Thursday, October 22, 2009

an opportunity

when i raise money for cancer research ~
to honour the flying away of my best friend peter
who was taken away by lung and brain cancer.
the suffering of my essence sister ali
(handfasted to my bruvver david)
who is fighting brain cancer out in vancouver.
to celebrate the incredible recovery
of my student destiny
who fought brain cancer and won!

i shave my head.

it's worth a thousand dollars.
or more.

i'm not a handsome person to begin with
(being graced with more goodness than good looks
but you know what?
i'll take what i'm given thankyou!!!).
so baldness doesn't help the cause of my ego!

but i do it
because i wish for people i love
and people i don't even know,
to have their time
in this beautiful place.

and to know it
in a good

for as long as is possible.

or for as long as is necessary
for their soul's journey.

so why am i sharing this horrible photograph on an otherwise notoriously peaceful and lovely blog?


i was just visiting
the blog

and stacey j
has a very cool idea
that i'd like to borrow . . .
and share here.

i'd like you to feel free
to ask me a question.
about whatever you're curious about.

you see, i've been posting
as the golden fish
since august 2007,
and i've said a lot
but not that much
about steven.

i'm circumspect
about the details
of my existence.

and perhaps,
just maybe,
you're curious.

and if not
that's very alright!!!

so i'll start the ball rolling here with some pics:

here's my son from my first marriage standing next to me squinting on a bright hot summer's day. . .
alan garnet rigel are his first three names.

one for himself,
one from his paternal grandfather,
one from the star at the centre of orion's belt.

he's amazingly bright, creative, and insightful.

here are my three children.
lexie alan and dawson.

each posing.
in their own space.
utterly connected
by my love ~ their love.
each astonishingly creative, expressive, sensitive. kind,
fun people whom i wished i'd known when i was their age.

but i'm their dad instead.

so i experience each of them as gifts to myself and to the world!

so the questions . . .

well, ask them now.
i'll read them through and answer them right away!!!!
how's that . . . oh and if you think this is too too solipsistic
then let me know and i'll put this post to rest!!!



Kathleen said...

I see the face of a kind, gentle, loving, phenomenally creative, and handsome -- yes handsome -- man with a perfectly shaped head and excellent bone structure. (That from she who once studied anthropology, physical and cultural.)

And I want to know how you got that way.

Kay said...

well done for raising all that dosh!!! are brave with this post,photo,questions and everything....but i shall ask no question as you have your own story in my head!!!

Titus said...

steven, hats off to you on what you've done (but keep your own hat on for a while, eh?).

Only one question that reveals much: Butter or margarine?

Congratulations and love.

gleaner said...

Hi Steve - wasn't sure where this post was going - wow, each photo you look like a completely different person.
No questions - will see what others ask...although one question that isn't personal, are you having trouble with receiving comments via email on blogger? For some reason I'm not receiving any follow-up comments on any of the blogs I visit.

Delwyn said...

Hi Steven

you are a very special man, but I have always known that...

this is quite a different tack for you - one that takes a certain courage and willingness to be open and reveal more of who you are. I admire the stance you have taken...

and for a question...

are your eyes blue or brown?

Happy days dear friend

steven said...

hello kathleen - excellent question!!! i credit some undercover work done many years ago by a roman centurion on the northern front - not far from hadrian's wall. (evidence - the noble probosciis!) his ancestors made their way north and south. one of the ones who went north had a daughter who put in some time with the early of perth whose aristocratic features also made their way into my cheekbones i believe. after that it was a succession of coal miners, methodist ministers and finally my delicate and tiny mum and my larger boned dad. many of my internal cerebral features are connected to their makeup rather than their body structure! so there you are. hopefully as well-answered as well-asked. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi kay - thanks for taking a look. hopefully you'd allready had a cup of something restoring before you cracked this one open. have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

ha!!! titus that's terrific. i have a relatively full head of hair at the moment by the way but it will be gone next spring. butter or margarine? well i've gone down both the butter and the margarine path but at this point it's butter. i cook with butter and olive oil. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

delwyn - thanks for the support - you more than most bloggers would know what that "cost" me to share!!! eyes - green. now answer me this: my mum has blue, my dad had brown. my bruvver has blue. how did i end up green? it's got the makings of a novel or represents some work by a genetics specialist - perhaps nanu will drop by with some explanation?!! have a lovely evening by the river. steven

steven said...

hello gleaner - nope my e-mail comments thingamabobby is working well. i'm trying to answer as many comments as possible here but the school year is becoming more demanding so i get to visit fewer blogs during the week and get to answer most but sometimes not all of my comments. to troll through every blog i follow and leave a comment - two hours!!!! have a lovely day. steven

Golden West said...

