Wilderness and the Imagination
I borrowed this title from Sherwin Arnott, and I’m going to borrow most of this post from him too.
It’s been three years since I defended my master’s in creative non-fiction writing at the University of Victoria. A lot has happened since then; like, I moved three time zones, wrote some stuff, dove into radio and got a fish tank. I’ve also done a lot of thinking about wilderness – about how it is both a real place and a construction, how it has its own essence regardless of where we find it (or perhaps that essence is simply how we feel when we encounter it. . . which brings us back to Wilderness and the Imagination). I’ve also thought a lot about the intersection between people and wilderness and how many conceptions of wild places create people, often indigenous people, as an inconvenience. This was driven home to me even more forcefully on my recent trip to central Africa.
So on this three year anniversary of my defense, as my manuscript makes the round of publishers, I wanted to share Sherwin’s analysis of my work, from 2010.