This summer was not the best for me, personally.
A few weeks ago, I lost a cherished uncle. My Uncle Bill passed away rather quickly from bone cancer.
I would like to have gone east and been there, in New Brunswick, if not when he passed then afterwards, to hug my mom and my cousins and to provide condolences to his partner. He was a long-haul truck driver and our paths had crossed so many times over the years, not just when I was visiting him on the east coast or when he came to visit us in Victoria, but also in Yellowknife, when he went to my sister’s wedding, in Vancouver, when I was there on a getaway trip in high school, outside Winnipeg, at a truck stop when I was driving across Canada after university, and in Halifax, when I moved there for a year while trying to write the great Canadian novel.
On the night after I left Halifax, on my way back to Yellowknife, I stayed with Uncle Bill at his house in Hartland, NB. We talked about my writing projects and he gave me the insight that a book about what I had been doing since quitting my job, trying to write the great Canadian novel while traveling and negotiating awkward relationships, might be more interesting than the actual novel I had been writing.
He lived an incredible life, had touched so many people, and his passing is beyond comprehension.
My heart goes out to my cousins, Tara and Tracy, and to Bill’s partner, Joanne.
I miss him and think about him everyday.
It’s the 21st month of 2020 and I’m exhausted that we’re in wave four of COVID. I remember feeling so much relief when I got my second dose of Pfizer in August, thinking we had finally turned a corner. But here we are. My boys are only four years old and can’t get vaccinated, so that’s a lot of anxiety resting on me, hoping that they get through this pandemic, unscathed. And my patience with certain people that are prolonging this suffering is nonexistent.
Our kids were between daycares in July and August, so my wife and I had the boys with us this summer. The first month was awesome because we were off together for three weeks, on vacation, camping in the Kootenays. But then the forest fires smoked us out and we returned home, and have been juggling the kids and our jobs since then. Being able to send them to their new daycare in September was a big relief, and their situation there is great.
One of my twins had learned to ride a pedal bike last year, at just three years old. And now I’m happy to report that the other one just learned, too, during the September long weekend. So there’s been some big, important moments in our lives, happening lately, and for that I’m grateful.
About the blog…
Last year, I had been working on writing a novel as a love letter to the town I grew up in (Fort Smith, Northwest Territories) and my childhood friends (Donny, Corey, Ben, Laren, Derek, Shawn, Carlos, Terra, Tracey and others). I wanted to sneak in a bunch of GI Joe references and inside jokes for toy nerds, and I wanted to use the whole writing project as a memory refresher.
In the 8 years since I came back to collecting GI Joes more seriously, I have been trying to more fully access the memories of being a kid playing with these toys, to relive that childhood magic in some ways. The novel was the first attempt to do that. But after writing chapter one, I was hit with some serious blockage. I spent a few months spinning my wheels, then pivoted and started this blog.
Screw it, I thought. Dive right into it here instead.
This blog was my second attempt at the love letter to Fort Smith and my childhood. I posted my first entry on May 31st, 2020, and since then I’ve discovered that I can write endless amounts about toys and never suffer from writers’ block. My only constraint on what I do here is time.
Over the past 16 months, the blog took on a life of its own, and is more a pure love letter to GI Joe now.
As the father of young twins, who has a sometimes stressful, full-time job, I don’t have as much free time as I would hope for. At one blog per week, it will take me 20 years to get through all the topics on my list to cover. So that is a little disheartening… But my kids won’t be young forever and sooner or later I’ll get to retire. In 15 years, give or take, I plan to start posting two blogs per week. So hold onto your seats!
Seriously, though, my dream is to be a novelist.
This is all preamble to say that I started writing the novel again. While I’ve only posted two blog entries since July, I’ve written six chapters in the book. So my focus is elsewhere, right now, and will be there for the foreseeable future because I have to ride this damn book to its conclusion.
My new goal is to write two blog posts per month over the next year, while also finishing this damn novel, so things might be slower around here for a little while.
I hope you understand.
Thanks to everyone who has been reading, week-in and week-out. The positive feedback I’ve received has been unbelievable.
As always, one love.