Keeping up with the TALONS

Algonquin Park HDR

And these paintings are not landscape paintings. Because there aren’t any landscapes up there, not in the old, tidy European sense, with a gentle hill, a curving river, a cottage, a mountain in the background, a golden evening sky. Instead there’s a tangle, a receding maze, in which you can become lost almost as soon as you step off the path. There are no backgrounds in any of these paintings, no vistas; only a great deal of foreground that goes back and back, endlessly, involving you in its twists and turns of tree and branch and rock. No matter how far back in you go, there will be more. And the trees themselves are hardly trees; they are currents of energy, charged with violent colour.

Death by Landscape Margaret Atwood

During this past week’s study of short stories, our class has delved into more than one class-that-runs-past-the-bell in dissection of Canadian works, Margaret Atwood’s “Death by Landscape,” and Alistair MacLeod’s “To Every Thing There is a Season.” Beginning with the discussion of the each story’s basic literary pieces – its characters, conflict, plot, setting and point of view – the class has ranged in conversation of the Canadian identity, the nature of growing up, the importance of stories, and literature’s ability to illuminate who we are as individuals, citizens and members of the human race. Beginning today though our class began to merge this conversation with the online – technology supplementing face to face instruction, dialogue and interaction – and moved to the students’ blogs, with each student posting a defense of their theme statement for MacLeod’s Cape Breton Christmas novella “To Everything There is a Season.”

But this is only one way our class is engaged in social networking and online dialogue. The means of this digital conversation: