Monday, February 8, 2010

Thank you Farley Mowat

We read Never Cry Wolf in some Junior High School class. That and Walden and Kerouac pretty much sealed the deal on my never becoming a land developer.
Anyway, learning J.D. Salinger had died really had me thinking that you either get it done or someone else will read about you being dead in the paper and your obituary will not mention anything about what you wanted to do. To clarify, I wanted to say hello to J.D. but out of respect I didn't make the drive. He wanted his privacy. Should I disrespect that? Now he's gone but I thought I should try to do the same thing with some living writers I admire.

No, I didn't drive up to Ontario because my Van would probably explode before I got there. But I did the next best thing which is hunt down Mowat's address in Port Hope and send him a card. I was at the card shop and didn't know what one to get. Congratulations on the Baby? No. Happy Birthday? No, he was born in May and old people probably don't like being reminded about their birthday. He's like 90. Valentine's Day is coming up but that didn't seem appropriate. Then I saw a Thank you card. That would work, but there are like two hundred kinds of thank you cards. None of them said, "Thank you for being a writer of conviction."
I didn't want to buy one really, but I'm trying to satisfy the 3/50 program here in decaying Laconia. Pick three businesses and spread $50 between them a month. My stores are the bead store, the chocolate shop (where they sell thank you cards), and the Black Cat bar.
So I bought one that said, "Thanks to a special caregiver." It was for someone who might take care of your father when he is feeble. But I drew some animals on it and crossed out the stethoscope and wrote, "On behalf of all wild animals, thank you..." I hope he overlooks the fact my drawings look like a rat and a sloth in an oak tree. It's metaphoric, Farley!

The letter has an agenda though, see, I plan to go to Port Hope, Ontario in the Spring and interview Mowat. Or to Nova Scotia. Wherever he is I will track him down. So this is just an opening. I don't think he'll actually write back but I did ask him two questions.
1. Do you get overwhelmed with the threats faced by wildlife? How do you keep balance." He's a humorist as you can tell by this video. His answer would probably be, "Yes. Rum."


It's strange, I send him the card today and then watched this video and he pretty much answers the same questions I'd ask him.

The second question is closer to why I've got to go hunt him down.

2. If you were 38 and wanted to preserve and protect the arctic wolf, what would you do?

That one is going to take a little more thinking. I'd rather just talk to the man in person with a glass of rum and a fire burning.

His description of Newfoundlanders is telling. I found Alaskans the same way. They understood that it IS POSSIBLE to use all manner of resources to live comfortably like fat cats, but the long term costs are not worth it. Things in Alaska happen fast because everything is delicate. The balance of nature is tipping neither one way or the other. People think long and hard about developments because repercussions are swift. The children running Los Angeles couldn't be trusted with a potted plant. Alaskans want to give their kids basically the same Alaska they now know. It sounds like Newfoundlanders feel the same way and I need no more convincing to go. With or without a camera crew I'm going to Labrador.
I want to recommend sending a thank you card to that person you admire.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.