Dear A.P.P.S., 

I’m sitting at a desk I made from motel dinner tables and an upholstered chair. You know, the kind with pressed wood, rounded edges, a kind of reddish beige fabric and square shape. 

I’m sitting on the bed now, I was sitting at the desk yesterday. That first sentence was the only thing I partially finished when trying to write to you. You and I have said so many things to one another over the past four years. I thought about that time spent, of engaging with certain aspects of our personalities, where we were, when we were, what other people were around, what time it was, were we eating, drinking, sleeping, teaching, dancing, yelling, whispering, sitting, riding, swimming, making art, walking… I could go on about how many variations of settings we’ve been in at the same time. Do you remember when I told the border guard that S and I were your installers, and it was okay since we were Americans? You weren’t allowed to lift a finger if it were in the name of ‘work’. The guard looked at me, and said we were responsible for you. I smiled and nodded as I disagreed, we were responsible for each other I thought. I knew you were afraid of crossing over into the United States.

It takes a long time to get to know someone. It takes time to trust yourself to know you can trust another person in situations where the path isn’t all that clear. That time is privileged time it seems. That time allows us to reveal new ways of seeing based upon our new surroundings, new impressions, new reactions. That time is delicate, in that it reveals past narratives into future narratives, and we decide, then and there, how we will participate within the new space made up by a past, our present, and complicated expectations. I am relieved I can change my mind. I am relieved I can keep my beliefs. I am relieved I can feel a freedom within those shaky boundaries of negotiation. I am aware that it is a privilege I have, but a right that we all deserve to experience. 

I just got off the phone with A. A and I could talk for several hours, and neither of us minded. To speak one’s truth is important, even when it is unclear at the start, but at the end comes to some recognizable shape to hold. It takes time for us to talk this way, in the way that we do, working it out, processing the nuances. I credit heartache, tragedy, elation, confusion, love, and happiness as to why we can relate to each other’s words in the way that we do. 

When I was riding from Zion, I headed toward Page, Arizona. I read about Lake Powell, and expected it would be a relief, a place I could step my feet into, and feel the cool of the water, spend time outside, and sit. The temperature was going to be 95 or more, but I would push through in the morning hours and try to make it. The highway was long, and red. It seemed slightly elevated, like the way a precarious mound is formed when gophers run through the soil making their tunnels. There were more cars than I’d felt before, more people heading in the opposite direction. The sun was bright, the wind was strong. I crouched down for every gust, my head ducking just below the top of my wind shield, in a kind of determined rhythm as every big truck with eighteen wheels and big trucks with big boats would pass me by. I closed my body into the bike, I tried to become her so the wind would leave my head alone and focus its blows to my torso, our body could take that. I rode with focus, I was no longer singing. This was no vacation cruise, or Sunday ride through river curves, this was a tour of endurance. 

My mind drifted, and I went back to my time on the island where I lived in a tent for two months. I thought of my body becoming stronger as I came to run up and down the cliffs of the elevated and rocky terrains. I thought of my body waking up every day alone, listening to the woods at night as the mosquitos and sun would put me to sleep, feeling the ferns on my legs as I moved in and out of shady spaces, down night trails, and slug paths. I could hear the sound of the deer and her babies walking the trail below my camp, and I knew when the raccoons were up high in the tree above just waiting their turn for my scraps. All I could hear was the forest, and the sound of my own thoughts. What was I doing? One morning, I got the call from my parents. I was sitting on a deck that D. and I built. It was planned and placed onto a cliff that overlooked the Georgia Straight. I could see the other gulf islands, a bee was eating my food. “He has to have a stint put into his heart,” Mom said through a glitchy phone connection. My dad made a joke about having to speak up since I was all the way in Canada. He loved that joke. It was late July of 2014. The bee walked along my plate, collecting whatever it was I was eating. I can’t remember. The hemlock trees stood so tall, I wondered how I could see the top if I were that hawk flying overhead. I laid on my side on the wood of the platform, and thought of blue tarps I’d structured on the lower level of the property. I wanted to wrap up inside, and go to sleep, the sun was hot through my wool sweater. 

Some friends came to visit the island that week. L. came and sat with me and I cried over the unknown as she read from her fantasy novel about a girl who overcame obstacles. We swam and ate canned fish, and wrapped green things inside tortillas, and drank whisky in the evenings. I was scared, but I wasn’t alone anymore.  

