Writing in progress. Please hold.

Dear blog,

I am itching to write about how considering dystopias may be a fruitful way to map utopian changes in actual reality, and how this conversation is starting to emerge out there and create a shift in the nature of social dreaming, and in artful thinking.

I am anxious to write about the advent of Occupy’s spring resurfacing, Occupy 2.0, and to discuss an intelligent documentary I listened to on the CBC yesterday that engaged notions of branding, fear, horizontal democracy, and process.

I am eager to get started on a book about my late father-in-law and his excellent life, and the unstoppable grief of having lost him, and the ongoing intensity of having had him, and having him still, so close. (There are so many books to write.)

I am aching and thirsty to express myself with backward bending in between every word, every page, every sleep, and every bottle of wine.

I really really need to weed the garden.

Here is what I am doing.

This is the pretty little, strange and lovely, problematic enigmatic text at the heart of it all. It is not quite autobiography, creative non-fiction, travel writing, explorer narrative, memoir. It is not quite a picture of the coast that once was. It is not quite an ethnography of indigenous peoples who did not slip into the land of the past. It is not quite a critique of the colonial encounter. It is not quite an analogue of how to come to belong to this place. It is not quite appropriate. It is not quite unnecessary.

Since its first Canadian edition (1968), The Curve of Time has remained in print, through three publishing houses and four editions, and has garnered a cultish following of locals, boaters, tourists, biographers, bloggers, and book lovers, though it has not yet received scholarly critical attention. Capi died sometime in the night in September 1961 while sitting in her kitchen at her typewriter composing a letter to her first son. If I go by the thoughts expressed in her book, then maybe she understands that the book lives, and maybe she is looking over my shoulder muttering about the words that I choose, my way of saying them out loud as I type, the narcissism of it all, and her empathy and annoyance at how hard it is to get it right.

The controversial term magic realism when used to talk about literature normally means you are talking about fiction, but I am talking about the ways in which Blanchet writes like fiction, and the magical real that she experiences in the tension and suspension between her phenomenological intimacies with the landscape (as it were) and her formidable aptitude, intellect, and attitude, and the postcolonial strategy for unveiling the colonial force that is present in, and challenged in, the book.

Reception of The Curve of Time feathers finely out and out until the ones affected cannot always trace it back, and they do not always know why they came to feel and see the way they do. This place once was painted in doom, but commodified so thoroughly that now we all agree that it is the promised paradise. (There is not quite such a thing.) And you can go crazy. Capi shows in Geddes, but he thinks it came from Skogan, but Skogan told Andrew that when she read The Curve of Time she found a way to write about experiencing this place.

Let me paint you a picture. All of these landscapes are produced.

Including this one, a good place to write.

Maggie frequently fights in her dreams.

This is a bottle of my favourite wine. It is soooo good.

This is the tiger in the study. Now you know what he looks like.

This is a map of utopia. In the middle of the map is Cortes Island. On the left is Sutil Channel. On the right is Lewis Channel. One summer night circa 1929 at about 9:30 pm just as it was getting dark, the Caprice‘s little four-cylinder Kermath engine quit just as the boat rounded the northernmost tip of the island, that pointy bit there, coming up out of Lewis Channel. The cliffs go down steep into the water there and deny anchorage for quite a ways. So Capi got into the dinghy and rowed, towing the boat and the five children down into Von Donop, until she was satisfied that she could rest the oars, slack the tow line, wish her wide-eyed eldest daughter to sleep with the rest, lower the anchors, resolve to dismantle the engine tomorrow, and finally sleep.

And I leave you with this:

Every map,
Sir Wilde,
is worth looking at,
because every map is a map of utopia.

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6 Responses to Writing in progress. Please hold.

  1. clownonfire says:

    I’ll digress a tad today, so please bear with me…
    I think your comment on Dotty’s latest post was divine.
    That’s all. Now back to your post in a minute…
    Le Clown

  2. jasminembla says:

    Well I am being most forbearing but it is going to be splendid when you are free like a bird or an Occupy protester. For one thing, there is a whole world of weeding. For another, what about the perfect white heel? Is that a contradiction in terms?

    • owl says:

      I would neither weed nor protest (that is, if I thought I might need to run or charge or perform some other vigorous bodily demonstrations) in a perfect white heel, but I hope at least to feel free to change my mind on any account.

  3. worldtake says:

    Ah Alas!
    We either have to live with dystopia or dat one. could have sworn I wrote a blog on dystopia, but I can’t find it. Why not take a look through myBlog Blog — a narrative index of my blogs — and see if you can find it.


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