DG has been on the road for eons, it seems, reading from Savage Love, being a Writer-in-Residence. He has finished many books along the way including Trollope’s The Way We Live Now (very long) and three Evelyn Waugh novels, hitherto kept on hand for emergencies. A new essay is forming: “Novel Structure Lite” (more on this another time). We were in Halifax for the March 13 reading at the University of King’s College, which I’ve already written about). But then we stayed on and went to the beach (yes, Halifax, compared to Fredericton, is positively sub-tropical).
Here’s another picture (bad lighting, I know) from King’s, Jacob introducing dg.
Then dg and Lucy at Lawrencetown Beach again. She gets very excited about surf. Note dg’s trademark camo cargo pants and baseball cap purchased at a high-end art boutique in Venice.
Then home to Fredericton briefly and on to Saint John. My hotel room gave onto the harbour (when I was extremely young, I covered the port for the local daily newspaper — I was there when the first container cranes started working).
And here is the Martello Tower in West Saint John (behind the container terminal), which figures prominently in dg’s short story “The Obituary Writer” from which the name Numéro Cinq is taken. It was cloudy, rainy, windy — everything looked a bit, well. forsaken.
The port in Saint John is at the mouth of the Saint John River (which goes by Mark Jarman’s house where I live in Fredericton). In Saint John, the river flows one way part of the time and then it flows the other way (hence the famous Reversing Falls just upstream from the port). Just above the Reversing Falls is the giant Irving paper mill.
As a cub reporter, dg once helped police snag a drowned man out of the river on the rocks just across from the mill. The man had been in the water for a very long time, and parts of him were falling off as he came to shore. This, too, became a short story with the gruesome title “Floater,” one of those stories that got published in a magazine and then never reprinted (for really good reasons not to be dwelt upon).
And here’s the newspaper building where dg worked. It was then called The Evening-Times Globe (I took this picture through the car window at a stop light — a noble genre).
DG worked here for a year. There was a printing press on the lower floor, a lovely old thing with bells and the smell of lead and oil. Now it’s no longer there. The newspaper is printed in Moncton. The building backs onto Courtney Bay with the huge Irving Oil refinery and docks and transshipment terminal.
All this is kind of dull as imagery, but somehow it wreaked of old excitement and familiarity to dg (despite the wind, rain, sleet, etc.) who was something like 23 at the time (and, yes, dreamed of sailing away on a steamer).
Friday (March 21) was the Moncton reading, at the Aberdeen Cafe, hosted by Lee Thompson who took pictures. (Note dg’s beer strategically placed on a spare baby’s highchair within reach of the microphone.)
For the Saint John-Moncton epic, Lucy stayed home.
Last stop, a reading at Odd Sundays at Molly’s in Fredericton this coming Sunday.