Monday, December 17, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
I had surgery on Monday, minor surgery to repair a hernia. The incision is about six inches long and it will leave a scar. But other than that and the typical recover bits after minor surgery, I'm fine. The nurses and the doctors were wonderful, especially the nurses.
Since I'm Canadian and we have a government-run universal healthcare system, I didn't have to directly pay for the surgery. It's covered under the taxes I pay every year, which is about 17 - 20 percent or so of my income. I didn't need approval from anyone for the surgery, save for the doctors, and I had to fill in no forms, save for the admitting and some history and had no worries about deductibles, being refused by an insurance company, higher rates.
Simply put, I needed surgery, got the surgery, and was sent home with instructions on how to take care of myself and a follow up appointment in the near future. That's it. If I need surgery for a hernia again, I will get it the same treatment.
Canada is Awesome.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
|Here I get the Giant Novelty Cheque from Linda Cook, CEO of the Edmonton Public Libraryand Brent McDonough, Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Edmonton Public Library.|
|After receiving my Giant Novelty Cheque, I make a nice speech, thanking folks|
and saying nice things about Alberta writers. Applause follows.
|Giant Man with Giant Novelty Cheque. Forget about me, look at the |
wonderful glass work behind the Giant Novelty Cheque.
The Hotel Arts in Calgary is filled with great pieces like this.
|This thing has got to fit! I need to pay my room service tab!|
Summer is here.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
As I said last night, it was great honour to win this award and to be nominated with such great writers such as Tim Bowling, Lynn Coady, Dawn Dumont and Judy Schultz. If you know that group of writers, there are at least three (maybe four) GG nominations, plus two or three Giller nominations, along with a lot of other awards. In fact, three out of the other four nominees won other awards. So it was very exciting to win.
Back to the novelty cheque. So they give me this novelty cheque, which is pretty cool, but it's the middle of the award ceremony and I have to keep this thing by my table while the other awards are being presented. Then I have to keep an eye on it while I'm visiting with other writers afterwards because the banquet staff was cleaning up and they really seemed keen on getting us out of there. I was worried that one of them would think it was left behind and they would throw it away. Then I have to parade through the hotel lobby and up the elevator back to my room with the cheque in hand. And the next day for the ride back to Edmonton, I have to find room in the car for this big cheque. It fit but with my kid, my wife and all our stuff, it was tight.
But now the cheque is home and there is no plan to hang it on the all in the house. But it will have a place of honour in my drum and music room. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I convinced a photographer to take some weird shots of me with the giant cheque. There's one of me trying to jam it into an ATM and once I get approval to run that photo, I will.
Thanks to all that voted for me and the other writers for the Alberta Readers Choice Award.
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Unfortunately, the stores that keep track of the various bestsellers for the local newspapers don't report to company that keeps track of stuff like that so I won't make it into any of the national bestseller lists like the Globe or Macleans. But that's okay. Books are selling and folks are paying attention.
Next weekend is the big Alberta Book Awards Gala and I'm shortlisted for the Alberta Readers Choice Award. I've never been shortlisted for an award before so I'm pretty excited. Got some great competition and I don't think I'll win but it'll be a fun time. I'll update this whatever happens.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Many, many years ago, when a Canadian aboriginal woman married someone outside of her band, whether this man was European or Metis, she would lose her status as an aboriginal. She would, officially, no longer be considered an Indian. And neither would any of her descendants. Conversely, if an aboriginal man married a woman who wasn't native, he never lost any of his status. And neither would his descendants. This denial of rights was only applied to women.
My grandmother was one of those women. She married a man who wasn't part of her band, who didn't have treaty status, although the amount of native blood in him was pretty high. But she lost her status, she lost any benefits she might have gained from that status. So her children were never considered status natives and neither were their children. Although many of my relatives suffered discrimination and racism because of their outward appearance.
However, only many years ago, a suit was launched to reverse this discrimination. And the women won. They were given their status back and so were some of their descendants. Only one generation aftewards. So my grandmother got her status back. Officially, she was a real Indian. And my father, once he decided to apply, got his. He was now a real Indian too.