I went to Florida in early August of 2014. I arrived to Mom’s office, Dad was to meet us there. When he walked in, he was different. His body was a different one than the one I’d remembered. His skin was thin and pale, his hair whiter, his pants now too big. I was in shock from this difference in appearance, and became angry that I had to share this moment of realization with Mom’s coworkers. They felt like intruders even though they saw him more often than I had these past years. I hadn’t been home in two years or more. Dad and I left, and went to the Village Inn for a meal. He ordered pie and coffee, and I ordered a sandwich. He didn’t finish his pie. I don’t remember what I finished. The operation to insert the stint into his heart was a success, and while one of his valves would remain completely dead, the other two could function with full capacity. We thought he would get back to his old self, start eating again, walking more, and breathing more freely. What no one yet knew, was that he had cancer, that in September of that same year, he would be diagnosed with stage four adenocarcinoma. It is a mysterious disease, that viciously reveals itself in the depths of the body and manifests in a  place of weakness. His liver became filled with fluid, and after doctors accused him of drinking, which he never did, they proceeded to make a plan. He and Mom fought to see a specialist. 

That September I’d been commissioned to make a site-specific artwork at the semi-public art space ran by 221A artist run centre in Vancouver. It was the first time I would be paid to make art, other than teaching. All I could imagine was making an other space. Like Foucault speaks about, that heterotopic space that was neither bad nor good, just other. The housing situation in Vancouver was on my mind, my being an outsider was on my mind, the room size of 10×10 was on my mind, Ken Lum’s pending piece was on my mind, the tent camps in a nearby park was on my mind, and Galiano Island, blue, and solitude were on my mind. I built a tarp structure by my own hand and had S and S help me. “Performing Construction” was the installation performance of the piece “10x10x10”. It was made from the same blue tarps I’d used on the island. It had treated wood like the wood D and I had used to build a deck on the cliff. It used bungees like those used on my structures. It had a SAD lamp installed like the one I needed in my room. It had a cushioned bed, and a crooked roof with concrete blocks and screws holding it all together. I’d already built it in the park in front of my house to practice, and then took materials by bicycle and a Honda hatchback to the the Semi-public site on Union Street. I wore black as I built, only just finding out that morning of Dad’s diagnosis. The night before I’d come home and found a raven sitting under the overhang of the porch. It was so still, and unalarmed by my presence. I sat with him for hours. The next morning my parents called and told me the news, and that I should come home when I could. I left that November of 2014 and didn’t return to Vancouver until May of 2015. He died January 2015. We sat together everyday. We became closer. He saw me, and I saw him. 

I was back in the ride. I looked up. The endless view of traffic lined the distance into a daylight mirage of headlights. I was riding alone in one lane heading into to town when another car maneuvered to pass from the opposite lane and into mine. Judging by the distance away, the driver did not see my one headlight approaching. There was nowhere for me to safely veer, no action but to hug the edge of white paint that outlined the edge of the road, and only a mild drop-off into a desert where I could not find escape. I was afraid, my blood was pumping, and I closed my eyes in a rush of fear, and a glimpse at what could be my end. I held tight to the handlebars as I felt the rush of the car inches from my leg passing me by, squeezing between me and the other truck and trailer. I opened my eyes. Seconds felt like minutes and I realized I was still alive. There was no place to stop and collect myself, and the adrenaline of my body moved me ahead. Thirty minutes later, I rode by Lake Powell and in its blue expanse all I could think of was how I would make this journey end and forego whatever it was I was doing. Blue had no effect. I would finally reach a motel and pass out from exhaustion and a margarita offered at the nearby restaurant. The next day, I told myself I just needed to make it to Flagstaff and then I would quit. I stopped at a gas station and there I fortuitously met two men riding from Mississippi to Sedona. G said they were brothers. They rode beautiful Harley touring bikes with full bags and wore black leathers with colourful patches. At first I was hesitant to talk with them, but their gentle way of speaking helped me feel a comfort I needed. Their sweet southern accents and gentle enthusiasm for what I was doing was motivating. I told them what happened and that I had the fear. People who ride sometimes have close calls and decide never to ride again. They encouraged me, and urged me not to stop and that they would ride with me to Flagstaff before turning off to Sedona. As we rode at my pace, I felt a rush of strength come over me. They waived as they turned off. I waived back to them, whispering in my helmut thank you, thank you. They pulled me away from giving up and I rode all the way to Winslow, Arizona that day. I spent the next afternoon walking around, looking up at the sky, thinking of my Dad’s love of the Eagles and that damn song about Winslow and the girl in a flatbed Ford. A mother and daughter stopped and captured my picture by the statue that people pilgrimage. I smiled and thanked them. It was June 19, father’s day.


