Best laid plans of mice and writers...
I was thrilled, thrilled I tell you, when I learned that Proof Of Their Sin would be released on July 1st, Canada Day. There were so many nice connections to tie in the book with the day. The heroine, Lauren, is Canadian. She lives on her grandmother's maple syrup estate in Quebec. My hero, Paolo, is an international banker and do you know who is taking over the Bank Of England? Yeah, Mark Carney. A Canadian. I'm so shameless, I'll even invoke Chris Hadfield, because my characters' love story is out of this world.
But live and learn. Proof Of Their Sin actually became available online in early June. By the middle of the month it was shipping from Amazon and sitting on shelves in the lower mainland. It hit the stores in my town on the 25th.
What then, do I have left to say on Canada Day?
Well, thought I, I should be thankful my book came out early. (I should be grateful it came out at all!) And I am.
Which leads me to think that maybe a nice post on why I'm thankful I was born and raised in Canada would be my best course of action. Here goes:
- I get to write romance novels. What I'm saying is, I went to school where I learned to read and write. Not all children, especially girls, have that opportunity. Ask Malala Yousefzai. Also, not all women in this world are allowed to express their views freely. Some aren't allowed outside without a male guardian or to have control over their own bodies. I can say what I want verbally, in print, and with my vote.
- I can also register my preferences and desires financially because I have a job. I keep my work life separate from my writing life for a number of reasons, a huge one being that they don't pay me to promote their products on my blog, but it's a good job where I am paid fairly. I work civilized hours and will be enjoying my nation's holiday with a full day's pay.
- I am enormously lucky and grateful that I and my husband and kids are healthy, but when one of us is not 100%, we can visit the doctor and the only cost is time. Much is made about the cost of healthcare in Canada and the quality of service and maybe it's not perfect, but try to touch it and you will see us march on Ottawa with our pitchforks. I'm hugely proud to be from a country that offers universal healthcare.
- I'm also proud of our water. I not only look at a gorgeous lake from my kitchen window, but I can turn on a tap at my sink and clean, potable water comes out! We take that for granted in this country, but it is a luxury beyond measure.
- Speaking of luxuries, let's talk about Cannabis Day. I won't say I'm proud, more like resigned, to have Canada and the area where I live known for its potheads. I don't personally indulge, but I am resigned to the fact that many do and prohibition doesn't stop them. For that reason, I heartily support legalizing marijuana and taxing the stuffing out of it, just like booze and cigarettes. Seems to me it would not only free up but fund the police to spend their time more wisely. Just my opinion and one that seems to be shared by those who celebrate Cannabis Day on Canada Day. I just wish that those who 'protest' marijuana prohibition by sparking up would take an attitude of gratitude when they do it. The defiance annoys me because they obviously don't appreciate the fact that they could and would be shot in some countries for such flagrant rebellion. Just saying.
- Further to expressing personal beliefs, I love that I can say I'm an atheist and not fear for my life. I love that the Mayor of Calgary is Muslim and do you know what he's doing? Advocating for all Calgarians to the best of his ability. I know there are a lot of ways we could improve on being inclusive--let's start with the aboriginal population--but we've come a long way where other countries haven't. Gay marriage, anyone?
- Further to that, let's talk about our culture of kindness. Sorry if we say 'Sorry' too often, and good luck at a four way stop (no you go, no you go), but isn't that better than stomping on each other to get to the top? I won't apologize for that.
- Did I mention Mark Carney and the fact that Canada stayed afloat during the financial crisis? Turns out that government interference with banking controls is actually a good thing.
- I especially love that we can laugh at ourselves. I think this is the result of a few things, an important one being the lack of reason for sobriety. I vividly remember reading Hiroshima in high school and getting to the part where the children were discouraged from laughing after the bomb. The horror was that profound. We don't have such an event in our history (thankfully!) Instead, we are products of sparsely populated towns and farm communities that suffer long winters. Until American cable came along, we had a dearth of outside entertainment and had to rely on ourselves. Plus, our country has always been the slightly oversized, but younger cousin to powerhouse countries like Britain and the US. Kids in that position learn to disarm with self-deprecation. Watch out, though. We're approaching the midpoint of our second century, which is like adolescence. Prepare for biting sarcasm, perhaps a bit of drug experimentation (I forgot to mention the needle exchange/harm reduction unit) and yeah, maybe an unplanned pregnancy. (I don't even know what that means. It's just a Canadian being silly for the sake of a laugh.)
- I love that we're humble in our pride. Sure our beer commercials make us out to be all that and a bag of chips, but they're beer commercials. That's what we do, brag while making a bit of a fool of ourselves. Because we're a society that believes in equality so we have to balance the We're Awesome with We're Also Human.
Thank you, Canada. I love you.