Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alan Davidson - Letter from a Friend



Complete honesty. I'm always calling for it, so here's the honest truth: I have a bit of a crush on Alan Davidson. Oh come off it with your high horse and your even higher eyebrows – I know damned well you do, too. 

It's the hair, for starters. That thick silvery hair and beard, so manly that whenever I think of it the words to Irish Spring commercials leap to my lips: "And I like it too!" Alan's hair and beard bring Kenny Rogers to mind, pre-plastic, when he was, ahem, hot. (Fecking celebrities and their fecking plastic surgery ... give it a REST, people! Here's more complete honesty: you all look like fecking FREAKS.)

So Alan has great hair. He's also got these Paul Newman-ish baby blue eyes, you know, when Newman was still alive, not dead corpse eyes, just so we're clear.  And he's got a fez, which is uber-attractive, as all breathing heterosexual women and homosexual men will attest. Nothing like a man wearing nothing but a smile and a fez. Of all things, the object of my desire sent me a photo of His Handsome Self wearing what looks like the tablecloth from our picnic basket – he explains it all in his letter but, I gotta tell you, this may have been a tactical error, abandoning the fez. It's like Richard Simmons abandoning his silk gym shorts or Tom Selleck shaving his moustache, or worse, me shaving my legs. Still, if anyone can carry off the tablecloth look, it is Alan, the fashionista of Newfoundland.

Looks aren't everything, of course. I tell myself that all the time. When you look like me, it's the only thing that gets you through the day. And even though Al is hotter than an October day on The Rock (it was freakishly hot the day we met. I blamed the weather for my sweaty self but, looking back, it may have just been a reaction to Alan's general hotness), he's got plenty going on in that noggin of his – plenty of smarts, plenty of charm and a wicked-good sense of humour. On top of all that, he's a writer. A really, really talented writer. One of the best I know.

That's how I came across Sir Alan of Newfoundland. Through the writing. Like me, he was a regular participant in Friday Flash, an online community of writers who post flash fiction every Friday. Anyone can do it. Anyone. I hadn't written any fiction, at all, ever, when I started writing flash. It was such a stellar experience that I encourage everyone to give it a whirl. Not only did it train me as a writer, it introduced me to some of the nicest people on the web – including dear, sweet, handsome Alan Davidson. 

The first story I ever read of his remains my favourite, A Tale of Love, Misfortune and Nasty Wee Dogs. A Valentine's tale of love and yappy small dogs that was touching and funny and all the things good fiction should be. From that point on I became a fan and an avid follower of his blog, Conversations from Land's Edge. When Dave and I got married in September 2010 we decided to honeymoon in Newfoundland, partly because we'd never been there and partly because I wanted to lay eyes on the Silver Fox of the Friday Flash circuit.


We had the BEST day. Alan is just as charming in real life as he is online. He is genuinely nice, as nice as anyone I've ever met. Unfortunately for all of us who crush on the suavest man on The Rock, his heart belongs to the fair and lovely Ginny, who is also an amazing cook and makes the world's very best cheesecake. I've had it and it's true. Alan and V, as she is known, have an energetic and handsome teenaged son he calls "The Boy," and a rather lazy rescued greyhound named Jet, who leaves turds the size of station wagons in their backyard.

While I love my husband and would never cheat on him (that, too, is a complete truth), I can't help but crush on the Man in the Fez. Even if he's now the Man in a Tablecloth.



