What do you get when a deconstructionist joins the mafia ?

An offer you can't understand.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Reading Launch

Just had a launch reading at the Dublin Street United Church, wasn't sure anyone was going to be there but twenty or so came, majority were San Giorgiosi. This is the second reading I've done with similar material from the book. And something curious always seems to happen when I end the reading with the dedication to the dead, with the reading of their names. I've done it at both readings and at both, a solemnity seems to take over, and a natural moment of silence ensues.
I wrote a play once called the Wake of the Asia about the worst marine disaster in Georgian Bay history, 120 people lost their lives (in 1882.) We actually performed the play in a tent alongside the Bay in Collingwood and the run coincided with the date of the tragedy so we invited descendants of the lost to attend a wreath ceremony, at which we read out the names of the 120 people who had died. Their names hadn't been spoken aloud in generations it seemed. There is something about memorializing the forgotten that opens the sacred into the ordinary.
The great difficulty of writing this book was to get the tone right, to make it something other than a True Crime book, to make it about family, to honour the survivors of vendetta, to show respect to the dead whose stories I can only tell as fragments, whether those men were cold blooded killers, or passionate unfortunates or unlucky opportunists.
I talked about how I hoped healing would come to the community by telling the stories but at the end of the evening two Sangiorgiosi asked me about that, about how some they've talked to felt that healing had already come about through forgetting. It's certainly one way to do it, and it's not a way I can condemn, and yet, I guess I believe that redemptive healing requires light to reach into the darkness in order to separate the shadows of human action from the darkness itself. So I suppose I'm talking about spiritual healing rather than just emotional scarring over. I think forgetfulness leads to a certain kind of hardness maybe, whereas spiritual healing is more like being released from prison, like the Orpheus story where he rescues his wife from Hades, only to lose her in the shadow of the rock opening to the outer world because she couldn't separate herself from her past.

To the man who left his scarf, I have it. Contact me via the gmail address above and I'll arrange to get it back to you. To everyone else thanks for coming. And thanks for buying the book.

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