Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On the Edge of the World

This past weekend I went to Victoria to visit my friend and classmate Thea. She has a condo right on the beach and I have four day weekends: a recipe for a perfect weekend, is it not? I went to Victoria twice last semester, and both times it rained for the entirety of my stay. This time, it was gross and grey on the ferry over on Thursday, but by noon on Friday the sun decided to give me a break and finally proved that it isbeautiful in Victoria.

My original reason for going to Victoria last weekend was an event being held at the University of Victoria on Thursday night. The Faculty of Education was showing the Canadian premier of the documentary Library of the Early Mind: A grown up look at children's literature. Thea and I were the only ones who made it to the showing from our MACL program, and I'm so glad we did. Filmmakers Edward J. Delaney and Steven Withrow interviewed children's book authors, illustrators, publishers, and librarians and asked questions about every aspect of Kid Lit: what it teaches children, how it's written, the process of publishing children's book, and the challenges of the content.

It was a great film. Highlights include an interview from Daniel Handler in which he explains how he created his character/pen name Lemony Snicket (he would find the blandest articles that were entirely uncontroversial in the most middling newspapers and write outraged rebuttals demanding an apology as the intolerant Lemony Snicket); an interview with the tranquil and astounding illustrator Jerry Pinkney; and the remarkable story behind David Small's (of Imogene's Antlers fame) graphic novel Stitches.

One of the greatest achievements of the film, though, is that it completely indulges the mid-twentys to late-fifty-year old audience. It was so well crafted to gauge a reaction from the viewers. First, an author or illustrator would begin speaking on whatever topic, and after a few seconds their name would come up, and after another few seconds, their claim to fame would appear underneath it. It was so interesting to listen to the audible reaction as "Natalie Babbitt, author of Tuck Everlasting" appeared on the screen. No one knew who she was to look at, but as soon as the title of her book scrolled up on the righthand side of the screen, there were sighs, gasps, and whispers of "I love that book!" from across the auditorium (myself included).

On Friday afternoon, Thea taught me how to play squash. She is an avid player, to put it mildly, and a great teacher. I absolutely loved it so we booked the court again for Saturday. Thea told her parents that I was "really good," which we learned was a falsehood the next day. I completely forgot (or never knew?) how to serve, so I was an awkward bumbling mess on the court. God bless Thea and her patience. In any case, I still had a great time AND a great workout. Muscles I had clearly never used before, and therefore didn't know I had, hurt, and I could barely move on Sunday morning. I'm planning on playing again, though, so I can challenge my dad to a game when I'm home and destroy him. Except in a nice, loving way


Since the weekend decided to be warm, sunny, and delicious, Thea and I drove along the coast. It was absolutely breathtaking. Firstly, it was 21 January and there was no snow, and I was walking around in a light rain coat. The waves were crashing just enough to make that great sound of ocean running into rock and then retreating. The sun was just peeking through a few low clouds, and I was seriously blown away. It is so strange and wonderful and profound that in less than a month, I have touched both the Pacific and the Atlantic. I am the embodiment of coast to coast. I have stood on both edges of the world (metaphorically, of course).

Thea and I spent the rest of the weekend cooking, exploring downtown Victoria, and watchingGlee. We stopped into this fantastic used and antiquarian bookstore called Grafton Book Shop. I found a cheap copy of Kit Pearson's A Handful of Time, and this amazing set of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. They were a 1946 special edition, and they have full coloured frontispieces and illustrations. They were so beautiful and so cheap that I absolutely had to have them for my collection. *geeking out*

I'm back in the 'Couv now and forcing myself to be proactive with my school work. My Canadian Children's Literature course really inspires me, in that I, personally, am trying to understand what "Canada" means and how that can be applied to literature and art and food and all things that make a culture interesting. Based on my experience of moving from Newfoundland to British Columbia, I'm entitling one of my assignments "From Coast to Coast." I'm going to examine five Newfoundland children's books and five BC children's books; an homage to my past and to my present, as it were.

Jillz

PS - I've started adding labels to my posts. The inspiration for this largely came from this amazing mockery of Twilight. Now if you want to find posts where I talk about, say, weather, you can click on "winter isn't really winter on the west coast" and you'll find all those blogs. It's not really of much use, since they're mostly to make myself laugh, but if you ever want to, for some unfathomable reason, find a collection of where I geek out, you have that ability. You're welcome.

1 comment:

Aunt Janis said...

" I love that blog !! " sigh, gasp sputter..............I'm so glad to hear you sounding so happy.Hugs from the edge of the world,Auntie J