The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Monday, May 26, 2008


I’d like to blog about Obama one day – dude’s got me feeling just a tiny bit hopeful with all his talk of change. Something about the way he hasn’t allowed himself to get nasty sets him apart from what I’ve seen of politicians so far in my life. I don't think he's a liar.

I’m hooked on the race, tuning in to CNN almost nightly. Their panels of experts go over and over the same material until something new comes up – I love that! And I find myself waiting with bated breath for Clinton’s announcement that she’ll drop out of the race. It’s like waiting all summer to find out who shot J.R., or Mr. Burns! Not that I have anything against Clinton. Had there been no Obama, I’d have been just as thrilled about her, though for other reasons entirely.

I think I find myself cheering on Obama because he’s graceful and dignified, and that all politicians after him will be somehow different, improved. Is that being naïve? Like I said, I’m hopeful. It’s the whole change thing.

The two old dudes of the Taylor-Bouchard commission on accommodation(?) seem dignified and decent. Boy, what a pleasant surprise that was, huh? For once, I don’t mind the millions spent on a commission/investigative committee. It was worth it, I think. Especially after reading that a “controversial” Quebec writer called our Governor-general, the negro queen. Yuck!

You know, all this talk of change, and promise, and hope, has me thinking about that all-important first sentence, how I’ve been floored a couple times since becoming Vestal Review’s first reader. An opening sentence should be a thing of beauty, the reader marvelling at the peaks and valleys of the letters strung together to make a city sky-line at night, a million possibilities, the universe as backdrop. Right?

The super first sentence comes alive after the initial read. You’re grabbed by the collar, told there is something so fresh in these words, it feels original -- that here there be insight. What a privilige this'll be!

There’s a trigger and it’s been pulled in those three seconds it takes you to be introduced to the story and the writer. Your mind is drifting to other stuff already, though you may not know it. In that sentence, it’s like you’ve lost yourself in a novel page. You’re reading but you’re also paused basking in the smarts radiating from the words, the way they’ve been strung together to create meaning. You’re reading, but you can’t help seeing it as a picture, a window as if into a life -- you’ve faded into a trance-like state of hyper-awareness. Call me Ishmael -- have there ever been heavier words? Once read, the first sentence should sprout giant dragon wings and take off with you hanging on for dear life.

Ah... you know what I mean. It’s all about being swept up; you’re somehow willing to accept the risk you might be dropped while on the journey. It’s feels worth it, like this might actually be change-affecting.


Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

Love what you're saying here, Tony! Congrats on the Vestal gig. What's your going bribe rate?

Mon May 26, 12:57:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I'm with you, Tony. I've turned into a New York Times junkie with the Obama/clinton race. I check it several times a day. It's slow on the campaign trail today -- Memorial Day in the States -- and I'm missing my fix.

I agree that Obama's message and his entire persona communicate the promise of a more ethical and peace seeking U.S. government. That, as you say, "all politicians after him will be somehow different, improved." Let's be naive together. It's so much more fun than cynical.

Mon May 26, 04:56:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

Ha! Nice to know I'm not the only Obama/Clinton junkie north of the border. We're soon to become Obama/McCain junkies. Right, Tricia?

Andrew, if I take your money, I'll have to take everyone's money, and then the big boss'll get suspicious seeing me driving around town in a shiny brand new Hayundai.

Mon May 26, 11:47:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

You betcha, Tony!

Tue May 27, 02:38:00 am GMT-4  

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