Had you lived in the 1880s, knowing yourself and your abilities and proclivity as you do, where might you have lived and what would you have been doing?

Golden West said...

P.S. What a delightful picture of your children!

Reya Mellicker said...

This is a beautiful post, Steven! So generous and forthright and yet poetic. You are good, yes, but you are also very beautiful. Believe me!! Love all the images; your children are gorgeous.

Love it that you honor those who have had to deal with cancer. Like you, I know many who have fought that terrible disease. Right now my heart is with our beloved Barry - he's so brave.

Here's my question: Do you still speak with an English accent? What does your voice sound like? Can you describe it?

Oops. Three questions. Oh well. Thanks. And much love - you are so good.

willow said...

Beautiful tribute for a worthy cause, Steven.

My question? Besides your loved ones, what is your most treasured tangiable item?

Barry said...

I will be following you down the pathway to head shaving on Monday, steven.

Although I doubt it will suit me as well as the look suits you. With your head shaved, your Roman praetorian ancestor really shines through.

Jenny Stevning said...

Being the perfect imperfection...that is your beauty...beautiful!
I have often dreamed of the day when I would shave my head. What are your thoughts on bald women?
Also, what do you eat for breakfast?
And is a bruvver a brother?? I ask since I speak American. :)

Linda said...

Beautiful inside and out I would say. You say more about who your children are then what they look like but your self-impression goes to vanity... (probably due to the haircut). Thank you for your donation to cancer. You have a wonderful looking set of offspring there. If they follow Dad's example, there is hope for our future, that's for sure!
PS... Did you know when you are an environmentalist your eyes turn green? =D

The Bug said...

Cool! You may have already answered this in the past, but I haven't been reading your blog for that long, & I have a terrible memory besides: how did you come to be in Canada? And I would like to be able to hear you talk (that's just me being a NC girl getting all fascinated with Canadian accents - & then you bring something else to the mix)...

lissa said...

it's quite brave and sweet of you to shave your head for a cause, I don't think I would be that brave

it's nice to know the face behind the blog but I don't quite know what to ask - how about your favorite book, favorite writer, favorite past time? I find people are more likely to share their favorite things than anything else. I do find reading blogs to be a joyous past time

Bee said...

Stephen, you dear man - I agree entirely with Kathleen. You have a noble face and very kind (green) eyes. And as to that musing about eyes: my brother and I both have blue eyes and our spouses both have brown eyes. Three of our four children have greenish-hazel eyes! Go figure.

How do you raise the money for cancer? Is it done through your school? And for my personal question, I would like to know how you manage to teach AND keep up with writing and reading blogs. I am in AWE! How do you manage it? What is your routine?

steven said...

hello golden west - first that's a great question and actually easy to answer - i would have been guy de maupasant. i would have been writing amazing stories, drinking really wickedgood french wine and hanging out with beautiful french women and brilliant french writers, artists, dancers, poets, scientists and dreamers. ha!!! what a sweet dream. steven

steven said...

hello reya - thanks for your sweet generous comments. i too love the barryboy -i deeply admire his ability to articulate life and how he loves it so deeply in every way as he deals with cancer. i came to canada in june of 1966 within six months i had had the snot beat out of me so many times for my accent that i worked at losing it. i still remember trying so hard to make my r's roll softly instead of sounding like ahhhhhhs. my voice - well i hear it in my head as it echoes around my skull and all the little nooks and crannies you'd find in there so my sense of it is different to how it sounds to others - i hear a man who projects care. i hear a man who has forgotten how to yell. there's wistfulness, sorrow sometimes, because i accept melancholy as part of the expression of my understanding of this existence but for the most part i hear joyousness. youngness . . .no what i mean by that(?) when i am around english people - especially from the north of england - my accent returns. have a sweet dreamy dc evening. steven

Goldenrod said...

If you'd known them when you were their age, Steven, I very much doubt if you would have appreciated their worth and beauty. An absolutely luscious post. Haven't read the other comments yet, but will, and look forward to your answering others' questions on Saturday (? - I think you said).

This is my time for visiting other blogs, and I'm just tickled that I read THIS one!

