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"It's said of some novels that they beg to be filmed. The pictures Friesen makes are a cinematographer's dream..." Jim Bartley, Toronto Globe and Mail

Universal Disorder, Reviewed in the Vancouver Sun:

a "work of glittering brilliance and heart scalding grief"

"richly complex and moving"

"make no mistake, while Friesen is working with profoundly tragic elements of human experience here — guilt, loss, madness and dread — she always gets the joke."

"This is a remarkably well crafted and moving novel. Highly recommended."

-Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun. Read the whole review here.

Universal Disorder



What a thing to appear on his call display: a ghost calling.

"Nine," he says, as if he's able to stand behind her in the street and whisper her names: Seraphina--little angel--Jae. As if he could reach out and smooth his thumb up through her hair, the soft crewcut revealing the blue fleur-de-lys tattooed on the back of her scalp.

Imagine the system that gave it to her without knowing how exquisite it was; the first three digits add up to 9; the last four to 27, and two plus seven is 9, so the whole number is divisible by 9.

Nine is so beautiful, so neatly three 3s, the first truly odd number, the first oddity other than one... I... me, myself, that self-obsessed simpleton.

But it can't be. She must have given up that number shortly after he measured the space-time between his skin and hers, and found the distance unbearable.

Ten years ago calling. Really?

How old is he?

He walks to the bathroom, and lifts his heavy gaze to the mirror as if he's moving through water. Only the eyes are familiar, a blue of too much depth, staring through a nebulous tangle of hair. The stranger in the mirror lifts his hands; it's terrifying to feel those hands on his face.

He is the ghost--the shattered one--these eyes, these hands, these feet that managed to stumble out of the psyche ward.

Ten years ago, when he lost her, he lost himself.

Revisionary: An Exhibition Blog:

Unholy Ceiling

As the Italians say, Santo Cielo: Sainted sky: Good Heavens.

The opposite would be a devilish ceiling? Demonic roof?

Unholy ceiling?

Holy cow.

My friend Lorne went up to do the gutters and told me there were soft spots in my roof.

I had never been in my attic before. I trembled with trepidation… I treppled with trembilation… and found a whole bunch of other things to do first.

By the time I got up the courage and the ladder and had a look, it was hotter than Hades up there.

The field of blown Fiberglas pink had craters in it. The plywood sheathing looked black, and in some places, weirdly white, and de-laminating, and not even plywood but sagging chipboard in places, and I could touch the tarpaper under the shingles. There were furnace pipes, air ducts, and a big square thing with holes in it that looked like it was supposed to be connected to the ducts, but wasn’t, and wasn’t even plugged in. It loomed beside the trap door.

As if someone had tried to hurl it through and found it didn’t fit.

I started reading up on attics and how they were supposed to work… and ventilation, and air sealing and insulation… and stuff.

I had an open mind: so open it was completely wide-eyed empty.

I kept gophering my head up into Hades, thinking Really? You’re kidding! Uh-oh

I’d been living in my house for ten years, and there were these ‘vents’ in my ceiling that I’d been told were doing whatever they were supposed to be doing as houses got on with the business of being houses.


They were part of an old forced-air furnace that had been abandoned. The ducts had been left open to the hellish air in the summer, and frozen air (from an even lower circles of Dante’s Hell) in the winter, and letting all our cooking and shower steam rot the roof.

They had to go.

Speaking of Dante’s version of Hell, it really holds your attention.

When you get down to the frozen parts, the screaming sinners are driven by demons over the ice, who are kicking and tripping over the heads of other sinners frozen up to their necks in the ice, some of them being cannibalized by the sinner frozen behind them, and forced, between kicks in the head, to gnaw on whoever happened to be jammed in front of them.

And good old Satan is frozen right in the middle, the height of… nine Friesian men? They were tallest in Europe at Dante’s time. And we Friesens are still pretty tall.

Holy cow.

I’m avoiding my attic again.

The building inspector said she’d never been so uncomfortable on a roof and that no one should go up there because they might fall right through. She said I needed a new roof and new sheathing and the bathroom fan’s vent was just gushing straight up into the attic and report was 101 pages long.

Diabolico Cielo. Devilish Sky. Devilish Ceiling. Devil’s Heaven.

Low clouds are called a low ceiling if you happen to be flying that way.

My ceiling was Swiss cheese with hollow demon octopus tentacles arching, twisting, and diving in the pink ocean of Fiberglas pink above me.

What was I going to do? What was I going to do first? Who was going to do it?

Who would do it properly when presumably proper people did this poo-poo in the primo place?

Say the last two lines again and again really really really really fast.

Okay, I was panicking; you do when the roof over your head might fall in.

All six of those vents in my ceiling would have to be blocked up. It might be good if that was done first, so when all hell broke loose up the ladder, less fluffy pink demon crap would fall down.


I felt I had to do something as I talked to roofers, venters, insulators, and imagined myself spending more and more money.

Monkey had to learn a new trick.

From Youtube.

How to fill 5 inch holes in drywall.

It had to be easier than photo-realism in oils. Or frescoing the Sistine Chapel Ceiling.

Unfortunately, the dumpster dive to get the small amount of drywall I needed was unsuccessful, as I needed the thicker fire-wall type stuff for the ceiling.

I got ready to make a horrible mess all over the house. I removed the vents, shoved the ducts up out of the way, and dealt with the pink spun-demon-glass gobbing down as I sawed the round holes into even bigger square holes.

I then fed small boards through the holes in the ceiling so they lay in the attic, screwed them into place, and attached my drywall patches and tape.

Then came the mud and spray-spackle and paint…

It all took me about a week, but Dante’s Inferno is still up there, and the professionals need to come in and do a lot of damage before things get better.

What I have is still not Santo Cielo, ‘Good Heavens,’ because now it’s an Unholy Ceiling.

It’s not Michelangelo, but high enough to get a kink in my neck.

Read more Revisionary...


See my Reading and Interview with Portal Magazine's Joe Enns here on Youtube:

enjoy some older

Readings and Interviews