About Her

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Her suchness. ©2017 Mary Khan

I do not want to die… until I have faithfully made the most of my talent and cultivated the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown. -Käthe Kollwitz

Welcome, I am Mary.

I enjoy writing essays on poetries, poetics, and feminist philosophies as well as drawing self-portraits. And there is only one way to do these things: in time, and while listening to good Jazz. Every kind from every period, even if the 1950s and 1960s are essential.

Thank you Adrienne Rich, Michelle Cliff, Audre Lorde, and Beth Brant for your words and intellect. Thank you Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa for editing This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour in 1981. Thank you Joy Kogawa for your poetic use of flowers when writing Obasan that same year.

Thank you to the countless women who established independent bookstores and publishing houses transnationally during the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. I have the fondest memories of The Toronto Women’s Bookstore as well as Women in Print in Vancouver.

Thank you Joseph Mallord William Turner, Claude Monet, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Wassily Kandinsky, Alphonse Mucha, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Francis Bacon, Emily Carr, Käthe Kollwitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Amrita Sher-Gill, and Mark Rothko for your drawings and paintings.

Thank you Hetty Pettigrew for being the subject of Theodore Roussel’s The Reading Girl in 1886. I am grateful to all the female models of figurative paintings I have admired. Their work must be acknowledged and respected as much as the producers of the craft.

Now to Jazz.

You can tell the history of Jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker. -Miles Davis

Thank you Miles Davis for being at the forefront of musical possibility, you are my favourite. I heart your artwork too. Thank you Charlie Bird Parker for being the best of the best; for the sweetness and complexity of your instrument. Thank you Chet Baker for your subtle tones and for singing to me in English in 1954 and Italian in 1962. Thank you Bill Evans for your effortless fluidity while playing with Miles and Chet.

Thank you Billie Holiday for singing honestly and perfectly. And for wearing gardenias in your hair.

Thank you Thelonius Monk for changing the musical landscape of modern jazz. Thank you Charles Mingus for your relentless innovation and integrity. Thank you John Coltrane for recording Alabama in 1963 and being able to integrate light to the mind, heart, and spirit. Thank you Wayne Shorter for composing visual soundscapes and reimagining Nefertiti in 1967.

Thank you John Abercrombie for your haunting melodies and understated guitar playing on Sargasso Sea and the Gateway albums. Thank you Jaco Pastorius for making me cry with your intimate storytelling from Word of Mouth in 1981.

And thank you Louis Armstrong for walking into a recording studio in Chicago with your fellow five jazz instrumentalists on June 28, 1928 and altering the course of music history.

My dream is to create self portraits until I am 100 years old, and then donate the collection to an art, jazz, and/or feminist archive for future studies in life writing.

This is she.

A line isn’t wrong until you actually put the next one down. Music is the same way…you don’t make bad notes. The note next to the one that you think is bad, corrects the one in front. -Miles Davis on drawing, music, and life decisions