Dear Cathy,
I hope this letter sees you and your family well.
Yeah, I know. It’s been ages since I’ve written. Sadly, I owe a ton o’ letters to friends and relatives that I had promised to write over the holidays. Each year I am sucked into a chocolate and turkey induced ‘holiday vortex’ and each year it takes me longer to fight its heavy current and flounder to freedom.
From about late September (when the stores start peddling their Christmas wares) I begin to fret about the upcoming holidays. I view the season with the same trepidation as getting a filling, or hearing the snap of latex glove at my doctor’s office…or even the presentation of my wife’s famed sweet potato soup at the supper table  *shudders*.
But I digress…
We don’t get many visitors here, so it was really nice to meet you in person when you and Dave visited eastern Newfoundland as part of your honeymoon fifteen months ago. It’s crazy…the time has flown by so fast. I am convinced that our lives are best expressed in mathematical terms: our childhoods begin as simple sums, but morph into quadratic equations and then complex exponential formulae in our ‘golden years’. And don’t get me started on the topic of turning 50 this year! 
As noted, it was great to see you folks and tour you about for the day. That guy of yours is a real keeper and I wish your visit could have been longer as there’s so much more to see on this unique island. I hope you both can visit again. Bring your boys, your dog and your camping gear and stay a spell! Also, don’t forget your travel insurance and provincial health cards because the moose do tend to wander onto the highways.
I know, you’re probably saying, “Why is Alan still living on that windswept island if he finds it so isolated?” Good question, my Muskokian friend! It’s that isolation that has kept Newfoundland somewhat ‘insulated’ from the rest of North America, allowing it to maintain its unique culture and language (the islanders have mainly Irish roots with smaller numbers descended from English and Scottish immigrants). 
I suppose that my move here is really just another phase in that accelerating life journey. Life for me began in Scotland, but I was soon relocated to the west coast of Canada (Vancouver Island). As an adult I moved again to Canada’s industrial centre in Southwestern Ontario in search of work—the promised land’ as it’s often referred to by those on the coasts. Over five years ago I chose to move even farther east to ‘The Rock’…to escape that same promised land. Some have jokingly said that I may find myself traveling full-circle and end up back in Scotland. Or at least planted there after I die. Interesting thought, but I think I’ll avoid the family crypt for a few years yet.
Perhaps this moving thing is simply in my blood. My grandfather was a career army man and traveled all over the world with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. And my dad always used to say, “You’ve got to move to where the work is.” It was kind of a family motto. Then again, dad also used to say, “Run up to the store and get me a pack of smokes” and my personal favourite, “If your pipes are leaky, have them seen to.” 
The old man stayed true to his motto and often worked in remote locations of British Columbia. It was probably for better money…or perhaps it was simply to escape the five screaming kids at home. We Davidsons must have gypsy lineage or perhaps a nomadic streak in our background to account for this constant desire to move—this state of flux. I’ve given this plenty of thought and have decided to put away my fez for a while in place of a new head covering that better reflects this family past (see enclosed photo of Jan. 22/12). I know…a lot of people love me in that fez, but I think my new look is less Peter Lorre-esque and more Omar Sharif-ish. So please…don’t send me any hate mail.
I know that I have enclosed two photos, but please post only the one with me clothed…I may want to run for political office one day.
In closing, I must thank you for throwing me a rope and helping to extricate me from that holiday vortex. For prompting me to write something…anything. Because really, my writing of late has been restricted to grocery lists and work memos hastily jotted on sticky note paper. I’m not prepared to say that I’m now walking tall in the world of writers, but at least this Letter to a Friend is a step in the right direction.
Best Wishes,
~A

41 comments:

  1. I've not heard of this guy, but dang if you ain't right! :-) He is handsome, isn't he?

    And what IS with people plastic-surgerying themselves into a hardened shell? The men look like women and the women look like -- well, I'm not sure what they look like...

    Pearl

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pearl, I dunno, all I can think of is FREAKS? Like if some of them keep having plastic surgery they can get a job at a circus. In all seriousness, I can't believe someone like Robert Redford would mess with his handsome face. Yes, he was wrinkled, but he was still Robert Redford! Now he looks like somebody else. If I had a choice between looking like Redford or "someone else," I know who I would pick.

      Delete
  2. Silver Fox indeed...whoo hooo...and I love the new tablecloth on the head look. Can't you just see him bobbing across the desert on a camel?
    Yeah..I'll go for real anytime.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delores, I was actually hoping Alan would tell me what that tablecloth is. (He did, once, but I have Old Timer's, I swear, and forget) It is a genuine-from-the-Middle-East head covering but I forget its name. Alan! What is it thing called again and where did you get it?

      Delete
    2. This link should answer your 'tablecloth' questions...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keffiyeh

      Delete
  3. Good to see Alan again — I lost track of him on Twitter somehow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larry, so many people disappear into the Twitter vortex. It's a tragedy, really.

      Delete
  4. I think Alan's association of wanderlust is linked to his roots - we Davidson's (yeah - I'm decended from the same name/location) were amongst the marauding Border Reivers who were always moving back and forwards over the Scottish Borders!

    I envy him the isolation of 'The Rock' - I'm as far from the sea as it's possible to get, here in the UK, so I'm
    definitely putting Newfoundland on my 'wish-list' tour, if I ever win the lottery! I wonder if I could hire the silver-haired wonder as tour guide? Of course, he'd have to wear the fez! ;-p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, you're a Davidson? *thinking, oh, that explains a LOT!!!* hehe

      Delete
    2. My Great Grandmother (maternal Grandfather's mother) was a Davidson from the same area as some of Alan's folks - we haven't established a direct connection as yet but they are buried in the same churchyard, I believe!

      Sadly, unless I'm willing to give up my blonde highlights, we'll never know if I, too, am a silver fox! (er....that would be 'vixen'!) ;-p

      Delete
    3. Yeah, maybe I'll be able to look at my information and establish a link between our families when I've got more time. In retirement (that will probably be when I'm 70, if the government has its way).

      Delete
  5. I have a crush on Alan too. How can you not? Looking all Indiana Jones bad guy-ish. Plus he's wind-swept from being here on the rock. Just picture him sitting on his camel (or moose maybe) with the North Atlantic wind blowing through his silver locks.

