Borders and Boundaries and Beyond

As a dual citizen of the US and Canada, with a Canadian mother and an American father, I've crossed that border often.* I've had decades to think about borders. (I even blogged about them for a while.) And boundaries--both the geographical kind and the personal kind.

Artsy vacation shot :) .

I recently made a cross-border trip, my first extended visit since pandemic lockdowns, and wondered again about the people in an office somewhere drawing lines on a map. I also thought about the ways I expected my life to unfold, and how different my experience has been.

Performing onstage has never appealed to me--I managed it as a musician because of all the others up there with me. Safety in numbers and all that. So as I turned from professional and technical writing to creative work, the thought of reading my own work aloud in front of others, and trying to say something coherent in interviews, was daunting.

Imagine my surprise to learn that I enjoy talking about my work, both my essay collection and my novel. Part of my (relative, always relative) ease is that I'm proud of my work. It's not perfect, but it's my best work and I'm proud of that. (And I hope to do better work in the future!)

It's also a matter of practice. I babble, I don't always stop myself from going down rabbit trails, I sometimes give much the same answers to different interviewers. But I do try to learn from each experience. And I'm grateful for them.

So imagine my surprise to be on live TV on Easter Morning, thanks to Global Vancouver's Jennifer Palma. As the last Sunday of Brain Health awareness Month, I had the chance to talk about both books. The interview is here.

Thunder Bay is fortunate to have a local bookstore, Entershine Bookshop, and for Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, Roy (Blomstrom, my husband) and I were thrilled to hang out and sign books for their customers. 

Recently, The Walleye, Thunder Bay's arts and culture monthly magazine, reached out to follow up on how my post-book-release experience has been. I was interviewed for their Eye to Eye podcast (Episode 17), which was also excerpted for the print magazine (page 62 of the May issue)

I volunteer monthly with Dementia Cafe, one of many excellent initiatives sponsored by Lakehead University's Centre for Research on Aging and Health, where my role is to fetch coffee and treats and chat with people. Some of the people have dementia, some don't, and we all wear name tags. It's like a no-stress cocktail party!

Although I'm acutely aware of all the things I'm not especially skilled at, I know this: I'm exceptionally proficient at drinking coffee and sitting around chatting. 

This past weekend, someone mentioned seeing my photo in The Walleye and thinking, "I know her, but where from?" and eventually making the connection. I was gratified that they were interested in my essays but also really excited to tell them where Entershine Bookshop was.

Throughout all of these experiences, and the alone/travel time to process them, I began thinking about boundaries and borders again. I wondered how my own boundaries--in this case, the stories I tell myself about myself and my abilities--have supported my growth as a human and a writer, and where they've perhaps held me back.

I don't anticipate jumping into a career on TV or as a podcast host. However, I've enjoyed my experiences--print, podcast, radio, television--and look forward to those that are on the horizon.    

Spring has also arrived here. It's breezy, and the grass is greening, and different birds have appeared at our feeder and moved on. It's a season to wear layers of clothing and be ready to take them off and put them back on when necessary. That's a metaphor, no doubt. I'll enjoy thinking about that for a bit, too.


* on my way back home, the agent asking me questions was fairly new at the job. Ever overly helpful, I volunteered that I wasn't bringing mace or pepper spray while he was still trying to remember which question came next. I hope he wasn't too embarrassed.