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Author Topic: Canadian Motivational Fiction
Ross J. Peterson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11657

posted 08 February 2006 02:41 PM      Profile for Ross J. Peterson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would have stayed in 'What are you reading' but I have not started on this author yet - David Carpenter.

A book of his stories "God's Bedfellows" popped out at a used bookstore at $2. Vanderhaeghe and Alistair MacLeod are blurbed effusively.

Carpenter apparently taught / teaches creative writing at the Unviv of Saskatoon.

My surprise and my question: if Carpenter writes good fiction, is it a contradiction that he also has a wide reputation as a motivational speaker. Is he just the kind of writer who Oprah tries desperately to find in an all together different reincarnation south of the border? Does anybody have a take on upbeat fiction of this kind?


From: writer-editor-translator: 'a sus ordenes' | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Ross J. Peterson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11657

posted 08 February 2006 03:40 PM      Profile for Ross J. Peterson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Motivational speakers, like novel writers in many genre, depend on an overwhelmingly female clientele / readership.

Here's how Carpenter spins a theme of interest, the way he puts it to women, i.e,, the concept of geopiety.

Discussing Margaret Atwood' heroine in "Surfacing", David Carpenter writes:

GEOPIETY

Her problem and its solution are mainstream in Canadian literature. She joins hands with Susanna Moodie, Charles G.D.Roberts' Miranda, Marion Engel's Lou, Martha Ostenso's Judith and many other women whose isolation in nature evolves into a vigilance over things earthly and a suspicion, as we shall see, of things worldly. In fact this tension between earth and world takes us to the crux of geopiety's central debate, as it manifests itself in Canadian literature. Geopiety is reverence for place and all that that implies. In Canadian literature, however, place has more to do with earth than world, to use Dennis Lee's terms. Earth is often feminine in literature. It is that aspect of the planet which we consign to nature. It is "powered by instinct." World, on the other hand, is usually masculine in literature. It is that aspect of the planet which we associate with civilization. Its language is conscious, often scientific. It acts to control nature.

This cosmology has become a massive metaphor in Canadian literature. If the writer extols the city, he is apt to do so at the expense of the town or the farm he has fled. More often it is the other way around. The city is villainized.


From: writer-editor-translator: 'a sus ordenes' | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Ross J. Peterson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11657

posted 08 February 2006 06:47 PM      Profile for Ross J. Peterson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
-=-
Motivational fiction is a virus that can cross the cultural geopolitical divide as long as THE DIVIDE IS FAKE in the first place!
-=-
The light, motivational touch spreads.
We are really on to something, babblers. At least in the Internet search sense of discovering more of what you set out to find.
-=-

To all appearances, by my finding a novel by Canadian author David Carpenter packaged in a cheery cover with a title that has a positivist message, we've also uncovered how the facile formulas of popular writing can be taught readily to young immigrant writers (ostensibly) from the global South. Even if all the young ones really know is Canada.

Take a peak HEREfor the longer, equally superficial exposé of Begamudre's self-discovery as a writer. Or satisfy yourself with this cut 'n' paste below.


QUOTE
At Fort San, Begamudre fell in with writers like David Carpenter, Myrna Kostash, and Pat Krause, and began to take the full measure of CanLit through reading and study. He continued to write "fairy tales;` though by no means did he yet consider himself an Indian writer. In fact, he resisted coaxing in that direction. "When I would tell stories about our family god around the dinner-table, people would say, you should write this stuff down, and I would think, why would anyone care." The final push came during Jack Hodgins`s critique of one of his stories, a fable set in Japan that both agreed was the best work Begamudre had done.

"Hodgins wanted to know why the mother in my story couldn`t be Indian. And I said, oh no, Jack, if she was Indian, she would be much sharper-tongued. And Hodgins said, see, you know a lot more about India than you think:" Hodgins devoted the next hour to an inspirational lecture about how Isaac Bashevis Singer had become an interpreter of Hebrew culture for North America, and how Begamudre might do the same for Indian culture if he only tried. (The word inspirational here is worth noting. rjp)
"I thought, this man does not realize how little I know about Indian culture," recalls Begamudre. "But at the same time, as he was talking, I was looking out the window and I saw jungles, I saw waterfalls, and I thought, something is happening." "Holiday Father;" the first "Indian" story to spring from that conversation, became Begamudre`s first published work, and eventually reappeared as a chapter in the novella Sacrifices. The piece came together so quickly and amid such a rush of creativity that he was convinced he had at last found his metier. "It was a Dominion Day weekend and I had Friday off. I wrote `Holiday Father` by lunch-time, I wrote another story by supper-time, I wrote another story that night. By the end of the weekend I had written five stories, and there was no turning back:`
IN 1991, an anthology titled Out of Place (Coteau), edited by Ven Begamudre and Judith Krause, appeared. Begamudre and Krause collected work from a broad range of prairie writers (note: some of these sound genuine rjp) many of whom they had met while teaching at the nowdefunct Fort San colony - on themes of dislocation and sense of place. Often, the volume reads like a compendium of immigrant and minority suffering: we glimpse Old World religious persecution and the terrors of war, the Nazi Holocaust is eerily invoked, and we sample the gamut of Canadian racism from the blatant to the insidious. There is a grim, documentary feel to much of this writing.
END QUOTE
-==-
By contrast, Begamudre`s own writing seems to co-opt the colder lessons of history and politics into the service of fiction, rather than the other way around. "You could start all my stories with once-upon-a-time," is a generalization Begamudre is fond of making.


From: writer-editor-translator: 'a sus ordenes' | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Ross J. Peterson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11657

posted 09 February 2006 12:01 AM      Profile for Ross J. Peterson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
bump
From: writer-editor-translator: 'a sus ordenes' | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Ross J. Peterson
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 11657

posted 09 February 2006 07:57 AM      Profile for Ross J. Peterson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mister Peterson, I hear you say,

-- What is all this crap about literature? This is a forum on politics and lifestyle.

I say let David Carpenter sum up in an interview HERE what it has to do with politics. What I am doing, kind babbler, is putting my ear to the ground.

From: Saskatoon StarPhoenix, August 2, 1997 C11
Hard social lessons in Carpenter's tale of maturing youth
By Verne Clemence


Carpenter said in a recent interview.

"This is not a novel of protest. Timmy doesn't find political answers. He sure tries them on for size, but he doesn't seem to fit in with political dissidents. That reflects a position I've come to lately the last two or three years I've become less and less confident of poltical solutions. Big business and huge corporations have a lot more impact on who gets jobs these days and who doesn't, who stays poor and who gets richer. Politics, at the moment, is kind of an illusion."

And what makes him such an enjoyable character is that most males, especially those who grew up in the '60s, will experience many a familiar pang as they read about his troubles. The doubts and uncertainties were common; only the cover-ups were different.

But doubts, Carpenter says, are not a bad thing. "I've never been comfortable with guys who knew exactly what they wanted and where they were going," he muses. "I think that way of life takes revenge on you in certain ways."


From: writer-editor-translator: 'a sus ordenes' | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged

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