Well, I’m In-Residence now. Following in footsteps of many respected colleagues, peers and mentors, I’m the Writer-in-Residence at MacEwan University.
A residency is so much more than a sponsored time and space for pursuing one’s own artistic goals, although that, in itself, makes a residency a wonderful thing. I’m being paid to obey my muse, and I’m glad of it. I’m also thinking about what else a residency can mean. I’ll get back to you on that.
Meanwhile, it’s a privilege to serve in this post. And it feels both inevitable and irreal. What is this place, MacEwan? It’s a small university, which grew up in our community, and connects to many people’s lives.
My own first connections with MacEwan go back to 1981. My intrepid oldest sister, first to leave the farm, had enrolled in an education program at our big university. That’s what young women did, went into teaching or nursing, the dependable fields. Then she found Grant MacEwan Community College, with its music programs.
The story from there is long, turbulent, and ongoing. Sister went untimely to her rest in 2001, and I’m still learning more about the meaning of her life, her challenges, her wishes for the good things in life. I do know that, as it was in its college days, MacEwan as a university stands as a portal for many who, like my sister, like every human born, has dreams for a good life.
It may seem an odd link to make, but I want to post this little video, which to me speaks of how widespread is that struggle, to use our talents and skills in pursuit of a full life, and in service of communities who don’t always accept us, understand us, or feel courageous enough to let us in.