Ten years ago, I went up to Rankin Inlet in 2000 with the hope that I’d get to teach, and I did (at the Adult Learning Center there), but as with most teaching opportunities, when done with the right spirit, you are the one that ends up being taught, and that was certainly the case with me. There have been many times since the great opportunity to work and live up North that I’ve thought about it. I’ve had dreams about it. It’s a place that even ten years later hasn’t left me. I wrote in a paper journal at the time, but documented my thoughts and impressions mostly through emails to my friends and family…

…then my emails were deleted by no fault of my own and I’ve lost those records.

I regret not writing more in my paper journal. The following are excerpts from my paper journal, as well as a few scans of photographs that I’d taken up there. This is just a very tiny and sort of light account of the beginning of the 9 months I spent up there (don’t expect literary greatness in these scribbles) and it’s a poor representation of the experience, but I thought I’d share even this small amount for those who might never get the opportunity. I’ve lightly edited this but tried to keep it as intact as possible.

Revisiting these memories only sparks the desire to go back some day, especially now that I’ve written a book that was directly inspired by my experience with such a rich part of my country. Since living in Nunavut I’d wanted to somehow write about it, through a novel, and I got that opportunity with Orbit and through THE GASLIGHT DOGS. This is a book that’s close to my heart for many reasons. Even though it’s ultimately a fantasy novel and I’ve taken creative license, Sjenn’s culture is, in my way, a tribute to the one that I’m still discovering.

photograph by Karin Lowachee