Sunday, August 23, 2009

jonathan livingston seagull

I saw the movie at a "drive in" in Nelson, British Columbia, circa 1974. I doubt that the drive-in is still there, but driving to it, along Kootenay Lake from Kaslo in a friend's mother's Datsun--a novelty car at the time--was probably better than the movie (though probably not the popcorn).

Later I had a teacher, a sort of straightened-up hippie who was a Richard Bach fanatic. He took it all very seriously, the Bach thing, but ultimately he was a total misanthropist whose only dream seemed to be of flying off the grid. He wrote parodies of the school administration and refused to teach creative writing, allowing us to use the period as a study hour, or reading hour, or whatever, unless we actually wrote something at which point he read it and we talked. He brought in books like Illusions, another big selling Bach book, and the even schmaltzier There's No Such Place As Far Away (1979), though come to think of it, I don't believe he actually shared these with the general student population. As far as I know he achieved his dream in the early 80s, disappearing on a boat into the Pacific. I like to think of him there in any case.

On the other hand, he was NOT a fan of Rod Mckuen. No, not at all. In fact he had great taste in poetry (go figure). He was a big fan of Latin American political poetry and introduced me to Jose Marti among others. He was also a big fan of DTUC, which later become the Kootenay School of Writing and introduced me to living breathing Canadian poets (bp Nichol, the Four Horsemen, Atwood, Ondaatje, P.K. Page) through poetry magazines. Not sure how he knew them (the poets I mean), but there were a lot of hippies in the Kootenays then, a lot of American draft dodgers in the small towns I moved in and out of. A lot of folks hiding out, trying to get off the grid, but not really wanting to give up the fight. A lot of folks with oddly contrasting influences and politics.

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