At dawn, J. drove me north to The Pas airport where I climbed on board a commuter plane that rose up over Clearwater Lake, headed for Flin Flon.

Stared into the sun rising over the network of water and land that is northern Manitoba.

Switched sides after the plane dropped its passengers and then we turned around to fly south over boreal plain, up into clouds which only thinned outside of Winnipeg. There, the quilts began, in colours of autumn.

Stunning landscapes that surprised me, having only seen this province from the ground. I live here, I thought.

 

In Winnipeg, I headed for Big Ideas with Charlie Wilkins, author of Little Ship of Fools, who rowed across the Atlantic. When people ask him why? he shakes his head and says, why not? I read the book this summer and Charlie’s wise perspective made me think differently about my own courage: to be a writer, to move to The Pas. Not that it really compares to nearly starving to death while enduring salt scoured skin and exhaustion in the midst of a raging sea, but you know….

 

Then, this evening, the Poetry Bash: funny, heart-rending, phrases cut from glass, built to be sung. Stirred my own poet’s heart, on the back burner currently for the sake of the novelist’s. Click the link to listen to the podcast (although be patient, as it might not be up yet).

Day one done. Tomorrow: Brandon University to share my own story and another great evening of writers telling tales…