The Road Narrows As You Go

Road Narrows As You Go

The Road Narrows As You Go manuscript pages

This Fall, Penguin Canada’s Hamish Hamilton will publish a novel The Road Narrows As You Go, based on these pages. Pictured are six years worth of sketches, early drafts, total failures, revisions, rewrites, and research notes. Not pictured is a final draft, completed about a week ago. I’m about to start copy-editing and I’m curious what changes I’ll make with the Penguin team in the final-final edit. Phewf! Already my head feels a little lighter on my shoulders and aches a little less knowing this is the home-stretch.

Most recent draft of the cover art for the book

Most recent draft of the cover art for the book

From Brno to BC Bears

In honour of Zuzana, who is doing a terrific job organizing the Canadian half of the Brno Festival of Authors in the Czech Republic that I just got back from, and who is doing her thesis on bears in Canadian literature, here are some pictures of bears from the Vancouver archives. Most of the pictures are by JS Matthews, Vancouver’s first historian and gas jockey.

bear and dog do the man game

a bear and a dog (who looks like Zuzka’s pup Kuba!) performing the man game.

grizzly bear

bear carving

care bear

bucket bears

Moe Dee and a bear cub

Photos: Felling Trees using Spring Boards

A while ago I posted an amazing picture by Vancouver photographer Dan Siney of old growth stumps with the spring board foot holds looking like eyes in a skull. Dan wandered the forests looking for the last remaining examples of the early logging. Here’s some pictures from the city archives of why the loggers used spring boards to help them cut down the massive trees along the coast.

Photos: Donkey Engine

To clear out all the excess tree stumps and debris from felled logs, the woodsmen of old Vancouver used donkey engines to drag it all to a single location, where scrap was burned in a giant pile. In The Man Game, a controversy arises over who is to blame for starting the fire that burns down the entire city in June, 1886. Here’s some pictures of donkey engines.

Donkey engine, horse, and logging crew, circa 1900?

Donkey engine, horse, and logging crew, ca. 189-?

Loggers with donkey engine and railway engine in forest, 1912?
All photos courtesty the City of Vancouver Archives.

Photo: Southside Solitude

Looking west across False Creek from 7th Avenue and Birch Street, ca. 1890. Check out a Google Map of what it looks like today in that once lonely neighbourhood. Courtesy the Vancouver Archives.

Photo: Hollow Tree

A scene in The Man Game takes place inside the Hollow Tree in Stanley Park, Vancouver. After hundreds of years, the hollow tree is about to be removed from the park. Lots of Vancouverites are rightly protesting that the parks board has decided to remove the hollow tree. Photo courtesy The History of Metropolitan Vancouver.

Ogle, Campbell & Co. Clothing and Gents Furnishings














From The History of Metropolitan Vancouver:

May 23, 1887 The first CPR passenger train arrived in Vancouver from Montreal. Locomotive 374, attached to the train at Port Moody, brought it in with Peter Righter at the throttle. (It is often thought #374 pulled the train right across the country. Nope, just from Port Moody.) The choice of Vancouver as the Pacific terminus for the CPR ensured the town’s dominant role in southwestern B.C.

Photo Inspiration: Dan Siney

Dan Siney \

Vancouver artist Dan Siney recently made a series of photographs of our old growth stumps with ancient logger foot-holds, called Stump Skulls — this one is subtitled The Stump Becomes the Moon (For Mark Feddes), 2008. C-Print 182.9 cm x 121.9 cm. Courtesy the artist. Shown at the Presentation House in North Van as part of the Moodyville group show. North Van used to be called Moodyville, back in 1886

Photo Inspiration: Pieter Hugo

One of many intensely amazing photographs by Cape Town artist Pieter Hugo of traveling African performers and their not-so domesticated pets, hyenas.