I’m going to give you the only possible advice any writer can give you: if you want to be a writer, write something you would like to read. Growing up in Fort Smith, my grandparents were medicine people and didn’t speak a word of English. We had some of the best storytellers in the world come to our house. I was raised in a time when families still visited with families. When we had company, my mom would say ‘you boys, come listen to how the world really works.’ We were never sent away.
Nobody is talking about Fort Smith. Nobody is talking about our mullets, nobody is talking about our hickies, nobody is talking about our fistfights in snow and nobody is talking about how we can two-step to anything. Growing up, I had a good eye. I was nosy, I was bossy and so I said ‘I want to start writing down the magic of the North and the romance of the North and the treachery and the heartache.’
I had the chance to see Van Camp read here in Whitehorse last spring, and in addition to being a powerful writer he’s also a wonderful performer. Strongly recommended, should he ever roll through your town.