Writing my heart’s desire
- | April 11, 2021
The March edition of Eagle Feather News was dedicated to Indigenous women. We asked several Indigenous women to write about Indigenous women. This is one of those stories.
Canoe Narrows- I got an email invitation from my editor John. He said I could write anything I wanted for the March issue of Eagle Feather News. I was being given the opportunity to write a story on any subject that might be near and dear to my heart. My mind was blank. I had nothing.
I sat at my desk and opened my laptop thinking I would be inspired the moment my fingers touched the keyboard. Nope. I stared at the blank screen and tried to recollect unfinished story ideas.
I had previously started writing a story about what people might think a strong woman looks like. I asked people to give me examples of powerful, courageous, and resilient First Nations women. The responses were overwhelming because everyone knew more than one. I remember listening to their stories and thinking how proud I was knowing so many talented, creative, generous, and genuinely beautiful women walk among us.
I am in awe of women who live amazing lives doing unbelievable things while thriving and being their best selves. I couldn't write about just one or two of these women. I definitely couldn't go over my word count. So, I decided to write about something else. But, what?
I thought maybe I could write about my dream vacation when I traveled through Europe for a couple of months in the summer of 2015. It was an unforgettable trip. I sat in front of the Eiffel Tower, drove through wine country, played in the Vatican fountain, and swam in the Mediterranean Sea. But, I know I could never do France and Italy justice without at least 25 accompanying photos, so there went that idea.
I thought perhaps this was my opportunity to discuss politics and the issues of transparency and accountability in band offices. But, I didn't want my submission to be too heavy or argumentative, so there went another idea.
I hopped in the van and drove to the store to grab a chocolate bar. I came home with four chocolate bars, a package of mints, a bag of sunflower seeds, and a tub of ice cream.
As I ripped open a candy bar I thought maybe I should write about how I quit smoking cold turkey? How I am eating so much more. How I am spending more now on snacks than I was when I was smoking. Then I realized it sounded way too much like I was encouraging smoking over spending, so there went that idea.
As I drove home with my snacks I glanced at the community security gate at the end of our road like I usually do before I pull into our yard. I wondered how the weekend was for the security staff? Which led to me thinking of how so many people are suffering during this pandemic. I thought of how addictions and mental health issues appear to be worsening in so many remote northern communities since Covid -19 arrived. Maybe I should write about how and where someone might be able to get help? But, then I thought I don't want to seem like a know-it-all when I don't have enough information or the education to form a proper opinion, so there went that idea.
I drove on enjoying my chocolate when it hit me. I had the perfect story. I could write about moving from the big city, where I lived for more than 40 years, back home to my reserve, where I have now lived for three. I could tell you about my experience and initial culture shock. Then I could tell you how I adapted and accepted life in the north. I could brag about the beauty of nature. I could tell you all what it feels like to live alongside the animals, trees, and water. I could try to explain the unbelievable scenery we are blessed with every single day, but that story would end up being a thousand words too long.
As my deadline loomed my anxiety grew. I became more and more frustrated. So, you know what? I gave up thinking about writing and decided to eat chocolate and play in the snow. I had no words. I'll write about something near and dear to my heart next month. Maybe.