In late Fall 2011, the Canadian government passed Bill C-3, which further improved the situation. Another generation was added to the mix. Even though my father married a French Canadian, it was possible that I might get treaty status. In truth, I didn't really need status because in my heart, I was an aboriginal person. My story as a native Canadian was as valid as any others. But I applied anyway. Just to see if I could. I thought I wouldn't because of my mother but if it was my grandfather who married a European woman instead of my grandmother, I would already have status, regardless of who my father married. So I had a chance.
And it turned out, I did qualify. A letter arrived in the mail today telling me that I had official treaty status; that according the Canadian government, I was a real Indian. Like I said, I've never needed official proof to accept myself as an aboriginal person, but it was real nice to get the letter. And soon, a treaty card. I still have to apply to my father's band, The Norway House Cree Nation, to be accepted as a member of the band. And I will because that is where my people come from.
In the end nothing will change, if Norway House accepts me. Except my bio. Instead of saying I'm just an aboriginal writer, it will be more specific, saying I'm a member of the Norway House Cree Nation. Which is really neat considering all the crap my grandmother had to go through.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
If you want to vote for Fall From Grace to win, then just go here. Won't take any time at all.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Also, the previous novel in the Leo Desroches series, Fall From Grace, is shortlisted for the Alberta Readers' Choice Award. It's the biggest literary award in Alberta. And you can vote for the book. Go to
I'll also be in Calgary on May 25 at Pages Kensington at 7:30.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
1. Writers have visions of grandeur because they’re brave enough to put their work out there. And they’ve been rejected over and over again for a variety of reasons, their work wasn’t Canadian enough or it was too Canadian, it was too literary or too much of a genre work; you name it, a writer’s been rejected because of it. So they’ve had to developed strong self-esteem about their work.
2. Sure it helps if you like a writer's work, but you don’t have to. A smart writer understands that not everyone likes their work. As long as you respect them for what they do, you’ll be fine.
3. Some writers are moody, some aren’t. Some accountants are moody and some aren’t. Everyone has an inner life and everyone else has problems. If you don’t like a moody person, then don’t date a moody person.
4. Not all writers are financially insecure. If you only write fiction or poetry, without doing anything else, then you might be financially insecure. Then again, you might be successful and make money at writing. If your writer love does that, don’t call them a sellout. Actually a lot of the writers I know also work for a living, either writing or other stuff. Some of them are the only bread winner. And if actually push a writer to make some money, they might even become a better writer because of it.
5. Good God, please only be eccentric if you are eccentric. One thing writers hate is someone trying to be something they aren’t.
6. Maybe you’ll turn up in their work, maybe you won’t. Some writers rely on their personal lives to create and others use their imaginations. Whatever you do, don’t go looking for yourself in their work because you could be mistaken.
7. If my wife walks in on me while I’m wearing underwear, leafing through a book of photographs and putting out a cigarette in a bowl of ice cream, I hope she interrupts me. For one thing, we don’t allow smoking in the house and I don’t smoke anyway. And I’m not that delicate that I'll lose an idea just because you interrupt me while I’m thinking about it Also, like every relationship, don’t walk on eggshells. Writers hate it when you do that.
8. Based on a recent survey I heard on the radio, it seems that everyone was picked on as a kid at some point. And not all writers are/were weird. Some of us were just normal kids who read books. Some even played sports like hockey. Or we didn’t smell erasers. Some of us even like talking to people at wedding and other social events. We’re a diverse group, us writers.
9. Don’t know about other writers, but when I’m on a roll, I’m able to stop, interact with other people, and then get back to that roll. It’s just something I developed working as a professional writer for 25 years. When you got to pay the bills you can’t wait for inspiration.
10. My wife, who is not a writer, is better at writing notes in cards than me. I can write a decent book or magazine piece but she does all the notes. But whatever you do, if you date a writer, don’t pigeonhole them based on stereotypes. That’s just annoying.