After spending eighteen years or so gathering stories, organizing information, writing drafts and finally designing & self-publishing a book, the big lesson I learned is that if I don’t just sit down and do it, it ain’t going to get done. I now need to approach this blog writing with the same dedication, or it won’t happen either. The book, Walking with Wolf, will speak for itself once its out in the world (mid-May 2008, all appendages crossed), but to help its entry into the world and to spread news of its existence, blogging seems to be the way to go. So here I am: Kay Chornook, Canadian living in Hamilton, Ontario, almost 50-year-old woman, bush babe, rockera, shit disturber at times, cancer surviver, lover of life, music & fun. This will be my blog.
The wolf is Wolf Guindon: Quaker, pioneer on a cloud-forest covered mountaintop in Monteverde, Costa Rica, leading conservationist of that wet, misty wilderness, father, spiritual often irreverant man of the forest, walking man, talking man, funny man. It’s his stories that inspired the writing of Walking with Wolf – a process that began in 1990 – but at some point the project became a history of the Quaker community of Monteverde, of rainforest conservation in Costa Rica, of living through the changes of philosophy and perspective that come when your heart and mind are open to new influences. The years of gathering the stories (mostly recorded on a handheld tape recorder, carried in Wolf’s pocket as he hiked through the vast muddy drippy forest), were followed by years of moving his voice from tape to page and then adding my voice as narrator and commentator. This last year moved us into a whole new arena – book layout and design, putting together a package to properly display all these years of Wolf’s life and our work. Whole new learning curve – there have been so many in this long process that I’m almost a pretzle of new knowledge.
One of the side-effects of working on a man’s life story over eighteen years is that life is constantly being lived, babies are born, people die, laws change, even trees we discuss have fallen while I was writing. We kept updating information and adding new stories through the whole process right up until May 2007 when I returned from Costa Rica and began the last serious edit. Some very tragic events happened shortly after but they were much too raw to discuss easily and so we chose my return to Canada as our cutoff point. WwW therefore ends its history in April 2007 but the tales don’t end. I will update some of the lives and issues in this blog as I get acclimatized to bloglife. Once the book is out, people will be able to ask questions and in this way, walking with Wolf (and Kay) will continue.
In the short term, it’s all going to be about the final stages of self-publishing, because that’s where we are. The manuscript has been proofed (incessantly it seems to me) and is now in the hands of Bruce the indexer. A multi-layered, extremely anal process left in the hands of a professional. In the next few days the book will come to me for final proofing and then be sent on to Transcontinental Printing in Quebec and (roll the labour pains and contractions drum) birthing should happen mid-May. I’ll then take delivery of the babies, and immediately fly to Costa Rica to put several hundred copies in the hands of Wolf. And then we will weep with relief, laugh with disbelief, and party (a relative term – Quakerwise & bush babe-style). But I get ahead of myself again – focusing on those post-publishing parties is often what keeps me sane these days.
For the first time in fifteen years, I haven’t wintered in Costa Rica. I managed to book the wildest winter in recent history to stay home in the north country and I’m happy for it. My Canadian blood has thickened again – I was definitely getting soft – and I’ve really appreciated the beauty of the snow. I will be heading south on a totally different schedule than the migratory birds I’ve been hanging with for years – but May and June in Monteverde is beautiful too. Leaving my garden as it is just bringing on its hidden delights will be tough – but, once again, I get ahead of myself. Keep with the program K, step by step, breathe.