My daughter Sophie said I should layoff all the heavy political stuff…people don’t want to hear that crap. She insisted that people want to read about nothing…the ordinary nothingness about unimportant things that may be humorous or insightful. But as my son Giancarlo said when he was but five or six years old – “Dad even when you are doing nothing….you are doing something.”
Even Nothing is Something
So here I am once again caught in life’s complexity between my daughter’s wish for me to write about nothingness a la Jerry Seinfeld; and my son’s intuitive grasping at a very young age that even nothing is something.
In my quest for Northern Nothingness I am today posting a story… a sidebar…if you will to the story of “Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme” as told by Suzanne F. Charron at Timmins Voices in Christopher’s Coffee House on the evening of February 12, 2014 (which also happened to be my 59th birthday).
I learned this interesting fact listening to Suzanne Charron’s story. To most people this fact is probably a nothing piece of information…which for me and this blog is a good thing! I was amazed to learn from Suzanne’s talk about her book “Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme: Tamer Untamed” (Scrivener Press- http://www.scrivenerpress.com ) that well-known Canadian painter Charles Pachter was inspired by Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme.
Suzanne Charron at Timmins Voices, Feb.12, 2014
I was literally floored when Suzanne started talking about renowned Canadian artist Charles Pachter being influenced by Joe LaFlamme. Pachter’s art includes the insertion of moose onto his canvas. His studio is affectionately called the Moose Factory. For more info on Charles Pachter http://www.cpachter.com/
… here is the coincidence. Pachter is the cousin of my high school chum Ted Sanders at whose place I stay when visiting Toronto these days while I live in Timmins and engage in searching for Northern Nothingness.
One Degree of Separation
This fact solidified my belief that in Timmins there exists only one degree of separation. In large urban centres like Toronto or New York City, the ratio increases to six degrees of separation.
Early last year I actually spoke with Charles over the phone. I still haven’t met Charles, but intend to visit his studio/gallery when I return to Toronto shortly. The internationally renowned artist, Charles Pachter, painted the infamous Montreal Canadien/Toronto Maple Leaf players at the Toronto College Subway Station; you know the one where Leaf owner Harold Ballard refused the use of the words “Toronto Maple Leafs” on the maple leaf logo. Pachter also painted the famous painting of Queen Elizabeth riding a moose.
I listened to Suzanne Charron tell the Christopher Coffee House crowd that young Charles Pachter met Joe LaFlamme when he was 4 years old while Joe was at the Sportsmens Show in Toronto back in 1947. She even included a photo of young Charles and the Wolf Man and his moose in her book. See below for the photo.
That meeting with LaFlamme and his moose impacted Charles Pachter so much that moose have been an inspiration in his art work all his life. By the way those Ontario road signs showing Moose Crossing were also designed by Pachter. I am all to familiar with those signs driving the roads north of the watershed divide. They can be life savers reminding drivers to be alert and watch for moose darting across the highway usually during twilight or dawn.
But this one degree of separation happens all the time in Timmins…if the person you are talking to doesn’t know or isn’t connected to the other person you speak of – the next person will know them.
Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme an Excellent Example of Northern Literature
The goal of Timmins Voices and Northern Voices Journal is to develop and promote Northern literature. Well, you can’t find a better example of contemporary Northern writing than Suzanne Charron’s “Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme:Tamer Untamed.”
I bought the book and so should you…it is an amazing story. A true story that is stranger than fiction. And that reminds me that in the pre-television era the public had an intense desire to hear about the bizarre, the outlandish, the unusual, the larger-than-life and Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme certainly fits that description.
I’m sure young Charles Pachter felt the same way when he met the Wolf Man – that he was in the presence of a larger than life character.
In that era you had the likes of Robert Ripley galloping the globe looking for exotic stories to amaze the public through the popular Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Suzanne Charron illustrates in her book that ..Wolf Man Joe LaFlamme definitely fits in that Believe It or Not mold.
Psst…Listen to This!
By the way and don’t tell this to my daughter Sophie…but I still do believe we do need to be politically aware and involved…I do agree with political philosopher Edmund Burke who wrote “Evil grows in the world when good people stand by and do nothing.” For my politically charged blogs please visit
Until next time
And like my son Giancarlo says…”Even Nothing is Something”….Got that Jerry Seinfeld?
Wishing you Sweet Nothings…on this February 14 Valentines Day 2014
For Further Information
For further information on Suzanne Charron and her Timmins appearances see the following sites:
For Timmins Voices please click this link http://www.facebook.com/timminsvoices
For Nabi-Alexandre’s interview with Suzanne Charron and myself please click on this link
For Kyle Gennings promo of his coverage of Suzanne Charron at Timmins Voices
I will post the link to CTV’s full report Suzanne Charron’s Timmins Voices appearance as soon as it is available
Two Other Timmins Events For Suzanne Charron
She also told her story of Joe LaFlamme at the Book Bin http://www.bookz.ca/ – Timmins’ best book store– the morning of Feb.13th and the Timmins Public Library on the afternoon of Feb.13th (http://tpl.timmins.ca/).