Famous WP Kinsella novel continues to go the distance – Cloverdale Reporter
This story originally appeared in the winter edition of Indulge magazine, a biannual publication published by Peace Arch News.
The presence of author WP Kinsella has always lasted longer than the man himself.
The former White Rock resident – who moved from the Semiahmoo Peninsula to a century-old home in the Fraser Canyon in the late 1990s – once said Black press media that the reason people think he still lives in the beach town is the result of poorly documented online biographies, with his wife, Barbara Turner Kinsella, adding that “people still think Bill is sitting here in his apartment above the Cosmos restaurant, typing on his 1957 Royal typewriter.
Kinsella – who died in 2016 at the age of 81, ending his life under Canada’s physician-assisted dying laws – also has a literary legacy that has outlasted the man himself.
The author of dozens of books – a collection of short stories called Dance me outside and the Iowa Baseball Confederation among them – the prolific writer, known to family and friends as Bill, is best known for writing Barefoot Joe, which was turned into a blockbuster movie Domain of Dreams, with Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta and James Earl Jones.
The film’s popularity has not waned since its release in 1989, and last summer the film – and in turn, Kinsella – was brought back into the limelight when Major League Baseball hosted its very first Field of Dreams. Game, in which the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees faced off in a regular season game in Dyersville, Iowa, which was the site of the original film.
More than 7,800 fans filled the small stadium, and the game was the most-watched Major League Baseball regular season game since 2005, proving the movie’s famous line – if you build it, they’ll come.
The game itself featured a pre-game ceremony in which Major League players emerged from a cornfield – just as ghost players did in Kinsella’s source material. Costner was also present to participate in the festivities.
The game was such a success for Major League Baseball that there are plans to host games there every year, further cementing Kinsella’s legacy and connection to the sport he has written so often about.
“I think the reception this event has received has been so positive that we will be back,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said at a press conference after the August 12 game.
“It’s so successful that it’s hard not to take the opportunity to do it again.”
Closer to home, Kinsella’s longtime literary agent Carolyn Swayze – a resident of Surrey – was busy heading into the Field of Dreams match.
“I was in the process of negotiating a deal for a television series based on the novel and the film,” she said. Black press media, noting that the series, for NBC’s streaming service Peacock, will be directed by Mike Schur, who has been behind NBC hits such as Parks and Recreation, The right place and Brooklyn 99.
Swayze also managed to hit another home run for Kinsella’s family, scoring tickets to the Field of Dreams game for his daughter, Shannon, and husband.
“They all had a fab time and had no doubts that Bill would have been thrilled with the game and the hype,” said Swayze.
Swayze, who years ago gave up the practice of law to become a literary agent at the behest of his longtime friend Kinsella, also quickly noted the similarities between the game and the scenes in the film itself.
“The Iowa sky was as beautiful that night as it was in the movie,” she said. “It was truly a magical moment.”
While there are a myriad of differences between Kinsella’s book and the movie – James Earl Jones plays fictional author Terence Mann, for example, whereas in the book the role is filled by the actual author and the recluse. noted JD Salinger – Kinsella has never been concerned with the changes which film producers have made in adapting his work for the screen, once saying Black press media that once they paid for it, they were free to do whatever they wanted.
In his later years, Kinsella was not as prolific a writer as he once had been – something he attributed to being hit by a car in White Rock in 1997. The crash – Which he discussed in detail in Saturday night magazine in September 1999 – left him without his senses of taste and smell, and also deprived him of energy and his ability to write or concentrate for long periods of time.
“I was so incredibly tired. For weeks and months, I had no energy, ”he said. Saturday Night, adding that he went from being a “type A” personality to a calmer, more moderate “type B” after the accident.
“I wasn’t interested in anything. “
Although he eventually returned to writing, his career will undoubtedly continue to be defined by Field of dreams – something he never seemed too upset about, joking the Province journal once that “I wrote a novel which was very successful and I was able to enjoy it for 20 years”.
However, he quibbles on one thing: the idea that his most famous novel is about baseball.
Joe without shoes, he explained to the Province in 2000, “is not a sport story. It’s a love story that revolves around baseball. There is also this father-son affair which, according to the mail I receive, interests a lot of people.
In the film, Costner’s character longs to “have a hold” with his father, who has passed away but (spoiler alert) returns to his son through the cornfield fence, alongside a crowd of baseball players. famous but long dead, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned from baseball after being part of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, in which players were accused of participating in a plot to fix the World Series in exchange of money from a gambling syndicate.
During this year’s Field of Dreams game, Costner himself mentioned that the film’s father-son angle is what continues to resonate with people so many years later.
“I know people are coming to the end of this movie and they’re fading somehow,” Costner said.
“And I don’t know why, but I know a lot of things are about the unspoken between us and our fathers and mothers that we wish we could take back. And somewhere along the line, if you’ve got some unfinished business, this movie starts to take over and maybe that’s why you go to this place.