Wednesday, April 23, 2008


April 16, 2008

On the nobility of otters: I had never noticed before just how noble this creature is, how patriotic, how symbolic it is. Had it not been for Dave Snyder and Chris Bower’s symposium on Dunholt, I would have never laid eyes on that solemn otter in the middle of the town’s flag. Nor would I have seen the pile of ash, the drops of blood and the twin crows.

From Jill’s study of the historic treatment of women in Dunholt to Scott’s history of the flag; from Tim’s faulty dissertation to Chris’s life on the river; from Dave and Matt’s fascination with the town’s music and even to Mark’s Bush-like facilitation, the aspects of the town presented by this panel of experts kept the audience enthralled for the evening.

What I learned from this academic evening is that a town is really far more than the sum of its parts—it’s more than songs about losing things and looking for them and finding them only to thoughtlessly lose them again, or about accidental cannibalism and severed hands. It’s more than the struggles of a flag maker or of a female novelist, or the thesis of an inept scholar. How much can one really know about a long ago place? How does one really ever know a city, fictional or not? You see, a town like Dunholt is continually molting and evolving as we learn and unlearn about it; it exists only in our minds; it lives for only as long as we conjure it. A town like Dunholt, well, I mean hell, it’s not real—make it what you want.


Post a Comment

<< Home