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Do not feed the writers

Collective Novel Experiment gets to the heart of things



Of all the exhibitions and spectacles taking place in Whistler over the course of the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival the Collective Novel Experiment is shaping up to be the most surreal.

Picture a lone gondola wired with computer equipment and installed smack in the middle of the busy village plaza surrounded by Citta’s, the Amsterdam, Araxi, Moguls and the liquor store – an effect reminiscent of the phone booth spacecraft from Dr. Who, glaringly out of place on some random alien planet.

A succession of 24 Whistler writers will each spend two hours inside, adding their two cents in the form of a chapter in the story about a fictional long-time Whistler resident’s mysterious death and the resulting revelations from those attending his wake.

The project is an initiative of the Whistler Writers Group and the roster features several well-known members of that organization, including founder Stella Harvey and Lisa Richardson, a Pemberton-based writer and regular Pique contributor who has acted as the project’s primary co-ordinator.

The Experiment begins Friday, April 8 at 6 p.m. and wraps up 48 hours later on Sunday, April 10 at 6 p.m. Up to bat first is Pique’s incorrigible epilogue writer G.D. Maxwell.

The public nature of the Collective Novel Experiment is a bold move for a group that is accustomed to toiling in relative anonymity. Experiment writers will be on display at all hours like literary orcas in a gondolarium.

Round the clock security will ensure physical safety but gawking onlookers are part of the deal. In fact, gawking onlookers are being actively courted with the installation of a second flat-screen computer monitor facing outward so passersby can follow along.

All zoo rules will apply: don’t tap on the (plexi)glass, and please don’t feed the writers. On second thought. Go ahead and offer food if you want. It will likely be much appreciated. After all, the term "starving writer" didn’t come outta nowhere.

For more on the Collective Novel Experiment check out www.whistler2005.com. The Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival runs April 8-17.