Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Year in Review

It was another eventful year for me and my family. A bit of a chronology of the year that was:

March: moved out of our apartment in East Vancouver and went nomad for a couple of months, squatting with relatives and travelling to Scotland, where we spent an unforgettable week in Stromness, Orkney and another several days in Edinburgh.

April: After flying back to this continent and travelling by train from Montreal to Halifax, we moved back into our house in Halifax's North End. When we moved to Vancouver, we didn't know how permanent or temporary a move it would be, so we held on to the house, renting it out in our absence. Ultimately, a smart move for us. Vancouver proved just to expensive for folks with our predilections. We want to spend as much time as possible reading and writing and parenting. In Halifax, we can live in our own house at considerably less expense than renting a dark basement suite in Vancouver. Not an easy move, as Rachel's family is all in Vancouver, but one that makes sense for us.

June: The recession, which had to this point only been good news for our household (floating interest rate on our mortgage) finally caught up to us. Diminished tourism led to diminished railroad ridership, which meant that for the first year since I started working for Via Rail in 2004, I was not recalled from layoff. I did pick up scraps of work, but it was a lean summer and has led to a lean winter. The upside is that I've been able to spend more time at home, watching the awfully exciting stages of my son's development.

July: Kaleb turns 1.

August: Because I was getting so little work and Rachel and Kaleb were in Vancouver for a visit, I did a bit of touring on my motorcycle, making a trip to PEI (where I visited my parents as well as my uncle and his good friend Bill Hawkins, legendary Ottawa poet, songwriter and cabbie); an overnight visit to my sister and brother-in-law in Diligent River, NS, where I went for a tandem paragliding flight (awesome!); and finally a multi-day jaunt to Grand Manan Island, where I stayed with Wayne Clifford and Mary Joan Edwards at their newly constructed retirement haven and took part in Wayne's very successful multi-book launch.

August: Kaleb starts walking and never looks back.

September: I turn 33 and it changes nothing. I have no more hair to lose and notice that, of the hairs that remain, more and more of 'em are white.

October: Track & Trace is published, beautifully, by Biblioasis.

November: Successful and enjoyable promotional readings/launches in Ottawa and Toronto.

November: Just as I'm getting prepared to find some crummy work to make up for all the money I didn't get in 2009, a wonderful gift lands in my lap: a contract to work as a freelance editor for Reader's Digest. So far, I'm really enjoying the work and its flexible, home-based hours. This kind of thing might just be my eventual ticket out of wage slavery--but I'm not giving up my Via Rail pass just yet...

December: Rachel's mother visits from Vancouver. We have a great time, including a couple of nights and xmas dinner at my folks' place in PEI.

In general: As usual, I published a number of reviews and essays over the course of the year and published far more poems than I usually do, in various magazines and anthologies.

Things I'm looking forward to in 2010 (which is the actual final year of the decade, for all of you who've been mistakenly saying it's over; remember, there was no year 0):

  • Readings in Halifax, Cobourg, Toronto, Peterborough and other venues TBA
  • The March publication of The Essential Kenneth Leslie by The Porcupine's Quill, a book I'm very proud to have edited
  • The resumption of something resembling regular train work come summer
  • The construction, finances permitting, of a backyard office/studio shack
  • The fall publication of my selected prose. Much work remains to be done on this, which will be aided by Kaleb going into daycare three days a week this month.
  • Spending an entire year living in the same house. The last time this happened was 2005. Before that, 1990. Which explains a lot about the titles of my two poetry collections...

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