Category Archives: Uncategorized

New Production of The Abortion Monologues

The fine folks at SHORE (that is Sexual Health Options Resource Education) in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario are producing The Abortion Monologues to raise funds for their good work.

The show will be November 4, 2017 at the Little Theatre in Kitchener-Waterloo. Contact SHORE for tickets or more information and if you are in the area, please support this work.

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Cover Image from Print Copy of The Abortion Monologues by Teresa Posyniak

 

 

Writing Menopause and a Spring launch!

Actual physical copies of Writing Menopause: An Anthology of Fiction, Poetry and Creative Nonfiction arrived at my house the day before last, which was also the day that the cherry blossoms in my part of the world reached their peak. I wandered under the blossoms completely happy, book in hand, glad with the world. A totally satisfying moment. cherry blossoms April 17

It’s spring and puddle-wonderful, to steal a phrase from ee cummings. You might think this book should have come out in the fall. I’m glad it hasn’t. For too long, menopause has been considered an an autumnal moment of the ovaries. Even worse, women have been considered worthless as our reproductive capacity ends. As though that is all we are.

Five years ago or thereabouts when this book began, I was quite certain that by the time it was done, I would be menopausal. I am not. I’ve been menstruating for 43 years. That’s a long time. If I said I’d been married for 43 years, I might get congratulations. If I retired from a job after 43 years, I might get a gold watch or at least, a pat on the back. I expect no kudos for 43 years of menstruating but let’s face it, it hasn’t been a picnic. It’s a lot of work. I’m weary with it and I’m ready to retire.

When menopause finally happens for me, I will relish it. Bring on the cherry blossoms. Bring on the renewal. Bring on whatever it is that’s next. I’m ready. And when it happens, I’ll have this book and the community it has created to guide me through the change. Take a deep breath. Spring is here.  And so is Writing Menopause.

Join us at our launches if you can:

Calgary at Shelf Life Books, 1302 – 4 Street S.W. on May 25 at 7pm.

Featuring Rona Altrows, Jane Cawthorne, Shaun Hunter, JoAnn McCaig, E.D. Morin, Steve Passey, Roberta Rees, Lori D. Roadhouse and Rea Tarvydas.

Edmonton at Audreys Books, 10702 Jasper Avenue on June 9 at 7pm.

Featuring Margaret Macpherson, Lou Morin, Shirley Serviss, Rea Tarvydas, Jane Cawthorne and E.D. Morin.

Inanna Publications’ Spring Launch in Toronto at The Supermarket, Kensington Market, 268 Augusta Avenue, on June 14 at 6:30pm.

Featuring Jane Cawthorne, Merle Amodeo, B.A. Markus, Leanna McLennan, Gemma Meharchand and E.D. Morin.

In conjunction with three other Inanna Publications new releases!

Kingston at A Novel Idea, 156 Princess Street on June 15 at 7pm.

Featuring Louise Carson, Colette Maitland, B.A. Markus, E.D. Morin and Jane Cawthorne.

With all of our launches, we are grateful for the support of Inanna Publications, the Canada Council, the Quebec Writers’ Federation, Shelf Life Books, Audreys Books, The Supermarket and A Novel Idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Not Writing

Warning: I’m crabby. I’m about as crabby as I can be. And I know why. I’m not writing.

A few weeks ago I was in a car accident and I have a concussion. This happened despite the fact I did not actually hit my head. Since then I have been learning all about the world of the concussed. One result is I have limited screen time, like some wayward kid given a time out. Three times now, with the merest glint of improvement, I’ve sprinted out of the gate only to stumble in the first few yards. What is that saying about “fool me once….” Three times is really inexcusable. But I get it now. I’m giving myself a few minutes a day, trying to build up the minutes until I can maybe write a paragraph or a blog post or do a tweet or two. Apparently, this is what I was supposed to do all along instead of jumping into a day’s work and then wondering why I became symptomatic again.

