Letters from the Pandemic 3: Dear Thomas King

Dear Thomas King
by Thomas Girard


Thomas King. Photo by Marco Campanozzi, La Presse

Dear Thomas King,

Pandemic. I live in a room. In the room there are objects. And by way of you, the objects have stories. We all know objects to have stories. We choose them, buy them, include them in our lives, and continue to include them or discard them. They are a part of us. And the reasons behind them are also a part of us.

These days I think about the stories of innocuous things. Things that you wouldn’t think have stories.

Thomas King, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (Anansi: 2003)

At Emily Carr University of Art and Design, in some down time, I had a chance to visit the house of a faculty member who taught a course called “Art Direction.” “Art Direction” in this context was about objects and their stories, and the faculty member informed us that everything in her house had a story. She told us the stories as we walked through the house, and in disbelief, we learned that it was true.

Today I’m flanked by objects and their stories. From a Patagonia jacket that makes me think of life in the Bay Area, to a Manzini book that reminds me of pan-con-to-mate in Barcelona, to New Balance sneakers that remind me of my first contract design job, to an Apple mouse that reminds me of dark patterns.

As you note about just about any story, “Take it. You’ve heard it… it’s yours now.”[1]


Thomas Girard. Photo by Greg Girard

Thomas Girard (born 30 December, 1980 in Vancouver) is a Canadian scholar. Girard was accepted to attend University of Oxford in lectures equivalent to graduate coursework. Girard has received several Emerging Scholar awards, first at the Design Principles and Practices conference in Barcelona, Spain at the prestigious ELISAVA. At Emily Carr University of Art and Design he received his second Emerging Scholar award. Other awards include RBC Emerging Scholar, Royal Bank of Canada Foundation. For 2021, he has been awarded an Emerging Scholar award from the New Directions in the Humanities conference in Madrid, Spain. Editor’s note: see here for Thomas Girard’s essay, “Unique ways of prototyping,” published in the Graduate Liberal Studies Journal hosted by The Ormsby Review.


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Publisher and Editor: Richard Mackie

The Ormsby Review is a journal service for in-depth coverage of B.C. books and authors. The Advisory Board consists of Jean Barman, Robin Fisher, Cole Harris, Wade Davis, Hugh Johnston, Patricia Roy, David Stouck, and Graeme Wynn. Scholarly Patron: SFU Graduate Liberal Studies. Honorary Patron: Yosef Wosk. Provincial Government Patron since September 2018: Creative BC

“Only connect.” – E.M. Forster


[1] From Thomas King, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative (Toronto: Anansi, 2003) (CBC Massey Lectures Series)


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