I’m no longer sitting at a split desk in Van Horn, Texas. I’m sitting at a desk in Milton, Florida. It’s been nearly six months since I left Texas. Everyday has been a strange kind of beautiful. I am as vexed as I am eased by my current place. It seems there is always more to say, to catch up on. I’m still recounting the time between Page and Van Horn, and Van Horn to here. There are parts I no longer say. I no longer have my own home, a boyfriend, a community who knew me when I didn’t have my childhood and past marriage as a reference. Vancouver was my haven, and I hope I didn’t take it for granted. I truly hope that I didn’t. 

Until next time we eat chips virtually, or talk about my makeup, or how to wear my hair for a date. Until then. So glad you are in love now, what a wonderful thing. 

Love and All, 


from California Redwoods to West Texas – riding alone

June 25 – arrived to Van Horn, TX and departed July 26

Dear J.D.,

A sparrow just flew through the hallway of the motel I’m staying. Around the corner there is a nest made of mud, and other such things, all gathered from what surrounds this structure. They have a distinct and majestic shape to their wingspan, as though drawn into the air by an obsessive illustrator. There is a piece of cardboard delicately waving to me as it sits amid plywood, sheets, and other pressed wood composites, I think it is an open-air storage space for the couple who run it. Last night’s rain couldn’t dampen it if it had tried, everything is preserved in the dry heat as am I.

I’ve written to you from this place before, this very chair, this very direction. I am facing South toward Mexico. The trees look hardy, the brick is painted salmon, the clouds puffy. You haven’t yet read the letter I wrote you. It was never sent. It was left behind in Vancouver, composed in Texas, transported through the air over the west side of America. Me and the letter flew over your apartment, over the hill you walked me to on one of my visits. I remember once that I’d written you a letter from a hospital lunchroom, and I remarked on the paintings hanging on the wall, then I fell asleep on a formica covered table. Dad was having fluid drained from his body.

Two days ago, I completed a portion of this journey from Vancouver, British Columbia to Van Horn, Texas. I’ve traveled back over three thousand miles. You’ve seen what pictures I’ve selected to include on social media. It felt good to share where I was, when I was, what I was, but not very much how I was. I posted to show evidence of, but there were so many reportages to include if I’d actually been able to convey the total of how I was, who I’d met, when I’d transformed. At some point, I began documenting less and less, it was about experiencing without the evidence. Evidence is necessary to prove occurrence, or so I’d thought, at least according to the law. The shadow space of interpretation is the blur of reality, the penumbra, so my friend E.W. taught me. There is nothing to prove in this moment of blur, but to let focus take its own time, a kind of interpretive trail of lines and looks. It is outside of intention, but residency is all intentional as though omnipresent in scope. It feels as I am an enclave. When I’d stop, I spoke less and less of art, and more and more of an homage. “I’m doing this for my dad,” I’d say. “I’m doing this because I felt like I had to.” “I’m doing this because life is as short as it is long.” My being an artist is a frame for a kind of experience, but is not the only frame from which to regard this residential space.

