I was honoured to have been asked to guest edit the next edition of NorthWord, an instalment that will include literary works that speak, in a variety of ways, to the theme of SURPRISE.
It was indeed lovely to sit down at the dining room table - my favourite venue for intentional reading - and absorb the many submissions. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it and found myself glowing with appreciation for the creative and delightful use of words, phrases and narrative.
It is worth noting, that at this phase of the process, all the guest editor sees are the titles and the content of the submissions. The authors' names have been removed to ensure no personal bias comes into play. And while the back vestiges of my mind might have been trying to discern who the writer was from the clues within the words and style, the front of my mind was purely focused on the idea or story being presented.
I'm fascinated by the notion of SURPRISE and the role it plays in the experience of living in the north. Several submissions did an eloquent job of evoking uniquely northern moments. Others went to that internal place, where surprises percolate, nurtured by time, place, circumstance and memory. It was a nice mix and an honour to read.
Now comes the hard part: selecting the ones that will be featured in the SURPRISE edition that will be released this winter. I want to thank everyone who bravely put forward work. I've done the same on several occasions and waiting for word of whether or not you're submission has been accepted is excruciating. Please keep on writing, sharing and submitting.
On a side note, our MLA Don Scott took it upon himself (with help from his awesome staff) to send each member of the Premier's Council on Culture a copy of the last edition of NorthWord. More than several of them came up to me during our last meeting in Edmonton to comment on how appreciative and impressed they were. Wood Buffalo should feel a real sense of pride for this artistic achievement and the richness it adds to the fabric of our community. A big thank you to all the hard-working people behind the scenes who make it possible.