Being a Canadian woman writer of European descent, I came into Fauzia Rafique’s The Adventures of SahebaN without background knowledge of the role (Mirza) Sahiba plays in much of traditional Punjabi culture. The beauty of Rafique’s text however, is how my lack does not impact my understanding of how the narrative turns a cultural model for perfection (Sahiba) on her head to showcase the flaws of that very perfection, and (in particular) to show that a woman can be honourable, and pure, and loyal, without bowing to the restrictive ideas and expectations that society and religion place upon her.
As Canadians, we are well-used to recognizing “Reconciliation” as a kind of buzzword for the rights of Indigenous and First Nations peoples. I for one have heard the term used in discourses ranging from the political to the geographical, and yet, (I am humbled to admit) I barely have a grasp on what that means for someone like me: a white female living within 23 years of Canada’s last residential school closure.
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Original Article Authored by Jessica Barratt.
We’d gotten a vehicle to Mars for Christ’s sake, and this is what they choose to celebrate? Curiosity, out there all on his—its—own, humming to the frequency of “Happy Birthday”? Mics up to max, an ear-numbing static filling our large control room, some of the more senior staff sing loudly over the noise while eating crumbly cupcakes over their consoles. Normally I might put a stop to it, but they’d been working so hard.
“Of our experience, we already know everything we know. It’s listening to what someone else knows that’s important.”
–Overheard in Edmonton
It was a phrase that caught me off guard, hanging in the air long after I’d mentally said goodbye to my fellow LRT-goer, who I would never meet. Simple, unassuming, and effective: The more you listen, the more you learn.
For the last six years, I’ve been a freelancer. Even when I was still at school, even when I worked full time as a server, an administrator, an intern, I managed a whole other venture on the side, building it step-by-step. Just six months ago, I decided to take the full brunt of it–I risked my livelihood in trusting my trade to vest the rewards for which my heart yearned: not just money, but freedom. And, I wanted to create a life that was only writing.
“What?” you may be asking. “Writers don’t make money doing what they love.”
Well, believe what you want, but right now I want to tell you how I am challenging those odds and making money writing for others, writing for myself, and writing exactly what I want to be writing–no regrets.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I mean, I never got hooked.
Could’ve happened of course, that’s always a danger when you’re a Trader. Got a whole supply at my fingertips, could tap in anytime I want–be like those kingpins over there, rattling their yellow teeth my way, hopped up on the stuff, eyes crazy. But that’s not my style. A Trader’s gotta be fair, has to be clean. If he ain’t he’ll just be pushing for his own benefit. That’s not what it’s about, you know? It’s about helping people.
I’ve been doing this a long time, know all the tricks. That’s why I can call this side of town my own; everyone comes to me. They know I’ll be good to them, that I won’t cheat. I’m running a good thing, here. Got drop points all over the place, a few Runners and a couple of Recruiters. Good ones too. But they all know I’ve only got one rule: don’t get hooked and I’ll keep paying. Get hooked, and I’ll make sure you pay double-double.