June 19, 2009

Inaugural month in the igloo office

Just about a month has passed since I came up North, which means only three months to go until I beat my previous record. I think it's about time I posted some pictures of where I've been for the past 30 days, so here you have it: my office.
P.S. I'm a workaholic.

Above is the aforementioned raccoon pelt and snowshoes that have been ever-so-artfully glued to the wall for probably decades.

My sweet "corner" office.
The front lobby pre- Massive Paper Cleanout '09. The town doesn't recycle newspaper, so... please send my sincere apologies to Mother Earth.
Welcome to our office!

June 15, 2009

Locked out

Usually when I get home from a long day sitting at a computer and writing, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of my computer and write some more. But today was different.

When I returned to my apartment after work, arms full of groceries, and put the key in the door, the deadbolt wouldn't budge. I was locked out.

In the 20 minutes it took for the maintenance guy to arrive and perform magic on the stubborn door with his bare hands, I had a lot of thinking time. There I was, standing in an empty hallway clenching my futile keys, no cell phone, no contacts, in the middle of nowhere.
I realized the lock wasn't the only thing stuck. For the first time in my life, I have no plan. My old plan, the one I've been working from since I was about 16 years old, went something like this:

1. Get good grades to get into a good university with a well-respected journalism program.
2. Earn money to pay for university. (working every summer since I was 14 didn't quite cover it, but thank goodness the government deigned to give me a little money and a lot of strings.)
3. Secure newspaper internships to boost chances of future employment.
4. Graduate from university with a shiny new journalism degree. (and a crushing debt)
5. Get a full-time job at a newspaper.

And there it ends. All my work for the past eight years was simply a means to that end. And now that I finally have what I always wanted, I'm not sure if I want it anymore.

It's not that I don't like my job. Every week, I come up with 8-10 story ideas of my own, no editor breathing down my neck. Everyday, I talk to new people and learn about a totally different culture. I write meaningful stories for people across this vast territory. At the very least, I write stories that mean something to somebody, sometimes. I have my own office. Isn't that supposed to mean something?
I am isolated, yes, but anyone can be isolated anywhere. At this point, my location has no effect on how much I enjoy my work.

So what is my problem? The answer, I think, lies in one recently uncovered self-truth: I was never a big fan of eggs. Not until I found out how hard it is to get fresh ones this far North. Now, my thoughts drift to omelettes much more often than I'm comfortable with.

I always want what I can't have. And if that's my inescapable truth, I should've dreamed bigger.

June 06, 2009

Arctic house party

Thick Italian songs bleed through the walls, out the open window, replaced by soft sunlight glinting off tiny mason jars half full with red wine.
They dance with their gin and tonics, flowing. The women confident, exotic, oblivious, accented: French, German, Italian. The men, sun-bleached with weathered faces and young eyes, keep their balding heads uncovered. All of them moving and removing layers, laughing easy.
On the roof, the sun shines in our faces and finds all of our pale spots and we smile at it, at each other.
On the road below an RCMP van rounds a bend, fading into the distance. Beyond wait the new waters of Boot Lake, just free of their familiar ice.
"The night is a fetus" that won't begin and so it never ends. We are on top at the top of the world.
The cool wind tips a forgotten jar of gin, rolling it over unmoved shingles, down, down, strawberry and lime spinning inside. Down, down, down - don't chase it! A red halve slips out just in time, stuck at the edge. And then the sound is so small.

June 03, 2009

Irony's a bitch

This morning, still sleepy from taking advantage of the 24-hour sun, I strolled into my office at 11 a.m.
My first task: interviewing a 17-year-old kid who has never missed a day of school in his life. Perfect attendance from preschool through Grade 12.
Today's lesson: I have so much growing up to do.

June 02, 2009

Delicious with raw heart of seal

"Hard tack" really sounds a lot like "heart attack."