Right now I’m sitting on a train on the way from Toronto to Ottawa on a cloudy and rainy summer day. It’s got free wireless internet so I figured I’d take a moment to update this space. Sitting here I realized I haven’t really explained to a lot of people what exactly I’m up to at the moment (career-wise) so here it goes.
I’m officially on leave from the CBC for the summer to work on a writing project funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. I applied for one of their Creative Writing grants about a year ago, and found out last fall that I got it. I told my boss at CBC Manitoba about it and he was very supportive. The only stipulation was I’d have to go on leave for a couple of months to get the project done. We agreed back then that June and July would be the best months to take the leave. I planned on doing it back home in Ontario.
As spring rolled around, it became clearer to me that if I spent those two months back home, I wouldn’t want to return to Winnipeg. I’d been in the city for four years at that point, and although I loved it, I was getting very homesick. I missed my family and friends a lot. So at the end of May I packed up my life in Winnipeg, rented a cargo van, and drove it back to central Ontario with the help of my brother Musky.
Now I spend my days writing. I’m doing it mostly in my home community of Wasauksing, with small stints in Toronto and Ottawa. Without going into too much detail, I’m working on a novel about an Anishinaabe family on the reserve who turns to the traditional ways to deal with a tragedy. Vague, I know, but I’m still developing the story so I don’t want to give too much away. It’s the second book I’ve worked on funded by the CCA. I received my first grant from them in 2004 to write The Midnight Sweatlodge, a collection of short stories that will be published early next year by Theytus Books and will be available everywhere.
Storytelling and writing have always been my biggest passion, so I guess right now I’m basically “living the dream”. I hope to return to CBC later this summer (I can’t say exactly where yet either because we’re still working out the details) because broadcast journalism is another huge passion of mine, and I love that field of work. Plus I’ll need to pay the bills somehow. Haha.
I want to say chi-miigwetch to everyone who has been so supportive with this decision. It’s not easy leaving a full-time job in a city you love, but it’s something I had to do to move on with the next chapter of my life. It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to what happens next. I will keep you posted on when exactly you can buy The Midnight Sweatlodge. Hopefully this new novel will someday see the light of day as well.
Peace and Love,