May 1, 2007

Long time no blog again. Sorry.

At the moment we’re hosting two Adventurers in Citizenship from Edmonton, Canadian girls of Taiwanese and Ukranian / Scottish / American descent, one of whom tells me that in her class at school nearly everyone is a first generation immigrant. This must make for interesting debates in history lessons. What’s interesting to me is that this multinational mix is the norm for these kids, therefore, in order to fit in, you must (paradoxically) be different. I find this a refreshing change from the schools I used to know where you had to be the same as the others in order to fit in.

I have so far failed to blog my attendance at the National Arts Centre’s preview of dance performances for the 2007-2008 season—a reception that took place on April 17th, where I saw an eclectic medley of dancers on screen: flamenco, classical, weird and provocative, Asian, Maori, acrobatic, Israeli, German and Belgian, and some that looked like people desperate to get out of their clothes. My friend and I then stayed on at the NAC to watch that evening’s performance at the theatre, Incendies by Wajdi Mouawd, in its English translation, Scorched, a play about the horrors of being a middle eastern refugee. In fact, the conclusion turned out to be so shocking that the audience, like the dramatis personae, was reduced to silence. The playwright’s message seems to be that in order to break the cycle of violence and retaliation traumatised people must be prepared to forgive the unforgivable, and the only way for that to happen is for them and us to look through the transparent ceiling (as he puts it) above and beyond psychoanalysis, towards the place where poetry is born: the poetry that unites us all.

I think Tony Harrison’s notorious poem, V (written in 1985), might have been saying something like this too. In a BBC interview this poet said

I have a pessimistic view of human history, but from day to day I have a sensual sense of the celebratory richness of existence, and sometimes it’s very hard to bring the one to the other, although sometimes you find that darkness is the best burnisher of light

Easter weekend here having been too wet for us to accomplish much, Chris and I took to the air the following weekend for a day and a night in North Bay, where the ice on Lake Nipissing this winter had been a good metre thick, so despite the advent of warm air, it still hadn’t melted away. Finches were singing all the way along the lake-front, however, and the crocuses were out. According to our taxi driver, North Bay is the 15th most desirable place to live in the whole of Canada… especially if you’re keen on fishing, I should think. We learned a lot about the available fish in those parts, walleye, muskie and pike, and especially a hybrid variety of trout that grows a pound a year, so if you catch a 23 year old, you’ll have enough fish flesh in your freezer to keep you fed for months.lakenipissing.jpg

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