Posted in Creative writing

Two books and a thought

The Newfoundland ferry docks at North Sydney. This gave me the opportunity to stop at a couple of my favourite shops in Sydney. First stop, was Ed’s second-hand book store where for two dollars I purchased Larry Mc Cann (ed.) People and Place. Studies in Small Town Life in the Maritimes. Later, I had a coffee at Doktor Luke’s, which also has second-hand books. There, I picked up a copy of David Ehrenfeld’s book Beginning Again. People and Nature in the New Millennium.

The McCann book was published in 1987. It contains a wide range of essays by faculty at Mount Allison. The essays are divided into three categories: Casting the Pattern, the Passing of Traditional Society, and Contemporary Small Town Life. Besides the book title, the essays that caught my attention were:

Carrie MacMillan. Seaward Vision and a Sense of Place. the Maritime Novel 1880-1920.

Eric Ross. The Rise and Fall of Pictou Island.

While I had a copy of Ehrenfeld’s book at home, I had not previously noticed his chapter on ‘The Roots of Prophecy: Orwell  and Nature’. This seemed serendipitous.

I had specifically called my blog site: the Ernest Blair experiment. Ernest celebrates Ernest Buckler. Blair recognizes Eric Blair aka George Orwell.

Ehrenfeld talks about the three qualities that Orwell used in his analysis of the changing life of his, and our times. The first is honesty. The second is reliability/continuity/durability/resilience . And finally, the third property of nature important to Orwell is beauty and serenity.

“Orwell had two visions of utopia: one, a vision of a world in which nature is cherished and improved by a gentle and caring human civilization, and the other a vision of a world in which people treat each other decently and fairly, without exploitation.

Ultimately, as we see in The Road to Wigan Pier, the two visions came together in the picture of a ‘simpler’, ‘harder’ predominantly agricultural way of life in which the machine is present, but under human control and ‘progress’ is not definable as making the world safe for little fat men. A world in which progress, itself, is not a form of exploitation.” Ehrenfeld see page 27.

Thought: “Living in the Moment”

Does this concept change as you get older ? That is, you have a finite number of moments. Can you replace living in the moment  (time) with living in the place (space) ?Why do older people go on cruises ? Change the place; change the moment.                      Its time/space. Not time or space.

What is the meaning of going back to visit old haunts ? Realize changing time, but same space ? Not really, spaces (landscapes) change too!

The value of a long term relationship with a place e.g. a garden. Growing things, different seasons.

Why in youth, keep moving ? Different spaces. Living in different moments  Are we trying to extend the good moments. No, trying to find the right space. Is it the moment or is it the sense of being able to change or control ?  Is there a progression as you age ?  The changing perception of time/space, over a lifetime or over a lifespace.


Larry McCann (editor). 1987. People and Place. Studies of Small Town Life in the Maritimes. Acadiensis Press. Mount Allison University.

David Ehrenfeld.1993. Beginning Again. People and Nature in the New Millennium. Oxford University Press.

George Orwell. 1937. The Road to Wigan Pier. Gollancz Press.




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