Thanks to the functionality of WordPress, my last nine posts have been auto-programmed. I’ve been in Nova Scotia since August 11th. I’ve been traveling here prior to presenting a paper at an academic conference. Now, as I get ready to leave Canada’s “Atlantic Playground,” I wanted to reflect on a few inspiring moments from my trip.
- I was inspired to learn about something called Le Grand Derangement, in which French Acadian farmers were deported from their lands by the British in the mid-1700s. Scenes from a vast epic immediately spring to mind… and in fact, Longfellow already got there with his epic poem Evangeline. These images, from the Grand-Pre region, depict the landscape against which the epic was set.
- Another inspiring landscape was the town of Sandy Cove. Here, I climbed a rocky promontory and looked out over the whole town. The idea of trying to capture a “town-consciosuness” has always appealed to me, and many of my favorite authors have tried it (i.e., early 20th-century works such as Spoon River Anthology; Winesburg, Ohio; and Our Town up through Ray Bradbury’s 1957 Dandelion Wine and on to contemporary works like Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout). Able to see the entire town in a single panorama, I found ideas for several stories coming to me.
- On Carter’s Beach near Port Mouton, I was awed by the pristine simplicity–the white sands, the calm blue water. It reminded me, actually, of places in Thailand and Southeast Asia. Apparently the locals are rather peeved that tourists have found out about the beach, which waits down an unmarked paved road and has very few places to park.
- Of course, it’s always inspiring for me to just hang out near the water. I’m an East Coast guy living in the Midwest. I think the Midwest is all right, but I often miss the smell of the ocean and seeing objects associated with it such as…
- I also witnessed the incredible tidal power of the Bay of Fundy. This is where the highest tides in the world have been recorded. When the water retreats for low tide, it leaves vast sand bars behind. The shaping forces of the tides are also evident along the shoreline, such as a natural arch I saw in the Five Islands area.
My biggest disappointment in Nova Scotia? The food. As a maritime province you might assume that the seafood in Nova Scotia is going to be excellent everywhere, and yet I was consistently disappointed by what seemed like mostly non-fresh/reheated (or poorly cooked) fish, clams, scallops, etc. A lot of restaurants cut corners, and I think you’d have to be a local to know which places didn’t. One exception to this was a delightful little restaurant called Diane’s in Five Islands, which served some of the best and most reasonably priced fried clams I’ve ever eaten.
And one restaurant on Prince Edward Island, Fishbones, served some pretty delicious fresh mussels and craft beer.
Anyhow, I have to cut this post short so I can get ready to fly back tomorrow. One of my dreams is to one day make my living as a creative writer so that I can perpetually travel to places and find inspiration. So perhaps this is only the beginning…