Btw, you're still quite a striking-looking young man - even with a shaven head (imo). A thousand dollars?? Fantabulous!

steven said...

willow - that's a cool question . . . my most treasured tangible item besides my loved ones . . . hmmmm ....ummmmm ..... willow i'd have to say my body - it lets me do what i need to get done while i'm here. it takes care of me in ways and at times that it really should just let go or cause me grief. it supports my wish to provide much much more than might be reasonable and sure it hurts, it aches, it even gets broken and needs surgery but it's always there to allow me to continue to be all tha i am able. an object beyond my body? well that would have to be a flute my father brought me back from nepal. when he gave it to me, i knew that he knew me as more than his son. here's a hug for a question that made my heart sing. steven

steven said...

hello barry - my next head shaving will be in april or may. i'll share the results then. the process of fundraising takes months and involves my class and my friends and a pile of police officers who use their holiday time to ride on bicycles from school-to-school fundraising. this year i get to ride a little bit with these extraordinary men and women. even thinking about it gives me the shivers and makes my eyes fiill up. i'm so proud to know that they'll let me join them for a bit. i hope that's not too gushy for anyone. have a sweet evening with the lindagirl barry!!!

steven said...

hi jenny stevning - you've got lots of questions . . . that's very nice! my thoughts on bald women - i've known three women who chose to shave their heads for the same cause as i shave mine for. they were astonishingly brave and strong people. in terms of their physical appearance - i'm a boy so let's go there . . . it was difficult and then not. i've known two women who lost their hair to radiation and chemo treatments. they were brave and beautiful people. i'm not asexual but i appreciate amazing people before their appearance. for breakfast i drink two mugs of very strong coffee. fair trade, beautiful stuff with demarara sugar and a little milk. then i like whole grain bread with butter, peanut butter and homemade jam on top. if it's not that sort of day then i cut slices of cheese. saturday i make bacon and eggs and bagels for my boy and i. yes a "bruvver" is a brother. my bruvver david and i have shared a deep love since our late twenties when we had our last fist fight!! he is an awesome sweet loving man with so much carpentry skill, so much understanding of craft, he is a beautiful man.
jenny stevning thankyou for this. sweet evening wherever you live! steven

steven said...

linda - thankyou for your sweet generous comments!!! it was 1969 when i first felt love for this planet - of course i did, it was taking care of us naively blundering about and messing it up and now we get to give our world back the love we've learned. my work for cancer research began with the flying away of my friend peter. he fought it with humour and grace. i was astonished. i had no idea that was possible or even o.k. back then i thought you were supposed to just die. i learned from him that there's more - way more to this whole piece and especially that even as he lay on his bed in palliative care he loved my hugs and hand holding. that there's so much that can be done. so i drive my school to dig deep and celebrate the victories we know and will know through our sharing of whatever wealth we can share. hugs out to you linda barry'sgirl. steven

steven said...

hello bug!! my mum and dad were very poor. very poor. my dad had ideas of being rich or richer. my mum was more practical but saw the merit in more money. so my dad decided to emigrate. i lost him for a year. he lived in canada. at the end of the year he said he was ready for us to join him. it was like leaving the fifties and suddenly landing in the seventies in terms of culture shock. every detail of our existence was reconfigured. i am who i am as a result of that decision though and so as an adult i look back at their choice and am astonished at their courage. deeply. i have a soft caring voice that is sometimes youngish and exuberant. i smile a lot when i'm with people. i love solitude and quietness. i especially love the sound of good music. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hi lissa - favourite book - today it would be the first book of mervyn peake's "gormenghast" series. favourite author? today it would be katherine mansfield. favourite pastime - i'd have to say cycling. anywhere. anytime. any reason. it's how i get to places beyond this home. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hello bee!! thankyou for your lovely kind comments - and also for setting my mind at ease about the colour of my eyes. the fundraising for cancer research is done through my school and is focussed through an organization in canada called "cops for cancer". we're not the only school that dies this - in my city each year we take turns - half the schools are "on" and half are "resting". that way we don't appear to be "going to the well" too too much! my routine - well there's tremendous amounts of deatil in that routine bee that might leave you appalled or horrified or even dismayed so i'll tell you that the blog writing and reading and comment responding to is done between 6:15 and 7 a.m. the next time i have is somewhere between 5 and 11 p.m. when i am not being with my children, cooking, doing laundry, cleaning up, marking, preparing for the next day, reading or just sitting with a pint of real ale and pretending that i am idle, wealthy and a nice person!!! i hope that that helps answer your question bee my dear!!! have sweet english evening. steven

steven said...

goldenrod!!! hurray!!!! goldenrod (for comment readers) was my first and most steadfast reader for the longest time. goldenrod thanks for the comments about my fifty two year old head. i barely look at myself in the mirror any more and feel a certain depth of compassion for my children and students who are compelled through the vagaries of respect, courtesy and morbid curiousity to look upon my visage as the source of much valuable information (or so i try to convince them). have a lovely evening in texas y'all. steven

hope said...

