Crafting {:} a Life

This site is now an archive of the unconference-that-was; thank you to everyone who participated. Now, go off and allow a thousand unconference flowers bloom! I’ve collected blog posts written by participants in the event here.

Hi there, I’m Peter Rukavina, and this is a website about my unconference, June 7 and 8, 2019 in Charlottetown.

2019 is a momentous year in our family.

My blog and our company both turn 20 years old this year.

My son Oliver is finishing high school in June, and is busy preparing for what comes next for him, while at the same time discovering what it means to be an autistic young adult. His own blog turned 10 years old a few weeks ago.

Catherine, my partner of 28 years, is coming up on 5 years since she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, and while this has affected her life, and ours, immeasurably, she continues to confront the world through her art.

All this against the background of entering our second quarter century living on Prince Edward Island.

Put all this together and you get a mixture of excitement, fear, anticipation, anxiety, promise, hope, joy, and what a friend called “deep worry.”

Faced with this I felt this winter at a fork in the road: I could go to ground, withdraw, and plow onward alone, or I could open my arms, seek fellow travelers, and, as a friend of mine also living with incurable cancer was advised by his oncologist, continue to “live life.”

At my annual physical with my family doctor a few weeks ago, the energetic young medical student who was quizzing me on my physical and mental health asked me to describe what kind of “support network” I had.

My first reaction was to suggest that, lacking close friends and family nearby, I didn’t really have one.

But then I reconsidered, and realized that although I might lack a Carl-Reiner-to-my-Mel-Brooks, I have a strong and supportive network of friends and familiars both near and far.

Perhaps, I thought, I should seek, at this fork in the road, to draw them close, to allow us all to stop, take a breath, and consider how we are living.

You might call it an exploration of what it means to craft a life.

Or perhaps what a life of crafting things, and writing about crafting things, leads to.

Or, as Oliver suggested when we discussed this, what it’s like to actually craft a life, from scratch, when you have a child.

And so, Crafting {:} a Life.

A triple entendre.

Held in the spirit of the “birthday unconferences” that our friends Elmine and Ton have organized and written a book about.

As they wrote in the introduction to that book:

We, Elmine and Ton, know a lot of really great people. Friends, family, clients, and peers from around the internet. A lot of them fall into more than one category. They form our personal global village. While all of them know us, they often do not know each other. So every now and then we throw a party to get them in the same place. Not just a party, but a combination of a conference with a barbecue party. One day of intensive interaction, followed by a party on the next day. It’s exciting to bring all those different people together, and see how well they get along.

And so, this June 7 and 8, 2019, here in Charlottetown, that is what we shall do.