The Writing Life: Journals, 1975-2005

By George Fetherling

Selected from hundreds of thousands of pages of the day-by-day journals of George Fetherling - the inexhaustible novelist, poet, and cultural commentator - The Writing lifestyles unearths an astute and candid observer of his contemporaries in addition to himself. 1000s of figures within the arts and public existence crisscross the pages of Fetherling's journals, from Margaret Atwood and Marshall McLuhan, to Gwendolyn MacEwen and Conrad Black. The publication starts in mid-1970s Toronto, a time of cultural ferment, and contains directly to Vancouver and a brand new century. an enthralling and intimate narrative, The Writing existence presents a compelling portrait of the final 3 a long time of Canadian cultural lifestyles. From the publication: Tuesday four February 1992 / Toronto Early this morning the most recent in a sequence of odd cell calls from Edmund chippie in big apple to debate successive models of his Canadian Notes & Queries piece on Marshall McLuhan. He falls to reminiscing and at one aspect says: "Marshall consistently jogged my memory of that passage in Boswell during which Boswell says that should you chanced to take shield from a rain hurricane for a couple of minutes in Dr Johnson's corporation, you will come away confident that you simply had simply met the neatest guy on the planet. Marshall was once like that too. in fact, in case you spent an hour with Marshall, good, that was once whatever fairly different."

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Saturday, 4 march / kingston Drafting a new chapter of the memoir. Dave [Godfrey] and Dennis [Lee]  at Anansi – I admired them both, though differently, for they were quite  different creatures. Dave, the precision of his cynicism. Dennis likes poets only until they achieve their majority; this rankled me for years, but  I know now that we all need our methods of staving off death and this  25199_Fetherling. indb 113 2013-02-08 10:48:50 114 The Writing existence used to be  his. His  prehensile  curiosity  in  toryism. [George]  Grant,  [Graeme]  Gibson et al. were writing from a far more elevated class position than  he was. 1  friday, 24 march / kingston I’ve liked working in the newsroom (of course I like puppies, too). yet  I’m not sure I wish to continue for much longer when each phone call  brings new chaos and generalised nastiness. Today, however, is quite the  opposite in its tenor (but the same in its effect). The point in any case is  that I’m into one of my periods of darkness, a rite of purification: a thousand tiny suicides. “Cast down your silence and follow me. ” But what is  it that’s being expunged, what am I treating with such acts of cauterisation? Am I responding to an injury? Induce bleeding to assess the flow,  then suture the wound. The rollercoaster effects of these days are hard  on the body, of course. They underscore the fact that, okay, I have no  long-range  plan,  yet  possibly  none  is  attainable. We  needs to  continue  from  one crisis to the next. tuesday,  9 may / kingston The important point I’ve learned these past couple of months is that it’s  foolish and childish at my age to keep seeking approval. Supply myself  with satisfaction by making my own work and let that be enough to lubricate me. Now if only I can make myself remember the lesson the next  time terror strikes. wednesday, 10 may / kingston Rexroth  on  Tolstoy: “From  the  starting  of  prepared  society,  or  at  least from the beginning of written documents, there have always been  people who challenged and rejected this state of affairs [the Social Lie]. frequently  they  have  been  individuals  of  the  institution  themselves;  Buddha and Tolstoy were both princes. Obviously the mute inglorious  victims  who  have  continuously  borne  the  burden  of ‘The  System’  are  unknown to history, except in moments of social turmoil when some renegade from the ranks of the literate and privileged has spoken for them. 1  George  furnish  (1918−1988),  nationalist  philosopher,  writer  of  Lament for a kingdom. 25199_Fetherling. indb 114 2013-02-08 10:48:50 1989 a hundred and fifteen It is hard to say of any given period of history or of any people, even our  contemporaries,  how  appropriate  the  genuine  bulk  of  society  reveals  the  principles upon which it is organized. As a matter of fact, most people  except politicians and authors work out for themselves, in secret, ways  of living which ignore organized society as much as possible. After five  or six thousand years much of life is still private, extraordinarily resistant to the mechanisms of civilization, even, or perhaps especially, in the  such a lot  robust  and  authoritarian  states.

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