I’ve become a little obsessed with a blog called The Hardest Thing About Being a Writer. I ignored it the first few times I came across it. Oh cry me a river, I thought. Writing is so hard. Boo hoo. Then do something else. Whiners, I thought. Yes, writing is hard. But suddenly this blog speaks to me. Writing is really hard. I don’t give myself enough credit sometimes.

Today’s post is about procrastination. Now, to be clear, what I’m doing isn’t procrastinating. It’s something else. It’s healing I guess, no matter how much it might feel the same as procrastinating. And while healing, I’ve made a little discovery: the hardest thing about writing is not writing. And my twenty minutes are up.

Listening to Trees by A.K. Hellum

It feels right to start a series of blog posts about writing I love with a book about trees. Without trees, we would have no books. And Listening to Trees is a heartfelt homage. It is aware of itself as the product of its very subject and is printed on recycled, ancient forest-friendly paper. The book feels good to hold. It is a little slimmer than most and can be held with one hand as you adjust your light or pull a soft blanket over your lap. The design is gorgeous–a line drawing of the rings of a tree trunk that become the title and the author’s name in a quirky cursive.

listening to trees

A.K. Hellum is a fellow who loves trees even more than I do. I have been known to hug a tree, to put my ear against a tree and try to hear the sap run, to lean against a giant cedar or redwood and think about the centuries it has stood, to lie on the ground and look up at leaves swaying in the wind. According to the back cover, “Listening to Trees tells the story of a man’s lifelong journey to salvage the world’s declining forests. In this enlightening account of Hellum’s’ half-century career as a forester, we become privy to our environment’s fragile state-of-being through stories of forests that have been stripped of their resources and improperly regenerated over the span of lifetimes.” This is a memoir. It is a love story. It is a plea to listen to trees.

In the preface, I knew I had found a kindred spirit when I read, “I feel that I am among friends when I walk in any forest anywhere. That is more than many of us can say walking in cities. The disappearance of our primeval and ‘messy’ forests is to be mourned for they connect us with a sense of reality and help people to be grounded in their lives. To write about forests has been a journey of self-discovery.” He argues that we are losing our relationship with forests.

Years ago, I reconnected with an old friend from high school who had earned several graduate degrees and worked in a lab that genetically engineered trees. I asked, “So they will be uniform and straight for the mills?” He scoffed. There is more to it than that, he said. I’m not so sure. Forests aren’t supposed to be convenient. They are not for us. They are of us and we are of them. But who cares about such distinctions anymore? Hellum does. A forestry instructor I knew years ago used to teach a course called “Forest Management.” She told me she started her class by telling her students that trees don’t need to be managed. They manage themselves quite well. Then she asked what they would like to talk about instead for the rest of the semester. Another kindred spirit. And yes, she was nearing the end of her career and getting a bit snarky, but she made the point, the point that had to be made. Trees know what they are doing. Like her, I like my forests unmanaged, but these kinds of forests are increasingly hard to find. A few years ago, a made my way through the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy in the southern interior of British Columbia, a glorious five-day slog through some of the last remaining pristine wilderness. Now that was a forest.

Open any page at random in this book and you will see a writer with a keen eye and a tremendous ability to get his observations onto the page. Birch and larch “represent light and youth and are, therefore, forever graceful. Aspens are like chameleons, changing from season to season. Using feminine gestures they strut their colours in spring and fall with a hint of vanity and exude perfume in springtime when their buds break open. In the east breeze their leaves tremble nervously, but they can also be opportunists, moving quickly into disturbed habitats when the chance arises.” Lovely. He goes on to write, “Then there are the poplars that remind me of the newly rich–unkempt, large, and fast growing, flaunting their power through pure size, even though their life spans are normally short.” His description of butterflies will leave you breathless.

At the end of the book, Hellum writes “I feel eternally thankful for the gifts that forests have afforded me directly and indirectly. I feel privileged to have been awarded the opportunity to relate to forests. My advice to future foresters is to rekindle that intimate feeling–it can be called love–that is needed for us to care for forests in our trust. We desperately need to be professionals rather than just employees.” Amen.

A.K. Hellum, Listening to Trees, Edmonton: NeWest Press. 2008.