On my flight to Ottawa for The Writer’s Union of Canada Conference, I took three personal travelling essentials: a notebook, my netbook and a novel to read while airborne. When you are trapped in an enclosed space with strangers for hours and suspended above the clouds, not only do you need to be entertained but your imagination must be so fully engaged that the author owns you while you are turning their pages.
The bleak and unforgiving Labrador wilderness in Canada is as much a place of subtle change as it is fierce rigidity; it is a contradiction of a land defining its people, the people’s survival depending on their ability to adapt to the land. It is a place of solid, quick decisions made by pragmatic people in a sometimes brutal environment, with the spectre of mortality always looming large in the background of daily life. Living off the land and at the mercy of the cycles and occasional whims of Mother Nature can leave no room for the anomaly or anything that doesn’t fit or make sense, even if the culprit is Mother Nature herself.