Something self-indulgent about dg publishing these lovely Nicole Dixon photos because they reference a brooding, romantic, Heathcliff streak in him, the part of him that likes the idea of climbing Signal Hill in St. John’s, staring into the fog, and knowing there is nothing between the rock he’s standing on and Europe to the east except the vast, surging, very cold Atlantic. (Just behind you is Deadman’s Pond and just in front of you is Cuckold’s Cove—they have a way with names in Newfoundland.) There is also something satisfyingly uterine about St. John’s Harbour—ships go in and out through a narrow passage called, um, The Narrows (which you can see at the bottom of Signal Hill) while the harbour itself is, well, it all looks like an anatomy diagram dg remembers from when he was 12. DG has many writer friends in St. John’s who sometimes call him up late at night from the bars. It is also the home of the Burning Rock writing collective, an amazingly vibrant literary community with the best name ever. (Sometimes it seems St. John’s must have more writers per capita than any other place in the world.) On a personal note (as if talking about anatomy diagrams wasn’t personal enough), dg’s mother was stationed in St. John’s as a radio operator with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. He has photographs of her marching through the streets as part of the VE-Day celebrations (also pictures of the massive victory party after). She used to like to go out to Cape Spear, just south of St. John’s and the eastern-most tip of North American, and look out into the Atlantic, too.
Nicole Dixon is an estimable fiction writer, with a first story collection coming out next year (see bio below). She took these photos on a recent trip to St. John’s to attend the Atlantic Provinces Library Association conference, where she co-presented a paper on Sea Stacks (seastacks.ca), a web-resource she built to promote and disseminate information about Atlantic Canadian authors and books for children and teens. Much appreciated.
Nicole Dixon won the Bronwen Wallace Award and was shortlisted for the Journey Prize and a CBC Literary Award. Her writing has appeared in The New Quarterly, Grain, The Fiddlehead and Canadian Notes and Queries. Her first book, High-Water Mark, a collection of short stories, will be published by The Porcupine’s Quill in Spring 2012. For more information, please visit nicoledixon.ca.