Saturday, December 23, 2017

What Would I Change in Fly Away Snow Goose?

This is a dangerous question to ask a depressive. Most of us, upon hearing it, freeze.  We know that if anything goes wrong within five miles of where we are standing, it will—somehow—be our fault. "What's wrong with my book???" You start with a small hours bout of 20-20 hindsight and go on from there 

So, I shall attack the assignment from another angle.  

I’m a ruminator, a.k.a. a s-l-o-w writer, which is not a good thing when you are supposed to be “creating content.” So the slowness leads me to: “My only regret about Fly away Snow Goose is that John and I didn’t have more time to learn and ponder.

Fish drying in the customary low humidity of NWT

We were writers on a deadline and sometimes one or the other of us would throw up our hands in despair. However, our deadline was nothing when compared with the deadline our characters faced.  Those four kids either had to find their tribe before winter comes or die. The responsibility for success or failure lies squarely upon the eldest, a pair of youngsters, who, after their escape from the residential school, face a peril-filled initiation into adulthood. 

Sometimes we, the writers, were scrambling; sometimes our characters were scrambling, but I can assure you they scrambled a lot harder than we did. Their journey takes them up rivers, through, across and around bogs, muskeg, pothole lakes, and into dark forests. They are always on the look out for dangerous animals--the primary one being white men who could turn them over to the authorities.

In the end, there’s not much I’d change about this now completed project. I got to know-- if only a little--the earth-wise Tlicho.  It has been a humbling experience for me to peek over the top of my cultural box and discover another persuasive world view. I’ve learned about the Prophet Erǝ́ya , also called Louis Ayah, of Great Bear Lake, and read his teachings. I’ve read about families named Tailbones, Crooked Hands, Simpson, Zoe, Chocolate, Norwegian and Lynx. I learned about Chief Jimmy Bruneau and about the far-sighted, strong willed Tlicho leader Monfwi. I've learned what this land means to the Athabascan people, how everything from rock and river to moose and man is connected to everything else, in a web which can never be undone.  I hope that this other "way of seeing" is brought to life in our story, and I'm truly glad that John has been along to make sure my feet stay on the Red Road.

It’s been inspiring —thanks to a free internet –to see images from the NWT taken by all kinds of people, some who live there and others who are gob-smacked visitors.  From these amazing pictures, it was a short head hop to standing upon their astounding dèè and looking up into the whispering glory of Aurora Borealis.  

Don’t know if I’ll ever get there, but the NWT is now definitely on my bucket list.

~~Juliet Waldron

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  1. Am looking forward to reading this book.

  2. Thanks, Victoria...John and I are looking forward to your review.