Tag Archives: Custodian of Paradise

There’s a film – Thu March 12, 2015

I should never write a blog post after 11pm on a night of drinking, but tonight was also a night of thinking and discussing.  So not so far from what academic study is about, right?

Tonight I had my book club here and we talked about Wayne Johnston’s the Custodian of Paradise.  A tragic, sorrowful, sort-of-romantic story of 20th century Newfoundland.  But halfway through the story, the protagonist feeds her lover, Joey Smallwood, pan-fried trout and potatoes, out on the Bonavista train-line, in her isolated cabin in the dead of winter. (It’s actually not so romantic at that point, as bitter and unfortunate, as is so often the case in life.)  Anyway, tonight, I made the same for dinner, and one of the guys helped me cook, so it turned out okay.

But this is what my film feels like.  Making history into something tangible. Something so real you can taste it.

The film is in that stage.  The stage of feeling it.  Hearing the words.  Listening to the music.  Are the sounds right for the message?  At this point it’s a creative thing and I want to listen more than anything.  Will the audience hear the meaning that I’m sending?  And will they also feel something?  Will it make them think?  It’s like painting on a ‘film’ canvas.  I’m at the point – in public history – of trying to anticipate the feelings of my audience.  And trying to steer that feeling to my understanding of nineteenth-century Canada West.  Trying to make them believe what I believe.

As fluid as this sounds, this is the departure point, where the historical narrative turns into a personal experience.  It’s actually like that…the audience feeling like they are living the historical moment.  A sort of transformative event, when the observer lives the historical moment.

Ummmm…okay.  So that’s it for tonight.  It’s now closer to 1am. More straight-forward stuff in future.  I promise.

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