Saturday, December 01, 2012
"Eating Our Young" is a sad and grim allegory about the way families can unthinkingly consume their members, not out of hatred so much as out of an angry reflexiveness that, once settled into, seldom allows for compassion or heartfelt connection with those around us. It's told from the perspective of the youngest members of one particular family, Kenda and her brother Kenny.
I'll keep you posted as details arrive--publication date and all that jazz. Meanwhile, here is an excerpt from the story:
Kenda tripped on tangling sheets as she leapt to the door. All seven kids would stampede to the washroom but she was closest and with luck might not have to wait.
Too late. Enid was mean again and wakened James before the rest. He was the biggest boy and Enid’s favourite and slower in the bathroom than anyone. Kenda faltered at the closing door. “Can I come in, Jamie?”
“Wait your turn, Turd-Drop.”
She sighed and looked at the bristling line of bigger kids squeezing toward her, and remembered Kenny last night. It was not going to happen to her today. She ran back to her room and began to change clothes, then climbed out the window, down the rose trellis, to the dirt. No one guessed her use of the garden. Here behind the rose she yanked her shorts down, piddled, and covered the pee before climbing the trellis again. At the window she listened, peeking cautiously over the sill.
The door had drifted open. Children cried and shouted, doors slammed, water ran. Enid yelled orders. Kenda wanted to climb back in and burrow in the blank oasis of the laundry-room where she and Kenny slept. (Her idea. They’d been sneaking in to sleep together on piles of laundry for so long nobody thought about it anymore.)
No one was in the room.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Not a lot to report. Cancer apparently gone, site slowly healing, and I am back into life full tilt. Perhaps a little too fully tilted. But so much attracts me! There's a three day retreat this week with monks and nuns from Plum Village. It is focussed on healing, which seems not a bad topic for me. I look forward to it. I am also busy critiquing a pile of stories for VCon, preparing for our play, taking classes at Inspire Health, etc...
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Started just before last week's surgery:
So with all this cancer stuff going on writing and critiquing activities went on the back burner. But the flame simmered still, and now, three weeks after my resurrection, I have been attending a variety of writing groups, writing and brushing up on poems, and doing marathon critiques of other people's writing to catch up on what I've missed.
I've also signed up for a novel revision class (Reverse Outlining by Lois Peterson at Port Moody Library, 23 June), to see if I get inspired to resurrect my shelved tome.
Cool conjunction of worlds: I've started at the Callanish Writes, a writing group for people who have been through the Callanish Society cancer retreats. It is wonderful. We gather for three hours, do a brief meditation and read two or three prompts (also known as poems and quotes) and then write together (each our own thing) for a period of time.
This time we wrote for ten or fifteen minutes, then had the opportunity to read aloud (twice) what we had written. You have the choice of whether to hear responses and the responses are from the heart, not the head. It isn't a critiquing group, but a place to find expression and to connect with others around our experience. Obviously there were tears but there was much laughter as well and I loved it. Also the lunch. Callanish does good lunch. There will be, I think, a book at the end of this--at least in previous years Callanish has published a collection of some of the pieces written by the group. So let me know if you are interested.
Looking forward, VCon 37 (28-30 September – Sheraton Vancouver Guildford) will have a Pallahaxi Players Readers Theatre despite my own difficulty in writing a play this year. In my stead the lovely and talented Matthew Hughes is writing a play based on one of his current works of speculative fiction. (To Be Revealed.)
And after the surgery...
Not a whole lot more to add to that, naturally. My stomach is settling after the third and (please!) final surgery and here's hoping the site heals well and quickly so I can get back to that wildly active and deeply rewarding life. Oh, wait. It's still deeply rewarding. And hey, I kind of like it not being wildly active. Hmmmm...
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The last few months have seen an almost complete dropoff in my literary activity. I was about a quarter of the way through the second draft of a book of poetry when I received a diagnosis of cancer. This flung me into an extraordinary period of activity and learning, and the sudden need to be very gentle to myself. At first I responded by writing poetry about the new situation, but that soon ebbed. There were other things I needed to do and experience more than I needed to write.
On Thursday I'll have my second and hopefully final surgery. No need, apparently, for chemo or radiation.
I am extremely lucky to live where I do. Despite the many faults of our medical system, in Vancouver I have access to excellent cancer specialists, among the best in North America, paid for by medicare. I would never be able to afford this care without it. There is an integrative cancer health clinic -- Inspire Health -- that provides enormous amounts of information and support. And the Callanish Society leads retreats for cancer patients four times a year. I attended one last month and was touched very deeply by the wisdom and care of the women who led it and by those who attended. The effects are enduring and I am in a far better position now to face both the cancer and the surgery than I was in mid-December when I found out. My friends and family, yoga and Buddhist communities, have been wonderfully supportive and kind.
As Nancy Hopps says at the end of her various guided visualizations (for cancer, surgery, etc) -- "For this, and so much more, I am grateful."