The snow melts off our deck. In the morning I step gingerly outside to survey the new neighborhood, raisin toast in hand. I am standing over the shingled roof of the church, the blue stripe along the roof of the bakery. Snow drips off the trees and refreezes on the roads. It's almost gone. The air is damp and chilly, not the dry-ice cold that January is supposed to be. The sun is too clear. Post-apocalyptic spring in Edmonton.
I spend more time with my siblings. I try to teach them about public transit. We buy groceries, make movies, watch movies. Eva cooks pasta with cilantro and cheese for lunch. Sam moonwalks. Grace tells me she's finishing a novel and I feel like I should catch up with her. We make tacos for dinner, which turns into a MOONSTRUCK quote-along.
Dylan starts a Facebook thread: "Puns about oil are crude but effective"--and thirty posts later, the well is still not dry. (No regrets.) I'm thinking a lot about this strange strange place that we live in. There was a time when I thought Alberta would make a prime location for a futuristic dystopian novel. Now I think I can describe my city as it is and pass it off as sci-fi. The other day Hannah and I notice a bar called The Rig, which seems like ham-fisted world-building until I remember Oil City, Derrick Dodge, and all the other shrines to industry.
Three or four of the stories we workshop in class are about life post-Earth.The story I bring to workshop is about life in an evangelical trailer park, quintessential Earth.
I read Aliens and Anorexia by Chris Kraus, and follow it up with Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein. Meanwhile, I keep reading Kathleen Norris's Dakota, a consideration of spirituality and industry, community and landscape, place and culture and gossip and money on the prairies. I feel more strongly than ever that I do not belong here, and yet this is the place where I have been deposited, that I love best, know most about, and am responsible to observe, record. Hard as it may be for me to imagine the future here, more and more, it seems that that is my only job.
How to accomplish it? I am barely equipped to tell stories about things as they were. I still don't know enough about people. Everything I am working on now is an attempt to draw out the mysterious nature of childhood--nothing grander than that. Lately, when I think about the world my children are going to grow up in, I suffer a literal failure of the imagination, and it terrifies me.