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Mythologies are large things, continuous across the generations, marrying humanity to the earth and the sky. But it seems to me that myth-making is more local — a magpie impulse that catches sight of glittery things from the corner of its eye and builds them into some home structure. Myth is made up. It makes do with what it finds nearby.

I grew up near a ravine, an intrusion of an older ‘natural’ world into the city. There was a ledge at the lip of the ravine, out of sight of the backyards that lined it. This favourite place was called “The Sunshine Land” because it seemed to be under special protection. If the sun was going to gleam through the clouds in a leaden, southern Ontario sky, it happened there. It was natural to feel the place was under the care of a mild presence, friendly to children, and to invent for it what Ernst Cassirer called a “momentary god.”

This book is spawned by my life in office towers, malls and coffee shops, in a northern Alberta city that is like and unlike any other place.  As befits the end of a raggle-tag century, the myths and momentary gods invented here are mainly satirical. And yet, like any mythology, they are about the possibilities of an ideal world and the gaps between that world and the mundane.

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