Editor’s Note

Exploring our world
through strong storytelling

By Jim Poling, editor-in-chief

Writers have the most interesting jobs. Good writers are excellent reporters and explore seemingly innocuous details to illuminate something larger about a person’s life. They are curious and have the capacity and liberty to enter a person’s life and have deep conversations about feelings that wouldn’t otherwise be shared.
It can be soul-baring for both writer and interviewee. Good writing should expose delicacies and intimacies that readers wouldn’t otherwise access.
This issue of Grand, the first of 2019, is marked by writing that makes us feel and think.
The feature stories in this issue are about people who are leaders, small ‘l’ in their field and communities. They are people who were torn by inner conflict and felt they didn’t fit in. Or they are people who had long plans to travel one road, but journeyed down another to find it forever changed their life and the lives of those around them. They battled and found ways to give back.
We bring you these stories because they are authentic people who are examples to be followed in our community. Our writers spent hours in conversation, interviewing and probing and sussing out details and life lessons.
Cecile Monique is a gothic-rock-symphonic-heavy metal singer who describes herself as a rebel. Among her sources of inspiration is her Catholic upbringing.
“When you feel you are the most authentic version of yourself, then it kind of commands respect and people will get it or not. There’s something empowering in that,” she says.
Drummer Adam Bowman describes how he is able to relate to at-risk youth struggling to find their identity because without music he would have been one of them. Growing up in Elmira, he didn’t feel like he fit in. “I was a musician growing up in a hockey town.”
There’s more: Kitchener visual artist Meghan Sims discusses her own challenges and how she used to hide from her true self. We are who we are and have to stop thinking about limitations that seemingly define us.
Solid writing is contemporary and helps explain the world around us.
Al Wigood’s 30 years of volunteering is a fascinating story of making a difference – here and in Central America, where he feels equally at home. His story also gives us insight into the current migration out of Central America. He leads volunteer missions in an area where many people have left in order to seek refuge in North America.
All combined, this issue ties together powerful themes about personal challenges, achievement and giving back. It’s who we are and what the people in this Grand community do best.