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Pickle Me This

January 25, 2006


One really wonderful thing about book writing is inventing characters who are different from you, and then getting to learn about all the things that fascinate them. A character in my new story is a civil engineer, and a specialist in tall buildings and so I am having to learn all about that. And because my main character is a bored wife during the 1970s, I am going to learn macrame so that my character can learn how to do it too. Last night I spent far too long searching old Globe and Mails for references to the CN Tower during the 1970s, which has proved interesting for two reasons. First, the 1970s were terrible! As I have said a million times, as one who came of age in the 1990s, the 2000s has been a come-down. But the 70s was all car-bombs, all the time, and they exploded everywhere. Or at least that is the sense I got. The other interesting thing was how unanimously excited Torontonians seemed to be about a 553 metre tower appearing right in the middle of their city. I was expecting dissent and controversy, but maybe the 70s were different. And everyone I’ve spoken to remembers when Olga the Helicopter finally put the top on. Did you know that the CN Tower was five inches taller than it was supposed to be? Another very exciting thing is that we’re going to have to take a trip up the tower, expense or no expense. For research purposes you know.

Now reading a lot of poetry. How exciting. I got Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy out of the library yesterday. Also reading Minus Time by Catherine Bush. And soon I’ll be starting “After the Victorians: The Decline of Britain in the World” by AN Wilson, which looks absolutely fascinating.

More thoughts about appropriation, upon finishing Margaret Atwood’s “The Penelopiad”. First, it was a wonderful work and made the Greek world alive to me like nothing ever has before. And second, it was so much like The Red Queen, it was eerie and I think studying the two works together would be fascinating. But I wonder, if Drabble lacked the authority to write Princess Hong, can Atwood really write Penelope? Is the difference that there are no longer any Ancient Greeks to do so, and therefore nobody left to steal from? Is the difference racial or temporal? What is the difference between 200 years and 2000 though, really?

Politically, the only thing that I’m really bothered about is the smug look on the faces of those people who think that it all went downhill with Trudeau.

Interesting stories, Google firewalling China, and even though sometimes the lack of spice in Canadian scandals bores me, why sex scandals are a bad thing. Less interestingly, Leah McLaren’s book is ready and she’s on the publicity trail.

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