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August 7, 2010

on monday i travel to ireland to complete another leg of adventure for my summer.

i still haven’t totally digested my northern adventures yet, but what i can talk about is the concept of places and how they inspire. i find i go through phases – maybe this is just me, but i often find writing poetry about people to be the easier way of writing. however, this summer, i really found that the canadian north inspired me. this is surprising to me, because i’ve never been a fan of the pastoral writing, the pk page/walt whitman/annie dillard frenzied outdoors mania.

however, i found that being up north for a longer period of time, in a very isolated location, really influenced me.

i was working at a remote fishing lodge on kesgami lake.

there we go - i was 40 miles south of james bay, which is the tip of hudson's bay.

the lodge was only accessible via fly-in – we flew in on de haviland beaver float planes. if the weather was bad, there were no fly days – days on which we could not access any civilization. there was a staff of about 20, give or take, most of whom were my age or younger. we were up there for 9 weeks straight, working 7 days a week – long days. basically, all of the above were conditions that made the first part of my summer very intensive and very isolated. great, weird friendships were bred amongst the staff, and even with some of the guests, so we were not isolated in that regard, but we didn’t see highways, cars, fresh milk, soft toilet paper for more than 60 days.

i hadn’t brought my lap top up, trying to write by hand with pen and paper, but my parents eventually sent it up. thank goodness, because i have serious problems with the pen and paper method of writing. more on that in another post. i had meant to work on my thesis, which is so totally removed from the environment i was in.

rather, i found myself writing northern canadian poetry.

this startled me. maybe i am irreverent. i rarely have the urge to sit and reflect on natural beauty around me. am i jaded? i live in vancouver. i can see ocean and mountains from the hill that my apartment is on, but i don’t notice them anymore. i think, in a way, that it was the starkness of the north, the isolation, the lack of pollution – the fact that i felt more in touch with natural things up there because of the lack of city lights, car horns, etc.

now i travel off to ireland to try and kick start my thesis writing again. is this a bad method of writing? do established writers not do this?

do places inspire you?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Applethief permalink
    August 11, 2010 8:41 am

    I think it’s hard not to be inspired by your surroundings, especially if you are someone who is very much reflective by nature (or nurture?!)… but that takes time and energy. I think on some level our (north american) culture requires us to suppresses that innate desire to constantly reflect (mostly via consumerism)- the idea that somehow introspection and philosophy are grains counter to those of pleasure. So unless you are constantly aware, or circumstances force you to allow your self enough room for inspiration to surface, for pleasure to be interlaced with self-reflection it’s not always easy to do. Being somewhere new, or somewhere where you are isolated in one sense or another tends to help.

    Have you ever watched “Into the wild”?

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