I received some negative comments from my last post, I Hate Newfoundland. I'd like to address some of those people.
Do you people think I truly hate Newfoundland? Do you think I'd still be living here if I actually hated the place that much?
Our entire cultural history and the innate resilience we possess as a people is based on the love-hate relationship we have for this place. From our hardships, we have become a culture of balsy, brazen, but sweet and kind-hearted lads and lassies.
Bernice Morgan's novel, Random Passage, depicts the early fishing colony settlements establishing themselves in an unforgiving, harsh, desolate, sometimes deathly landscape – where one slip on an ice-flow can send a sealer to his frigid death. While the fishery is their main way of life, the settlers are cheated by the low fish prices from the greedy merchants of St. John's. It is their strength of character and their love for each other that allows them to survive.
Annie Proulx's The Shipping News depicts a time in our history when cod stocks were at an all-time low. Oil companies were moving in and changing the economy of the place, and generations of men who had made their living in the fishery are wandering around their homeland like lost children with no sense of purpose. This is a key time in our culture that generations before us had to endure – and they endured largely thanks to their sense of humour.
Lisa Moore's February, Joel Thomas Hynes' Down to the Dirt, Wayne Johnston's Colony of Unrequited Dreams...the list of acclaimed Newfoundland literature that is inspired by the harsh weather and socio-economic tragedies in this place is massive. It is perhaps the biggest inspiration for Newfoundland writers.
The entire history of Newfoundland and Labrador is an undulating series of hardships. Our history is an ebb and flow of challenges. The fishery, the mining industry, soon enough, the oil and gas industry – it's all about highs and lows, ebbs and flows, riding and crashing waves. There are times of prosper, there are times of desolation. Danny to Dunderdale, there's another example right there.
But a big reason people still live here is...the people. The elements of our collective personality include a wicked sense of humour, an unyielding sense of togetherness and community, and a love and respect for those of us who were born here and who choose to stay here – despite dismal times. Together, and by being able to laugh, we can get through the rough times. If we can't laugh about just how arse-up this place is, we'd have been gone ages ago. We'd all be off sniffing each other out on the beaches of Florida - our ears perking up at the sound of that weird old endearing accent, likely making chit-chat with complete strangers (most likely about the weather, leaving the complete stranger confused as to why said person is so obsessed with the weather).
But I've always found the dynamic of those of us who live in Newfoundland interesting...we're the first to pick each other up when we're down, but in the same breath, it doesn't take too much for us to spit insults at each other. Despite our warmth, we can be a bit catty. I sometimes wonder if that prevents us from reaching our full potential. Maybe we need to be more critical of ourselves in a more constructive and accepting way.
On that note, let me share a couple of the not-so-constructive or accepting emails I've received from Telegramreaders on said post:
"Disgusting article. What a pile of crap.” – from a-holemcgarnagall
Great comment, thanks, my friend! You were a real value-add in this discussion.
"Wow this woman looks old enough to have some common sense and know that you should not whine about a province that is providing a living for you and your daughter. Maybe she was not capable of looking up the weather in the province before she decided to live there. By the way you are no Rick Mercer, he has comic talent you just come across as a whiner.”
- from Ignorantmeanjerk
Wow. Thanks, lady. First off, very shortly before I wrote this post, I was at home with a baby, unemployed. On maternity leave with no job to go back to. So there's that. Secondly, I'm quite capable of looking up the weather, thanks very much. I'm just as smitten with Snoddon as the next bloke. Although, most of the time there is no point in looking up the weather, because it changes so frequently. I don't know if you'll recall, but a few foreboding “weather bombs” have been predicted, we've all battened down the hatches, and ended up with a bit of rain. Now that's not Snoddon's fault! The weather patterns change. You wouldn't go telling Snoddon he should learn how to look up the weather, would you? Additionally, in reference to your comment, “...before she decided to move here” - I did not “decide” to live here. I was born and bred here. My family and friends-since-birth live here, and I just can't seem to tear myself away from them, and from most of the other people who live here (not you though, I wouldn't miss you). I've tried to move away a few times, but my heart just ended up breaking and I had to come on back. Lastly, thank you for insulting my comic talent, or rather, my lack thereof. That was real sweet of you! I by no means put myself on any sort of parallel with Rick Mercer – a famous and talented man who makes his living by being funny. I certainly don't proclaim myself to be a comedienne. I'm just a lowly commoner, cowering behind my laptop, banging out my unabashed opinions from the safety of my own home, without worrying about anyone challenging me back. Sound familiar? I like to think that I can sometimes insert something that might spark some thought into my writing, or something that might challenge people to respond with educated and articulate remarks. I guess I did a crappy job of doing that in my last post! Anyway, enough about me. Thanks for your snarky old comment.
Beautiful Cape Bonavista. I'm not giving you mean commentators the finger here, cross my heart.
To the above commentators who don't enjoy my sense of humour – or lack thereof, according to you – I am choosing to turn the other cheek. I chose to put myself out there and share this blog on this website, and I accept that not everyone will like it. Blogging is a very personal, raw form of writing and this is my outlet, and it takes courage to write it. It would be nice if you respected that.
My writing style for this blog is sarcastic, much of the time, as is stated in the blog description. It's not for everyone, so if my blog post blocked the side of the bed you usually get up on, I do humbly apologize (remember how I said my blog was often sarcastic? This is one of those times).
With all-do respect, I talk to a lot of people in the run of a day, and I know for a fact that A LOT of people whine about the weather in Newfoundland. I'm not the only one. And a lot of people use humour as a way to lift themselves from the depression. Many people (myself included) in this province suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD can turn into serious depression if not treated. For me and for many others, funny things really help. That's what I trying to express.
If you don't think I'm funny or if my posts offend or bother you, my advice to you, dear reader, is – just don't read them! There's lots of other stuff out there you can read. Go on a lark with Dave and Morty if that's the sort of thing that makes you giggle over your tea and jam-jams. Whatever floats your boat, man! I don't care what you do. And if you don't like my writing and you want to comment, go mad! I invite and encourage constructive criticism, but if you're just going to be mean and hurtful, then you're no more evolved than a snot-nosed kindergartener tossing out insults to their classmate presenting a craft that they worked hard on, and put their heart and raw emotions into.
E Elli Photography. Who wouldn't want to live here? And it does look like this (kinda...sometimes...)
- I love the way everybody says hi, how ya doin my ducky, what've ya been up to, I saw your mudder at the Dominion the other day, she's lookin' wonderful. You don't get that in other places. It's unique to “this terrible wonderful place,” as described in Kenneth J. Harvey's Blackstrap Hawco. The sense of familiarity, comfort, safety – those are the words that describe “home”.
- I love the smell of the sea air, and I even love the smell and the sound of seagulls (in very small doses, and from a very far distance away).
- I love the rugged, natural beauty of our land. To me, it reflects the nature of our people and our culture and our history and our very existence – surly, sometimes nasty, but strong, resilient, brave and beautiful. It is the very nature of our collective personality that I try to emulate in my own being.
So don't tell me I don't love Newfoundland. Or I'll smack the lips right off ya ;)
Cape St. Mary's. A spectacular seascape.