Trevor Greyeyes at a previous reading. (Maeengan Linklater)
It will be odd reading for the very first time without the women from the Aboriginal Writers Collective. I will endeavour however to do my best Long John Silver impression writing metaphorically, of course.
I have been a member of this little ragtag group since the late 90's. In fact, someone in the group recently posted a Facebook pic of the group back in the day. It seemed all so St. Elmo's Fire that I actually laughed.
Of course, the two big names in the group when it was restarted in 1999 were Jordan Wheeler and Duncan Mercredi.
When we started, there really wasn't that much in the way of contemporary Aboriginal writing. I was an upstart Aboriginal columnist at Uptown Magazine, the Winnipeg Sun hired Rosanna Deerchild as a columnist while the Winnipeg Free Press added Wheeler as a columnist.
The great thing about the group is that you have people getting together on a regular basis to share work and push each other to produce more. There are members who have generated enough material to put together whole manuscripts and seek out publishers.
It was great to see Deerchild publish a book of poetry a couple years ago just like I am proud to announce that Katherena Vermette will be publishing her own book of poetry soon. Kate, or the babe as some call her because of her relative youth compared to others in the group, has become the principal agitator these days.
And it's good to hear that Maeengan Linklater is working with an established writer because he really hasn't published anything professionally yet.
Oh, at various times there were those individuals, myself included, who went off to work on projects or just take a break from the group.
Everyone who has left, however, has come back to the group. We have our disagreements and everyone has their own reasons for coming back. For me, I love that we are like a little dysfunctional family but it's a talented group.
I can honestly say, that with this group, we've never had a bad reading.
Trevor Greyeyes (self-portrait)