    And he's all worldly and stuff. And that sense of humour. Yep. Alan is a real gem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurita, you're so lucky, getting to see him all the time. *jealous*

      Delete
    2. Yes, we'll take a photo of ourselves and email it to you the next time we have a writer's meeting at Starbucks (yes, we have those here in the middle of nowhere)

      Delete
    3. Laurita...a gem? I'd have to say that I'm more like a piece of nana's costume jewelry.

      Delete
  6. Now Cathy, did you keep the starkers photo just for yourself, lol? I admire Alan's writing although I confess I haven't visited his blog in awhile, y'know how it is...Loved reading this and your little preamble too, you lush. Newfoundland is one of those fascinating places. I've read several books set there and I always feel so cold, brr, brr. I wonder how people can live in places like that, but Alan has explained some of that. I'm sure your writing reflects the place you live in up to a point. I can imagine penning some creepy tale as the winds scream outside my window...now back to the beach!

    What a lovely series. I come back and read the ones I've missed every so often.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise, I'll show it to you ... for a price. I've got the starkers photo on eBay and right now the price is $9.12 and climbing...

      Delete
    2. Actually...I just noticed that some guy in Manhattan set the bar higher with an offer of $9.13 for that pic.

      Delete
  7. That's wonderful you got to meet him in person. From his letter, he sounds like he has a great sense of humor. And I also thank you for not posting the naked photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alex, c'mon, he's a hottie! Even his belly button lint is adorable!

      Delete
  8. It's just wonderful that you followed your impulse and met up with a cyber-friend. The wide world made small. Another great letter from a friend.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sweet potato soup - how bad can it be? Really, I could go for some right now.

    When I think of Newfoundland I think of rocks and wind, very cold wind. I also wonder how one would find work in such an out of the way place. But I understand the desire, need even, to be away from the speeding crowds. That must be great. Alan, I confess I do not have a crush on you. But you're a funny guy and a fine writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, I had that soup – at least I think I did. It was soup and it was orange and it was delicious. (Man, I sure hope you didn't hurt Alan's feelings, admitting you don't have a crush on him. *passes Al a Kleenex*)

      Delete
  10. The Silver Fox indeed! What a great letter, and super intro to the elusive Alan, well, elusive to me but not so to you, dear Cathy.

    I understand the need for quiet, for solitude, and though I love my busy, dirty, chaotic city, there are days when I wish I could be somewhere as windswept and briny as NF.

    Happy 50th in advance, Alan. A fact we share this year. Peace...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, congrats once again for being featured in THE NEW YORK TIMES! I feel so honoured to have someone as smart and famous and respected as you visiting my humble blog.

      I think you guys should have some sort of a 50th birthday extravaganza/blogfest. You could work together on it.

      Delete
  11. A big thank you to both of you. I love this series, and Cathy introduces people with such charm.
    And then, as happened today, the visitor more than lives up to the hyperbole.
    So, thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, you are such a nice person. I'm so glad you pop by – you're a real treasure, I can tell!

      Delete
  12. Many thanks, Cathy, for inviting me to be part of this popular series. Who DOESN'T want to be Cathy's friend?

    And thanks to everyone for the kind comments. Cathy's build-up was tremendous...I can only hope to live up to that one day...

    Mark- This place is unique because it's best of both worlds. We live in this 'Metropolis' of about 150K but drive west of here and it becomes pretty remote.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was such a pleasure having you here, Alan. Thanks again for your wonderful letter!

      Delete
    2. ......now I've looked at that picture (the clothed one!) again, you're right - Alan bears more than a passing similarity to 'Cairo Fred'! (Peter O'Tool's nickname for Omar Sharif)

      Delete
  13. Lovely! That was my second reaction, actually. The first was to spit my coffee onto the keyboard...
    I kinda like the sheik look in a tablecloth. As you said, Cathy, Alan looks good in anything (only you know about the nothing. Why didn't you post the OTHER photo?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you warn me ahead of time to put my coffee down... ;)

      Delete
  14. Alan has always come off as a very nice fellow. I snorted at your opening by complimenting his hair, and enjoyed the graciousness of his letter. You folks both live in beautiful bits of the world.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nice to meet you. Good luck with A-Z. I look forward to your posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Squid! You, too! Thanks for the follow!

      Delete
  16. I have been sternly and loudly advised that it's pronounced NewfoundLAND, and I'm hoping that will see me through this life. Or at least keep me from being roughed up on the rock. I'm delicate. You strike me as being a generous soul, to whom much will be given, for that is the way generosity works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww... that is so sweet, Murr. And I think you're right about the pronunciation! Thanks so much for dropping by!

      Delete
  17. I followed Alan here from his site -- and he does write a nice letter. I figure true letter writing is a lost art form. To top it off, I am a bit jealous of Alan. I spent a year and a half in Newfoundland while in the service, and I truly miss it. It is a beautiful province with beautiful people.

    And an added bonus, this this venture I discovered this fascinating blog.

    ReplyDelete

How's it going, eh? It's SO good to hear from you. Tell me every darn thing...