Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The Issue of Being a Canadian Writer
Unfortunately, when someone or something is revered too highly, it sometimes generates negative publicity spurred on by jealousy. Perhaps this is one reason for some of the bad 'rap' we've been receiving lately from big US pop culture machines. There's an alarming trend of bashing Canadians on late night talk shows, sitcoms, movies, and the like. We're often portrayed as stupid, uneducated and gullible; hockey goons; socialist extremists; or the reason that terrorists are infiltrating the US. Come on. Now who's being gullible?
Yes, we are different from our American neighbors in many ways, but some of these differences are quite subtle. Except for our penchant to say 'eh' now and then, spell a few words differently, (check your behaviour in the centre of the theatre...) and actually appreciate the fact that we have universal health care, (I really don't get what all the fuss is about - there's no such thing as mortgaging the house to pay your medical bills here...) the differences are few and far between.
We have the rat race of big cities, the open expanse of wilderness, and a potpourri of cultural variance that is very similar to the US. Perhaps our emergence as a nation in a non-violent manner has shaped our sensibilities to some degree when compared to the birth pangs faced by our cousins in the US. We were born out of negotiation, not rebellion. There is a sense, I think, of 'let's fight for what is ours' in the US, that is generally met with a response of 'let's talk about it' here in Canada.
I have enjoyed getting to know many American writers since joining the ranks of 'author-dom'. I've even joined organizations like ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers. Most of the time I do not notice any differences. After all, most of my writing acquaintances are also Christians, so that has provided some common ground. However, once in awhile I feel the differences. My Canadian worldview is different at times than my American counterparts and its easy to feel smothered by it.
It's why organizations like this one - Inscribe - are so vital for the health of writers living north of 49. We need a unique place to call home. I'm grateful to everyone for providing that sense of belonging. Despite all the great things I've taken part in elsewhere, there's something very comforting and familiar about his little part of the universe.
This article was originally posted on July 15 at Inscribe Writers Online.