The Curator of Forgotten Things Wins a Region of Waterloo Arts Fund Grant

I'm very pleased to announce that I was among 30 other recipients of the Spring 2021 Region of Waterloo Arts Fund grants. The official announcement has just been released (also here). The funds will cover my expenses as I start work on writing a full first draft of my post-work novel The Curator of Forgotten Things (see samples here, here, and here). I am delighted and honoured to be included among the likes of Carrie Snyder, Andrew Smith, and the Grand Philharmonic Choir, not to mention all the other worthy winners.

From the press release:

The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund is awarding 31 grants, totaling $191,255, in response to dynamic proposals submitted by a wide range of artists and arts organizations. The Spring 2021 round received 86 applications seeking a total of $588,745 in grants funding.

The Arts Fund, a not-for-profit corporation served by a volunteer Board of Directors, is one of the few granting bodies in Canada that awards grants directly to artist-led projects. The mandate of the Arts Fund is to contribute to the creative vitality in our community by providing meaningful grants and other advocacy support to local individual artists and to arts and culture organizations.

Regional Council generously allocates the equivalent of 67 cents per capita to the Arts Fund for granting purposes, so that residents and visitors alike may benefit from the vibrancy of the local arts and culture sectors. Often, these supported projects are also able to attract additional funds through earned revenue, grants from provincial, federal or private sources, sponsorships, and in-kind donations. Since its establishment in 2002, the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund has supported 854 projects, for a total community investment of $4,682,792.

Of course, now I have to write the thing, but I'm optimistic. I've finished a decent draft of The Sun Runners, and I'm ready for another project. This will be a very different story from the space operas I've been writing in the past couple of years: Earthbound and bittersweet, maybe with just a touch of The Night Girl, considering the nature of our identity as the jobs go away due to automation (or, "what if the robots take over, but they're nice?").

Thanks again to the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund for their support. I won't let you down!

Storm Building

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Some volatile weather this week in southwest and south-central Ontario. Barrie was hit by a small tornado earlier this afternoon. Well, we say small, but it was certainly large enough to do some significant damage to a number of homes. Fortunately, I haven't heard of any serious injuries.

We had one person post an impressive video of the tornado on the ground. And while it was impressive, and it might be helpful to Environment Canada in cataloging it, I have to say as a man with in-laws in Nebraska that, should you ever find yourself within two blocks of a tornado, _take cover immediately_. Get to the lowest level of your building, find yourself an interior room with no windows, and sit against the wall. Seriously, the man in the video was filming in front of a sliding glass door. Someone from the American Midwest is already imagining a branch being picked up and sent straight through that window, and where would that man be then?

I've found that the people of the American Midwest take tornadoes far more seriously than we do. Their public buildings have signs showing you where to go when a tornado comes near. They respect the power of these things. We don't. And as climate change expands Tornado Alley to the northeast, we're going to run into more encounters like this, and people are going to get hurt.

Take care, people. These things may be impressive to watch, but the full experience goes way beyond that, and we can't handle that.

Day of Atonement

I was thinking about writing a post about the “controversy” of not celebrating Canada Day this year, when Brittlestar posted the video below and took the words right out of my mouth:

It’s not going to stop me from speaking on this, though.

It does not feel appropriate to celebrate Canada Day today, in the wake of the revealing of over a thousand bodies of children buried in unmarked graves in just a handful of residential schools investigated so far, and the likely thousands more that will be discovered in the weeks and months ahead. It feels wrong to celebrate a country that empowered and encouraged the religious organizations that ran those schools in a concerted effort to rob First Nations people of their language, history, and culture. This is no time for fireworks, though I know this isn’t going to stop people from setting off fireworks in the trail behind my house. I won’t judge these people more than I usually do.

At the same time, I won’t go so far as to say “Cancel Canada Day”. A handful of individuals, in their justifiable horror and anger over what’s being brought to our attention, have strayed towards saying that Canada as a whole is unworthy of being celebrated, ever. One individual on Twitter, who later admitted he’d brought it on himself, asked what good had Canada ever given the world. He was, of course, inundated: the Canadarm. Insulin. Peacekeepers. The fact that we refused follow George W. Bush’s imperialist ambitions into Iraq in 2003. The fact that 26,771 Torontonians came out to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and set a world record for most vaccinations done in one place in one day, in the face of idiot anti-vaxxers who tried to disrupt the process. The list went on.

Brittlestar adds another thing to be proud of: there’s the fact that Canada has made itself a home for hundreds of thousands of refugees, giving them new life after they fled their war-torn homes. True, this happened after we spectacularly failed to do this for Jewish refugees on the eve of the Second World War, but we at least learned, and have welcomed most recently tens of thousands of Syrians into our communities, and have enabled our recent immigrants to build decent lives without forcibly robbing them of their culture.

And there’s one more, and possibly the most important: the many, many Canadians who know that this isn’t enough. This doesn’t wash away or excuse the acts of genocide that were done in our name by the governments we elected through the organizations they empowered. The fact that there are so many voices who say we cannot move on without fixing the systemic issues that continue to plague First Nations’ communities, the fact that these people are willing to take a stand, that’s the Canada worth being hopeful for.

I don’t intend to cancel Canada Day, here, because holidays aren’t always days of celebration. People of the Jewish faith have Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Christians have Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Islam has Ashura. These are not feast days. These are not days with fireworks. These are days to reflect on our sins and to commit to atoning for those sins and repairing the damage they’ve caused.

On this year, on this day, observing Canada Day as a Day of Atonement seems like the least we could do.


P.S. I’m also spending this afternoon getting my second vaccine shot. That seems appropriate for this day as well.

Space Colonies Group Chat, 2312 CE

space-scene.jpeg

This was composed by Eldest Child and Erin after reading over the latest drafts of The Sun Runners, The Cloud Riders, and my short story, The Phases of Jupiter.

This contains spoilers for The Sun Runners, The Cloud Riders, and The Phases of Jupiter, so if you're really not into that thing, turn away now...

Space Colonies Group Chat:

Mercury: OMG! The Earth has collapsed! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?
Mars: Capitalist hellscape?
Venus: Zeppelin co-op boards?
Ganymede: Er, guys?
Mercury: So, hypothetically, how would we feel about survival cannibalism?
Ganymede: GUYS!
Asteroid Skows: Right, Venus? Mars? We're moving in!
Venus: Eh, we'll make it work.
Mars: You did hear us say, 'capitalist hellscape', right?
Asteroid Skows: So, Mars: you planning on shooting all of us while we go kamikazi on your biospheres?
Mars: Okay. We'll make it work.
Ganymede: Guys, aliens are real.
Venus: What?
Mars: What?
Mercury: What?
<Ganymede has left the group chat>

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