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Year of the Typewriter

Year of the Typewriter image by Ruth Little
Kendra Fanconi working on Year of the Typewriter photo by Ruth Little

Year of the Typewriter
September 21, 2017 - September 20, 2018

Year of the Typewriter responds to a challenge by ecology writer Paul Kingsnorth to cast landscape as the lead character in stories. The response of Playwright Kendra Fanconi to this challenge was to rig up an old typewriter as a backpack and go out into wild places with the idea of translating what landscape has to say. A first workshop at the Banff Centre for the Arts in October 2016 explored this concept and opened up other avenues of exploration: interspecies arts collaborations with native species and ideas for translating the voice of place.  It ties in with a longstanding interest in West-Coast voice and vision, but with a more specific and rigorous focus. It turns from the technological and to a simpler, more direct, ‘by-hand’ aesthetic.

Following the Banff research and experimentation week, which is a very different kind of landscape, The Only Animal is now bringing the project back to B.C. with plans to set up a few sateillite offices in natural places with the idea of keeping ‘office hours’ in place, and meeting the landscape through time and weather for this year. These ‘office’ locations will be public also, and the place where biologists and naturalists and artists can begin to meet the place.


We are looking for 26 typewriters for our upcoming season. Thank you to donors Asha Kydd, Paul Lancaster, Mike Mackenzie, and Rebecca Pavitt for getting us started. Got a typewriter you'd like to donate? E-mail us at

I couldn’t help heading back up towards the Chanterelle Forest today. The court-ordered halt to the logging there has now expired and the road was again blocked with Active Logging underway.



January seems to have super sized gravity.

My eyes even are pulled down.

There are still things to see looking at the ground.

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The wood is so dark these mornings that looking down the path feels like peering through chicken broth.

But then, not often, not forecasted, not predictable…

There is that odd orange orb...

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I went today to the Chanterelle Forest. For Coasters, it is just a short drive up Field Road from Straight Coffee...

Winter Solstice, the darkest day…


I thought last week was cold. This week goes white.

White like the paper. Big and blank.

Snow catches in all the rainforest green.

And things begin to freeze. Whereas the rain was an inconvenience with the typewriter, now the cold sets in. I put on more layers. I write in shorter bursts and walk to keep warm. Even my sailing socks, with a layer of reflective blanket sewn in cannot keep the cold out. Agnes complains and drills holes in the paper in one spot, refusing to advance. I know how she feels. Every thought is encased in ice and must be cracked loose and named with a fumbling cold brain.

Raining. Raining. Waiting for a window to get out with the typewriter. Raining.

Put a piece of typing paper in the forest to let the rain do the typing for %$&!* once.

Promptly forgot about it.

The oyster mushroom sprang into being at the bottom of Mt Elphinstone. I find them on fallen alder. I see them as typewriter keys, an echo of Agnes.
Soft keys, in the damp winter weather.

I pick them without my basket or my knife, just prying with my fingers every other one.


The Only Animal creates cultivates and inspires theatre work that arises from a deep engagement with place.