Happy New Year

Well, another year is wrapping up, and as I reflect on 2012, I’m pretty amazed at how much I’ve accomplished — was it really only a year? I became gainfully employed, learned new skills, grew professionally and personally, and entered the rough and tumble world of politics as a city council candidate. It was a year of learning and growth, making new friends, and enjoying life. Here’s a recap of my year, an omnibus post.

Employment

FH253Since moving back to Fredericton in 2010 (from five years in the western wilds of Alberta) I haven’t been able to say I’m securely employed. I can now! As most know, New Brunswick is not an easy place to find work. But I finally persevered. It’s been a long haul through tons of part-time and freelance work, but I can now say I am the Secretary/Graphic Designer of The Fiddlehead (a dream job working for the old fern!) and starting January 1, 2013 I’ll be taking over the online instruction of English 1145 at UNB through the College of Extended Learning.

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Publishing/Writing Success

2012 wasn’t entirely a banner year for publications, but it did come with some exciting news: I was officially invited to take part in the 2013 Whitehorse Poetry Festival. More details to come about that to be sure!

I also had the opportunity to teach a daylong workshop at the esteemed Maritime Writers’ Workshop here in Fredericton. I hope to do so again in the future.

But I did manage to get a few publications in a few magazines (The Malahat Review and Germination) and an anthology (Poet to Poet from Guernica Editions). And just yesterday (in time to count for 2012!) I received official word that I’ll have a poem in another anthology, I Found it at the Movies, scheduled for a fall 2014 release.
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I also continue in my roles as Secretary of the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick, poetry co-editor of The Fiddlehead, and Associate Poetry Editor at Goose Lane Editions. I was quite proud that I could be part of the successful launch of the first two collections of poetry in Goose Lane’s Icehouse imprint.

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Politics

I’ve always been interested in politics, but in 2012 I dropped my own writ by declaring as a candidate in the municipal election, running unsuccessfully as a city councilor in Fredericton’s ward 6. But all was not lost. I garnered 15% of the vote, but before the campaign I did not even know 15% of the people in the community. And I didn’t know how to run a campaign. I learned that fast, and learned a lot about the history of the region, made some good friends, and got actively involved in Fredericton’s future. I was successfully in one endeavor: I volunteered with a group of citizens who campaigned to rezone a strawberry U-pick and surrounding forest to protect it from development. My own city councilor was opposed, but public pressure from our group, and my own efforts to get community members to contact her, caused her to finally support it. I was proud of my efforts running for city council, but I was tremendously proud of our group’s efforts. Most recently, I’ve been the lead person investigating the possibility of a car-free street downtown, and the idea took off with media interviews and meetings with various stakeholders. Early in the new year, Downtown Fredericton Inc. will be hiring a consultant to envision the future of downtown, and this provides our group with a great opportunity to participate in that vision.

photoI couldn’t ask for much else (except an iPad!): my family is healthy and happy. My wife continues to work on her novel. My son is in grade 1 now! And he is reading and writing at a very high level. I’ve made tons of new friends. And I have a new nephew!

I’m looking forward to 2013 and all the challenges it will inevitably bring. But I am thankful for the opportunities I have, and for my family and friends.

What are my goals and resolutions for 2013? I would like to meet more of my Twitter friends. I would like to finally finish my second book and send it out to prospective publishers. And I would like to continue working hard to make Fredericton and New Brunswick a better place for us all. Oh, and eat less junk food!

All the best from me for a happy and prosperous 2013 for all.