As a blogger, wanna-be storyteller, social media neophyte d-bag, I find it hard to fathom any one of our ilk not having read Douglas Coupland’s work. His seminal Generation X (and popularization of said term) speaks to our collective post-Reagan need to connect, to inspire, to live for something greater, real. Admittedly, I’m just beyond the Gen X age-range and yet I still feel an urge for something–anything–I can call reality, digital or otherwise. Coupland has always topped my list of authors to read, whether it was his hilariously touching 2006 novel JPod or his treatise on loneliness, Eleanor Rigby, he is an author I fear many of my generation fail to read, let alone understand.
A master of storytelling and pop culture nuance, Coupland defined a generation for what it is: starving for stories; insufferably connected to its own digital grandeur; suffocating for a connection to something real. Coupland is one of Canadiana’s most prolific, relatable writers and fortunately for us, TBEXers, Gen-Xers or Millenials, he is also one of Vancouver’s greatest champions.
No doubt the TBEX Vancouver Guide is comprehensive. As a community, we’re all looking for different places to go, things to do, people to see, as there’s a lot to process in Canada’s third largest city. Something to define ourselves and our respective niche. As TBEX ’11 looms closer, we’re all looking for ways to differentiate ourselves from our fellow bloggers. Sure, we’ll collectively learn about blogging, SEO,narrative and non-narrative blogging, but we are travel writers, after all. We want to engage our senses and live the life of a local, if even for a little while. Colors, sights, sounds: Our currency as travel bloggers, videographers and photographers is in living in the moment while simultaneously recording the experience for our readers and audience…Right?
While TBEXers love to explore, oscillating between others’ guides and their own compass, none can argue against Coupland’s love for the city he calls home. His City of Glass, simultaneously enlightening and hilarious, is exactly the kind of love letter we of the digital age wish to write for each locale we visit, each sensation we experience, each pitter-patter of wanderlust heartstring we hope to pluck. It romanticizes the city of Vancouver, while also throwing into sharp relief its problems and strengths: the proliferation of grow-ops and marijuana is foiled by the physical-fitness-as-dating-habits of the city; “Van” as “Hollywood of the North” attempting to maintain its “Every City” aesthetic while simultaneously attempting to define itself; East meets West–poignantly, effortlessly–mostly because of the city’s long history of separation from Eastern Canada’s Western European influence while balancing Eastern Asian immigration.
TBEX, to me, has always signified the gravitational pull of travel. That insatiable, uncontrollable pull of the unknown. Yes, Vancouver is English-speaking. Yes, it’s North American, rendering most cultural differences non-existent. But does that mean it’s staid? Hell no. Guidebooks exist (in droves, unfortch) for Vancouver, City of Glass, but at the end of the day, one cannot overlook those books written by an author who genuinely loves–genuinely aches–for the city they call home.