Unspeakable longing

Cartoonist Kate Beaton has momentarily lapsed into prose, with a story about the Canso Causeway in a new Alberta-based literary magazine called, fittingly, Eighteen Bridges.

I once watched a travel show where Billy Connolly, the Scottish entertainer, journeyed across Canada. In Halifax, he expressed a distaste for the whooshing tartans, skirling pipes, and other superficial expressions of Scottishness, which he deemed tawdry and inauthentic. It was disheartening, because if he really wanted authenticity, he could have just called me up. I would have recited one of those tragic old Gaelic songs that have been a Cape Breton staple ever since Authentic Scottish People everywhere decided our national emotion would be “unspeakable longing.”

Would you like one where someone dies at war, I would have asked Billy, or one where someone dies at sea?

Please read the whole story, and the story within the story, here. Follow Kate’s doings on her Tumblr feed. And take a moment to read Kate’s only previous Contrarian appearance, one of the best works of art ever created about Cape Breton.