In Current reading, Drafts, Local projects on February 12, 2014 at 7:45 am

In 1978, according to wikipedia, China lifted the ban on works by Aristotle, Shakespeare and one Charles Dickens. Five years earlier, in the land of fiction, a character gave serious thought to accepting the five-year jail term for refusing to serve in the U.S. Army, unaware of the fact conscription was about to get shoved aside in favor of voluntary enrollment.

In Started Early, Took  my Dog, Kate Atkinson uses the rhyme For want of a nail as a leitmotiv. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, and so on. The tiny moment of inattention filled with every potential imaginable, and then some. The split second when the coin stops spinning and falls. Heads or tails. You act on something. You don’t.


Arborescence. A lovely word. Also a task for the new kid on the local block. The Association’s website is a mess. Something like wading through somebody’s attic or a theater store room where costumes, props, chairs and tools have accumulated for ten years. The latest news? In there, somewhere. What the Association is about? It’s there, I swear to you I saw it just the other day, somewhere under the man-sized frog costume and the child-sized pieces of plywood puzzle.

Days like weeks or months crammed into twenty-four hours.


Plus, a mind-blowing moment (in the silent poof caused by a sudden release of endorphin): an article from a nineteen seventy-five edition of a Montreal newspaper, describing the shops along “la Main” i.e. boulevard St-Laurent, the main street in question, running South to North. The historical fault line between the English and the French communities. The fault line along which Hassidic Jews, Greeks, Portuguese, Poles, Ukrainians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italians, Lebanese (I’m missing several more communities) congregated, shopped, fought, laughed, worshiped, trudged, strove, endeavored,  etc.

What “la Main” looks like now? It’s ten years  since I’ve seen the place.


Store. Storage. Storerooms. What connects. Ten years, twenty, thirty or forty later.


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