Just a note to let you know this site is on a break. I’m concentrating efforts these day on my photography site at www.dondenton.ca/blog. Check it out.
Renowned Canadian poet, novelist, artist and librettist, P. K. Page has died aged 93 at her home in Oak Bay, British Columbia.
Just two days ago I’d stopped by the Cadboro Bay Book Store and asked Amber what was new in the store and she pointed out a new chapbook Cullen by P.K. Page, published by Outlaw Editions. I bought a copy and after heading out realized I was passing by the street P.K. lived on so I turned back and drove up the street thinking that if I saw someone at the window or other signs of activity I’d stop by and ask her to sign the book. The house was quiet and dark though so I drove on.
I remember a few years ago during a photo session the conversation turned to aging and facing the end of one’s life and she said (as I remember it) that she was not afraid of dying, what terrified her was not having the chance to finish all the creative ideas she had.
LP: You’ve got a new book out, a travel book, Beyond Belfast, published by Penguin. What’s it about?
WF: It’s about a two-month, 560 mile hike I did along the Ulster Way “the longest waymarked trail in the British Isles.” It was bogs, banshees and blood sausage. With sheer-drop coastlines, crumbling castles and many’s a pub.
LP: Why Northern Ireland?
WF: I was raised by the daughter of a Belfast orphan, and Northern Ireland has always been there, lurking in the background — not the least of which is due to family rumours of a lost inheritance and a possible castle of my own. My grandfather’s past is murky at the best of times, and a mystery lurks at the heart of the story.
LP: One of your first books was Hitching Rides with Buddha, where you hitchiked across Japan. As a slightly older person than you were then, were there any differences or challenges in the physical act of traveling?
WF: I’m certainly more creaky and less patient when it comes to bad meals and questionable sleeping arrangements. I camped on the trail several times in Northern Ireland, and I when I woke I always felt like I’d just come from the wrong end of a pummeling.
LP: What’s next? Are you working on another novel?
WF: The next book is a Christmas memoir with an illustrator. It’s a gift book about my own childhood in northern Alberta titled Coal Dust Kisses.
LP: Will we ever see another Canadian political/historical book from you?
WF: It may be a while. I really feel I’ve said my piece — and anyway, my Canadiana usual springs out of anger and outrage, and lately I haven’t been angry enough to launch into another extended harangue. Irked, yes. Annoyed, certainly, But not really angry.
LP: You’ll be on the road promoting this new book, do you bring reading material and if so, what for this trip?
WF: I’m reading a travel/political memoir titled Untapped. It’s about the scramble for Africa’s oil. It’s fascinating — and sobering. (Although I love writing fiction, I prefer reading nonfiction.)
Will Ferguson’s website is: www.willferguson.ca
Sometimes you don’t need a face for a portrait.
I had photographed the late Timothy Findley for my first book First Chapter and following that photo session he sat down for an interview and lunch with then Calgary Herald books editor, now best selling author in his own right, Ken McGoogan. I joined the pair and Findley’s partner Bill Whitehead and continued to take a few photos but mainly listened in. What I was treated to was an entertaining hour and a half as Findley and Whitehead, the practiced tag team that they were, traded stories, memories, observations while eating, smoking and drinking wine. i think Ken just hung on and tried to get it all down. It was an incredibly enjoyable lunch and I think this image showing Findley’s hand, glasses and wine remind me more of that encounter than the other, more traditional, portraits I took that day.
Currently Not Posting…why….see www.dondenton.ca/blog