Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

June 6, 2010

Read opening bits of Manfacturing Consent, found handy-dandy as ever on the side of the road. Side of road is providing amply these days. After I read the first few paras was left with this daunting sense of Manfacturing Content and what have I manufactured myself… far too much attention on male writers!

It is a source of national shame that Helen Potrebenko’s Sometimes They Sang is out of print and remains so. It should also be a source of major feminist agitation! An agitation that would heave it back onto the page! Someday I will be in position I hope to do something about it. This slim novel must be back in palms. It’s unique in it’s rural -urban considering and the woman is looking for a job. We live in a province with a turbulent labour history and where is it on the page? People are exasperated this very minute searching for jobs and they’ll search even harder in their fiction to find someone engaged in such a task.

Éilís Ní Dhuibhne is another writer whose work I should have written about.

Betty Lambert’s novel Crossings is another novel that should be revisited and I’d like to do an event that would bring some women together to revisit it and consider it today.

One of the challenges of writing such pieces is where to place them. It is becoming particularly woeful in Canada to find outlets.

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I am excited to be collaborating with a visual artist on a performance piece for the autumn. Today we had our first meeting to discuss ideas and it was an inspired and buzzing exchange.


May 14, 2010

LRB: On thanatophobia and Vancouver

My first blog contribution to the London Review of Books Blog can be read here:

Things to Do in Vancouver When You’re Dead

A Saturday morning, the first in my 40th year, I’m at the Mountain View Cemetery for ‘The Final Disposition Forum: De-Mystifying Death, Funerals, Cemeteries and Ceremonies’. I’ve come to face my fear of being buried in Vancouver, where I’ve lived for the past decade. I arrive late, the film A Family Undertaking has already started. On screen a set of cold-looking turned-out feet. The acoustics are terrible. But the feet are a good set, the ubiquitous final set. I am reassured, when my moment comes, I too will have a set of absolutely dead feet.

May 13, 2010

BC Provincial Govt in its greatest hour has cut funding to children’s dental check ups and increased funding to treatment. So rather than prevent kids needing dental work with twice yearly checkups they are now going to pay for the cavities and root canals induced by the lack of check up and cleaning. Who exactly do these people consult when they come up with such mind boondadoodle ideas?

This impacts most the children who live in poverty, as their diets affect their dental health. It’s curious how little word and complaint there’s been about it. One piece in the Globe quoting the Strathcona Clinic.

It’s all very stupid because if you could actually get the children into the chair, which it appeared under that program you could … that in itself was a great achievement.

February 5, 2010

contradiction

Today close to Main Street in Vancouver I noticed an obese white SUV 2010 Olympics car parked on one side of the road while opposite a wide and long line of people queueing for the food bank curled right around the community centre and down the alley.

One cancelling out the other.

The line moved eventually while the car did not.

The line had spirit, the car did not.

You cannot take a bite out of a car, but it can take a bite out of you. Curious that.

January 10, 2010

Just been gandering the Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy draft — a slightly surreal publication that appears to have confused itself with an ad for tourism rather than the “habitable” city. These odd lush photos of bright blue days, and people milling in these bright blue lives. Everything is just a bit too darn good-looking.

The illustrations designed to draw you away from the text, which provides little insight into how any of this growth will be actualized or strategized. Item 4.1 a single page dedicated to Affordable Housing strategy is basically a bunch of paragraphs that tell us nothing, other than reminded me a unit or two of housing could have been built off the proceeds of this graphic design pamphlet budget. But the part that seemed plain bonkers was on the next page (so essentially the same viewing page if you’re looking online or close enough to confuse…) is a photograph of are brand new million dollar houses beside 16th and Cambie!  It seemed to infer by its proximity the kind of delusion that is the very reason we have so little affordable housing.

The marvelous thing about affordable housing is sustaining it once you’ve built it and there’s never any strategy on that. Housing Co-ops increasingly cannot house the people they are intended for and who have barriers to housing due to onerous policies from CHMC, so in essence they’ve become a place where double income people go and live, to save for an astonishing down payment on an astonishing mortgage. The theory of mixed housing works well, until you’re in a room with people saving for a mortgage who have very little invested in where they are and will vote to increase rents for the most vulnerable residents who will actually be there once the others have exited to astonishing mortgage and barbecue land.

You could say there are two types of barriers now: barriers to housing full stop and barriers to a down payment. Unfortunately one has higher needs over the other and tends to last a great deal longer and leaves people on the street. The other is a pain of its own, but you don’t die from exposure as a result of it.