Wishing you all the best for 2016, as I note, with a sigh that winter is back. Half a foot of snow at the window, and a driveway that needs clearing once a day. We listened one winter to a wonderful poem about a man who died from a heart attack while shovelling snow as we drove back from visiting our daughter and her family in the US. I seem to think we were driving past Albany at the time. After that, it seemed sensible to pay someone to clear the snow, thereby creating employment and heading off heart attacks – in that situation, at least.
It’s hard to believe that we are already two weeks into 2016. I don’t make resolutions, not usually, or at least I haven’t made them for so long, I’ve forgotten if ever I did. What I will try to do more of, though, are the things I’ve been concentrating on for a while, like being more mindful; hooking up more regularly with the Great Spirit, the cosmic Christ and his lovely Mum, and the holy ancestors; being thankful for family and friends, and for the earth, food, shelter, freedom of expression and worship, and a system of socialized medicine that more or less works. And the new Canadian government that 3 million young voters turned out at the polls to give to Canada! Thanks too for the spirit of generosity that has impelled so many Canadian communities to embrace refugees.
Some utterly unexpected things have occurred since my last post in August 2015. (A mere three posts in all of 2015! It won’t do!) I freely and joyfully admit that Red Jacket’s shortlisting for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize was utterly unexpected. http://www.therecord.com/news-story/5939178-kitchener-author-national-finalist/ I was very happy to have the book published, flattered that it was one of the first three to be produced by Dundurn’s literary imprint, Thomas Allen Publishers, glad to work with Diane Young to born it, as we ‘d say in JA, and prepared to work hard to promote it. Dundurn offers its authors a small subsidy to help with launches but leaves the authors to organize and arrange. I want to say belated but no less hearty thanks to Ben McNally Books on Bay Street in downtown Toronto, Wordsworth Books in Waterloo, Ontario and Coles Bookstore in Corner Brook, Newfoundland for hosting launches. Thanks too to Claire Grady Smith, my personal publicist at the time, and to the many friends and family who pitched in to promote and make them possible and turned out to in dire weather (all three!) to make them a success.
However, I’ll be forever indebted to Aislinn Hunter, Shani Mootoo and Richard Wagamese, the jurors for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. http://writerstrust.com/Awards/Rogers-Writers–Trust-Fiction-Prize/2015-Finalists/Jury.aspx That they defiantly selected the work of an apprentice novelist writing in unfamiliar Englishes and largely ignored by the bigtimers in the print media restored my faith in juries of my peers. My thanks go also to Shelagh Rogers whom I was truly delighted to meet at the Writers’ Trust Awards and privileged to talk to after that on The Next Chapter. Our conversation was a very special one. Listen out for it on Monday, January 18th at one o’clock in the afternoon on CBC One.
And to the amazing Janet Somerville, maven of books and all thing literary, I have only this to say: “Good fren better dan pocket money!” Mwah! Mwah!
Last year, for the first time since 2001 I had two books published. Come November, Mawenzi House released de book of Mary, which the OAC had funded a couple years ago, and which I had been working on for a while. (I had long ago finished with Red Jacket, and set it aside ’till someone bought it’.) de book of Mary was launched in November at Beit Zeitoun – again in bad weather. Here I am signing a copy for my friend and faithful supporter these many years, Marlene Bourdon King. I look forward to readings in 2016 and will keep you updated on the “News and Events” page. Stay warm! Bless!