Next Saturday, my homeland will celebrate 150 years. I cannot understate the value of my national identity to my work. It is the master file of each image I construct; the opportunity to live in such a perfect place, flawed as it may be.
Thirty-two years existing in America’s hat has afforded me so much: a unique political perch from which to watch the world evolve (or devolve, depending on your view); a deep respect for cultural differences and other lifestyles. Access to a special community of native Canadian talent. Clean water. Breathtaking nature. Freedom of speech and a platform to speak my mind. These are little things, but I could name you dozens more countries that don’t have these luxuries than do.
Sure, there have been problems, but regional rivalries and political divides are everywhere, and I can’t think of a place I’d rather entertain them.
The bond Canadians share is unlike any other in the world. Rather than dispute our image to the world (igloos, politeness, etc), we embrace them and laugh at ourselves. We come together in tragedy and don’t let each other go.
Whatever certainty in the world exists, I know my home is always a haven, the house that many generations built to be the place on Earth. I have tried to contribute to the amazing tapestry of literary and artistic wealth that exists here, and trust it will carry on beautifully, either with or without me.
Happy 150, Canada. I feel so privileged to be a part of your success.