Thursday, December 07, 2006 - The land serves as writer's muse - The land serves as writer's muse: "

The land serves as writer's muse
Like the Canadian explorers and diarists before him, Seán Virgo lets his surroundings shape his writing
Dec. 4, 2006. 06:30 AM

Sitting in the stone-tiled kitchen of his publisher's Rosedale home, relaxing in customary jeans and pullover, Seán Virgo does not look out of place. But this is a man whose natural habitat is the natural habitat.
You can see him in his element, walking over the ridges near his home in Eastend, Sask., striding up a prairie highway, or wandering through tall grasslands in a recent 13-part series, Middle of Somewhere, for the Saskatchewan Communications Network. Virgo both wrote and hosted the series, an exploration of his adopted province.
You can also find the landscapes that make up his life on the pages of Begging Questions (Exile Editions), Virgo's new book of short stories. Or, should you be so fortunate as to spend a bit of time with him, you can hear about them in his conversation.
Behind this author of a dozen books of poetry and fiction you can imagine a line of Canadian writers devoted to the land — from the early explorers, like Jacques Cartier and David Thompson who captured it in their journals, to the settler sisters Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr Traill, Charles G.D. Roberts, Ernest Thompson Seton, Grey Owl and, in our own age, Roderick Haig-Brown and Farley Mowat.
In fact, a book Virgo edited, The Eye in the Thicket, is an anthology of co"

Rock Piles: Hunter's Signs - an illustration by Ernest Seton Thompson

Rock Piles: Hunter's Signs - an illustration by Ernest Seton Thompson: "Hunter's Signs - an illustration by Ernest Seton Thompson
A favorite childhood author had this page (reprinted in the 'Big Book of Country Living' p.162) illustrating what he called 'Hunter's Signs'. Although he was writing mostly about plains Indians, I think it is clear that this is one type of rock-on-rock usage.
posted by pwax at 1:22 PM "

Monday, December 04, 2006

Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson Papers, 1903-1940 : Biographical/Historical Note

Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson Papers, 1903-1940 : Biographical/Historical Note: "Grace Gallatin was born in Sacramento, California on January 28, 1872. In 1888 she began writing articles for San Francisco newspapers under the pen name of Dorothy Dodge, and in 1892 graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute, in Brooklyn, NY. She married Ernest Thompson Seton in 1896, a founder of the Boy Scouts of America. Their daughter Ann (known as 'Anya') was born in 1904. Active for women's rights, Grace Seton served as vice president and president of the Connecticut Woman's Suffrage Association (1910-20), was president of Pen and Brush (1898-1939), and with her husband, helped to organize the Girl Pioneers (later the Camp Fire Girls) in 1910. During World War I, she organized and directed a women's motor unit to aid soldiers in France. She was President of the National League of Pen Women from 1926 to 1928 and from 1930 to 1932. She helped organize an international conference of women writers at the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933 and arranged an exhibit of 3,000 books by women, which later became the core of the Biblioteca Femina at Northwestern University. In the 1920s and 1930s Seton visited Japan, China, Indochina, Hawaii, Egypt and Latin American and later wrote books about her travels, including A Woman Tenderfoot (1900) and A Woman Tenderfoot in Egypt (1923), Chinese Lanterns (1924), Yes, Lady Saheb (1925). Seton divorced in 1935. In the 1940s she followed Yogananda, traveling to his ashrams. She died in Palm Beach, Florida, March 19, 1959."

Life Traces: Raitt

The Setons at Home: Organizing a Family Biography
Lucinda H. MacKethanDepartment of EnglishNorth Carolina State University
Houses are some of America's greatest storytellers and function in any culture as powerful social symbols. The double meaning of "House," which Edgar Allan Poe understood so well when he wrote his classic story "The Fall of the House of Usher," demonstrates how the house-as-structure in its physical design can become a telling statement of identity, taste, class, place, training, and heritage. In terms of semiotics, the study of sign systems and the conventions governing their interactions, the house as "form" signals the symbolic as well as genealogical ligatures of family. Poe was able with great economy in his story to expose and explore one man's full life through intertwining descriptions of Usher's family lineage and the residence in which he dwelled. The linguistic association of House with Nation-State is another significant nineteenth century usage to consider, as when Abraham Lincoln, in 1858, presented in simple domestic terms his nation's terrible dilemma: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." Across the Atlantic, in 1860, the year that saw the United States reach the last stage of its unalterable dividedness before the cataclysm of war, Ernest Thompson Seton was born in the rugged Northumberland region of England. Forty years later he was well on his way to becoming a standard bearer of a new American century at its supremely confident beginning. To frame the story of the Seton family in America -- father Ernest, mother Grace, and daughter Anya -- through the houses that they themselves built between 1900 and 1951, is to have a way to contain, to "house" so to speak, their lives -- geographically, psychologically, and socially - as successful writers, as prominent American personalities, and as a complex and ultimately failed family.
Life Traces: Raitt