The works & sagas of author & performer Sapha Burnell

Beautiful Machines

The current & past musings of a working artist, author & poet, Vakker Maskiner (Beautiful Machines) is Sapha Burnell's call out to a creator's life in Canada, in the cosmos & in your heart. 

A Sense of Disjointed Place

The curious thing about being in an airport after midnight is the sensation that everything around you should be bustling. After the relative hustle of YVR (Vancouver International, to the uninitiated), the constant motion of Heathrow, landing in Toronto's Pearson International Airport was a lesson in slowing down. I arrived at the hour precisely before the UP Express trains stopped running for the night.

Leave it to this author to hitch up at Tim Hortons for a snack, coffee and FaceTime with the spouse and dogs I left behind. I missed my last possible train. What's an androgynous author to do in an empty airport? A barren landscape, some form of imaginary apocalyptic safe-zone? Every shop shuttered, the flow of passengers debarking a trickle, then frozen. Nonexistent. First thing: The sign of any millennial (a term I shudder to acknowledge as to my personhood) shone to my eyes. A comfortable 'leather' seat attached to a charging station. In plugged my electronic devices, my ear buds into waiting ears. The mundanity of this experience is realigning me with the characters of my current project: Son of Abel's sequel, The Book of Revels. What else will Delilah's bastard daughter do, while under Caleb's care, but yearn for a location with free wifi and ample electric current? It doesn't matter that they're both running from and chasing maddening mystical dangers. Lily needs the Twitter. She needs gps-based maps.

At one am, I found the end of a series of gate numbers, the last in the rows. In the middle of the floor was a plug. I dug under a row of seating, scrambling in my wool coat to plug in my tablet. The music, the sheer comfort of music.

The lull of familiar sound made possible a slumbering body cuddled on airport seats, hugging a 'Lou Vutton' from Thailand. The airport in Phuket smacked with Starbucks, panes of endless glass and a constant throng. My greatest luxury in these past hours has been the desertion of public space by everyone but me. But the lonely janitorial staff. But the gentleman in the next gate over curled up with his back against the wall, shirt over his head to combat the light.

I slept alone. I slept surrounded by comforting noise. I slept too little and it's catching up. Consuming me with an uneasy nostalgia for the past hours, where I met with Chuck for coffee, an Irish & Canadian Breakfast at a greasy spoon a few blocks from our hotel. We chatted about an author's sense of disjointed space, chewed the fat (words, not food) and sopped up runny eggs with soda bread (food, not words). Now we're back in the between time, before our rooms are ready. Before the National Council meetings take place. Before our next flight back to the space where my music brought me.

A sense of place.

Excuse me, I have a novel to write.