My 4 am self when the books get written
I just pressed “send”. Finding Canada: Common Threads from a Cross-Country Knitting Tour is off to Audrey McClelland. She’s my brilliant editor who will scrutinize the book one more time. It’s my first travel book. We haven’t inserted the knitting patterns into it yet so, for now, it is simply a travel book.
Finding Canada is the story of the knitting road trip and book tour Tex and I took in 2015. We drove from Victoria to Newfoundland delivering knitting workshops, reading from Knitting Stories and listening to knitters’ stories in 40 different locations. We visited knitting destinations (yes there are many knitting destinations in Canada) and talked for hours and hours about what it means to be Canadian.
It took me several years to write the book and after a year or so break, now more than a year editing it. I was worried that when I picked the book up again that I wouldn’t like it, that it would be out of date, that I would have new ideas that wouldn’t fit.
Instead I liked it. I love it more now than when I wrote it. I’m not an intentional travel writer. I didn’t go on the road trip to give myself a topic to write about. In fact when we were on the road I had no intention of writing a book about the trip. I often told Tex that there wasn’t a story in it. And besides we were on a book tour and writing a book about a book tour sounded incestuous to me.
I should have known better. Everything is a story. But the stories didn’t end up being about knitting; it ended up being about Canada. The Canada I saw through the eyes of the knitters we met and the places we visited.
In the past I had an ambivalent relationship with my country. It’s the greatest place in the world. Right? But remember I lived on an Indian Reserve for almost 35 years. I lived the other side of the Canadian ditch and it’s pretty hard to square the circle of greatness when you see if from the perspective of my home.
In the book I talk about what sweaters tell us about identity and how handwork makes meaning in our lives. I also talk about language, politics, immigration, colonization, racism—you know, all the good things about being Canadian. As I said, I started the road trip out as an ambivalent Canadian, but ended up—after thinking and writing about it for years—a hopeful Canadian. That was a long and significant journey—much longer than the 8000 kilometers we traveled to get from Victoria to Newfoundland