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The Vault: best of herkind.com/ Solo

Originally published February 8, 2010

A few months ago I went to a concert by myself. I do this a lot, go out alone. Sometimes I prefer it. I really didn’t think it was a big deal until I told a couple of people about the concert. Of course the inevitable question was, who’d you go with? The reactions surprised me.

Apparently it’s courageous to do something social on your own. Or, maybe it’s even anti-social!

I’ve often written about my intermittent loneliness and how I feel that it is something that, although difficult, can be overcome. The key is to learn how to not let it affect big decisions. I’ve let that happen and learned from it – I hope. The biggest one, I believe, was moving back to Toronto from Vancouver before I’d given my life there enough of a chance. I felt indescribably lonely and was susceptible to family and friends saying, just come home. It was a mistake, but one I am trying to make the best of.

These days I’m more willing to wait the lonely feeling out. To let it run its course, because I believe it always will.

I never felt lonely a day on earth while my mother was alive and because I believe my loneliness is attached to her death, I always think of it as situational. That she’s been gone 12 years doesn’t seem to affect my characterization of the feeling. It comes, it goes.

A new book called Lonely by a Canadian writer, Emily White has got me doubting myself and wondering if I’ve caught the bravado bug I sometimes accuse others of having, the ones who are unwilling to admit their loneliness.

White bravely tells of her chronic loneliness which she  felt most of her life, but intensely so for about 3 years in her mid-30s. Three years! Chronic? Oh dear.

I have to admit I read the book with much fear. In fact, in parts my heart was beating so fast I felt sure I was having a full out panic attack. Her early life mirrors my own: feelings of separation, isolation, too much of a gap of age and temperament with siblings, parents at odds with one another, their evident loneliness, a mother who held me a little too close to fill in the spaces for her. Hell, even Emily White’s first boyfriend had the same name as mine. Has my loneliness been with me my whole life? Could feelings of loneliness and isolation be the reason I have so few memories of my young life?

I looked up from the book at the prints decorating my bedroom – it’s not the first time I’ve wondered why every single one of them depicts a woman alone.

Picasso’s Blue Nude, hangs above my bed

Has loneliness so shaped my life that it’s the reason I am middle-aged, single, with no safety net, a tiny social circle and indistinguishable social life and, worst of all, no kids? Did I somehow make this happen? And collect the art to reflect it back to me each day upon waking?

Do people look at me walking down the streets of my neighbourhood and say, there goes that lonely woman. Always alone. (no wonder I feel giddy when I can go into a local coffee shop once in awhile accompanied by a – usually male – friend. Phew, they will know I have friends and maybe even a boyfriend!)

White makes a case for loneliness as an affliction caused by genetics and nurturing. She believes we are wired through DNA to be lonely. And that sometimes our loneliness mirrors that of our parents, in her case mostly her mother. Because she wants it more out in the open, she believes it should be listed in the updated version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), due to come out in 2012. This, she says, would ensure it gets properly funded for research and treatment, the natural progression of this being medication.

Now, I haven’t done the exhaustive research she has but I disagree.

I think loneliness is a periodic state of being that visits itself upon each and every one of us at various times. Let’s face it, more people live alone now and gone are the days of close knit communities and extended families. The key is learning to understand how it affects you and what to do to work through it. After all, we’re supposed to grow and learn in life. Sometimes my loneliness is acute and it feels like nothing can alleviate it. Since I’m pretty comfortable alone it’s not being alone that triggers it. It’s being alone when I don’t want to be and feeling like I can’t connect with anyone. It’s that feeling that there’s no way to communicate my deepest feelings that makes me the loneliest.

Admittedly, the biggest reason is not having a one and only – which isn’t necessarily a love partner, though that would be nice. And I’m trying to find a way to understand how to make that very neglected part of my life work. But, just one or a few good companionable, compatible, supportive friends would do the trick.

