Sunday, July 12, 2009

Back from Summer Break!

Okay, it hasn't been a "break" that has kept me from blogging—more a combination of busy-ness and laziness. More on the former, less on the latter in future posts. The summer began with some good news: my investigative feature for explore magazine ("A Deadly Crossing"), about the deaths of two sea kayakers in Howe Sound, on Thanksgiving 2007, won a Gold medal in the Sports & Recreation category at this year's National Magazine Awards. I'd hoped to attend the ceremony, but life (and a $2,000 plumber's bill) had other plans. Still, I was ecstatic to learn the good news, especially after having played the bridesmaid with nominated stories previous years.

More recently, I did a phone interview with a Ryerson student about my research for the story, which he then edited into am intriguing podcast he produces with other Toronto journalism students. They sit around, drink beer, trade tales, talk shop, and critique one long work of literary journalism every week, and then post their discussions on a website called Ms. Jamerson's Literary Saloon. It's a fun, loose and baggy production that I might encourage my UVic students to experiment with.

While I was disappointed to miss the Magazine Awards and the ASLE conference here in town the same weekend (which featured a wealth of sessions with eco-minded writers and academics), I did fill my notebooks and digital recorder with research for future articles (and maybe a book?) during a long weekend trip to hang out with archaeologists on the Broken Islands (where I got my hands dirty and indulged my Indiana Jones fantasies) and on a two-week return visit to Israel (after living there 20 years ago) to explore the many changes to the kibbutz movement over the past two decades.

Add to these trips a wonderful sun-filled six days up-Island with the family, for beachcombing on Miracle Beach, hikes in the subalpine of Strathcona Park and the rainforest of Quadra Island, and a chance to try out my new/old mountain bike on some sweet island singletrack.

Now, to find the free time and focused frame of mind to knock off a draft or two of this summer's stories before the tsunami of students overwhelms me in the first week of September. It's only July 12, and I can already feel the season ticking away...

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