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New beginnings

The career author begins her next chapter

By Carolyn Pogue

I’ve just written my last book. It’s a smallish read with a northern theme; I think I had more fun writing this one than any of the others although maybe I forget how much fun the others were. Nonetheless, this book feels like a good finale. It’s also a poetic end to my career as an author.

My first book, Yellowknife, was published by a fledgling Yellowknife company, Outcrop Publishing, in 1981. It was their first book, too. All these years later, they are still publishing; you might be familiar with their UpHere magazine. Since then, I’ve written 15 more books, including novels, colouring books, educational texts, picture books, as well as teen and adult nonfiction. I’ve also edited for educational and trade publishers, transcribed When the World Was New for Elder George Blondin and researched Denendeh, written by photographer-priest-historian Fr. Rene Fumoleau. I figure that should be enough Pogue on library shelves.

Having begun in the North and now ending in the North, I've come full circle. You can see why it makes sense to end right here.

I wrote Yellowknife when I lived in that city and when southerners frequently asked about the 12 months of winter. I wanted people to get to know the place I lived in and loved. This last book, Rock of Ages: The Oldest Rock on the Planet, and Then Some, also has a northern theme. The oldest rock is located southeast of Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories.

Rock of Ages was written with the encouragement of my nephew, Mark Brown. He had staked a claim on the oldest rock, the Acasta River gneiss, and said, “You’re the writer in the family, you should write about this rock.” Not knowing a thing about geology, I said, "No." But then he gave me a piece of the rock. Looking at it and holding it set me thinking. Four billion years, eh? That’s a long, long time. I then said, "Yes." And that little rock carried me into an exploration of geology, spirituality and mythology before landing me squarely in ecology. If I was going to write one last book, it might as well be one that was about something, well, rock solid.  

It’s daunting and exciting to imagine, write and then hold a book. I’m grateful for people who supported each one. Of course, authors write alone, but there’s so much more to making a book than writing the words.  

This fall, I’ll launch Rock of Ages in Yellowknife and Calgary. These will also serve as my retirement parties, I figure. Not from writing; I hope I’ll always do that, but definitely from books. Absolutely. I’m fairly certain, I think.

Because summer and books go together, I wanted to share two short book videos. Claire McMordie sent this tiny library story after it aired on CBC recently. And, a Toronto couple loved the books in their shop so much, they got them to dance in The Joy of Books. Enjoy.

Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a longtime Observer contributor. New posts of The Pogue Blog will appear on the first and third Thursday of the month. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
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