last week, i quit – then someone said 3 little words

This weekend I quit my own freelance writing gig. Like everyone else who gets frustrated with their job, I didn’t mean it – and honestly, I don’t really think I can quit from myself. Tired of the daily grind and feeling like I was undervalued, I did what any good employee would do: I went to Twitter and typed Today, I kind of give up.

Aside from photos of a deconstructed brunch at hipster joints and blurry pics of the previous night’s wine tasting that may or may not have gotten out of hand, there’s not much social media action on a Saturday morning. I figured my little tweet would go out on a puff of wind and drift away.

Then someone sent this:

We haven’t met but I love your work. Can I help?

After toiling in what often seems to be relative obscurity, I felt an immediate lift upon learning that someone a) knows I do this writing thing, b) has allegedly read some of my work, and c) seems to like what they’ve read. But what really meant the world was the Can I help? part. Those three little words punch well above their weight.

We bolster ourselves and each other because we need the mutual support to keep going. Numerous times I’ve reminded friends that they’re brilliant, talented, good enough, <insert daily affirmation here>.

Yes, you can help. Thank you. On Sunday I broke through writer’s block and wrote 2,700 words in 11 hours. I met deadline and made a client happy.

It’s amazing how easy it is to get help once I’ve made myself vulnerable enough to admit that I need it. It’s something we should do more often – on both sides.

Thanks, Leslie. You rock. And I didn’t quit – yet. But I’ll tell you when I’m ready to again.

~ Jeannette

Tinhorn tree in bloom 03

lessons in masonry: Dubh Glas Distillery

That’s right: I visited a distillery and learned something about masonry.

Making a living as a writer isn’t a good fit for those who crave the stability of a regular paycheque or certainty of retirement. However, it has some gloriously awesome days – like today, when I visited soon-to-open Dubh Glas Distillery on assignment for EAT Magazine (article coming soon). While I did taste two excellent examples of whisky (nothing yet available from Dubh Glas), I was surprised to find myself happily slathering mortar on a rock.

Grant Stevely is the force behind Dubh Glas, whose sign I’ve read countless times in anticipation of a distillery opening within a seven minute drive of my house. Living in BC wine country is pretty fabulous, but diversity of beverages is alluring.

Stevely – as he’s known – spent time learning about construction after leaving his former ski resort life and prior to jumping into the distillery world. He also learned a bit about masonry so he’s putting his skills to work on his own building. I’m not the first visitor to affix a rock to the wall and I’m sure I won’t be the last.

Thanks for the lesson, Stevely. I look forward to sipping some cask strength whisky with you soon.


Wet the rock and the place it’s to be affixed. Have freshly mixed mortar at the ready.


Spread the mortar on the back of the rock, ensuring no air bubbles. Taper-smooth the edges.


Give your camera to someone for a rare photograph-the-writer-with-mortar moment.


Firmly (but gently) squish the rock onto the wall, so mortar oozes out the sides. When your rock slides, wedge a small chip under it. Voila! You’re done.

the book project

I’m writing a book.

It takes a lot for me to say/type those words, especially in a place with such permanency as the Interwebs where many dreams/goals/intentions go to gently fade away. The number of blogs started and abandoned here is amazing – kind of like what I imagine the messy archive of email addresses to be.

Truth: what I’m embarking on is more of a project that might end up something like a book. To hold myself to account so I finish the damn thing, I’ll be writing about the progress as I go; not on a new blog platform that can be more easily dismissed, but here – in a place that holds value to me.

The idea for this project came from a day I spent on the farm at Covert’s and has grown with each encounter thereafter. It’s been fed by this crazy underground crew of cool folks creating their own community food systems, and it continues to be fuelled by word-of-mouth introductions. How can I not meet Brent the Oyster Man?

This weekend I completed the first of what will be dozens of interviews – sometimes I’ll interview a subject more than once to get the full story. Hopefully that will be the case with many of these people because they’re totally rad.

The first rad people I spent time with were chef Chris Van Hooydonk and his wife Mikkel. Chef Chris will launch Artisan Culinary Concepts in June – a professional kitchen offering consulting/mentoring, education/classes, private chef services, catering, and unique dining experiences for smaller groups.

I met Chef Chris fairly recently, and we’ve chatted briefly at a few different events. We discovered a shared interest in several things, including how our communities can support themselves without being engulfed in the larger food systems. One thing led to another, and then he invited me to his kitchen. Rule #1: always say yes when that happens.

Artisan Culinary Concepts
awesome pastry goodness made by Chef Chris and Mikkel

Chef Chris and Mikkel are the kind of people you want as friends and neighbours – kind, mindful, and who keep an eye on the horizon with every decision they make. I look forward to visiting them again as the kitchen nears completion and their story unfolds. Plus, they made a fresh apple turnover for my visit. They win.

This is just a glimpse at the type of stories I’ll collect this year. It’s somewhat unsettling to not have a larger plan in mind, but I’m okay with that. Besides – I know some great people will feed me along the way.

~ Jeannette