Rewriting the Wild - Work in Progress

Recently I have been revisiting classic novels that feature ‘man-vs-nature’ conflict narratives, editing them to feature female protagonists. To date this project includes The Old Man and the Sea (The Old Woman and the Sea), and The Call of the Wild, with two more in progress. The Call of the Wild Was printed and sent out to 25 participants for review, to gather responses to the project and the new story. With funding from TAC, I am now working with designer Tetyana Herych (of Furrrawn Press)  on the series, starting with The Old Woman and the Sea which has just been printed. 

Rewriting the Wild is a project in which a series of novels featuring ‘man-vs-nature’ conflict narratives are edited to have female protagonists. This artistic experiment is concerned with generating discussion and debate; will this slight but important shift change the story’s human-nature narrative in interesting ways? Will it generate new themes, metaphors, and meanings?

The impulse to do this has developed naturally over the course of my current work and research which is centered around imaginings of nature and deconstructing the dominant narratives of human/nature relationships in contemporary culture. Beyond academic concerns, this particular project has also largely been inspired by my experience as a mother; considering the role that stories play in the formation of our sense of self, our position in the world and relationship to the earth.
Overall this experiment attempts to invent a genre missing from the cannon of classic literature. While contemporary feminist perspectives create a possible space for changing ideas about human-non-human relationships today, these new readings of classic fictions ask whether different kinds of historical relationships to nature might emerge via the female voice.
This work is itself a form of fiction that imagines what if these perspectives and voices had always been heard; What possible worlds could we live in now?

This project is funded in part by the Toronto Arts Council Visual Arts Program.