Winter 2016: Issue Seven


Why Tell Stories?

Why make pictures? Why chisel form from stone? Why assemble words into lines and verse? In one sense all art is storytelling. But why do we tell such stories, especially when we’re busy, broke, stuck, tired or criticized? I’d never asked myself the question.

Two Poems

She moves through time and place without hint of physical effort./ Her neck is sensuous in its turning./ Rises on the surface, wings beating silently, near meeting in prayer./ Calls to her children lost over centuries. / She dives. Her wail reaches down.

Things I Shouldn’t Say

“Your mom was pretty upset about what you wrote,” he says. “Oh,” I say. In The Argonauts, her memoir about motherhood and identity, Maggie Nelson muses, “Most of my writing usually feels to me like a bad idea.” I haven’t yet learned that feeling. I am seven. I didn’t write it to hurt her.

Tonic

Whatever those tonics were, they couldn’t have been all that frequent or vile-tasting; my father still talks about the horrible taste of the cod-liver oil they were forced to swallow every morning at school. Bad tastes stick in the memory as well as in the throat.

Aquarium

A week or two every August for nine years / we lived our heart’s desire, surrounded by water / and birdsong and starlight; / pulled on bathing suits each morning / and stripped them off reluctantly at night / when we emptied the clumsy aquarium

Centre Stage

I stood in the wings with my unneeded prompt book, shocked by the realization that something I had written was being enjoyed by a hall full of people. As the final curtain fell, my mother strode to centre stage to claim her directorial applause.

Sunday Night Bingo

Your first born sleeps eternal— / A whisper in the ear / A bundle swaddled / at the bottom of the breath. / I, alone, am the promise; / The fountain of youth, the only ovaries left. / All the eggs in one / basket-case who tosses back Fireball / in the bathroom stall /

Aftershock

“So what did you and Mattie do today?” Ryan pours Pinot Grigio into Claire’s glass. “I’ve been thinking about the earthquake. We aren’t really ready if there’s an emergency. We should have a kit.” He rallies to the change of subject. “We probably have the stuff we need.”

Nana

She sat in an armchair in the corner of the apartment that she shared with my grandfather, her cigarettes on a small, round table beside her with a lighter—those were the days of lighters—and an ashtray with a beanbag bottom. And a glass of Tang lemonade (yes, Tang made lemonade too). And the TV guide.

Stacked Up Together

Some months before, the three of us had been abandoned by the boys’ father. I was now farmer, farmer’s wife, mother and father on a farm that demanded the efforts of two grown adults…. Dave was eight and Pete only six; I could not let them suffer the scars of divorce.

Jennifer Raven: Cancer Girl

Jennifer Raven is a photographer, writer, teacher, single mother of twins, and cancer survivor. Adventures of Cancer Girl, illustrated by Denise Gow-Morse, portrays the daily life of single mother with cancer. As Jennifer writes: single mother + cancer = superhero.

Authors’ Advice to Writers

We invited eight Canadian women who are both authors and mothers to share their experiences and writing advice. They spoke about how to find time, carve out a routine, weave writing into the chaos of life, avoid or embrace intrusion, and trust in yourself.

What to Read Next

Three new books: In Rose’s Run, Rose Okanese is a mother of two young girls on a fictional reserve in Saskatchewan. Fling! explores motherhood and perhaps the secret to happiness itself. Shallow, Selfish and Self-Absorbed presents sixteen reasons to choose child-free.

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