Why our little town seems stuck
8 min read
Tofino council (of which i am a member) received a heartfelt email a while ago, one i thought deserved a thoughtful response. It turned into more of an essay than i expected. First, here’s the email (abridged):
I am writing to you today in hopes of receiving some answers to a few questions that have been keeping me awake at night. I am … unsettled by some of the changes happening within our beautiful, albeit endangered town. Continue reading
You can see a lot of words scribed into the West Coast beaches — we-were-here names, declarations of love, silly brags, indecipherable scrawls … and some, like the one below, proof that Tofino is the endpoint (or starting point) of a lot of big dreams from a lot of people in this world. It’s a privilege to live here, and a joy to be occasionally reminded of our hometown’s iconic status.
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.
This use of the word bohemian first appeared in the English language in the nineteenth century to describe the non-traditional lifestyles of marginalized and impoverished artists, writers, journalists, musicians, and actors in major European cities. Bohemians were associated with unorthodox or anti-establishment political or social viewpoints, which often were expressed through free love, frugality, and—in some cases—voluntary poverty. A wealthy and privileged, even aristocratic, bohemian circle is sometimes referred to as the haute bohème (“high bohemians”).
The term Bohemianism emerged in France in the early nineteenth century when artists and creators began to concentrate in the lower-rent, lower class, gypsy neighborhoods. Bohémien was a common term for the Romani people of France, who had reached Western Europe via Bohemia.
Take a close look at the back of the tickets the Co-op is handing out for their Fuel Up to Win contest. You’ll see the logo of some of the biggest food conglomerates in the world, busy pushing sugar, GMOs, worker exploitation and industrial agrobusiness as only soulless multinationals can.
According to the Federated Co-operatives Ltd. website, Co-ops “are unique in the business world because they are owned and controlled by the people they serve.”
Tofino, i have to ask: Coca-Cola, KRAFT, P&G … is this what we stand for?
I’m pleased to announce that my chapbook other men’s wives : love poems to a village of creative women is fresh off the press, as of a couple of weeks ago. Only 55 copies were printed — we’ll see how long they last.
We held a triple launch party on Nov. 22, as the kickoff event of the Clayoquot Oyster Fest. In addition to OMW, the packed-house evening featured a (very) dramatic reading from Tofino Timeless, a collaborative story by 10 members of the Clayoquot Writers Group, and David Floody’s wry Kittenstein and Frankenfur, the Gambling Cats (ebook here).
I must admit to some trepidation about publishing two dozen mostly bona fide love poems, most quite personal and many about women who still live here on the Wet Coast. I did my best to disguise all references to individuals (there were many), but i fear there may be a backlash of some sort.
UPDATE THREE MONTHS LATER — There are just four copies left. No significant backlash, though i did have a couple of “corrections.” Not surprisingly, about 80% of the copies were bought by women. As i say in the foreword, Women, wonderfully, are still susceptible to poetry. They get it; they understand it; it touches them.