Too Legit to Quit

December 13, 2011

So today was an awesome day (well mostly, but I’ll leave out the non-awesome).

First I woke up to a little write up about Tara and I on the VegNews website in the VegNewsDaily section, then I went to the library (always a good time), and this afternoon I got to realize a journalistic dream by interviewing author Will Ferguson.

I’ve wanted to write for VegNews since the first day I happened upon the June 2006 issue at the Chapters in Langley, so I always thought the first time I would see my name published in the magazine or on their website would be during the internship I’ve been planning on doing at their San Francisco headquarters ever since. Obviously this was a wonderful surprise to wake up to on a Monday morning.

So far we have three orders for Holiday Baskets for Harmless (2 of which are pretty huge), and today I began a dialogue with a producer about us bringing a film screening to Vancouver.

Dreams just kept coming true today, as I got a chance to talk to Will Ferguson, who was on my list of people to interview (which now that I think of it, should probably be a blog post in and of itself).

I’ve been a fan of Will Ferguson’s for a long time now, and have most of his books, including “I Was a Teenage Katima-victim,” which is about his experience in Katimavik. It’s also what inspired the interview, as I’m profiling the organization for an assignment for my Journalism Research class.

I wanted to know how the program shaped his life after he completed it, and it turns out it shaped his life in a big way.

Having never traveled before Katimavik, Ferguson was exposed to the Canadian experience outside his small Northern Alberta town and soon developed a love for Canada that has since been channeled into several books about trekking across this vast land of ours.

Initially intent on a career in politics, which Ferguson almost laughed about today, Katimavik redirected him to instead pursue a life in the arts.

Ferguson said all of his traveling and travel writing can be traced back to Katimavik, and that he was prompted to write the 1998 memoir by his publisher asking him for more Canadiana in the wake of his breakout success with his first book, “Why I Hate Canadians.” He recalled that he had notebooks documenting his time in the program, as he said, “our first Project Leader was really adamant that we keep a journal.”

So thank you, “Joyce,” wherever you are. The book really is an hilarious account of what life is like in Katimavik that other Katima-victims can relate to.

Will said he was torn about if he should remain true to the surprising bitterness and anger he found in his journals on closer look, or write from the perspective of time lapsing and seeing it as a great experience in the big picture. He decided to stick to his 19 year-old self’s experience, and anyone who has been in Katimavik and has read the book would likely attest that he made the right decision.

A lucky Katimavik group had the chance to dine with Ferguson after a writing event in Toronto he spoke at a couple of months back, and he said he was struck by how “Kids today are much cooler and more put together than we were” when he did the program in the 1980s, and that he noticed this group was “very articulate . . . very together. They got along as adults rather than kids.”


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