We’ve all heard of Prairie writers, Maritime writers, Southern writers…Yet the term “regional writing” had always caused me a degree of puzzlement and distance.
The benefit of my peripatetic upbringing was an encounter with many cultures, religions and attitudes. From a young age, I experienced a constantly shifting geographical centre. Toronto, Tokyo, London. I knew the restlessness of being one place while communing (through letters and dreams) with another. I wonder what it would be like to be rooted for generations to a particular place?
I’m all for specificity in writing, but as many around me begin to embrace “the local” as an antidote to the conveyor belt of global McCulture, I’ve been thinking about other forms of “regional writing,” namely writing that comes from the region of the heart and brain, that remembers to open itself to the noise of the outside and chaos of the unknown, that forms (in the words of Alphonso Lingis) a “community of those who have nothing in common”.
(Akari Light Sculpture by Isamu Noguchi)