Although we had all of Friday to depart, I knew with this lot that we’d be lucky to leave before dark, and sure enough it was around 4 before we finally had everything organized and hit the road.
I couldn’t believe what we were carrying; Tracy had loaded up the Delica with enough gear for a transarctic expedition, about 4 times what I took when I went on a 4 month cross-Canada trip I took in my Acura Integra. This for just one weekend.
My daughter Tara and her partner Kavan are more like me: throw in a few cans of beans, a package of hotdogs, and lots of beer and they’re ready for anything. Of course they knew that Tracy would provide for any shortfall.
We were going to the tiny, picturesque community of Bamfield, up on the west coast of the island at the south entrance to Barkley Sound. On a good day, with a good vehicle, it should be about 4.5 hours of driving. Driving old school 4X4s on that washerboard road means that to make it there in that time you’d arrive with your teeth scattered over the floor mats. On that road a soft nimble suspension is preferable to a rock hard off-road one.
I had been in Bamfield a couple of times, but by water. Now that I’m grounded, a different kind of adventure is in store. The good part of that of course is that it doesn’t take 3 days to get there.
I’ve started working on my next novel, and I’ve decided to ask for help. My novel that just came out, A Dark and Promised Land was the culmination of years of unpaid work, not to mention direct costs associated with research and professional editing. Several years ago I read an article that estimated that the average novelist invests about 50 grand into their first book.
That sounds cheap to me. We all love–no, need–culture, but as a society we are very unwilling to pay for it’s production. With so many of us willing to provide it for free, as in this blog, more rigorous forms such as novels have become devalued and economic support for the arts has declined.
That means writers must find other ways to support themselves, unless you happen to be one of the few who have reached stardom, a tiny fraction of Canada’s wordsmiths. Artists these days need to be as much businesspeople as creatives.
Change is always scary, even though we may not be aware of it. Habits arise largely due to anxiety over the unknown. But until change comes we might dismiss such notions, thinking we can embrace the new anytime it arrives. I thought I was pretty open to new experiences, but now I understand that is only half true. What I now realize is that I was carrying the past with me, that new was always filtered through the old to the degree that it really wasn’t new after all.