September 10, 2002 11:50 AM
13:46 Ferry: Horseshoe Bay to Langdale, BC :: SAT 7 SEP
Finally, FINALLY, underway. Unbelievable how long it took to
pull this one together. And I still feel somewhat unaligned. But I can
see Gibson’s from here, the Sunshine Coast.
Just to catch everyone up since the last Nomadic Spirit journey…
I returned from China in October, 1998, and subsequently ski-bummed
for a winter up in Whistler in a perfectly set condominium. It overlooked
Alta Lake and up to Sproat and Rainbow Mountains. From there I also founded
Suitable for Framing, an online art gallery (www.greymattermedia.com)
which sells prints of the photographs I’ve been shooting all these
years. That took up most of 1999, at the end of which I moved back to
Vancouver to an overly swish 24th floor apartment. Right downtown, it
was. With a panoramic corner view stretching from the North Shore mountains
to the Gulf Islands. Quite spectacular, actually.
Year 2000 was primarily consumed by writing and producing the
play "Prisoners" (www.greymattermedia.com/Prisoners) for the
2000 Vancouver International Fringe Festival. A pretty satisfying experience,
despite being placed in a venue on the outer fringes of the fringe. A
reviewer for Vancouver’s main entertainment weekly said, "it
is a long and wordy journey...and I enjoyed the mental workout.... Prisoners
is awash with big questions, about ethics, accountability, and existence."
After that, well, everything pretty much gets blurry. Actually,
the wheels sort of came off.
It’s not that I didn’t do anything. Operating the
online gallery ate up a good chunk of time. I entered an off-the-cuff
partnership with a local gallery/printer and we worked several business
angles on making and selling photographic prints, and collaborated on
mixing photography and painting.
22:15 Porpoise Bay Provincial Park; Sechelt, BC :: SAT
7 SEP 02
And I’ve been quietly piecing together a book based on
the writing and photography comprising this website.
This process has taught me a thing or two about the publishing
industry. For example, fiction authors sell manuscripts, completed books.
Non-fiction authors sell book proposals, statements of intent to write
a particular kind of book, along with a chapter or two of the book exemplifying
writing style and content.
Fascinating. But also a change of gears. It’s an odd thing
to try to sell a book by first telling prospective buyers (publishers)
and representatives (agents) what you think the book should be.
Being an endless fiddler, I’ve spent much of the past year
piecing together a proposal for "Movement: Seeking Perfect Lines."
21:11 Wilson Creek Campground; Sechelt, BC :: SUN 8 SEP
In the past few weeks, I’ve moved to the next stage: seeking
an agent. That means sending ‘query’ letters to various agents.
A query briefly describes the concept of the book, and if it catches the
attention of an agent, they’ll ask to see the proposal. I’ve
received two positive responses to my first batch of queries, and one
of the agents reviewed the proposal and likes the idea.
Except she wants to see the full manuscript before going any
About 4 weeks of editing is required to turn the current state
of the ejournal into "Movement: Seeking Perfect Lines." Which
means I’ll be spending a fair portion of this trip editing old travelogue,
rather than writing new travelogue.
Oh yeah, travelogue. I’ll get to that in a minute.
One more thing’s been happening in the interim between
China in ’98 and the Haida Gwaii in 2002. I’ve been making
Back in 2000, the money from Microsoft began running out. Always
knew it would happen some day. So as we got into 2001, it was time to
start thinking about a career…income. One area of prime interest
was filmmaking. I’ve got friends in the industry and we began charting
around for film jobs that best suited my talents and experience. Something
in post-production. Editing, perhaps, or special effects. These are heavily
computerised and the combination of my visual media skills and computer
expertise would make me a natural. So we started putting out feelers.
Then, June of 2001, a friend of my now ex-roommate won a script
writing contest and was given fairly substantial funding to make the film.
I told her I was willing to help out in any way possible. When the call
came, they needed a ‘set decorator.’
I’ve been a lover of film inside and out as long as I can
remember. I’d even helped out a friend making a commercial years
ago, and been an extra on a CBS movie-of-the-week (starring Kristy McNichol)
back in University days. When I read novels, I often think about how to
portray certain scenes in a film, or even how to tell the whole story
on screen. I’ve taken film-history courses, and semi-religiously
attend Tuesday evening mass at the cinema on cheap movie nights.
But I really had no idea what a set decorator did.
20:06 Coho Marina; Madeira, BC, Canada :: MON 9 SEP 02
Dusk now. Overlooking the harbour. Crescent moon rises to the
west, through arbutus boughs, in a sky that is gloriously, gratefully
I’m going to set aside the distant past and work a little
on the more recent past.
I finally set out on this jaunt to the Queen Charlottes, Haida
Gwaii, nearly a month later than intended. My organisational abilities
seem shot to crap. If I just skip to the first two days out, you’ll
get a pretty clear idea of the gong show leading to the departure.
The first day out is a good one. It starts out pretty well. If
you ignore the fact that I didn’t actually leave until 11:00 AM.
Can’t even remember the last-minute run around that pushed the departure
so late. This means catching the 1:20 ferry to the Sunshine Coast rather
than the 11:20.
No worries. After a leisurely pedal along beautiful Marine Drive
in West Vancouver, I arrive at the ferry in plenty of time. Enough time
to grab a bite, and get thoroughly ripped-off at Trolls’ take-out
stand which sells me a sliver of cod with some greasy chips for $7.95.
It’s a nice sail across Howe Sound, which I use to write
the first part of this entry and then hurry off at Langdale, anxious to
get riding. Fortunately, I realise my helmet’s still on the ferry
before it departs and am able to race back aboard where I eventually retrieve
it from the chief steward’s office.
21:34 Coho Marina; Madeira Park, BC :: MON 9 SEP 02
The cycling starts out well enough. A kindly character, bad teeth
and good heart, with a long-handled axe strapped to the top bar of his
bicycle, calls out to me as I’m contemplating a 20% grade heading
out of Gibson’s.
"You don’t really want to go that way," he says.
The hired help at the ice-cream shop had just told me I did.
"No, I don’t," I reply.
"What you really want is to head down here, turn right before
the post office, then left again. Then go along there to Pratt Road. That’ll
take you back to the highway. It’s a bit of a climb, but not like
this one. This is the climb from hell."
The detour route was a pleasant ride through a residential area
which before long became a lovely, curvy, lightly hilly ride along a lightly
used country road. It hugged the hillside above the shoreline. Views of
the ocean and shore peeked through the foliage and odd homestead. Only
the side-road to Halfmoon Bay, north of Sechelt, has equalled it for prettiness.
On the other hand, the hills on the Halfmoon Bay road were much larger.
Can’t believe I’m whining about hills! Nothing like
the climbs I endured it seemed every other day in China!
Anyway, Pratt Road does indeed take me to the highway. Highway
101. One of those utilitarian roadways cut just adjacent to some of the
most beautiful country around, yet with no views of it whatsoever.
11:34 Coho Marina; Madeira Park, BC :: TUE 10 SEP 02
I’m just going to knock this one into the outbasket and
tie up the loose ends on the next go ‘round.