Thursday, August 27, 2009

Back to Normal?

I few days have now past since my most recent award. The dust has now settled and things are getting back to normal around here. But really, what is normal? I have had to start work at 6:00am the past few mornings in an effort to push through a job this week so the manufacturing plant back in Ontario can build it next week. Ka-toosh! The whip is a-crackin' .

My sister arrived today, after a 3 day drive from London in her pick-up truck with her best friend and 3 whiny cats. She is making the move to be close to the rest of the clan and, of course, to find a job in this dicey economy. Nothing like a major change to jump-start ones life.

Now the "major change stuff" reminds me of a documentary I came across while flipping through the channels last night. Not sure if Bravo! in Canada shows the same stuff as elsewhere, but this was about the author W.P. Kinsella who wrote a number of collections of short stories and a few novels, mainly about life on the reservation for native people. He also had a following with his books about baseball. His first and most famous novel Shoeless Joe (1982) was adapted into the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams."

I can only paraphrase some of what was talked about. His early attempts at writing were met with cruel responses from publishers, basically telling him that he wasn't a writer. He worked as a government clerk, ran a pizza restaurant and drove a taxi. He attended the University of Victoria and received a Bachelor of Creative Writing in 1974 (at the age of 39). He earned a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa in 1978. At the time Shoeless Joe was published, Kinsella would have been 47 years old. I admire a man who stuck with his dream and didn't let the early setbacks deter him from achieving his goal.

I will attach the links to Wikipedia article here and to the Canadian Encyclopedia article here in case anyone wants to read a bit more about this author. One thing he did, though, that I didn't like was how he talked about other authors. He had given a talk at his old school and a person afterwards complimented him on his public speaking and generally being entertaining. He thanked them, and then went on to say that not all authors who give talks are entertaining. He specifically mentioned Canadian authors Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje as not being very entertaining while up on stage. Not very cool, I thought.
There were many who thought that the religious symbolism in Shoeless Joe and later, "Field of Dreams" implied that he was a religious man. He described himself as an atheist and thought that it was a credit to him that he could create this world within the story that was so convincing with its religious overtones. He said that he liked to put stuff like that in his stories as it kept the academic discussing it for a long time. Overall an interesting and somewhat controversial man. I would like to be a curmudgeonly author when I grow up.


Laura Eno said...

I don't think the word 'normal' applies to an author. :)

The dust has settled and you're still stuck with me too. Deal with it. I like it here.

katey said...

Curmudgeonly authors are the best-- they might say some crap that makes us roll our eyes and groan, but hey. At least he wasn't a hate-mongerer! Gotta respect a writer who keeps at it. Good reminder.

Rebecca Nazar said...

Margaret Atwood is one of my heroes. Great on the page, to hell with the stage is my thought.

Cate Gardner said...

Need to think up an award for Alan...

Here we go 'The Best Beard in the Blogverse.' Amen.

Helen Ginger said...

Yes, I think I would. But the problem is two-fold. I'm already curmudgeonly and I don't expect I'll ever grow up.

Straight From Hel

Alan W. Davidson said...

Laura, glad that you like it here! Guess that if I'm stuck with you, I'll just have to learn to take the punishment.

Katey, I certainly respect the man. I guess that he's one of those guys who 'sez it like it is'.

Rebecca, I think that you're totally right about being 'great on the page'. I know that I suck at public speaking and would embarass myself horribly. And I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read any of Atwood's book. Growing up, Mordecai Richler was my favourite Canadian novelist.

Cate, Ha, don't get me started on beard awards! Should have seen when I got back from travelling for 4 months. Mr. Shaggy, I was...

Helen, You're so polite on the internet. I've seen no sign of curmudgeonly. And never grow up, that's a great attitude.

K.C. Shaw said...

I'm concerned that you haven't been nominated for an award in the last twelve hours. I think you might be losing your touch. :)

I'm glad your sister is moving nearby. It's good to have family around.