Monday, April 27, 2009

inHERview: dar

after receiving dar's responses to my inHERview - in word & image - i wrote her a little note with these words:

"dar*, to sit and read and receive your words (& images!) - your truth, your joy, your journey - feels to me like sitting at the feet of a guru, a goddess. you bring something eternal in all that you communicate - a deep wisdom - capturing who i believe we all are at the core - whole, lightFULL beings...i deeply, deeply honor & bow to you."

i can't think of a better way to introduce dar & this inHERview...

Who are you?

i am just a girl pretending to be a woman. i grew up poor on the wrong side of the tracks in a small town with a sister who had a severe form of cerebral palsy and a brother who has a severe form of dyslexia. i was annoyingly normal (well if normal is being able to do a catheter by the age of 12) and filled with guilt but luckily i was surrounded by love and books and encouragement and i took out a lot of my angst with exercise, poetry, acting, writing, drawings, my little camera and big dreams.

i am a published photographer and poet and i live with my musician (he's a drummer) husband and sports minded (really into basketball) son in the diverse landscape of western canada. i have an english literature degree and a secondary education degree and currently work as a project coordinator full time during the week and work with my husband as a wedding and lifestyle photographer on weekends.

i am grateful for: family, the light that casts beauty across shadows, music that lifts emotions, a little house and garden filled with colour and love, friends and inspirations, the beauty of nature, the ocean's cold spray, the soft barnacle skin of the grey whale and the possibilities that exist in life.

Where can we find you?

these days, you can find me wandering around my beautiful old quirky neighbourhood with my camera in hand, swimming at the pool, running through tree lined paths and swooshing down paths on my bike or hiking through the snow melt of spring's beauty ... or ... i suppose you can find bits of me on the internet ...

collaborations ~ because i love working with others: ~ its all about the canadian girls ~ kirsten (; maddie (; jaime (; and i (

jen ( and i used to do a collaboration, 'shared moments', at but we are starting a new collaboration the first weekend in may called 'the same but different'.

i sell some stuff on etsy at and polaroid girls has a new etsy shoppe at stay tuned for a 'the four' etsy shoppe, coming soon as we hope to raise some money for future offline endeavours.

What is your motto for living? Or, what's on the bumper sticker of your life?

i think i have a lot of mottos for living but honestly, if i had to sum it up, i would say dream big and live large, never give up hope and always love. yup. guess i threw a few in there, hee hee.

How do you spend your days?

because i work full time and have a pretty demanding career my days are spent sitting at a desk crunching numbers, writing stuff, shuffling papers and doodling in boardrooms. i'm lucky that i have a wall of windows to my right overlooking our city's river valley so i can watch the water flow and the trees change with the seasons. i have a love/hate relationship with my job ... i love that it challenges me and pays for my life and allows me to have a house in a good neighbourhood close to downtown and feeds my obsessive compulsive collection of cameras. i have 8 different polaroid cameras and a film full of polaroid; somewhere in the neigbourhood of 20 other film cameras and we own 7 different digital cameras and i don't even want to talk about the lenses and camera bags and tripods and lights and other accessories. when i feel down about my job, i take out one of my cameras and go shooting and i realize that its all okay. for now. my husband works for an independent radio station as a sound dude and together we have a plan, to someday quit our day jobs and live solely on our creative endeavours. we're working on it, dreaming large and watching cool things happen.

How do you spend your nights?

a typical night looks something like this for me: bike home, go for a run, cook dinner, sit down and eat as a family (when we can), drive my son to basketball, go swimming, pick my son up from basketball, process photos from the weekend or the day because i always have at least one camera with me, write in my journal, if its april which it currently is ~ write a poem and post said poem, spend some time laughing and catching up with each other, snuggle with my husband on the couch and watch a show or a movie, read a bit and then sleep. of course there are variations because some nights there are rehearsals in our basement so the house is flooded with music (i love those nights) and i find it a good time to write or make jewelry, some nights we have basketball games or friends or other assorted events. its always busy but mostly fun.

How do you spend your weekends?

weekends are photography work days so if we have a shoot, it usually falls on a weekend and if we don't have a shoot, we usually spend a chunk of time going out and shooting especially now that it has warmed up. we spend a few hours as a family doing a massive clean of the house since we don't have much time during the week for such things. now that it is spring, we spend a few hours out in the yard gardening and doing general yard work, we typically do this as a family as well. this spring and summer we are doing a few renovations around the house, painting out the trim, new windows in the basement, painting out the basement so these are all weekend projects as well. in the cold dark winter months, i spend a lot of time reading, playing with paints on canvas, writing, making jewelry and contemplating the relax. spring and summer tend to be filled with a lot of activity, road trips and get togethers with friends and family, outdoor activities like bike trips and canoeing, camping (because we love sleeping in a tent) and swimming. we go to a lot of folk festivals and outdoor concerts, some my husband plays and some we just go to hang out and be hippy like for the weekend. i always take a ton of photos because there is so much more light.