I have friends like this, but they are mostly busy with their lives of husband/wife, active young family connections. Or they’re too far away to connect with very often. I’m a natural sharer and sometimes feel unbelievably bereft, and afraid for my future with no safeties in place. Also, being alone so much means that my nurturing instincts can go numb with disuse, or worse, get misplaced on someone entirely inappropriate. Something that can catch me unawares if I’m not careful.

Emily White thinks this type of dulling of the senses is a result of loneliness. She also offers up plenty of studies, although they are relatively small ones, that show how loneliness affects heart health, and is implicated in dementia. These pieces of information are nothing short of terrifying to me and the surest way to get me to try any outlet at all towards connection.

White says lonely people are reluctant to tell their families and friends that they are lonely. It’s true. Most people end up feeling responsible for how you feel and it only serves to turn them further away, not closer. I prefer to just bare down and get myself through it. But I’m also not afraid to say it’s a pretty big part of my life right now. But that really is my challenge, not anyone else’s.

I do know how to reach out and I enjoy sociability. I welcome it, when I’m feeling up to it. The truth is, through many years of therapy and 5 years of living away from home, I discovered the original me and that person requires more time and space, which usually means plenty of solitude of the chosen variety.

Most lonely people I know -whether they admit to being lonely or whether it’s something I sense – are creative, singular,  and as I like to call it, living outside the much touted “normal” lines. I can’t really complain about feel lonely when I bring it on by leaping out of my life every five years, at least.

My worry is that I will always do this and never settle down and that my innate (not genetic though) loneliness causes me to do this.

Perhaps I will never know. It’s not a worry I really want to take on. I prefer to believe it’s a badge of maturity to learn to live with loneliness. or should I say, live it out.

But I certainly have no intention of taking a pill for it. Nor will I stop my solo, apparently oh so courageous, outings to concerts and social gatherings.

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A review of Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf

American feminist writer Naomi Wolf

Veteran 3rd wave feminist Naomi Wolf‘s new book, Vagina: A New Biography, reveals some new science about female sexual response and the power that good, attentive sex can give women. It’s been receiving scathing reviews, but I think there’s valuable and interesting information contained within.

I went out on a feminist limb and liked the book, then reviewed it for  TVO The Agenda’s blog:

The sexual revolution has not been kind to women or men; our information about the intricate science of female sexual response is at least a half century out of date; history reveals that in many cultures the vagina was once revered but has also been continually under attack as a systemic way to suppress women’s power; the click-of-a-computer-key availability of porn is rewiring our brains and impeding our ability to be intimate; and a woman’s sexual history – especially if it is violent – is held in nerve memory, but can be healed.

Read the full review on The Agenda website.

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The Sex Lives of Girls and Women: review of Naomi Wolf’s Promiscuities

Originally written in 1997

Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf, pub. 1997

The Sex Lives of Girls and Women

“We did not know when we felt wild and danced to Patti Smith’s Horses with our hair flying and could not stand ourselves for one more minute and wanted to tear the world open, we were not incipient sluts but normal girls becoming women.”

Women are more carnal than men.  Petting should be taught in schools.  Rituals marking the passage from girlhood into womanhood are necessary in our culture.  Girls need to have a voice with which to tell the stories of their erotic awakenings and experiences.  These are some of the revelations, and recommendations put forth by third-wave feminist, speaker and writer Naomi Wolf in her new book, Promiscuities:  The Secret Struggle for Womanhood.  Wolf is the author of two previous polemical books, The Beauty Myth and Fire with Fire, both of which changed the tide of feminist debate and have since become cemented in current mainstream feminist ideology.  Now Ms. Wolf veers into confessional mode in order to tell what she describes as a “sexual coming of age story for girls,” that is also an inquiry into the nature of female sexual passion.

With ideology firmly entrenched in power feminism Wolf urges girls and women to take the control they already have over their own bodies, emotions, and essences as women.

