Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who is Flora?

Flora Nicholson. Likely a grad picture from St. Francis College or Macdonald.

Today, I got up with a plan to record the Flora Nicholson Macdonald letters - and listen to them, to make better sense of them in the context of my novel Flo in the City.

But first I dropped by In Our Time, the BBC Four Ideas program and listened to an older discussion on Existentialism.

Listening to this, I realized how much this philosophy has coloured my worldview; which is not surprising considering that I am well read when it comes to the modern novel.

And I enjoy reading the history of the 20's and 30's for this reason.

But then I got to wondering: Flora Nicholson came of age before Modernism (which was born around 1922).

As I write this novel, using her letters, do I really know her.

Am I assuming too much? Perhaps I should be listening to old In Our Times about the Victorian Age.

Luckily, I can easily see what books she read at school - that helps me understand her better.

Middlemarch. Hmm.

Kipling. Hmm.

I think I will read (or re-read in its entirety) In Dark Corners or whatever it is called. The Morality book that was so popular in Canada in 1910.

It's no fun to read. Seems like so much prissy nonsense, but by reading it I probably can get into those darker corners of Flora's mind, the ones she doesn't reveal to her parents in her letters, indeed, the ones she likely doesn't reveal to herself.