it life. If I tell you I was rushing around this morning and stubbed my toe, you know the facts but don’t share in my pain.
If I instead say, I was rushing around in my bare feet when I slammed my toe into the raised hardwood floor and this massive bloody splinter broke off and drove itself up right up under the nail of my big toe all the way back to the cuticle . . . well, you see what I mean.
It’s this type of freedom of expression that makes the human experience . . . human.

“ For a creative writer possession of the "truth" is less important than emotional sincerity.”- George Orwell

“Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.” Taken from ‘V for Vendetta’.

Monday, May 4, 2009

'Maybe Tuesday' Premiere

On Thursday, I went to the premiere of a short film I was in, ‘Maybe Tuesday’.

‘Maybe Tuesday’ beings with producer/writer/director/star Stella Palikarova singing, in perfect key, “Someday he’ll come along, the man I love . . .”.

She sits in an empty theatre, watching a male and female dancer on the stage. The female, which Stella dreams of being, is dressed in a long white summer dress and ballet shoes; the man is shirtless; their bodies perfect, the piano music soothing. Then the female dancer’s legs give out and she is dragged across the stage.

The music changes to techno.

Another female dancer enters, this one in a black and burgundy dress—she drips with sexuality. The male dancer leaves the ballerina, helpless on the floor, and follows the seductress offstage.

Then it’s Stella’s turn onstage: spinning around in her motorized wheelchair, longing to be able to dance, “You can twill me into oblivion, I still wouldn’t be her.”

The juxtaposition of the dancers’ flowing bodies, their flexibility, balance and control of movement; set against the rigid wheelchair, which Stella is confined to, is brilliant.

The short film (22 minutes in length) is filled with a physical longing of every nature, not something that we are accustomed to seeing in a film that has anything to do with physical disabilities.

The short was toted as being controversial, provocative and thought provoking, which are buzzwords these days; but in this case, they’re true. And it doesn’t accomplish it by cheaply going out of its way to shock, but by simply being honest. Stella describes it as a, “mediation”; and she is giving enough, and courageous enough, to let us share in it.

The film does what all good art should strive for: to tell the truth, take a risk and shine a light in a corner that we usually choose to leave in darkness. To show us the world through someone else’s eyes, eyes we may normally choose not to look through, but in doing so we increase both our understanding and empathy. This type of freedom of expression is something we see far less of in an increasingly desensitized world where we are free to say whatever public opinion tells us we can; ignoring anything that makes us feel uncomfortable; going with the flow regardless of where it takes us or how many get swept away in the undertow.

My part in the film was near the end. I play the lover who leaves; without looking back. Though my character’s departure is cold, I have to say, Stella and I had some fire onscreen. During the well-edited sequence, the audience started to fan themselves, three women in the back row fainted, and one man, close to the projector, grabbed the extinguisher. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true, on a literal level, but it was pretty hot.

Though, on a personal level, I was feeling a little insecure. The bare-chested male dancer, that was on the screen before me, was baby oil buff; then I take my shirt off and am up there all Crisco doughy.

Then came perspective: there is a vast difference between a physical disability and a little over hang around the belt area. The realization of my own personal vanity increased my admiration for the courage Stella showed in making the film.

I use the term physically disabled instead of disabled because clearly Stella is very able. She produced, wrote, directed, stared, helped edit and sang in the film. While I was in TO I acted in 3 short films. Stared in one and had supporting roles in two. To my knowledge, this is the only one that has been finished.

Making a film is a long, tiring process; it’s a lot of work and everything that can go wrong does—Murphy was a filmmaker.

But Stella Palikarova got it done, showing that “disability” is a relative term. The film was low budget and has a rawness that only adds to it, forcing you to look past the minor surface imperfections, to see the perfect heart that lies at its centre.

“Maybe Tuesday” is about more than physical disabilities. It highlights the western obsession with physical perfection, the isolation it causes, the emptiness it breeds, stopping us from making a deeper, more human, connection. The film reminds us that true beauty can’t be seen in a glance, or perhaps it at all, only felt: if you have the courage to care.