How do you define your tribe? Who is a part of your tribe?
its funny because i am not a big fan of the word tribe. funny because i am metis (my grandmother was cree indian) and actually have a tribe i suppose but i don't know, the word tribe feels awfully exclusive to me and that makes me slightly uncomfortable. i grew up always feeling like an outsider and the older i got, the more of a fringe dweller i became. i define fringe dweller as someone who can move in and out of different groups of people but never really belongs to one 'group'. this was true in high school and university and well, it has kind of stayed true in my life. i have a lot of friends but i don't really feel like i have a core group of friends that i could tell you are a part of my tribe. that said, i love people, oh my gosh, i so love people and my friend maddie wrote something about me that was the best compliment ever and kind of defines how i strive to be ... i'm going to quote her here,

"My effervescent friend darlene kreutzer took this polaroid of me when I went to her hotel to pick her up for dinner. Darlene is a true light~filled soul. She is warm and intelligent, vastly, endlessly creative and funny funny funny! What endears me to her the most perhaps is I am amazed how she seems to have an bottomless supply of love and generosity to share with all her kindred friends.

Darlene has receiving arms and is the best listener (and advice giver) I have ever met:) Oh! and when you are with her in a group of friends she has that incredibly rare ability to make everyone feel included, cherished and delightful:)

Oh and one more thing. She has the cutest laugh. Tee~hee!

She actually 'tee~hee's for real'. Honest she does!" (
the part that makes me smile large is when she says that i have a rare ability to make everyone feel included, cherished and delightful ... because honestly, i think everyone should feel included, cherished and delightful and so if i have a tribe, i would hope it would include everyone i know, all of my family and everyone i have yet to meet. my tribe is humanity. okay, when i think about it like that, i am comfortable with the word tribe.

thanks gem, for allowing me to figure this out, for asking this question and gently forcing me to think about it.

What makes your heart sing?

that i get to live and breathe everyday in this world of ours and everyday i get to make choices and learn and grow and change and live and breathe some more.

What do you care about?

i care about people as individuals. i care about our earth and nature and the water that flows outside my window. i care about the sky and freedom and choice. i care about helping others to feel good about themselves and their life choices. i care about mental health and poverty and the homeless. i care about wellness and health. i care about beauty and the choice to see the world through that lens and to put out kindness and beauty and hope. i care about children and babies and the soft lines of us all.

What nourishes you?

the heart joy of good friendships, the soul peace of meditation, the strength and bliss i find in running, the happiness of losing myself in the creative process, love. love nourishes me.

Where and/or when do you feel most at home?

three years ago, we bought our first house. we bought our house shortly after our twins had died and we moved in to this little house built in 1945 with its coved ceilings and thick plaster walls, its fir moldings and green gold rugs and we immediately ripped up the rugs to reveal maple wood flooring beneath, we painted the walls in bright bold colours, greens and yellows and filled it with art and photography. our living room is a large room filled with windows, most of them with no curtains, we have filmy see through white curtains on the front windows so we can see the big towering elm trees that line our street. these days, i feel most at home when i am in that room curled up watching the way the sun dances shadows and floods light across the floorboards, turning the yellow green paint into the sun as i breathe in a semblance of myself. our house is a bit eclectic in its colour choice and artwork but i love it when people come over and say how strangely relaxing it is and how much it feels like us. we have even had guests fall asleep in that living room and i take that as a huge compliment.

What is one question (in your life/journey) you are currently answering?

the one question in my life/journey that i am currently answering is how do i fully let go of my anger in a way that honours my right to be angry when it is warranted but doesn't lash out at others. i am working on it and finding that meditation and running helps but it is something that i want to explore me, the emotion of anger. i am figuring out that for me anger is usually more about pain, feeling hurt. i am trying to learn how to allow myself to feel hurt instead of masking it behind the emotion of anger and trying to understand what my anger stems from when i find it bubbling up. does this make sense?

