“During a grim yuletide on Great Slave Lake, a team of starving explorers yearn for the gift of survival.” This is the story of George Back’s first Christmas as commander of an Arctic expedition. Appointed by the British Admiralty, he was tasked with finding the Thlew-ee-choh, now called the Back River, and following it to the Arctic coast.
It’s official: I have crossed the border. This is my American debut. My audio documentary, The Whale’s Choice, has been picked up and featured by the Third Coast International Audio Festival. Click through to LISTEN and read my interview with Third Coast’s Artistic Director, Julie Shapiro.
The first lesson I learn from musicologist Tyler Kinnear is, “Once you start listening, it’s impossible to stop.” Tyler has a particular listening practice, and in this story, he shares it with me.
Summer this year is interviews, field recorders and a dim audio editing screen punctuated by mountain exploration and adventure. It’s a good mix. This week, we ventured to The Bugaboos, a group of granite spires which are a world-class climbing destination.
We are not world class climbers, but we had fun anyway.
Cougar Creek in Canmore looked wild and exciting on the evening of Wednesday, June 19. My partner Toby and I were staying with Toby’s brother whose house backs directly on to the creek, and we went for a stroll before bed. The fire department was starting to put up caution tape, and the bank was abuzz with walkers and joggers. Almost everyone wielded a camera.
By 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, the story had entirely changed. As the fire department pounded on doors up and down the street, we heard our names.
“Toby! Jenny! We’ve got to get out.” . . .
The Mississippi River Canoe Route is one of the oldest recreational canoe routes in Canada, but it doesn’t get very much use these days. In the last 20 years, it has fallen out of favour in the paddling community, though little along the river has changed. Mike O’Mally and Alex Broadbent are hoping to put this paddler’s paradise back on the map. Click through to the full post for an audio link to this story from CBC’s In Town and Out.
The listening room is fancy. We go there in our first week at The Banff Centre and sit in front of the super-tweety-bassy-worth-more-than-a-new-car speakers. If I’m going to learn to design sound, I must also learn to listen.
Read on . . .
The Banff Centre, Canada’s premiere destination for creative minds, is getting into the radio business. This year, the centre plans to launch three stations: renovations of the English and French Park Radio stations that have broadcast in various forms for years, and a new English music station.
I have the opportunity to spend the summer at the Centre to help get these stations off the ground.
This story is on newsstands this month and explores the nesting habits of nine easily identified bird species including Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Grey jays and Belted kingfishers. Want to know who uses caterpillar cocoons in their nests? Read on . . .
Now that the ground is thawing, gardeners are coming out in force. For those who have a green thumb but no land to use it in, how do you find a garden of your own? That was the focus of last week’s story for CBC Ottawa’s In Town and Out.
Host Giacomo Panico and I talk about community gardening and land sharing, and we touch on some of the community benefits of public gardens. Click through to the full post for an audio link.
Dove’s new Real Beauty Sketches campaign is getting a lot of buzz, but whether you call it a commercial or a “compelling social experiment,” I fear the real message might be in the last few seconds. If you missed them, look again.
I’m writing for the Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information in Bristol, UK this week, which means I’m learning some quantum physics. The most excellent surprise of the day was coming across Professor Sandu Popescu from the University of Bristol in an on-line video. He studies “the most fundamental aspects of quantum physics,” and aside from explaining some of the basic stuff I needed to know, he left me with a precious gem of inspiration.
It’s been three years since I defended my master’s in creative non-fiction writing at the University of Victoria, and since then I’ve done a lot more thinking about wilderness – about how it is both a real place and a construction, how it has its own essence regardless of where we find it. So on this three year anniversary of my defense, as my manuscript makes the round of publishers, I wanted to share Sherwin Arnott’s analysis of my work, from 2010.
People ask me to describe the highlight of the trip, and my answer surprises me. The highlight was how I felt. In cities crammed with people and overflowing with new sound, I was shocked to find the same calm I’ve experienced year after year on B.C.’s central coast and in the Arctic.
Fulton’s had their first Backyard Sugar Makers’ Workshop this past weekend, and I went ahead to meet to owners for a crash course on DIY maple syrup making. My story aired on CBC’s In Town and Out on Saturday, February 15, 2013. Click through to the full post for an audio link.