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“The Dead Husband Project”

I’m not in a good frame of mind these days, so will not bore you here for long. The world is dire, and I’m giving up on human nature, at least for now, as we slide into a time resembling the brutal, heartless, xenophobic 30’s. Watching what’s going on in the world is making me ill. And this is before Doug Ford begins to smash things in Ontario.

So what’s the solution, since the world is not going to go away? Stop reading the news and FB and Twitter? Sure. As if. I’m a news junkie like everyone else. What has he done NOW? And then I watch Sam Bee, Bill Maher, and John Oliver for sarcastic commentary on it all. It’s corroding my soul.

I’m in a bad mood generally; yesterday I alienated someone who’d spent a few hours helping me in the garden who has now quit, that’s how crabby. I am deeply irritated at just about everything, in my mind justifiably so. And it’s breath-suckingly hot out there, that doesn’t help.

First world problems, I know, whining whining whining.

On the other hand, a treat on Wednesday, for the second last class of the Ryerson term: a student from at least 14 years ago, Sarah Meehan Sirk, came to speak about her book and her journey, and to give us a workshop on defeating the negative inner voices. She told us that my True to Life was the first writing class she’d ever taken; she took it 2 or 3 times and was so inspired she took other courses, ending up doing fiction at Humber, where a writer took her work to his agent who took it to publishers, who fought over who’d get to publish her; one gave her a two book deal. Her book of stories, “The Dead Husband Project,” received rave reviews. I started it last night; the writing is superb. A two book deal. It is to dream.

I told the class, Sarah was not immediately the best writer in the class. There was another writer who was extremely gifted and had an extraordinary story to tell. But she didn’t do the work; Sarah did. So talent is great, but perseverance – focus, confidence, dedication – are more than half the struggle.

Eli graduated from kindergarten this week. There was a ceremony, his class a heartening assortment of sizes, shapes, and colours.

And last night, the last home class of term, we sat outside on the deck listening to beautiful writing and powerful true stories, one of my favourite things to do. I know, I have nothing, nothing, nothing to complain about, except the state of the world, that people keep electing fascists.

Please read my friend Kerry Clare’s powerful diatribe about the anti-choice movement, to the left. She finishes, “Abortion is the tip of the iceberg. It’s never been about fetuses—don’t you know that? It’s about controlling women, and limiting their freedom to make choices about their bodies and their lives. It’s the same impulse that tears a baby from her mother, and takes her away on a bus to a migrant camp. And I hope you will join me in resisting it at every single step.”

I celebrate her fire and courage. Kerry will not for one minute give up the fight. 

The raspberries are coming in. The roses are nearly done. The veggies are magnificent. And today, unlike Sarah, unlike Kerry, I am small and bent.

A picture of a cobra about to devour a mongoose:



2 Responses to ““The Dead Husband Project””

  1. theresa says:

    It's hard to find the goodness some days, when the papers are full of such horror and cruelty and incivility. But we have to do what we do best, to notice and record and find the sweetness in our daily lives. I do believe this, although it sometimes takes some focus to remember.

  2. beth says:

    You're right, Theresa, but some days it hits hard. I keep thinking thank God my father is dead, because what's going on in the world right now would kill him. But yes, it's been bad before, and humanity has come through. Sometimes, though, it looks like, what with climate change, the nuclear threat and fascist lunatics everywhere, that we may not be so lucky this time. There, see, there I go again. Focus on sweetness! I need to see my grandsons.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


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