Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Where it all started.
Where it all started.

Just over a year ago I decided to leave a consulting and leadership job I had really enjoyed for thirteen years (I had spent six years previously in management and nineteen years as a Canadian Forces air navigator). It was time for a change. I planned to continue consulting but I knew I wanted to get involved in other activities, give in to my passions that included photography, writing, music, motorcycling, and RVing. In search of happiness maybe. A little scary…

I had no idea what the next year would bring, until friends introduced me to a man visiting family, in town for only a few weeks, whose idea and vision would send me on a fascinating adventure. Mike (that’s the man’s name) was looking for someone to write his brother’s biography. A little research about “the brother” and one long July Sunday morning brunch convinced us that I should tackle this project. So the adventure began. I started my research in earnest while Mike was still around. Our discussions set the foundation for research, writing, and other tasks that would fill more than a full year.

He introduced me to his brother, the main subject of the book, and to his mother, the other essential character in the story, and to the rest of his family. Hours of research and hundreds of interviews followed these first few encounters. I followed my subject while he went about his daily occupations—some quite exciting and energy-packed, some more leisurely—photographed him, talked to people about him, and slowly developed a relationship with him. One meeting would lead to five more; one discovery would send me on five different trails. His story drew me in deeper every day: a story rooted in community, filled with passion, and surrounded by love and affection. A story that appeared quite self-contained at first soon spilled its banks; the main thread transformed into a hundred meandering streams that I needed to follow to eventually write the story.

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