A friend asked me yesterday how I liked being a writer.
I said that in the self-publishing realm, at least, I felt that I was a writer about 3 years ago but in the last two I was not so sure. In 2022, I was a producer and publisher, making decisions about everything from font size and type to colours to pricing. This past year - 2023 - I feel most like a travelling salesman, and delivery driver.
For all that, I learned a lot about producing a book, and also about Indigenous matters, the wonders of Alberta, and the NWT, and myself.
Today, another friend suggested that writing A Métis Man's Dream was a personal act of reconciliation on my part, which I had not considered before. I will need to think about this further, and more deeply. My main concern in writing about Gordon Gill's life was with appropriating Gordon's story. That's why Gordon's oral history From Traplines to Tugboats component was such a crucial element of the book for me.
My friends. if you are able (because you purchased A Métis Man's Dream from either Amazon US or Canada, or are at a level of purchases that you are 'allowed'), it would be really nice, and appreciated if you could post a (positive!!) review on either the US or Canadian website below. (or other sites, like FriesenPress.ca, or Goodreads.)
The positive vibes from people who have read about Gordon Gill's success out of adversity, and his involvement in so many 'firsts and lasts' in the business world in Alberta and the NWT tell me this is a story which will be good for many more readers to enjoy.
Sometimes it is hard to remember the good things that life randomly brings.
When I took some books to the post office the other day, Jenn the manager asked how sales were going. I told her that I was pleased but of course I need to sell more of A Métis Man's Dream, so that Gordon Gill's success story will be more widely known, and there will be more money for the charities we donate the proceeds to. Jenn said that her dad had really enjoyed the copy she gave him. So again, the generosity and goodwill of people encountered on this journey have been a wonderful addition to my year. Thanks Jenn!
There might be nothing better for a writer than opening mail on January 2nd to find a cheque for books you supplied, (in my case, the great people rockymuseum.com (Rocky Mountain House (Ab) Museum) AND seeing the lovely handwritten note saying "We need more books!
A reader of A Métis Man's Dream and this blog wondered where in Alberta I had been in my NeilGowerExplores role. It was a fun exercise especially in the context of exploring. After some thought, it occurred to me that I have been to the extreme corners of Alberta in 3 cases, and pretty much the extreme of the fourth corner.
- Upper Waterton Lake and Cameron Lake to the Montana border in the southwest;
- Highway 41 to Wild Horse Crossing to Montana (south of Cypress Hills) in the southeast;
- Fort Smith/ Smith Landing/Fort Fitzgerald in the northeast;
- The Mackenzie Highway where it crosses the NWT border, north of High Level, and Rainbow Lake/Zama City west of High Level in the northwest.
What corners have you explored?
Image retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/place/Alberta-province
For those L'Hirondelles out there, (Gordon's mother's family), Andre L'HIrondelle updated me on sources of L'Hirondelle family history. Andre's grandfather Maurice L'Hirondelle from Lac Ste. Anne area, talked of going north to visit Noel L'Hirondelle on his trapline. (Gordon's maternal grandfather moved the family to the northern bush to avoid residential schools). Andre is a serious student of Métis history, has suggested that both the St. Albert (Ab.) Museum and the Provincial Archives of Alberta have extensive information on the L'HIrondelles.