Friday, August 16, 2013

Jack Hodgins Writing BC

I picked up a book by Jack Hodgins yesterday -- The Invention of the World --  and I am so impressed with his writing style. The man's a genius ... maestro of a gritty symphony ... the kind of writer that merges myth and reality by nailing truth and detail effortlessly ...  the kind of writer I aspire to be. I love it when I find a book like this. It's the kind of book you read out loud to yourself late into the night--in voices, in accents, in melodic whispers. And thank god, the man's prolific, cause when you find one book you like by a particular writer, you always crave more.

Frontier BC is jam-packed with colourful characters, real and imagined--who else would settle in a place thick with fog and trees and rocks and water, and not much else?--characters whose stories merged and intersected with the First Peoples and created this province. People came here searching for things: for utopia, or fast cash, for freedom, or land and power, or sometimes just plain love.  For example, meet an old woman who travels round Vancouver Island entering and winning nail-driving competitions:

"Madwoman Thomas was no less conspicuous than her rig. A tiny, round old woman with floating hair like a handful of white cloud, she kept her dainty feet in fur-trimmed rubbers and left her muscled arms exposed in sleeveless dresses all year round...She spent her time riding from place to place all over the island, standing up at the front of that donkey-pulled manure spreader while the rusted row of spreading-teeth turned constantly at the back end, stirring up nothing but air (14-15)".

Jack Hodgins taught writing at UVic until he retired and still occasionally gives writing workshops, but the thing about it is this: everything he's written teaches you something. All you really have to do is read.

1 comment:

linnea said...

I read one of his books in university; 'twas quite helpful. I think it was called A Passion for Narrative. Still have it if you want to borrow it when you return.

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