Wolf’s own sexual awakening story, and those of her girlhood friends are woven in and out of historical and cultural facts about the resilient quality of women’s passion.  The setting is “ground zero of the Sexual Revolution;”  those turbulent years between the Pill and AIDS, in her hometown The Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco.  Wolf outlines the intricacies of dating, hierarchical “partner” selection, drug experimentation, sex struggles, loss of virginity, et al,  against the backdrop of the newly forming  ideas of the “tune in, turn on, drop out” blip in our history.

In the process we discover that our own culture keeps women forever adolescent  by not empowering us to make informed decisions about what to do with our very real feelings of desire.  While in some other cultures, Ancient China for example, men and women celebrated women’s passion as a force strong enough to hold the universe together.  In fact, Wolf tells us, Western culture is the only one that doesn’t exalt female sexuality as an entity quite separate from men.  This, of course, has devastating effects on young women.  Wolf asks us to consider this:  Any trace of “the bases”—petting stages somewhat accepted, or at the very least acknowledged as part of courtship in the ‘50s—has been virtually wiped out.  This is exacerbated by an increased number of confusing media and pop-culture images, in which there is often no clear delineation between sex and violence.  In the ‘60s and ‘70s these images were front and centre for the first time,  perhaps too readily available to the developing pre-sexual teen.  Post-sexual revolution teenagers, Wolf argues, go from “zero to sixty,” with little or no self-knowledge based on healthy exploration, on their own or with partners.

Most girls of her generation couldn’t wait to lose their virginity—to be all grown up—but they had no idea what it meant or would mean.  They did know that if they were good girls they weren’t supposed to want it.  After asking her friends about their “first time” sex experiences, Wolf concludes that many women talk about their “passage” with surprising passivity.  “It just happened,” a chorus of women says.  Consequently, they were unprepared, since preparation meant planning and actively participating in the act.  Possibly even acting as the aggressor.  “’Drawing a blank’—lack of consciousness—absolves you,” Wolf says of this phenomenon.  Which leads to a high percentage of teen pregnancies and STDs  that no amount of safe sex counseling seems to be able to control or change.

Wolf’s ideas about the sexual complexities facing teenagers and women today are a necessary addition to the feminist dialogue.  But they are, at times, disturbing to ponder.   In a section called  “A Short History of the Slut,” Wolf recounts the stories of two schoolmates who were casualties in the secret struggle; one by becoming pregnant, the other by fulfilling the prophecy of “loose” bestowed upon her because of her early physical development.  Wolf then traces female sexuality through two millennia and various cultures, engaging in some intricate discussion about what has been considered the norm for women, what our history can teach us about the true nature of female desire, and how hard it is to decipher all the in-betweens.  Here, women’s history and today’s accepted sexual behaviours collide, shocking us into the sad realization that two hundred years of history and so-called progress has not redeemed women and their desire beyond the label of slut.  Which raises the question:  Will we ever feel healthy about our sexual selves?  Will we ever be able to break our codes of silence, even with each other, to reveal that we are women full of desire, sometimes as much for the pure pleasure of connecting through sex for the sake of sex, as for the development and sustenance of a love relationship.

Thankfully, Wolf injects some comic relief with her search and rescue effort through history to reveal the path to female sexual pleasure:  the clitoris.  “Lost and Found: The Story of the Clitoris” spans 1559—the pleasure spot’s identification—through what Wolf calls The Great Forgetting period at the end of the 18th Century, to a brief 1896 celebration of it, to tiny evidences of its existence in the early 20th Century.  Finally, second-wave feminists of the ‘70s introduced it as a novel discovery.  Women, however, have been first hand witness to its reality all along.

As with all of Wolf’s books, Promiscuities asks more questions than it answers and opens the floodgate to healthy debate about the issues raised.  Not the least of which is always:  how to live in the world and still be feminist.  I find Naomi Wolf a much better speaker than writer.  Her weighty ideas are contained within sentences that are often poorly structured.  Such big, complicated thoughts would be more comprehensible rendered through clean, clear prose.  Her recall of verbatim dialogue from her youth, and the recounting of the stories of her friends seems, at times, contrived.  And her own confessions would have the emotional impact that I’m sure she intended and felt were she a better writer.

