So, here we all are, in the 21st Century. Welcome to the past.

 


Dr. Dave, Ph.D. History, Queen's University Convocation 2022


Well, it has been a long while since I last posted, and the world has truly changed. Covid has come and stayed. Trump has come and (maybe, hopefully) gone (to prison, soon, please!). Russia has betrayed its cruel true self and invaded Ukraine with the aim of exterminating its independent existence. But the dark clouds of white Christian bigotry against liberal concepts of female equality, LGBTQ2+ gender identification, racial equity and so many other progressive, humanitarian concepts have begun to dominate the west. Here in Canada, we seem to be holding them off for now, but the hateful, ignorant, so-called "Freedom Convoy" in the winter of 2022 is a harbinger of much, much worse to come. These folks, however laughable their present ignorant manifestation may be ("What First Amendment?" the judge asked), they are a growing force, organized and led by "dark" money which aims to destroy any vision we may have of a democracy for all.

But I want to post today about a personal thing, perhaps that many will find totally irrelevant; my (part time) writer's life. Writing is a solitary craft, as most others also are, of course. I have published four historical novels (three with Fireship Press in AZ) and a commissioned family history, yet like I imagine many others do, I still feel like a bit of an imposter. I love to write, and though I was priviledged to have had prize-winner M.G. Vassanji as my mentor at the Humber Graduate School for Writers, I know that a strong editor is something that is always useful for my particular creative work. One treasured editor said I must use a "comma sprinkler" to punctuate my books. I just today paid my annual dues to The Writers' Union of Canada, not because they offer me a whole bunch of services, but just to have the reassurance and comforting thought that I have been deemed fit to belong to an outfit that includes Margaret Atwood among its members. 

I began writing for (paid) publication back in 1977 with an op-ed piece in the Montreal Gazette on the still-relevant Avro Arrow. Today I am working on several writing projects. The highest priority is a contract to write another family history which will be published by Freisen Press Canada in the fall of 2022. As well, I am trying to find a publisher for a popular version of my Ph.D. thesis, and working on a related history of various Lake Ontario communities during the golden age of sail in the 19th Century. 

Writing now means more than ever to me, as I am going to turn 73 this year, I am fat and my balance and reflexes are going, so have had to give up sailing dreams, which I am still learning to deal with. Writing has not made me wealthy or famous, and likely will never do so, but some of my most treasured compliments have come from readers of my Smithyman Saga about Colonial times in northeastern North America. One reader posted a review on Amazon that my books had "changed his life." Another said that the The Eastern Door, my first book, was the "best book he'd ever read." Perhaps my favourite feedback was from a Mohawk man who told me after a dreadful, physically and mentally shattering traffic accident that he and his daughter took The Eastern Door along on a therapeutic canoe trip together down the Mohawk River and read from it out loud each night. I think not many authors have received such compliments, so whatever the critics and the marketplace say, their opinions stay in the front of my mind and encourage me to continue this personal voyage. 

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