Monthly Archives: January 2010

The book collector who failed

I started as an accumulator of books. I was a great accumulator. Book club editions of Thomas Costain, and an almost-complete 1940s National Geographic collection? Fabulous. Even as a teenager moving my books required the logistical planning of a military operation. Over time I’ve parted with enough books to easily fill a large public library. If [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Purity of a purified nature

..I beg the reader to find my method of procedure acceptable, and to excuse me if, in order to give a better understanding of the character of our savages, I have been forced to insert here many uncivilized and extravagant details, since one cannot convey complete knowledge of a foreign country or of how it [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Making a mistake

This morning I posted an old story to the Solid Gold Box, fully realizing that it was not quite right. I still think it was a good story. It was neither the first time, nor the last time, that I got something wrong in a published piece. The mistake that sticks most often in my mind [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Fort Desjarlais

Fort Desjarlais is the story of an obscure little independent fur fort on the Souris River. The story was published in a Manitoba newspaper called the Souris Valley Echo in 1987. I was reminded of it when I began searching on-line for stories I might be able to add to the Solid Gold Box. I found [...]
Posted in Solid Gold Box | 5 Comments

Anne, with an “e”

Mrs. Rachel Lynde lived just where the Avonlea main road dipped down into a little hollow, fringed with alders and ladies’ eardrops and traversed by a brook that had its source away back in the woods of the old Cuthbert place; it was reputed to be an intricate, headlong brook in its earlier course through [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment


win’-di-go n. a spirit believed by the Algonquians, Cree, and Ojibwas to take possession of vulnerable people, causing them to engage in cannibalism and other forms of antisocial behavior. I’ve always had a soft spot for westerns, and during the late 1980s I went through a phase of writing western stories—primarily for the magazines of the [...]
Posted in Solid Gold Box | Leave a comment

He heard the ropes creak

My grandmother saw the Teazer blown up. She saw it from the Tanner’s house on Heckman’s Island, the first house across the bridge on the right. She saw the British gunboat come inside of Grey Island, now called Pearly Island, and the boats leaving her with eight sweeps on a side, sixteen in all. They [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

The Observer

One morning a couple of weeks ago—it may have been the 8th of January—I stood on my veranda and watched the Sophia Z make her way out to sea. She ghosted down the harbour through hazy mist, with a tug alongside. The 57,000-tonne Sophia Z was on her maiden voyage when she arrived in Prince Rupert [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Charlie’s Tugboat Tales

Charlie’s Tugboat Tales is long out of print. The late Captain Charlie Currie was a waterfront icon of the Northwest Coast. Captain Currie and his wife, “Tugboat Winnie,” ran the 44-foot wooden tug C.R.C., built to Captain Currie’s design at the Prince Rupert Drydock in 1929. They helped people. They helped boats in trouble, hauled supplies [...]
Posted in Solid Gold Box | Leave a comment

Sorry, we’re Canadian

Harris once asked, “I don’t know what moved us.” He meant, I think, that he couldn’t put his finger on that last indefinable something. I said, “Something in the air moved us. The artist just up and does something about it without knowing what it was exactly about. It was a genuinely Canadian thing. The [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment

Requiem for the passing of a Queen

First published in THE NORTHERN VIEW, March 25, 2009 Every time I glance up from my desk I see the Queen of Prince Rupert. In this instance she is a detailed model presented to the City by BC Ferries in 1988 and now in the collection of the Museum of Northern BC. In profile her sweeping [...]
Posted in Solid Gold Box | Leave a comment

The solid gold box

First published in THIS WEEK, September 15, 1996. At the wisdom-rich age of four years I went to a place where there was magic. My dad had to ask the mechanic to carefully study the big blue Pontiac to be sure that it was up to the challenge. My mom selected bags full of little toys [...]
Posted in Solid Gold Box | 1 Comment

Sweeping up between the acts

Many years ago I met a sad, shambling fellow in Brandon, Manitoba. He was custodian of a large arena complex. He pushed a wide broom and was clearly out of place, like the long-shoed circus clown who shuffles out to clean up between acts. There was something about him that made me curious – something nautical, [...]
Posted in Blog | Leave a comment
Bruce Wishart
Whimsies. Sometimes about writing.
Sometimes about folklore. Sometimes
about the sea, or life on the coast.
And sometimes not.