Nov 252012

On Lawrencetown Beach north of Halifax, NS. Note that dg is wearing his trademark heirloom baseball cap purchased in Venice during the 2008 VCFA residency in Slovenia. Also camouflage cargo pants purchased at Walmart.


Apologies for being somewhat absent from the pages of NC. I’ve been on a reading trip to the East Coast, traveling by car with the dog. Stopped in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where I stayed with Mark Jarman in his grand house facing the Saint John River (on land once owned, yes, by that famous American patriot Benedict Arnold). NC Senior Editor R. W. Gray also lives in that house. And that night we three went out to the Lunar Rogue Pub and met up with Gerard Beirne, thus four, amazingly, four real NC contributors sat at the same table. Next day I moved on to Halifax to stay with my son Jacob, another NC contributor. Jacob took me for steaks at the Henry House the first night after which considerable Ballantine’s Scotch was consumed with Jacob and his roommate Sebastian Ennis (who introduced me to the work of French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy). I got obsessed with the Dingle Tower, a monument across the Northwest Arm from Jacob’s apartment and thus a salient feature in the landscape out my window. (Needless to say I am sparing you 99% of the photos I happened to take. I spent the driving time listening to Chekhov stories and lectures on the history of Ancient Greece and taking pictures through the car windows and the rearview mirror, a practice worse than operating a cell phone or texting while driving, I think.) One morning I had coffee with Ian Colford at the Dalhousie University Club — you will no doubt recall his contributions to the magazine. Last Monday morning I back-tracked to Sackville, New Brunswick, stayed two days and gave brilliant readings at Mount Allison University and the Université de Moncton. The U de Moncton English Department faculty took me out to dinner (Prince Edward Island scallops) at the Tide & Boar (a so-called gastropub; the name is a pun on the nearby Bay of Fundy’s famous tidal bore) on Main Street. My host in Sackville was Professor Christl Verduyn, a Canadianist of considerable scholarly accomplishment who has written some very intelligent essays about my work; had dinner with Christl and her husband, Mount Allison University President Robert Campbell, at Joey’s on York Street where the waitress announced to us that she was pregnant (this was a first for me, and, in case you want to know, her best friend is pregnant simultaneously). Then I rushed back to Hampton, New Hampshire, for Thanksgiving and more beach walks. Lucy blotted her copybook  by assaulting every dog she met. Apparently, she takes exception to New Hampshire dogs. This goes right up there with her insane hatred of small blond children under the age of four.

I tell you this in part so that you know real people write the things you read on these pages; one can occasionally even talk to them in person.



Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton, NB. Just a few doors down from Mark Anthony Jarman’s house and not to be confused with the Lunar Rogue Pub.

Mark Anthony Jarman taking a picture of dg reflected in the passenger window of the car, or what writers do when they have time on their hands. You can sense the shade of Benedict Arnold. Fredericton, NB

Jacob & Lucy at Lawrencetown Beach, NS

Same as above

Cranberry Lake from the Bluffs Wilderness Trail west of Halifax, NS

Dingle Tower across the Northwest Arm from Jacob’s apartment, Halifax, NS

North of Halifax, heading for the TransCanada Highway, fog and hoarfrost. This photo was taken one-handed while driving at 65 m.p.h. I don’t know if that counts as some kind of record. I might have had a cup of coffee in the other hand, and I know I was listening to a lecture on Archaic Greece.

Sackville Wildfowl Sanctuary, Sackville, NB

North Hampton Beach, NH

Jenness Beach, NH

North Hampton Beach, NH. I could tell you this is me surfing, but you wouldn’t believe me.

Consulting with my editor, Odirone Point, NH

  19 Responses to “Out & Back, DG’s East Coast Reading Tour, November 2012”

  1. Getting homesick looking at those beaches. Next time you’ll have to hit St. Martins, NB as well!

    • Sara, I know that beach. I used to live in Saint John. I had to skip the Fundy coast this trip, but I will be back next fall if not in the spring. I’ll put it on the list. 🙂

  2. If you’re going to hold a NC meeting, at least you could have told me. I could have gassed up the Lambo (prices are down below $4 in CA) and been there in, like, 4 or 5 hours. Picture look great, even the ones taken at high speeds!

    • Rich, You didn’t get the announcement? 🙂

      One thing about NC is that now almost anywhere I go I can call a meeting of the local adherents (cult members, cell, coven).

  3. A Dalmatian! I have completely misread you all these years…

    • Caroline, your comment makes me wonder what you’ve been thinking all this time. Perhaps you have always seen me as a Chihuahua kind of guy. Is that it? Or maybe a Pug? Maybe I don’t want to know. 🙂

  4. “Philosophers have often ruminated on the aesthetics of photography. Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida begins with a poignant memorialization of his mother, as remembered through her photograph. Pierre Bourdieu’s Photography: A Middle-Brow Art wondered why and how the medium became so widespread that “there are few households, at least in towns, which do not possess a camera.” And Jacques Derrida’s posthumous Athens, Still Remains, a travel memoir accompanied by the photographs of Jean-Francois Bonhomme, begins with the mystical phrase “We owe ourselves to death.” For Barthes and Derrida, photography was a medium of suspended mortality—every photograph a memento mori.”

    — Josh Jones @

  5. I love these photos, DG, thank you! Last weekend I drove to Ohio to speak at the Mid-American Review’s Winter Wheat Writing Festival at Bowling Green State University. The trip was about 10 hours each way. Driving through that part of Northern Ohio was quite poignant for me because I tend to forget how flat the landscape is and how different the sun can look because of it. At one point I was driving parallel with the sunset, and it was like the sun and its pink streaks were running with me along the road. Somehow it was all familiar, like I was remembering this from my childhood. I wished I had a camera then. I’m going back to Ohio for a writers conference in Columbus in March–I’ll make sure I have the camera on the seat next to me!

    Oh, and I listened to Richard Russo’s novel “Empire Falls.” (Fifth packet due next week.) I also took the book with me and between reading it in Ohio and listening to the CDs on the drive I was able to finish the novel by the end of the weekend. A great book.

    • Ah, road trips. My favorite. Much better than taking the plane. So many surprises and memories. Yes, take a camera next time; it’s an odd, interesting and creative way of interacting with the world.

  6. Great pictures dad!

    Wish I could have been out there with you!

  7. Looks like you had a great trip to Atlantic Canada ~ Baby Ari particularly liked the surf shot. A PE island stop next time? 🙂 Happy trails on your road trips ahead! Mo

    • Mo, Nice to hear from you. I will definitely try for PEI next time. David Helwig, who appears often on NC, lives there, too. Congratulations on Baby Ari! Surfing already? Amazing! 🙂

  8. Great photos! Did you get a chance to go to Cape Breton? One of my favorite places.

  9. Was great to see you. What about an NC meeting / extravaganza / massacre next year? We could invite everyone.

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