Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
by staff writer
Ariel Gordon, Poet
If your house were on fire, heaven forbid, what's the one item contained within that you would try to take with you? (People, pets and computers not included.)
OK, according to these parameters my poems are backed-up off-site (aren't I clever!) and my daughter's fish are sloshing around in a fireman's helmet. So what would I try to take with...you know, I can't think of a single thing. I mean, I like my things, but there isn't anything that isn't replaceable. (And think of how fun it would be to replace everything, once the shock of it all vanishing simultaneously had subsided!)
What's the one clothing/fashion item you can't live without?
Scarves. Not woolen winter scarves, but those flouncy bits of fabric you tie around your neck in elaborate ways. They're useful pieces when you're a child of the matchy-matchy '80s.
What's your favourite knick-knack and why?
While on book tour a few years ago, we did a reading in Edmonton at a community college. We were a few minutes early, so Regina poet Tracy Hamon and I browsed the campus bookstore. I found a wooden hand with jointed fingers that I believe was meant for the college's art students, hands being generally very hard to draw. I like to fiddle with it when I'm writing. (It only bothers me a very little bit that the thumb isn't anatomically correct...)
What's the oldest thing you own?
I'm not sure if it's the oldest thing I own, but I've been intrigued of late with my maternal grandfather's U.K. driver's licence. It's an elegant little red booklet, rather unlike our laminated cards, that records that he took out the licence in 1934 and renewed it twice. He was apparently caught "driving in a built-up area at a speed exceeding 30 miles per hour" in July 1937 and fined £20.
My grandfather became a spy under Sir William Stephenson after the Second World War broke out and was required to change his name so as to protect relatives in Europe, so it's sort of startling to see his original name on the licence.
Describe your most beloved piece of furniture.
I hesitate to use the word "beloved" when describing furniture, but I probably spend the most time with our couch/loveseat, which are upholstered in a crazy '70s print that is mostly triangles and flowers. We inherited them from my partner's parents when we bought our first house. They only had the one child, so, like most of the items in their house, the couch and loveseat looked virtually unused when we got them. A few years ago, instead of reupholstering, we re-foamed.
Is there an edible item we'll always find in your pantry or fridge?
My item is a three-for-the-price-of-one, in grand old Winnipeg style: teabags and sugar in the pantry and cream in the fridge. Together, they make hot, sweet milky tea: workingman's tea. Which saves my life regularly...