That said, I personally loved reading this book simply because it represents the time-frame of my own coming of age–a moment in history that has not been discussed in any meaningful way.  The pop-culture references alone were pleasing to look back upon.  By risking telling her story, Wolf has helped many of us of that generation piece together our own.  Over the years Naomi Wolf has provided a necessary link between the feminism of our mothers and that of a progressive and inclusive new feminism whose theories are less utopian and more achievable in our day-to-day existence as women. To my mind her uniqueness among feminists is that she is a living example for young women—who are often alienated by feminism to the point of rejecting the label even while embracing the ideals and goals—that it is possible to live within an inherited patriarchal construct, to do all we can to make it a better world for women, and also to be whole women.  In other words, she shows us over and over, through her ideologies and prescriptions for change, and her own life as a wife, mother and now a woman with a sexual past, that it’s not necessary to take the feminine out of feminist.

Carla Lucchetta is a Toronto writer who works by day in Communications at Bravo!

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Fall Books 2012 / Giller long list

The fall book literary scene is always exciting but never more so than when my fave writer, Alice Munro is on the list. with her new book of stories, Dear Life. An added bonus for me is a new book from second wave feminist icon, Naomi Wolf.

Here’s my annual Ottawa Citizen fall book preview:

From Alice Munro to J.K. Rowling, the fall season for books is a full one

Yesterday, the Giller Prize long list was announced, from which the finalist will be announced on October 1st and winner will chosen at the Gala dinner in early November.  This year’s judges are Roddy Doyle, Gary Shteyngart and Anna Porter.

Happy Reading!

Books and Authors · Feminism · herkind.com · Media · News and current affairs · Televison · The Vault: best of Herkind.com · The Writing Life · Women

The Vault: best of herkind.com / Non-Mom

 

(Summer is the time of year I really feel I’ve missed out by not becoming a mother. I think I said it best in this post introducing my TVO essay on the topic. Originally published on Jan. 6, 2011)

Last year I met the writer,  Molly Peacock and began, by chance, to talk to her about a piece I was trying to work out about being childless and how hard it was to a) reconcile that fact, in a world where motherhood is revered, and b) how silent the process is because there’s so little written on it, and it’s rarely discussed. What I didn’t know was that she had written an entire book on her choice to be child-free and how it had defined her life.

I devoured Paradise Piece by Piece and, though my childlessness has happened more from circumstance than choice – it would never be my choice – I still related to a great deal of what she wrote. That’s because to be a “non-mom” is still fairly undefined and misunderstood.

Here’s my TVO The Agenda essay on the topic. It’s Part 2, which began with an essay on how the advent of fertility technology makes us mistakenly believe we can delay motherhood. It struck quite a  nerve and this one is a response to a question posed to me :is it really all that emotionally difficult not to be a mother?

The Invisibility of the “non-moms”

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Message to young writers: Creativity is forever, be willing to experiment

Recently I had the great opportunity to give the keynote speech at the annual Literary Dinner at Ridley College in St. Catherine’s. In the speech, I tried to balance some inspirational words about pursuing creativity with the reality of the writing life. I’ve had some requests to read it so I’m posting it here. (there are a couple of notes of clarification, which are denoted by asterisks and explained below the text)

Good evening Ridley students and congratulations on your accomplishments this year in the literary arts.

I’ve spent a great deal of time in my career reading the work of young writers and I have to say that the stories and poems that I read in “Voices”* are among the best. Writing is hard work, but the reward is sweet, isn’t it? Seeing your name after all those hard won words, phrases and sentences is a thrill, and I hope it always will be. Making your work public is risky business, so, my hat is off to you for your confidence and courage!

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but I’ve only been making my living at it for the last decade or so. I guess I’m the quintessential late-bloomer, but as the astute essayist Malcolm Gladwell* has pointed out, late-bloomers are only people who don’t dive right in, but rather spend some time experimenting. So it takes us awhile to get where we’re going.

