“Spectacular!” “Inspiring!” Two words people used to describe my keynote speech at CANSCAIP’s Packaging Your Imagination conference last month. Pretty gratifying feedback!
You missed it? Fear not! I’m going to post the whole speech here at “Turning the Pages.”
“Sock Fluff” was my introduction to Loris Lesynski, back in the early 90s, before it was published by Annick Press, in Dirty Dog Boogie. A participant in a workshop led by my partner, Peter Carver, she had given him some of her work to read and he couldn’t resist showing it to me.
In recognition of whose shoes I would be stepping into today, I decided to call my talk “An Intimate Examination of Sock Fluff”. I am not a poet and I am not funny, so this will be a very different talk from what you would have enjoyed with Loris at the podium, but it’s my sincere hope that we’ll be treated to that experience at another Packaging Your Imagination conference in the not too distant future.
Sock fluff, as Loris’s poem suggests, is precious. It’s personal. And it’s revealing of character. Writers and illustrators are concerned, often, with character, along with other matters such as setting, plot, and so on. But when is the last time you examined your characters’ socks, or the fluff they produced?
Thick socks leave more fluff than thin ones. What do thick, multi-bright-coloured socks say about a person? Or thin pastel one with lace around the edges? Are your character’s socks arranged neatly in pairs in their drawer or thrown in helter-skelter?
I digress. This talk is about sock fluff. And today I plan to pull some out from between my toes, and let it reveal to you what it may, or may not, about what’s important to me, as a writer, what inspires me. Rest assured: the brown fuzzy stuff currently nestled between my toes will remain firmly tucked in. Today’s sock fluff will come through poems that have spoken to me at different points in my life.
Loris’s “Sock Fluff” – no matter that she works very hard at her craft – is a great reminder to me to be playful. Most of us come to writing (or illustrating) initially, because it’s fun. Some of us, in the face of the trials that the business of writing lays before us, lose sight, from time to time, of the fun of what we do. I hope today’s “intimate examination of sock fluff” through a dozen or so poems will help remind us of the fun to be had in what we do.