31 May 2005

Where Locus Solus was published

A few things to wrap up my Norway posts. "Faghandler" signifies in general terms that someone is a specialist at selling a particular thing. So the big word "faghandler" and the image of the chainsaw had no scarey implications.

My last full day in Norway I spent mainly an hour north of Oslo, visiting the novelist and journalist Gunnar Kopperud, who I first met in Ottawa in 2002. He's an amazing man, and was in a great mood as he'd just had family and friends in on the weekend to celebrate his 59th birthday. We had a light lunch at his place, a beautiful cottage on top of a hill in Brandbu, a rural village, then he drove me to some astonishing sights in the country; occasionally our conversation would stray to politics, and he had to pull over his car whenever we talked about George W. Bush, as he became too angry to drive.

Along these tiny roads in the hills we passed an old man pushing his granddaughter along in a wheelbarrow, a gorgeous woman in full riding regalia trotting along on her horse, as if she had strayed from a riding competition, heaps of cows, sheep, ponies, oddly enough a lot of bathtubs sitting out along the edges of fenced-in fields.

Gunnar is one of the most interested and interesting writers I've ever met. He's philosophical, good-humoured, passionate about his art and his journalism, and extremely generous. Read his books in English -- A Time of Light, which I've read, and Longing, which I own but haven't yet read.

In the evening, Dana and I went for tea and ice cream ($40 for the two of us!) with the Norwegian curators of The Idea of North -- Yngvild Faeroy and Søssa Jorgensen. Very nice visit after all the pressure of mounting the show was finally in the past. The third curator, a Torontonian named Rhonda Corvese, had already left Norway for shows elsewhere.

And now, we are in the tiniest hotel room in a magical neighbourhood in Paris. I cannot believe that I am in Paris. I imagine that all the neighbourhoods here will be magical. Didn't arrive till evening and looking forward to exploring a corner of the city tomorrow. It's already more exciting and beautiful than I'd imagined.

I wrote two poems while in Norway, poems that still need some serious finishing, and made some good headway on my novel. I'm excited now to be in Paris, where John Ashbery lived for a stretch, and Ron Padgett, and I believe Ted Berrigan. And Samuel Beckett and Patricia Highsmith. I guess it would be nice if I could name a few French writers whose residual molecules I'll enjoy walking among. We'll see....

Over and out.


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