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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Douglas Coupland: Time Capsules - Three Weeks in Florida

In 2000, I was writer in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. It was a record-breakingly hot summer, and on the nightly news they had a map that showed exactly how much of the state was in flames. It was gripping.

The visual artist in residence was David Carson, someone whose work I’d admired for years. When we met, it turned out we were both children of air force jet pilots who drove silver Audi TTs, and it was slightly creepy. In any event, Florida, for me, was an exotic locale, whereas David grew up just down the Space Coast … which explains his design work in the best kind of way.

I kept a small notepad diary of my three weeks there – quick jots into a Word file using Helvetica bold – it was too hot to write properly. It was also too hot to eat during the daytime. All I ate for three weeks was Lucky Charms and Vitamin D milk around 10:30 each night. I lost eight pounds while I was there. It turns out that the flight school just down the road was where the Sept. 11 bombers trained. It was a strange little interregnum.

Here is a verbal/visual record of those weeks …

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