People complained about how rough 2020 was. And then 2021. For me, those were cushy years. The salad years, I guess you could say. Then I hit 2022, and it smacked me down hard. This year has put my smart ass in its place.
Early this year, I had to separate myself from the herd of flag-waving morons who were sapping the Canadian identity. Ugh. I had to stand apart from the Freedumb Convoy, and I still do. Giving them a voice is objectivity taken a step too far. I object to that.
So, I ended up walking away from my job on Valentine’s Day. How romantic was that? In the days before my resignation, it was announced that I would be receiving more awards for my writing. It was just a matter of waiting until April 29 to find out if I would get first, second or third place awards. Well, today was that day, and the Ontario Community Newspaper Association announced that Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum-roll, please? bud-dut-Buh-Buh- buh. I’m not first place material.
My feature “Hip-hop artist Wendego uses music to combat mental health issues and Indigenous oppression,” printed in the Walkerton Herald Times on July 15, 2021, won second place in the Arts and Entertainment category.
“This is a great example of how an A&E story can go beyond the traditional boundaries of the category to address serious and systemic issues,” commented the judge Gordon Lambie, Associate Editor, The Record, Sherbrooke, QC
I took third place in the Best Feature/News Series circulation under 9,999 for my four-part series “The homeless experience in North Perth,” which was printed in the Listowel Banner in the fall of 2020.
“This series was relevant and insightful to the issues in the community. The writing introduced me to the subjects, who I was able to get to know and understand. Adding human experiences and emotions create a deeper understanding of real-time situations for others,” commented K-J Millar, Journalist, Prince Rupert Northern View & Haida Gwaii Observer, Prince Rupert, BC.
Both the feature on Wendego and the series on homelessness are as relevant now as they were when they first hit print.
It turns out I was also part of another award too. My former colleagues at the Listowel Banner won second place for best headline writing, and I was involved in those. I cannot confirm or deny whether the headlines were published as I submitted them or whether there was some editorial work involved. Either way, I say it was teamwork.
“Like the plays on words and using them to convey different meaning,” said category judge Danielle Gordon-Broome, Editor, Swan Valley Star and Times, Swan River, MB.
So that’s all pretty good news, but what I realized as a bit of a bummer is that although I have a talent for capturing people’s stories, some stories from my wife’s family have recently been lost. Her grandmother has reached a point where she can no longer convey the tales of her life. Wonderful rich stories of here 90-plus years on this planet are disappearing before our eyes.
Also, the death of my father-in-law at the end of March took much fantastic family history. My parents shuffled off this mortal coil before I knew I possessed this talent for recording the events of other people’s lives.
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