Friday, April 6, 2012

Changing time/comfort zones

Today, during one of our manic and frequent gmail chats, J. pointed out how my current writing adventure parallels Edouard's own fish-out-of-water experience.

He was a confirmed country mouse, thrust into the hustle and bustle of cities, travel and crowds. Sure, he would have been used to being stared at, but Willow Bunch wasn't home to nearly as many pairs of eyes as Winnipeg, or Montreal or St. Louis, where he ended up. Plus, he was making his living being looked at.

Here, though my friendly "¡Hola!" (defying my well-practiced downtown Winnipeg detachment) is usually returned with a smile or a greeting, I'm well aware of being a foreigner in a close-knit town. The kids, especially, are on to me, pinching each other until one yells a mocking "hell-LO" at me.

I'm also on metaphorically foreign ground, writing for the first time in voices that aren't my own, of a history I don't know except from reading, and a landscape I've only visited once. It helps me feel more credible in telling his story -- during this writing I am keenly aware of what it is not to belong.

However, I'm reasonably sure my stranger-in-a-strange-land experience will end better than Edouard's.

(This despite the fact that I let a bird in the house last week. You know what looks a LOT bigger inside than out in the wild? A swallow, that's what.)

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