Whoa! It’s been a year and a half since I’ve posted anything here. That has to be a new record since I started blogging a long time ago! A lot has happened since my last post. I quit my day job at CBC. My second son was born. I completed the first draft of the sequel to Moon of the Crusted Snow. I got vaccinated against COVID-19. And so much more! I’ll offer up more details on all of those things when I can. But I’ve shared a bit about my recent life events in some fun freelance writings over the past year and a bit. Now that I’m a full-time author/sometimes freelance journalist, I have the freedom to explore some more personal and introspective kind of writing gigs, which has been fun. So I’ll highlight a few of them here, in hopes of prompting myself to write in this particular blog space a bit more. Here goes:
As the pandemic was intensifying in the Spring of 2020, the Toronto Star asked authors to write about how COVID-19 was affecting their lives. I chose to write about the impending birth of our son Ayaabe, and they published my reflection a little more than a week before he was born. It’s hard to believe he’s almost a year and a half already!
When I left daily journalism around the same time, the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police prompted widespread discussions about systemic racism in all realms and sectors. I couldn’t help but reflect on my career and experiences in mainstream Canadian journalism, and what I witnessed over the course of nearly two decades. I was invited by Robert Jago to contribute to a series he edited for the Walrus called Terra Cognita, so I wrote a letter to aspiring Indigenous journalists.
By last fall I was deep into developing the sequel to Moon of the Crusted Snow. I read and listened to a lot of Anishinaabe stories and history to keep my head in the world I was trying to create. And then I had a major revelation about oral storytelling and memory while watching an old video of an elder from my home community, and wrote all about it for the Globe and Mail.
Also for the Globe last fall, I got to interview my friends and mentors Eden Robinson and Cherie Dimaline about the genres our stories inhabit as Indigenous writers. It was a really fun conversation!
Another really fulfilling opportunity that came up since I jumped back into the writing world full-time is a regular column for Open Book. You can find all of my writings over the past year and a bit here, and for one specific and always timely example, here’s a column on Indigenous identity and the responsibilities of telling stories.
Just in time for their annual early exit from the NHL playoffs, I wrote about being an Anishinaabe fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the Walrus. Despite the loss, I really enjoyed looking back on my lifelong fandom, and the impact of George Armstrong on all of us Indigenous fans. Fandom for us isn’t always so straightforward.
Finally, with Indigenous history finally starting to be properly reflected in the mainstream Canadian psyche, I wrote about falling statues and changing names after recent events at my alma mater. 2021 was a year of significant change in this country’s awareness, and I was honoured to contribute to that discussion.
Those are just some of the writings I published over the past year and a half with Canadian periodicals. I’ll add another post in the coming weeks with some of the other projects I’ve been involved with since becoming a free agent. It’s been very rewarding to share these ideas and experiences far and wide, so big thanks to you all for your ongoing interest and support! In the meantime, you can always check my Facebook page for other writings and news.