When the invitation came via Facebook to attend “Honour the Apology,” a national day of prayer in response to news of nutritional experiments on aboriginal children through the Canadian residential school system — I responded with “Maybe.” I had time to go, but I’d “heard about” more than taken the time to “know about” this news. I have to admit I’m the type of person who likes to know what she’s getting into before she participates in causes! I remember feeling a similar large ignorance and uncertainty when I got involved in an evening of prayer and lament for sexually abused women in the Mennonite colonies of Bolivia several years ago. Continue reading
Franciscan writer Richard Rohr says, in Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, that for years he’s prayed for “one good humiliation a day.” He continues, “[A]nd then I must watch my reaction to it.” Rohr isn’t speaking of some masochistic desire for insult or injury, no 50 shades of gray implications here, but rather of a necessary exercise in the practice of an authentic life. The context is being real about oneself instead of trapped in the delusions of “any idealized role or self-image.” The word “humiliation” is built from the word “humble” whose root meaning is close to the ground, of the humus or earth. Human, that is. True to what one is. Continue reading
Crazy busy month so far, this June, but wonderful too, the green and colors of spring fully arrived to our city at last. I never tire of our simple backyard and especially the way one of the branches from our elm tree stretches over our lot and blesses it with its draping foliage. Continue reading
I’m settling back home to a beautifully green city after the FictionKNITstas tour which took me to reading events in Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto last week. Fictionistas is an initiative by regional presses that annually celebrates new women’s writing in Canada. The KNIT was put into Fictionistas this year because each of us were paired with a knitter who read our book and knitted something in response to it. Continue reading
May is short story month. I have no idea who decides matters like this, but why not? Short stories, please take a bow, and let me say a few things in your favor. – One often hears that people prefer reading novels, that short story collections don’t sell, that publishers therefore hesitate to take the risk. All this may be true. In a novel, we enter for the long, deep involvement and we feel the reward of hours invested. Each story in a collection, on the other hand, takes new effort to discover what’s going on and who’s in it. Perhaps it feels like a fragment rather than a whole, perhaps it feels unresolved. Still, a good short story can carry weight out of proportion to its size. Continue reading
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who returned to Earth yesterday after five months in the International Space Station, is a great communicator and entertainer who has almost singlehandedly, it is said, stirred up people’s interest in space exploration again. He tweeted and sang from space and made videos about living at the station that have garnered some 22 million views.
But here’s what strikes me as I look at Hadfield’s amazing photographs and their accompanying twitter-length commentary: the man is a poet. Continue reading
I’ve not kept up with writing about what I’m reading, but today, just to stir that pot a little, three book notes, on three books about pilgrimage.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Random House, 2012). Harold Fry is recently retired. He spends his days doing little besides trimming the grass and sitting about, irritating his wife Maureen, who is easily irritated. A letter arrives from a long-ago co-worker, Queenie Hennessy, dying of cancer and writing to say goodbye. Harold pens a short reply, struggling as he always has, to express his feelings. He walks to the mailbox to post it, and decides to walk to the next box instead. Then he decides to go a little further. And to keep going. Eighty-seven days and 627 miles later, he reaches the hospice with the letter. Continue reading