Last fall I joined a reading group that is studying books that contribute to the reconciliation and healing process that has begun in Canada over the past few years. In truth, this process has always been part of the Canadian mosaic, but it has taken the majority of the population a very long time to acknowledge both the necessity and the reality. Our first book was The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King who gave us a history from an indigenous point of view. King's anger used with humour helped us to get an overview of how we as a country got to where we are now as a racist nation.
Our second books was Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga. Talaga relays the stories of seven indigenous young adults who died suspicious deaths in the Thunderbay, Ontario, area where a large school for northern Indigenous students is located. Students attend from a wide array of communities in which no education past eighth grade exist. They board with local families in Thunderbay and experience different levels of care and support. Common to all students is isolation from their families and traditional ways of life. For most, going to high school is their first time in an urban area with all the risks urban life can present.
Talaga painstakingly outlines the life situation of each individual student and makes us keenly aware that the loss of young people is much lower because of intensive care and oversight given by the indigenous school faculty and staff. Nevertheless, even the loss of one student much less seven is too much. She lays a case suggesting that racial hate has motivated these deaths, citing a few cases where students have survived and lived to tell the tale.
Seven Fallen Feathers is a must-read for every Canadian seeking to go deeper in their understanding of the shameful racism that belongs to Canadian society. We must read and digest in order to reverse the hatred that lies often under the surface of our society and sometimes erupts into the public eye.
An acclaimed journalist, Talaga was part of a tem that won an award for Gone, a series of stories on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She delivered the 2018 Mawssey Lectures, All Our Relations. She is of Polish and Indigenous descent.
For a number of reasons I am creating a new website. Welcome. Feel free to explore and learn who I am as an author and what my writing is about.
March 4, 2019
Much of writing is not writing, at least not creative writing. I have spent much of the past weeks researching and composing replies to a very long questionnaire requested by a potential publisher. This activity is not a loss, however, as much as an opportunity to clarify how I understand my novel and how it needs to be published and marketed. I have been increasing and pulling together my network of support that is so essential in presenting my book as a credible and desirable work of art.
Meanwhile, I have to keep up with the work I do in my Canadian Authors Association Writers Circle. Ten pages every two weeks should not be difficult, but my brother and sister writers can be demanding and I find myself not wanting to let them -- or myself -- down! So I go over and over my writing trying to make it as perfect as possible. Once I have written the submission, I try to anticipate what each of the other writers will have to say about this effort and take their concerns into account. Each of us has strengths that we try to impart to the others. Despite my best efforts, they still have lots of suggestions! And I have comments for their submissions too. So reading other submissions is part of the process. I enjoy keeping up with their stories as well as my own.
Then, just to complicate my time management, I am working with an editor to re-tool my second novel, Getting a Life. I love this story and want to give it my best effort.
Then I have executive meetings of the CAA to attend, and the monthly evening program we sponsor. Of course, there are other activities, such as phoning to welcome new members to our branch. Additionally, this year the national writing conference called CANWRITE2019 will take place in Vancouver, so we have lots of extra work to do to make it happen. I know it's going to be a great conference and am looking forward to it.
Oh, and then I have the rest of my life which I'll tell you about another time, or from time to time as events take place.
And next week is the ROOM Feminist Writers conference. I'm signed up for a number of workshops and eager to discover new and exciting ways to write and think about writing, not to mention meeting other writers who have interests similar to mine.
I do eat and sleep. Thank goodness my spouse Ed cooks creatively with a lot of talent for making things taste wonderful!
Author: Seasons of the Feminine Divine: Christian Feminist Prayers for the Liturgical Cycle (3 volumes)
I have also published short stories and a few poems, winning awards for several of the stories.
I am a Professional Member of the Canadian Authors Association and current President of the Metro-Vancouver branch (including Victoria).