I’m here to share with you a little bit about my creative journey, which started when I was about your age and has culminated, at least this far, in the signing of my first book contract, with many interesting – and sometimes exasperating “experimental” twists and turns.

***

My well-worn high school copy of The Great Gatsby

“In my younger and more vulnerable years…” Recognize those words? Of course, they open that unforgettable novel, The Great Gatsby. Those seven words have been imprinted on my memory since I read them for the first time in Grade 12. That was 1978. Recently, I picked Gatsby up again to read for perhaps the 5th time since then, once for every decade. It’s not that I don’t know the story by heart, it’s that the book – universally thought to be one of the best ever written – reminds me time and again that economical yet evocative writing is always the way to go.

I think I picked it up this time ‘round in anticipation of a new film adaptation set to hit screens in December, where Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby and Carrie Mulligan takes a whirl as Daisy. It’s a flashy, 3D version no less, as if the story isn’t captivating enough!

The copy I’m reading – here it is – is from high school. It’s a 1953 imprint and the beauty of it, besides the writing and ideas contained within, is my marginalia. All the notes I took during class readings and analysis. The very ones I must have used to write an essay on Fitzgerald’s themes.

my high school scribblings in the margins of the last page of The Great Gatsby

Now, I have to tell you, I spent my high school years being pretty lazy about homework and essays. I got away with it with most teachers, probably because I could write and therefore pull off a decent assignment, last minute. But my Grade 12 English teacher, Mr. O’Gorman, recognized the laziness pretty quickly and one day sat me down and told me he knew I was smarter than I let on, he could tell the material we were studying affected me, and there was no doubt I could write. He said the only way I could pass his class was to show him he was right about me.

This conversation was remarkable for a few reasons:

A) I couldn’t fool him with a believable excuse and a good sentence

B) He said things like “Look to the words, they are pools that are very deep,” showing that he loved the literature he taught us and,

C) He saw my natural  writing talent but made me dig deeper.

Not only did this teacher bring out the best in me, his support fostered a love of literature, reading and writing I really didn’t know I possessed.  It could even be the very push I needed in the direction of the career I now have.

Then…I forgot all about it. I quit school and started working fulltime. I kept reading, I kept writing – mostly overwrought romantic poetry and always a journal, but I randomly decided that university wasn’t for me.  Well, I say randomly now…I’m sure at the time I had a perfectly plausible rationale to tell my parents.

Years of full-time retail work does wonders for conjuring up a longing to be back in school.  So at the age of 25, I entered York University in Toronto to study Creative Writing and English Literature.  Not only did I remember what I love to do – read and write, but I began to see writing as a vocation, a compulsion – something I simply had to do as often as possible, maybe even every day.  Writing was pure joy. Some of you are probably already feeling this sensation.  Writing folds time. It carries you away. It’s both a journey and a destination. For four years I dedicated myself to the craft, and still, after graduation, I veered away from it.

Why did I discover such pleasure and then turn my back on it? It’s hard to say, except that creativity is sometimes a difficult thing to accept into your life. Although I knew I had the sensibility of a writer – the tendency to stand back and observe, the need to, as Anais Nin says “taste life twice; in the moment and in retrospect,” the impulse to share my impressions of the world with the world – I also had a fear that the writing life would be a struggling one, and a lonely one. Plus, I finished university at the age of 30. I had some catching up to do and had to earn money!

So I put my skills to work in PR, writing great press releases and marketing copy, and spent ten years being the wind beneath the wings of many creatives – musicians, writers, artists, actors.  I saw, first hand, what that life was like, and as much as I may have been enamored of it, I still wasn’t ready to try it.

During this time I became the publicity manager for the International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront in Toronto.  Mixing and mingling with some of the biggest authors from Canada and around the world became my norm. Weekly, I spent one-on-one time with them, taking them around to their media interviews, having lunch with them, driving them to and from the airport. So, I got to see them on and off-stage.