When someone is as kind and lovable as you, hair has nothing to do with what makes the man. :)

I have two green eyed parents, I have green eyes and the siblings have blue...that goes back to Mom's side. I joke that we green eyed folks are special just because we seem so rare...but I LOVE the environmental comment you got. :)

My did you find your way to teaching? What path were you on before ending up there, where you are obviously so happy?

steven said...

hello hope - great question! before i started teaching i worked in a factory for almost ten years. when i graduated from university with a b.a. i had no direction, no plans and no money. i had a girlfriend - who later became my first wife - and so my dad offered me a minumum wage, working on the floor of his factory job that i accepted. it was good in many ways and bad in many ways. the damage it did was a feature of the simple fact that a dysfunctional family shows up in a dysfunctional family business. commonsense that evaded my knowing until i had done a lot of time inside it all!!! one day when i was thirty three i woke up with dangerously high blood pressure, i was told via a circuitous route of therapy and medical intervention to change my life. so i left my marriage, my job and everything in my life except my parents and aunt and bruvver and did just that. so here i am! in the right place doing the good stuff that i think i am meant to in this incarnation. so to my green-eyed friend thankyou!!! steven

Pauline said...

As within, so without - you have an inner beauty that shows in your eyes (and in your writing and art work). Who needs hair? (That has an answer of course - people who lose theirs. I've donated my long locks twice now to Locks of Love and am growing my hair a third time for them but I've never participated in a fund raiser.)

Question: Do yo have a favorite "quiet place" to go to or do your carry your serenity inside you at all times?

Alaine said...

Steven, you have a most wonderful countenance and your goodness shines from your eyes.

An admirable thing to do for such a worthy cause. We do the same here; once a year we see a lot more bald people!

Mother brown, Father blue, me green also!

Your lovely children are so fortunate to have such a Father!


Dan Gurney said...

Since you opened the door to questions, I'd like to ask why you so seldom find the shift key? Do you use capitalization in your work as a teacher?

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Hi Steven: A wonderful way to make a contribution to finding a cure for cancer!

Based on a previous commenters question, my question is would you be willing to explain to our American friends that not all Canadians say 'bruvver' for brother? :)

steven said...

hello pauline - i admire you deeply for donating your hair. that takes tremendous courage! i don't carry serenity with me at all times. i can find it any time but it's not a location or somewhere i could identify. it's a state. i can enter it at will. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hello alaine - thankyou for your very generous comment! there are quite a few green-eyed bloggers with parents whose eyes would suggest another colour should show up. hmmmm. i'll post some pictures in the spring of 2010 when next i'm bald. see how much the school year has aged me by then!!!! have a lovely day in oz! steven

steven said...

ahh dan - i mark my student's work looking for capitals and the absence is always an opportunity for more teaching. when i set up the golden fish i decided on a few things and one of them was that i would use the two pointer fingers i type with exclusively. no oter fingers pressing down on any other keys. i also always loved the flow of ee cumming's work when it was written in lowercase. that's all it is. i've had comments from some about how irksome it is to read. i like it. have a peaceful evening dan! steven

steven said...

yes bonnie - for my american and australian and new zealand and dutch and german and french and italian readers ( sorry if i missed anyone) it's how i would say "brother" if i lived in the part of england i was born in and if my education had stopped at a certain point. it's a point of affection i share with my brother to name him so. canadians say brother. just like americans. have a lovely evening. steven

Liza said...

generous is your soul
kind is your heart
and bald is your head! lol
You are a beacon!
I like the scene behind you in your photograph as well.
You have a lovely family.

steven said...

hey liza - thanks for the wordsup and the scenes - well one's in my living room area and the shots of my boys and girl are in front of golden fish world headquarters!!!! thanks for the comment about my little family. i love them - and i like them as well!!!! steven