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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

Upbeat Deadbeat

After his 5000 km road trip Dead Beat returns deadbeat but upbeat. Revisited the White Cat Bookstore in Saskatoon after an eight year break and found it hard to stop buying. Inventory to come.

Had finally got around to reading The Perfection of the Morning - An Apprenticeship in Nature by Sharon Butula (you didn’t need me to tell you that) and ended up beside her ranch. This was not planned. It coincided. But it was great to be in the landscape I had been reading so much about. Now, I have to tell you I have great reservations about this book. I know, I know, sacrilegious, but that’s how it is. More about that some other time. Anyway remember, I am the one who couldn’t finish The Life of Pi, through lack of interest and was quoted as such in in a Canadian newspaper - it was more a case of What’s Not on My Bedside Table although I was desperately trying to tell what was - Sherman Alexie actually - The Toughest Indian in the World. Anyways I lived through that.

In fact I had hoped that the dates of my trip might allow for a visit to Sage Hill Writer’s Retreat in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Took part in it some years ago on a Robert Kroetsch novel colloquium which was quite remarkable. Well let’s put it another way, Robert Kroetsch is quite remarkable. You didn’t have to be sitting down at the colloquium table to learn about the craft of writing. You could as easily be playing pool with him. Which in fact I did. I won the pool but lost hands down on the literary side. They have some great public readings there by the visiting writers, so I thought I might get the opportunity to call in on some old faces (not literally) and catch a reading. But I was out by a few days. The retreat had not yet begun. If I could have swung by a few days later, guess who’s reading I would have caught, yup the lady herself. Ms Butula.

Now wait for it. I arrived in Moose Jaw to discover that the Festival of Words was opening the day after I was to depart and guess who was to read there. Oh yes.

I know that Sharon would say this was not a coincidence and undoubtedly it was deigned to avoid the darkness of my spirit, but the fact is, despite my reservations, I liked a lot of the book and would dearly have loved to hear her read.

But read on there’s more.

Spent some time later in the Badlands, both the Saskatchewan ones and the Alberta ones. I love this landscape too. I am sure I am built from some of its dust. Anyway on the way home guess what springs from the shelves of the White Cat - Robert Kroetsch’s Badlands. This one I caught up with. My spirit shone brightly.


Anonymous said...

But you did find Mary?

Dead Beat said...

I discovered I was travelling with her all along.