A piece of mine about writing appeared in longer form at the Winnipeg Review.
“I came to that realization, first, through my studies of birds and my work with students — teaching them bird sounds. As part of that, we tried to open our ears to the whole acoustic environment, and after several years of doing that, it became very clear to me that trees around me had their own distinct voices and all sorts of stories were tied up in those voices.” -David George Haskell
Just in time for spring comes the Field Guide to Dumb Birds. I am bird besotted, but who hasn’t thought “golden crowned dumb shit” to themselves once in a while? I went on the famous Central Park birding walk once, and somehow didn’t fall over a boulder while trying to spy a flash of red in a tree at 800 metres.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. I swear it’s true.
Really, this is all you need to know to get started and keep going, by Shawna Kenney, from Brevity:
I’m thrilled to say that I join 27 talented writers on the CBC Short Story Prize longlist! Woo hoo! Special kudos to Alix Hawley who has two longlisted entries this year! Congrats, everyone, and thanks to the judges.
Smiley, my 2014 winning story
Interview with CBC about Smiley
I edit for many gendered mothers, a project on literary influence featuring short essays by writers (of any/all genders) on the women, femme, trans, and non-binary writers who have influenced them, as a direct or indirect literary forebear.
This project is directly inspired by the American website Literary Mothers, created by editor Nadxieli Nieto and managing editor Nina Puro. While we hope that Literary Mothers might eventually return to posting new pieces, our site was created as an extension and furthering of their project (in homage, if you will), and not meant as any kind of replacement.
Even though we’re new, a lot of terrific pieces have already appeared. Catch up with the essays we’ve published so far:
Here, then, from 2011, Jeanette Winterson peeking in at the cows between Gertrude and Alice. How, precisely, did Gertrude bring Alice to her bovine pleasures? Did Gertrude, too, have cows, whether self-administered or Alice-administered? From what acts did cows materialize? How often did they find each other? Did sex wane over the years as Gertrude took lovers?
I traveled to Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris and after I had run my palm over the red kisses on Oscar Wilde’s grave I strolled around the corner to Gertrude’s grave, which seemed immense. I thought about fat corpses needing fat coffins needing wide graves, and I thought about how small the eventual skeleton would be underneath. I thought that when Alice, years later, was interred and recognized on the back of Gertrude’s gravestone, she could easily have fit, by then, into Gertrude’s box, with Gertrude, there to produce bubbles of heavenly cows for the rest of eternity.
This stunning piece of filmmaking brought me to tears. I hope you’ll watch this and be as moved as I was. Answering these questions is one of our most sacred trusts.
“What is kind?”
“Can girls be robots?”
“How do you make water?”
“Why do boys cut their hair?”
I used to skate when I was a kid, and over the winter, I wrote a piece about skating and resistance, which Gayle Brandeis has been kind enough to publish at the new Lady Liberty Lit. Thanks, Gayle!
P.S. Gayle’s first novel ‘The Book of Dead Birds’ thrilled me. If you too are pelican-crazy, and want to understand more about the mother/child bond, and just admire great stylists, you should read it.
Gillian Jerome is a poet and essayist from Vancouver, British Columbia and a contributing editor at GEIST. Her work has appeared in GEIST, New Poetry, Colorado Review, Malahat Review, Canadian Literature and elsewhere.
“I write to define myself—an act of self creation—part of the process of becoming.”
“This workshop is designed for people who aren’t professional writers, but who have something meaningful to say about their lives. We will learn how to discover our stories and to focus our material using techniques of creative nonfiction and Life Review, an educational process that enhances our understanding of ourselves and our lives through storytelling. By reading, writing and participating in interactive exercises, we will be guided toward finding new ways to write about our lives, for ourselves and/or for others.”
If George Saunders is a word, I am a letter. Here, he waxes enthused about Lincoln in the Bardo, his new and first novel.
Emily Temple has gathered LitHub’s 10 Great Essays That Should be Made into Films
I look forward to making my way through these essays, some of which are familiar already, and some of which I’ve read recently, including Carmen Maria Machado’s fine ‘A Girl’s Guide to Sexual Purity.’
I’m reading at the Saturday BFFF, and the Sunday Insert Innuendo Here and the poetry bash. Please consult the website for change of venue.
Help me celebrate Room Magazine’s 40th annniversary anthology, Making Room! If you are looking for a comprehensive cross-section of feminist literature in Canada, you’ve come to the right place. The Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival comes to life in early March.
“Making Room: Forty Years of Room Magazine celebrates the history and evolution of Canadian literature and feminism with some of the most exciting and thought-provoking fiction, poetry, and essays the magazine has published since it was founded in 1975 as Room of One’s Own. This collection includes poems about men not to be fallen in love with, trans womanhood, the morning-after pill, the “mind fuck” of being raped by a romantic partner, and a tribute to the women who were murdered in the Montreal Massacre. In one story, a group of sexual assault survivors meet weekly and come up with an unique way to help police capture their assailant, while in another a dinner party turns to witty talk of racism, sexism, pornography, and time travel. One author recounts how she learned multiple languages in order to connect with her father, another reluctantly walks down the aisle in order to stay in Canada with the man she loves.” -from the website
Here’s Roxane Gay, author of ‘Ayiti,’ stories, ‘An Untamed State,’ a novel, ‘Bad Feminist,’ essays and the new short story collection ‘Difficult Women,’ in conversation with Mina Kim at KQED Radio in SF.
To riff on Time Magazine (2014): Let every year be the year of Roxane Gay.
Re: Simon and Schuster: Roxane Gay on Tumblr
Sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton
This wonderful article by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on coping and dreaming with disability as a writer of colour. Coincidentally, when this article came to me, I had just started reading Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home.