Just two years ago I began a blog for the purpose of peddling a new book and otherwise dabbling in a variety of writing projects. Doing so has had its share of blessings and some shortcomings, but has been overall a rewarding experience. My book did come out successfully. Published by leading Newfoundland publisher Flanker Press, Gower Street, a memoir of growing up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, was launched in October 2015. In a one week promotional visit, I did media interviews and held several book signings. The book attracted favourable reviews and was featured prominently in a number of publications.
My website http://www.nixwadden.ca/ provided backup information on the new book and other writing projects, while initiating my blog feature offered ongoing support for promotional efforts. Complementing these initiatives was the launching of a personal Face Book Account with an Author’s Page to focus on book promotion and other interests. I had fun carrying out these projects, touching on such disparate subjects as indoor walking, golfing, family ties, travels, folk music and various Newfoundland people, places and phenomena. Blog production faltered greatly during the past year because of health problems, but a gratifying recovery allows me now to make a new start. As it happens, this stands as the 50th blog in the series, so let’s see if we can make it worthwhile.
For one thing, this is the 50th year I have been living in Ottawa. Amazing to think it has been this long. Until late in 1965, I had utterly no thought of making this my new home. Six months or so earlier, my family of four had just moved into our new home in St. John’s, where I worked as a radio and TV news reporter and editor. Then fate intervened, when a federal Fisheries department Information Officer job I’d applied for led to an Ottawa job offer instead. Deciding after much deliberation to take it, I reported for work Feb. 1st at the Sir Charles Tupper Building, but had to leave the family in St. John’s until we sold our home.
My arrival in Ottawa January 30th came in unexpected circumstances, as I had booked flights from St. John’s to Montreal and Montreal to Ottawa, but was forced to travel the second leg by train. All because of a snowstorm that grounded flights and everyone hereabouts called one of the biggest storms of the season. For me, it was relatively tame compared to a storm that had hit St. John’s a week or so earlier. The train ride from Montreal to Ottawa cost me all of ten bucks – $6.80 for train fare and $3.20 for a meal. Air fare was $108. I booked into the Lord Elgin Hotel for the night ($25.79). Ahhh, them were the days!
My ignorance of city layout caused me an embarrassing moment when I decided a day or two later to move out of the Lord Elgin into more modest accommodations. It also won me a first shot at breaking into the Ottawa media, albeit many years later, with an Ottawa Citizen feature I called “The Hazardous Y.” But that’s a story for another blog!