Roadworkers – A Cautionary Tale

©2001 Marion Pennell

©2001 Marion Pennell

“Oh no, you were right! There’s an actual chain gang over there, that field before the intersection by the hedge, see??”

“Yup, Brian said they’d be a lot more visible as you get to the border.  We’ll see the camps too.  Who knew Plattsburgh would ever be so well known?”

Natalie shifted lower in her seat but still peered out the window.  “They’re all so young.  What do you think they did? Continue reading


Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I am not sure how old I was when I learned that quote, and understood it.  Early high school I think.  (In my neighbourhood, elementary was grade 1-6, and high school was 7-11.)

The ruling class, the privileged, the citizens of the Capitol if you like (Hunger Games) ride on the coat-tails of the power – and if they so choose – exploit and judge the underclass with freedom from social responsibility or consequence.

In Animal Farm the egalitarian animal dream breaks down and the pigs co-opt the puppies to raise them into a bloodthirsty obedient policing force. Once insulated from retaliation (the side with the teeth/guns wins), those who hold the leash choose the target. Continue reading

Free Bird

I have painted animals that are not in the wild, but in captivity.  I usually bring a sketchbook to a zoo.  In the 80s when my parents wintered in Florida (on the old people’s side, Pinellas Park, near St. Pete’s) I would use my school break to spend a week down there, and at least once per visit, I would go to Busch Gardens in Tampa and sketch all day.  

The most complete sketches are of alligators (they don’t move much) but I have favourite sketches that may not even be recognizable to most, yet I know they represented a challenge of drawing most are not aware of.  Capture the single most important line of all FIRST.  and so on.  It’s poetic to even try. Continue reading

No wonder I don’t trust authority

I hear there was an election in the U.S.A.
Before I starting watching the news, I read books about the ‘possible’ news.
I learned about the politics of immigration, the politics of authority, the politics of gender, and the politics of media and technology from great science fiction authors.  Most of these I read in my teens. I searched for the covers of the editions I read, as I remember them.
Strangely, I am still not sure of the cover of the 1984 I read.  That makes me feel manipulated.

Continue reading

Never Doubt The Truth

I love logic and mathematics.  I am also an artist. The spiritual and psychic truths I seek must also resonate with an internal logic for me to feel comfortable.

I dream a lot.  I always have.  I have many genres of dreams that I recognize.  I have had very few nightmares, such that I remember each one.  I have only one recurring dream, and once I broke the code, it rarely reappears.

©2005 Marion Pennell

©2005 Marion Pennell

But I have had a couple of dreams that “came true”. The first seems banal, but that just makes it the more plausible. Sometime around 1990, I had a dream about area code 417, which was silly, because in my job, in Canada, area code 416 is Toronto, and 418 is Quebec City.  

It was so nagging that I mentioned it at work, and nobody knew the city for area code 417. Later that morning, I got a call at work (customs brokerage at the time) from the office manager in Hamilton, Ontario.  She had seen my name on an interoffice list, and decided to call.  It seems she had followed me in my old job. Continue reading