In Zion, I met L. She was waiting for her sister and her family. She and others were setting up camp in a group area in the Watchman campground at the park. I rolled up and began scoping out a tree to place my tarp and bivvy, and we began to talk. She asked me about my trip, and if I was traveling alone. I don’t tell everyone I meet the real answer to this question, but in this case I did. After about twenty minutes of chatting she told me that it was her birthday, that she’d been coming to the park for many years, and that she’d hiked every trail they had. After I stretched the tarp in its new setting, L and I sat at the picnic table and she gave me some tips about which hike was best if I was only staying the one night. I was ready to set out along with the other tourists, and take a shuttle bus up to the Narrows. The heat was pacing my ability to ride at certain times of the day, so a ride from another vehicle up the mountain seemed kind of nice. I offered that she might come along, and assured that I didn’t need to go alone, that she could head back when her family was set to arrive. Delighted by the idea, we walked along the Pa’rus trail to a different shuttle stop, as the line was an hour long. She told me about her work in the oil industry, trucks that vibrate the ground, tales of camping alone in the Utah wilderness, and hikes she’d done with her mother. L had never been married, never had kids, and did not intend to. She wore a brimmed hat, two scarves, long sleeves, long pants, and boots, her makeup just so, and had fair hair. We made it to the beginning of the trail for the Narrows, I wondered if I’d enough water, if I’d worn the right shoes, if I’d worn enough clothing, put on enough sunscreen… Looking up there were hanging ferns, and columbine flowers, the dryness had turned into delicate waterfalls, and a few squirrels crossed our path begging for tourist food. We met a mom and daughter, mirroring our own difference in ages. They had high-top water shoes, and wooden walking sticks. I asked the daughter about the trail, and she said I’d be fine in just my tennis shoes if I were careful. I hadn’t intended to walk through water, but as we were approaching my desire to do so became stronger. L was nearing her time to turn-around, and I decided to go further. We hugged, and promised to keep in touch, and thanked one another for the surprising companionship. (Thanks, L.) There were a mass of people of all ages, nationalities, heights, weights, and so on. Some were returning, some preparing to set forth, some in the midst of their steps through the Virgin River. This river cuts through the rock face, and has been doing so for more years than I could ever be able to fathom. I looked around, and shared smiles with others who were cutting through the water, my feet unsure of the rocks beneath the visible surface, I stepped deliberately and with caution, but with excitement and confidence. The day was hot, and the only consequence of falling would be for my body to become submerged in water surrounded by thousands of other people. I realized then, it was a pilgrimage. With each step, my smile enlarged, and the stress of the days previous ride began to wash away as fast as the river was moving past me.

Not two days before, I’d ridden into Cedar City, Utah, a red-rocked town where I’d almost given up. The anxiety of the wind, and heat had taken hold, and I felt sick. I threw up the morning I first attempted to leave town. It might have been brought on by altitude sickness, but it was nerves that altered me most. I’d been riding through wind, but these gusts were intended to be in the upwards of 36-40 mph in the heart of the day. It was also the morning I was to begin on an interstate, so I pulled it together as best I could. I set out, rode for twenty minutes on the I-25, and swiftly turned off of the first exit I could find. It was too much, my heart was racing, I felt unexperienced, I felt vulnerable. I wasn’t ready. When I turned off, I found a store that was run by the reservation, but appeared to be closed, maybe for a long time. There was an RV park up on the hill. I remembered the RV park and the nice people in central California, who’d taken me in when I neared heat exhaustion, inviting me to have a beer, swim, and eat oysters and ribs for dinner. They were joyful in my time of physical worry, but here, there was no one here. The wind was pushing me around like an emotional bully, and I hit my breaking point. I dismounted the bike and began to cry inside my helmet. I felt like I’d failed, as though my attempts to battle the wind could never prove triumphant. There was never going to be an agreement, never going to be a moment that the wind would let up, at least so it felt in that expansion of time. I looked at my map, called a loved one, and tried to figure out where I was. In that state of anxiety, simple navigation seemed out of reach. I sat on the concrete, and tried to breathe, drank some water, and eventually figured it out. What I had stumbled upon was an old highway, US 91. It had been constructed in 1926 and ran North/South through the country. I sighed with relief. I didn’t have to get back on the interstate to be sucked up, or blown out by some semi-truck, I could meander slowly, winding back on a highway that had had it’s hay-day in the late forties into the mid-sixties. So, I did. I rode directly back to the hotel I’d stayed the night before, checked-in again, and proceeded to process, and reticently hovered around the real anxieties that had been hiding in the pockets of this trip. It wasn’t just the wind, not just the heat, not only doing it alone, but a mass of experiences that had become stirred up, eagerly waiting to burst from my body like some comic book phoenix rising from the ashes. Only, I wasn’t ready yet to let go of that winged creature that has so mythically done well in stories up until now, not yet ready to see the renewing flames from which such a bird must emerge. A loved one talked me through, got me focused, and I began to let go.

