Monday, June 3, 2013

Todd Babiak Profile: U of A Alumni Newsletter E-trail

This profile "The Making of a Storyteller" was based on a conversation over a fantastic lunch at Highlevel Diner with writer and Story Engine founder, Todd Babiak.  I'd read his book, The Garneau Block, when it was first published in serialized form in The Edmonton Journal. In preparation for our interview, I read it all in one shot over the weekend.

There were so many things that resonated in that book (printed a decade ago), with the life and times of Edmonton today. Story Engine is facilitating a unique 'branding' process for the city, and Todd is right in the middle of helping form the narrative that he hopes Edmontonians will tell and re-tell to their visiting relatives and on their travels in far away nations.  Coincidentally, it is a narrative that  regularly pops up in The Garneau Block: Edmonton is a good place to make things. And, Edmontonians are exceptional "makers". While our conversation wandered like a jack rabbit trail in Kinnard Ravine, we kept coming back to this idea about what makes us who we are: as writers, as parents, as neighbours and as Edmontonians.

As I walked to my van through the muck of the spring slush (of course, I decided to wear my lovely yet impossibly slippery Fluvog heels) I fiddled with the recording app on my phone. Todd's interview  was there. It registered 0:00 minutes of recording. "F^#*ing f#&$..."

Thankfully, Todd is a compelling storyteller and our talk stayed with me long enough to write this piece.

(PS. I was a little disappointed he did not wear the purple suit to our lunch.)

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