It began with Jack London. Or, to put it another way, like so many of my obsessions, it began with bedtime. For as long as I can remember, my mother read to me at bedtime, mostly books that were way too advanced for my age. The Moomin-books (more about that in a future post) when I was a little over a year-old, the entirety of the Lord Of The Rings, before I was five. Somewhere in between them came The Call Of The Wild. Followed, in pre-school, by White Fang. As you can imagine, in this context Alaska became something of a mythical place for me, not unlike Narnia, or the Earth Sea.
With its sky-high mountains, desolate landscapes, Northern lights and giant bears, what was not magical about Alaska?
Later came John Krakauer's "Into The Wild", cementing Alaska as the place where young men (and women, surely) still escaped the pressures and triviality of modern society, the last frontier, where honour and courage still meant something.
A little romanticized I'm sure, but what can I say? Literature tends to elevate it's subjects.
What really pushed me over the edge of the iceberg though, and into a full-blown Alaska obsession, was, of course, the 1990 TV-series Northern Exposure. Not only was the show set in a fictional small town of Cicely, Alaska, but the it was also inhabited by the coolest, most off-beat characters, to whom the strangest magical things happened every episode. And how philosophical they(especially Chris!) could be about them. Small, wondrous events followed one another. Amazing allegories abounded. This was my Alaska all over.
Watching those episodes from the show again now, I am mesmerized not only by the hilarious characters and arch, yet touching plot-lines and clever dialogue, but of course, the awesome 90s styles: the lumberjack shirts, floral tops, skirts and dresses, the woolly hats, the native designs, puffy coats, Ed's amazing leather jacket. Heck, Shelly even has a pair of darling nerd glasses.
Needless to say, that style-inspiration ensues. Furthermore, it turns out to my delight that, the show was filmed in Roslyn WA, quite close to where I'll be living in a few months (and quite close to North Bend where the exterior locations of Twin Peaks were), so a road trip is definitely in order.
I am also hoping to finally visit the real-live Alaska, maybe for our belated honeymoon, one of these days. It seems appropriate since hubby's family lived for a generation on Kodiak Island. In fact, his grandpa was a bushpilot there...and a hairdresser too. Judging from the tales the family has to tell, I will not find the real Alaska any less magical, quirky or breath- taking, than the fictional.
I'm off to read my stepdad's 90s Alaska Magazines. The ads rule.
Reading: The Blue Bear
Listening To: Portugal. The Man
Major crush: Ed Chigliak