There's a certain aroma or, more properly, miasma surroundimg most regional writing, a stink of amateurism that is immediately apparent when you open a volume of the stuff; what comes wafting out is so unpleasant, it can induce gagging.
The province I call home features a particularly noxious assortment of "regional" scribblers, people who celebrate our prairie landscape through verse and prose so inept, derisory and pathetic I refuse to associate myself with the crap. Call me a "local" or "Saskatchewan" writer, even "Canadian", and I shall fix steely blue-grey eyes on you and calmly ask you to either retract the statement or meet me outside (and you'd better bring a few big pals to assist you...or carry you to the hospital afterward).
I am a writer without borders, denying himself a homeland so that I can attack themes that are universal, complex and far-reaching. For that reason, my work can be appreciated by readers from Gatineau, Quebec to Gdansk (Poland).
I quit the provincial writing guild years ago--the notion of being lumped in with dingbats who write poems about the birds of northern Saskatchewan or short stories concerning coming of age in a small rural town or village makes me genuinely nauseous. If these people sidle up to me, try to behave like we're colleagues or, God forbid, artistic equals, I calmly and politely brush them off like flecks of dandruff or a small dribble of baby puke. I am contemptuous of them, their work, the patch of ground they're standing on.
I have tremendous respect for authors and artists who push boundaries, introduce innovative ideas and execute truly unique, original literature. There's very little of that to be found in "regional" writing. Instead you get homespun homilies and kitschy postcard views of our province, with a few of the usual politically correct suspects rearing their heads (revealing hideous, in-bred features). Every time I pass the "Local Interest" or "Regional" section of my favorite bookstore, I quicken my pace, lest some of that offal accidentally attaches itself to me.
Leaving an ugly, unsightly stain that no cleanser or old wives' remedy could possibly remove or efface.
Causes Cliff Burns Supports
The Stephen Lewis Foundation, Community Radio