Saturday, March 29, 2008

Turtles, Hungry Dogs, Snow Plows and Landscapers

Okay, I'm breaking the seal here. I'm a fiction writer.

For a while I thought I should try to hide that, like in some small way I was being totally anonymous online to people who don't actually know me, RL. (That's real life to those who spend most of their time in it.)

But here's the thing - being a fiction writer in Canada (oops! another piece of my identity thrust into the flicking electrical current of the world wide head.) being a turtle on the savanna. (And I don't mean the nuclear powered cargo ship - although that would be weird too.) You spend all your time struggling to get from one tiny puddle of water to another, while the lion and tigers express mild curiosity at you - leaving you safe from their jaws through simple ignorance. And then a hipo sits on you.

Not that I would do anything else. Okay, maybe video game tester. That would be awesome. All I'm saying is we don't really have a tradition of popular fiction in Canada - and that fact spills over unrecognized into all aspects of our culture. Our best selling books are almost universally written by academics, and you ask people they'll tell you without hesitation that Canadian film and TV sucks.

When I tell people what I do, I am greeted by one of two responses. One... "No, I mean what do you do for money?" Or a blank stare. Like something in their brain fights off that thought like a hungry dog protecting a juicy steak. I think I have actually set people down the road of mental illness by introducing that foreign concept into their thoughts. People don't know what to do with that information.

It's like being a snow plow operator in Mexico City. Or a landscaper on the space station. You get the idea.

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