I have written a scholarly article called “A Quest for her own folk: Joan Clark’s An Audience of Chairs.” This article was recently published in The British Journal of Canadian Studies 31.1 (Winter 2018): 23-42. https://doi.org/10.3828/bjcs.2018.2
Here is the Abstract for the article:
In An Audience of Chairs (2005), novelist Joan Clark traces the trajectory of madness of Moranna MacKenzie, an intense, complex character who resists the pharmaceuticals associated with the mentally ill. Instead she retreats to the family farmhouse in Baddeck, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where she carves ancestral faces that surface, ghostlike, in the trees on her property. The labour soothes ‘Mad Mory’ and she sells her folkart to summer tourists. According to Ian McKay’s The Quest of the Folk (1994), this type of craftwork is a form of therapy to shore up a disturbed psyche within the ‘sick’ modern liberal order. Relying on discussions of postcolonial ‘hauntology’, this article examines how ancestral figurations, cosmological paradigms, forced migration to the New World during Scotland’s diaspora, and Indigenous displacement/settler expansion in Cape Breton combine to produce the cultural illness and the personal strife that possess — and dispossess — Moranna from without, and from within.
Each time I edit my slugs and snippets, or whenever I activate a verification code through my new plugin tool Yoast SEO, I feel certain I am getting my new website ProofWorking ready to enter into the great unknown, to swim off into the depths, to find the like-minded, to school with the big fish. Blessings to my website! I hope you have it in you to find your way up to the top.
I don’t know why I’m using a piscine metaphor for my site as I’m really more earth than water. Instead, I’ll plug in another theme: caterpillars. They preoccupy me too. Especially when I am out on the back deck, hanging someone’s unmentionables on the clothes rack, watching the tightly coiled nest of tent caterpillars shake in the wind. Of course I wonder, when will you hatch?
Here are a few pictures of their deeply horrifying nests.
That first web has a dark ominous coil of life at the centre. Heavy with teeming hairy slugs, each ready to worm its way out and down, down the end branches of some kind of big tree. I know the larvae will change into moths or butterflies, but what type? Will I think they are lovely when they take to wing? Because I surely do not love them now, swinging around in their soiled webs, sucking the life out of the leaves, making ready for the great hatching.
Notice how generic I am about some life forms, but specific about others. Like the female protagonist who descended into the core of her psyche in Margaret Atwood’s *Surfacing*, have I lost the grammar that I know once existed, unlearned the tools for naming things? Trees, flowers, unmentionables. I need to edit those words. So instead of bug, worm, larvae — TENT CATERPILLAR, and more specifically, Malacosoma disstria.
That’s what “to edit” means. FACT CHECK it, RESEARCH it, CLARIFY the writing. So let’s start there with some “proofworking.” Edit, Edit, Edit!!!