I started working on this book in 2003, and the concept has evolved a great deal since then. I now have most of the content needed for completion. (A few people asked me why this was taking me too long… well, this has been entirely self-funded, and book projects often simmer on the shelf for some time, hopefully improving with age! I don’t regret doing this carefully, or I might have published a half-baked idea.)
I’ve made several trips back to the prairies, and explored the backroads to photograph abandoned homesteads, barns, and other artifacts left behind from a time when the rural population was higher. More recently, I also interviewed over 70 people in the rural prairies, generally asking them the question, “what can you tell me about rural life several decades ago, and about how things have changed?”
The story of what the homesteaders went through in the early decades of the last century is remarkable, and the rapid change over the past few decades also is. I will be publishing a high-quality colour hardcover coffee-table book, which tells this story in photographs and in the words of the people I interviewed.
This project was entirely self-funded. Though I inquired about funding from Canada Council for the Arts, I was told they only fund authors who have already successfully published. I don’t understand the beneficial purpose of such a mandate, because it’s the first book that’s the most difficult to find a budget for.
To any of you who might know any organizations, businesses, or individuals who would be interested and able to help fund this project, I would be greatly appreciative if you would put them in contact with me.
I hope you might pass this on to anyone you know, or share it over social media… there is much more to come.