I was walking. Walking through the Narrows, feeling the water reach my waist, absorbing the cool water that with soothing sensation suppressed the heat from my skin. It was rushing calm, a retreat from what would yet have to be done.

The next morning, I packed up and rode through a winding, and red landscape. I had breached and exited Zion in twenty-four hours, through a dark tunnel and illuminated skies I pressed on for the next challenge of facing mortality and poetry simultaneous. The morning road was kind.

J.D. I thought about your walks, and the way you pause in places that most would glide by. I have thought about your recall for words as they are associated with each image, the time we sat at Gene coffee in Vancouver, or the license plates you collect in your recognition. But, the walk I conjure most is the labyrinth, that dark place near a convenient store in Seattle. I’m glad that happened.

Until next time.

In kind,



from California Redwoods to West Texas – Riding Solo


from California Redwoods to West Texas – Riding Solo


from California Redwoods to West Texas – Riding Solo


from California Redwoods to West Texas – Riding Solo


Dear S.P.,

Today, I tapped the left pocket of my jean jacket. Inside was a small, blue, ceramic piece that you made, one given to me as a gift. With it, I feel protected, not necessarily from the elements, or people, but from the rise of unwanted thoughts. As I feel the contents of my pocket, a smile forms, and in that brief gesture, negativity hasn’t a chance. I have held close all the small talismans people gave to me for this trip. I have you all with me, reminding me that no matter what, I’m not alone in this world. I hold them individually in my hand, roll them with my fingers, and feel a grip on what I have to do.

These reminders seem especially important as I’ve decided to ride the Loneliest Highway, the Lincoln Highway, Highway 50.I think of the Van Buren sisters riding 100 years ago. I see infinity. I didn’t know what it looked like until yesterday. My rear view mirrors are shaped as circles, an infinite line vibrates, receding into the wavy horizon. I am looking into a mirror, I see my screen, the metal of the bike. I am a camera. The desert has been soaked in rain, and so have I. The smell of sage fills my breath, the sun comes out. I think about pulling over and walking as far as I can. Clouds move through the sky as large as mountains, a cow stands perpendicular to another cow. The other cows stare in my direction. I wonder what we would look like standing side-by side, me on my motorcycle, them on their own legs, their own skin. The leather I wear was soaked through, my hesitation to stop while riding through the mountain pass. The wind reminded me of my weight, I thought I was heavy. I think of my weight as part of the bike’s weight. We are one moving object when standing up to the wind. We tilt, we weave. To think of oneself as equal to wind is delusional. Wind beats body every time. Riding East, thirty miles left to go, the hail hits my knuckles. I am a sponge. There is no cover. The blue from my leather is running down my boots. I am a red sail, my go pro is running. I am singing to myself. All songs are about letting go, waking up, and moving on. I move on.

Eureka told me to stop. It was the second Eureka I’d stayed in. Eureka! Oh Eureka! When I rolled up to the gas pump, I left my bike for a moment and walked to the nearest hotel. My helmet came off, and I was just a body again. Eureka is an old Pony Express route town, and I thought of couriers on dusty horses. The facades feel as though I’m in a movie about the old west, and the Sundown Lodge Hotel sits across from The Owl Club. B gave me room #26. She said I’d be safe here. I went back to my bike and filled it with gas before bringing it to the hotel awning. When I pulled up, unpacked the bike, and made it to my room, the rain and hail stopped. The sun came out. I fell asleep after having a sweet conversation with a loved one.

Later that evening I ate a giant cheeseburger, the sixth one on my trip thus far, and had whisky and ginger in a glass. I met an old driller for the gold mine, a bartender who had a feather tattoo on her arm, a traveling german, photographer, and a couple with a dog headed for Utah to soak in hot springs.

Tonight, I’m sitting in Ely. I rode only 77 miles, some of it through a lightning storm. I called out, and vowed only to love from here on out. I listed all the people I have ever loved. I wished them well.

S.P., it seems like you have an empathic heart. Probably more than some of us will ever know. For the students I’ve had a chance to work with who have now read The Poetics of Space, I think you all have a special glimpse into finding the importance of place in unlikely spaces. This universe offers many houses, and at these iterative moments of sublime acknowledgment and absolute release, I come to re-understand just how these notions of home locate us even when structure is nowhere in sight. I can see you giving a knowing smile, and nodding your head.

Thanks for the blue.