Writers in Canada in the 21st century have it easy.
We have lap tops, desk tops, tablets, cell phones. We have virtually infinite resources available in local libraries and on-line to check facts, tweak details, inspire scenarios for any time and setting.
I think we take these things for granted. I know I did.
But not any more.
I have just returned from an earlier-than-planned road trip out east with my son. We had vowed to let nothing stop us this year from visiting elderly friends – while they were still around. Then came the news about a beloved family member having to undergo major surgery, and the time for travel was moved ahead.
The best laid plans
There were some writing obligations I would have to defer until I got down east, but I figured once I arrived at the little house deep in the Nova Scotian countryside, that I’d have plenty of time to fit in that work and fire it off in an email. The best laid plans, as they say….
The first issue became apparent as we were covering the long long distances one is wont to travel in Canada: my cell phone started losing service in isolated spots along the highway. Service would return once we neared more populated towns and then disappear again once we continued on further down toward the Bay of Fundy. By the time we arrived that night I knew there was no service, but I just thought it was a glitch that would correct itself the next morning. I was wrong.
Just a bit of tweaking
The other assumption I made was that I would have the use of someone’s computer. I was very proud of the fact that I was organized enough to have brought the memory stick holding the file of the story I was working on. Just a bit of tweaking, and then I’d fire it off to the editor! Ha.
I can now tell you there are places in Canada that do not have cell service. I can also now tell you that there are people who not only do not own a computer now, but have no interest in owning a computer in the future. Ever.
So picture a writer planted for a week in a place near the wide blue Atlantic ocean, where people have conversations face to face, without little rectangles in front of their faces. Imagine a place where a writer of the 21st Century has no Internet or cell phone access. Picture that writer having no choice but to sit out on a deck and watch hummingbirds feeding, and the tide turning, catching the odd turn of phrase that older generations of fisher folk still use when reminiscing about local gossip and family history from a time long gone.
And see that writer come to realize that even without all the modern frou frous, devices, and gadgets, a writer can still find stories to be told, and written down and taken to heart.