New Column: Beating the Odds, Spreads Crossing Guide’s Editorial Direction

Editorial - Phil Saunders: Editor & Publisher

I first met Andrew Glen when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I was best buddies with his younger brother Ed. We went to school together.

I recall Andrew rolling out of a smoke-filled van, as I was awaiting a ride from my mom. I know now he was drunk or high, or some combination of both.

Editor and Publisher Phil Saunders

So, when I saw his name and face pop up on my Facebook feed, I wondered if that is the same Andrew Glen I knew growing up as young London, Ontario boy. The face didn’t look familiar, but I checked out his profile and thought, “what the hell.”

Then he changed his picture to a more familiar one. You see, he’d used the cover of his book, Beating the Odds: Chronicles of a Survivor’s Battle with Cancer, Inadequate Healthcare and Social Injustice, so I didn’t recognize him. He was undergoing chemotherapy at the time the photo was taken.

Fast forward, he reaches out to me after we had purchased each other’s books. He wondered if I might be interested in publishing his writing in The Crossing Guide.

I was not only interested, but I had been trying to expand the editorial mission of the Crossing Guide to include content other than tourism related writing and storytelling.

This is my chance to do that. Here’s my idea: The Crossing Guide was originally conceived as a publication aimed at people crossing the Canada-US border. More specifically people travelling from Canada to the United States, and serving that audience with far flung places in the region that don’t always appear in the tour guides.

When I took it over a year ago, I wondered what I could do to drive a new editorial direction. I tried to maintain the original mandate, as you can see, but I was eager to strike off in a new direction as well.

The idea of Crossing is a primordial human activity. We crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to settle in North and South America. We crossed from East to West to settle California and British Columbia. Today we cross from one paradigm to another to gain new wisdom and knowledge.

Thus, I am introducing Andrew’s column as a new contribution to the concept of crossing. A cancer survivor who has lost family members to the disease, Andrew’s story is unique, but not uncommon. With Mother’s Day upon us, Andrew has contributed a column on the story of his sister Christine (whom I also knew growing up, even had a puppy crush on her) and his mother Nan, who was a kind of second mom to me since Ed and I were close friends in elementary school where we both performed in musical theater and choirs. We lost Christine and Nan to Cancer.

Stay tuned for more columns like this. I’m currently in touch with a former student who lost her life partner in her thirties and made a deliberate decision to carve a new path in life, one that has taken her around the world. We hope you’ll keep in touch. As always, the Crossing Guide appreciates you stopping by and letting us know what you think and, of course, sharing our content with your online network.

Read Andrew’s Column…

About Phil Saunders (17 Articles)
I have been a professional writer since 1988 when I began my career as a music journalist. In 1998 I began working at CBC, after returning to work with a Master's in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. In 2000 I co-produced a feature film that was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival among other North American film festivals. In 2016 I published a book on the Toronto underground music scene called No Flash Please: Underground Music in Toronto 1987-1992. I am also a photographer and documentary filmmaker.

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