Kevin Spacey slept here.

Scene from “The Shipping News”

There are those who believe that close proximity to fame will allow that very same fame to rub off on them. About all that accrues from these multiple degrees of separation is that one could say so-and-so slept here and well, so did they. What else could explain the countless number of roadside signs declaring that “George Washington slept here.”? Who cares? If the signs are to be believed, he was a randy father of our country and nothing much seems to have changed over the course of our history.

That stated, I slept where Kevin Spacey did, really and not intentionally, really. I walked and drove around the same places he did. And yet I am no more famous for doing so. (But then, neither is he.) However, where we both slept (not at the same time!) was on the Bonavista Peninsula, on the eastern side of Newfoundland: he, to film the movie adaptation of E. Annie Proulx’s book “The Shipping News”; me, to continue shooting what was to become “Arn? Narn.”.

A good portion of the film was shot on the Bonavista Peninsula. It, like all of Newfoundland, boasts many outports with such names as Birchy Cove, New and Old Bonaventure (you takes yer choice), and Sweet Bay. The dock shown here, typical of an outport, was used in the film in an important scene featuring a boat alleged to be “Hitler’s Yacht.” Go figure.

As I started “Arn? Narn.”, I was drawn to the outports. They, because of their importance to fishing and the survival of the province, were at once the living history of Newfoundland and its future and it was in them l was to learn what the core of my book was to be. But not yet, and not for sometime.

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