By Tim Kalinowski
Five years ago I had no conception I wanted to be a journalist.
I had travelled the globe, living for longer periods in Japan, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. I had worked in various jobs and positions in the private sector. And I had spent many years in university until finally finishing my Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto.
Writing, however, had always been my passion. Not used in the cause of journalism, but rather in the cause of social and spiritual engagement with the peculiarities and vagaries of this very strange world I was born into.
By birth I am an Albertan. Born in Edmonton when my father worked for what was then called Pacific Western Airlines as a technician. At the time my mother worked as a registered nurse at Misericordia Hospital.
My father began to long for the rolling hills of south-west Saskatchewan, and a return to the farm of his origin 20 km south of Gull Lake. So at two-years-old I came to the farm and spent my early, formative years playing amongst the hay bales and sitting behind my grandpa in his tractor’s cab as he cultivated, seeded, sprayed and harvested the fields.
My family moved into Gull Lake itself when I was eight-years-old so both my parents could work.
Leaving the farm was a devastating departure for me so I had to learn to channel my imagination and creativity, which had been so invested in the earth, into other endeavours. It was the words of one poet which unlocked the door of the written word for me: Dylan Thomas. One stanza in his “Fern Hill,” in particular.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
I was 14-years-old when I first read these lines. I knew then I wanted to be a writer and say the things that were truly in my heart.
So how did I come to journalism? Purely by accident, I assure you. In between my wanderings I returned home to Gull Lake, and to pass the time, began writing a few stories for our local newspaper there, the Gull Lake Advance.
A few months later I was full time with the paper. A year later I was the editor. Three years later our little paper had won two Canadian national Blue Ribbon awards, and I had personally won over a dozen Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper Awards for my stories and photos.
Strange the turns life takes sometimes.
Since then I have had a few stints back and forth with the Medicine Hat News before recently landing with the Cypress Courier. I look forward to getting to know all our readers much better in the months ahead.
And remember, if you can’t find me in my office I am probably out fly-fishing.