Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Thinking about Dr. Moore

I've been taking long AB documents-- newspaper and magazine articles-- and transcribing them, typing them into Works Word Processor. The goal is that not only will i read them in the process, but then I'll have a more legible and more easily navigated digital copy of the sources. Last night I started typing Dr. Moore's serial for Alaska Weekly magazine which began in 1931-- a history of the AB. I typed all through Clash of the Titans, which i really wanted to watch but somehow lost interest in as soon as it started.

A few lines really stood out to me as I typed:

"I will aim in this article to give you the origin of the Arctic Brotherhood as I recall it, and to remind you of its influence upon early life in Alaska with the hope that it may help perpetuate its history authentically while facts are yet fresh in the memory of some of its early members."

That's my purpose, after all, in writing my book...

"On this holiday occasion let us survivors of the Arctic Brotherhood-- as we recall our early history-- think of those who have passed to the Camp of the Last Pass, fill our glasses, and drink to the memory of our living and absent brothers."

This is exactly how I felt when I sat in the Arctic Club in Seattle...

"To write of the men who, by crushing rock and sifting sands, produced gold and silver from a land which yields immortal youth and stored energies of inexhaustible mines, is like speaking of an imperishable race whose achievements are wonderful in scope and splendid in promise."

I just thought it was interesting that he made the metaphor of an imperishable race... considering the ABs' writings implied that they considered Alaska Natives inferior to them.

"With tender recollections of our precious cabin home in Alaska and of associations with the grand characters who made that country, I offer this second section of my story as the tribute of a grateful heart. No garlands of rhetoric or language of mine can do justice to those of whom I write and the grandeur and glory of their wonderful country I ask you to accept it with its outlines as a tribute of love which I give to associations of my life that are my richest heritage."

As I read Dr. Moore and re-type his words, the way he writes about trying to preserve the heritage of an organization that, by the time he was writing, had already fallen apart, inspires me to do the same in the book that someday will be finished. As of now it's only thirteen pages (half the length of my senior thesis, and two hundred pages shy of the length of the longest work of fiction i've ever written), but all the research is there in two massive binders and files on my desktop. It's a massive and humbling undertaking and I only hope that I can honor the memories of the men who so influenced the great land I live in.