What dream are you dreaming right now?

i am dreaming about photography projects and traveling across the globe. there is still so much that i want to do and see and experience and i feel like i am starting a period in my life that allows for that, for traveling. i recently went to portland, oregon to stay with a friend and it was so beautiful there, both in her house and in that gorgeous city. this fall, i am going to new hampshire to attend squam (squeeeee) and then staying in new jersey with a friend for the week following. i have always dreamed of going to new york city and i am so excited that i get to explore it with people i love. i am dreaming about that and about all the other places i have yet to plan for.

What are you celebrating right now?

i am celebrating the fact that i am going back to one of my first loves, teaching and that the beautiful liz has created such wonderful retreats and that i get to be a part of her be present retreats, ... i am so excited to be teaching again and with such talented women in such an amazing location. how lucky am i. i know it is going to be an absolute amazing experience and that everyone involved from the teachers to the students are going to get so much out of it. it has ignited a spark in me and i am pursuing other teaching opportunities again. i hadn't realized how much i missed teaching until the opportunity presented itself. i love that about life.

How do you define joy?

joy for me is that feeling i get inside when smiles come easily and there is a sense of peace and unity with all parts of myself.

i feel joy a lot actually. when people first meet me, they always comment on how much light i exude and how much happiness and joy they feel from me and when they get to know me they find it strange that i have such a capacity for joy when i have had so much tragedy in my life. i think, for me, its because i fully honour those dark moments and i cherish the moments i have had amidst the losses and i am grateful for every experience i have had even the ones that had me staring at the wrong end of a gun barrel or had me bleeding out my pain because they are all a part of what makes up the landscape of my journey, my life and i love my life and i appreciate so much where i am at, what i have, the beauty that surrounds me and the fact that there are people in this life that absolutely love me, just me, just the way i am. to be loved like that is so huge and so beautiful and so incredibly joyous!

Tell me 3 playFULL things about you...

1. i am a giggler and i laugh a lot, i love that about me.
2. i am in constant movement, i twirl and talk with my hands and my face is in constant motion. apparently, i make some hilarious faces when i am forced into stillness. i like to cross my eyes and make children giggle.
3. i make up words all the time and am not adverse to using sound effects to convey meaning. i refuse to be limited by language and because i learned most of my words from books, i constantly pronounce them wrong (hmmm, maybe that is more quirky than playful, tee hee).

What does spring mean to you?

most of spring means death. i don't mean that in a dark, despairing, i only wear black kind of way. but almost everyone i have ever loved who has died, has died in the spring. its true. three of them in april (my sister, my two twin sons). also where i live, spring means the death of winter in a big way ~ we still have snow in the spring, it has only just recently melted away revealing a ton of garbage everywhere and brown brown brown which in certain lights looks quite beautifully golden toned but its still brown. i look out my cubicle window as i type this and i see the brown of the river, the brown trees, the brown grass. there are little flecks of green sprouting in the ground and there are buds on the the trees, not yet green but am looking forward to the explosion. its not safe to put in 'the garden' until the may long weekend which is a good month from now and practically the end of spring. so spring means death but in that hopeful way, the way that allows me to grieve and honour my loves and move forward with hope as the light becomes longer and longer and eventually the darkness nearly disappears. the beautiful thing about living in a northern climate is that while our winters are filled with darkness, springtime rolls into a time when there is so much light and only a hint of darkness. i am looking foward to solstice when i go a few hours north to the home of my childhood where that night never gets dark, only a splattering of dusk.

If you were to "tell the world just one thing" (as Jewel sings) - what would that "one thing" be?

always belief in the power of you


maddie said...

this moved me to tears

because you are so

t r u e

to you which makes you
open to

receive the universe and
wrap your arms around everyone

when i am around you

and read your igniting words

it makes me feel

c o u r a g e


l o v e

and the big big big


I LOVED this interview

(beautiful searching questions)

and I LOVE you:)

maddie said...


and i am going to read this
about a hundred times

because there is so much

so so so much wisdom and
love in here

aliceinparis said...

What a wonderful interview with a charming and delightful gal!

Anonymous said...

oooh, gem, thank you for doing these inHERviews. so bright!
it's nice to meet you through this, darlene. . . and i will say a proper hello come squam-y september.
love that you have people falling asleep in your magical living room! that IS the ultimate compliment.

liz elayne lamoreux said...

i am soaking up every word and image of this interview.
dar - i adore you, you beautiful incredible woman.

gem - i am so glad you generously share these pieces of others here in your space. thanks for getting it.

Schmoops said...

dar, i love you so much and i can't wait to body tackle you in september.

i love what you wrote about the word tribe, i feel the exact same as you.

loved reading this, and will again and again.