To Margaret Atwood (first letter)

Dear Margaret,
Did you ever walk around the Annex anonymously, timid and worrying, slipping into coffee houses with mousy hair and a macrame shoulder bag?
Did you wonder about your intelligence, its dimensions and character? I imagine your beginnings, developing new frames of reference, quietly planning with the shrewdness of an assassin, the supernatural clarity of oracles, young and unblemished, waiting for opportunity, collecting strange adjectives, crude cartoons and hit lists.
Surely the old order was waiting to be cut down. Their pomposity demanded it. They dared you with their cigar smoke and excessive drinking, their leers and intellectual indifference. They were begging to be challenged, to be called on their audacious patriarchal crimes and misdemeanors, their provincial maple leaf pretensions, their unquestioned taste.
That was hundreds of pant-suits, fair-weather friends, politically necessitated associations, luncheons, award ceremonies and fundraising receptions ago.
Now you’re calling the shots. You’re one with the problem.
It’s as if you’ve mimicked your protagonist in Surfacing for all of these years — as if you’ve consciously maintained an allegorically parallel life. The Canadian Wilderness is transfigured. You’ve journeyed to the heart of the Canadian Arts Industry instead.
You’ve come looking for a posturing, controlling Father.  You reveal yourself in his absent presence.
You convey an awareness of all this through your work. Victims and debt, myth and fable, speculation and apocalypse, revolutionary desires — they all recur.
You remain interesting after endless affirmations from those within the game. You’re able to fascinate despite your comfortable lifestyle. You’re repeatedly off the rails on the inside track.
jeremy