Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Fog followed rain

I must pause to record the first rainfall warning of the season last week. Perhaps two rainfall warnings or perhaps one that lasted 2 days. It was a relentless rain that fell. Grey on waking, grey on sleeping, lashing in between.

Hark today we are back with megawatty sun bright! But what came in between, what came by chance was eiderdown to the mind. Yesterday driving North in Washington there sat fog. By the side of the road fog. Small bowls of fog. I was tempted to call it rolling fog but it wasn’t rolling. It was sitting in a bowl-shaped-pudding fog.

I was puzzling out whether this was particular only to Washington State, when I found more patches of it sat identically on the side of the road once I crossed the border. Curiously though on the Canadian side it was more square-shaped. Are we therefore square to Washington’s pudding?!

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Teashops they are a changing. Yesterday I met my first ultra slick and swifto tea hustlers. Usually teashops have one man, bedraggled or reading a mystery novel at the back or a hung over student or a woman juggling the dishwasher and the tea selling. Not yesterday’s encounter. It was doubles tennis rebound tea selling. I have never seen so many people selling tea in such a small space. And selling tea swifter than the sample could traverse the tongue. So you’ll be wrapping that tea up and taking that tea home will you? Unfortunately the tea in question was sweetened and decorated beyond recognition — it tasted like tea-ish cool aid.

What can we deduce? The Venture Capitalists have landed on the tea leaf. Still enthusiasm for the leaf is never an entirely unhappy thing, just in this case a tad pressured and go easy on the sweetener.

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I faithfully disagree with Colm Tóibín’s point in his weekend Irish Times interview about tea in the novel. You can never have too much tea in a novel dude. Tea is the word. True progress will announce itself when beds come with built-in kettles. (along with my other unrelated but much belaboured desire for 24 hour swimming pools).

It is reading Gertrude Stein weather. It is reading The Good Anna weather and trying not to miss every occurrence of always or should that be all every always occurrence.

It should be noted that this is reading The Good Anna and reading Three Lives for the first time for me.

I love the circular nature of it. within which the circular nature of the women’s work, instruction, rebounds

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My tongue has been chasing a cup of tea all day that it has not yet landed in.

 

Malcolm Lowry’s Bravest Boat offers one of the better descriptions or encounters with Vancouver I’ve ever read. Really it’s astonishing to read those paragraphs and find within them both the past and resonance of the present.

Lowry, based on the correspondence I read, took a dim view on the city at the time he wrote it. (Likely influenced by his conservationist overtones springing from his enrapture with trees). I find him a bit exhausting on trees and seagulls. I’m much more interested in seeing and hearing what I miss(ed) standing on the roads each day. The trees make their presence amply felt, I don’t need them hauled up on a pulley and lamented. I find writers cave in too readily to this temptation. Conducting a tree gospel or rhapsody.

I continue to see where the travel writing aspect of early Vancouver/BC literature (1920’s earlier and after-ish) now breaks off into less of a “come with me and I’ll show you” point of view, but instead a narrator who assumes you’re right here beside him/her.  It’s much more interesting when the narrator assumes you know something of the city, even if you don’t, it’s a more mature literature somehow. And my favourite is where they obscure the city by renaming it or not naming it or generally give you little, but these exquisite moments like the rhythm of the way people move or some tiny thing (anthropology of the ordinary) where, you, the reader, get an “ah yes” moment of recognition.  There’s a particular taste of a certain cup of tea, it reminds me off. Same brand of teabag, yet you do not always experience it.