On stage, they were super stars, no matter what their level of achievement in literature. I was in awe of them AND I felt strongly I could never be one of them. Oh the tenacity, the patience, the confidence and sheer talent they possessed! But off stage, in casual conversation – anything from helping calm Alice Munro’s nerves backstage at a reading, to passing the time with William Golding and his wife on an their first trip to Niagara Falls during a festival, or taking a parallel parking lesson from Ken Kesey (author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) – I felt a kind of affinity with them. No matter if we talked about mundane topics, or engaged in deeper conversations, I slowly began to realize that I shared their lens on the world –  asking questions, analyzing everything, and of course, those deep powers of observation so common to writers and creatives of all stripes.

Many times, one of them would ask me if I was a writer. I always said no, mostly, because during this time I really wasn’t writing that much. I had no inclination in the face of so much genius. Then one day a young poet told me I must be kindred because he felt I had a writer’s personality. Encouraged by what I considered a compliment, I reluctantly confessed that I did write, and in fact had a creative writing degree. “I knew it,” he said!

After that I gave myself permission to openly revel in the company of writers. AND, I began to pound the keys again!

But it wasn’t until I approached my 40th birthday, and the ten year mark in my PR career – the one I’d been growing increasingly tired of because… well, it wasn’t my vocation, no matter how well it paid the bills – that I decided to throw caution to the wind and try to live on my creative brain. In order to do this, I felt I had to move clear across the country! I wanted to start fresh, way outside of my comfort zone and I had the idea that the West Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean would ignite my muse.

It was an experiment.

I should tell you that I attribute some of my false starts in a writing career with the desire of both my parents that their children have solid, full-time jobs with benefits and a good pension. If there’s any creativity in this picture, it should be a sidebar only.  You can’t fault them for that; they lived through some hard economic times when good jobs were hard to come by and hang on to. My first ever job was at age 13 in a public library and I’d never been without a job since then, so I was taking quite a chance- as many creatives feel compelled to do.

During the first few months, I remember experienced two competing feelings: one of guilt for not getting up and going to work every day, pulling in a regular pay cheque, and the other pure bliss, for living on my own time for the first time, which gave me the space and freedom to let ideas percolate and words flow. Despite the ups and downs, and the feast or famine that seems to characterize this line of work, I haven’t really looked back.

The thing about the writing life is; you have to love writing. You sure do always have to harken back to the joy you experience when you’re in the thick of it, because much of what surrounds it is hard work. As a freelance writer, a good deal of time is taken up with the business of writing; finding ideas and people with interesting stories to interview, designing the perfect pitch to editors, writing to tight deadlines – forgoing the natural inclination to sit and stare out the window while the story unfolds in the brain – invoicing, waiting for money, waiting for money, waiting for money…

But… on the gorgeous plus side:   After many years of practice, I’ve finally found my truest voice and have begun to be recognized for it.  I’ve reached many goals I never thought I would, I’ve met and interviewed some amazing people with fascinating stories that have enriched my life, and some very unexpected opportunities have come my way.  Speaking to you tonight is one of them. Paying it forward by mentoring young writers and new writers of all ages is another.

As a book reviewer, I actually get paid to read some great books and people are interested in what I have to say about them. I’ve come to know so many accomplished writers, many of whom I’ve admired for years, that I can now call friends. After so many years of feeling on the outside looking in, I’ve finally found my tribe.

Each month I present an essay on one of the most respected current affairs shows on Canadian TV, and though I’ve been doing so for 2 seasons, I still get a thrill when host and veteran journalist, Steve Paikin, a man I greatly respect, introduces my segment and thanks me for it afterwards. I’ve taught university courses, I’ve published short stories and personal essays, and the biggest goal reached to date is my first book which will be published next year.

The night I signed my contract, I didn’t get a wink of sleep. I just couldn’t believe that, after all the hard work – the disappointments and triumphs, the fussing and fretting that I didn’t have enough talent, enough time, enough confidence, I would finally have a book on store shelves (and Kindles, I suppose) that has my blood, sweat, tears and name on it!

I’ll tell you a secret, I’ve already written my acknowledgements for the book. That’s because I can’t wait to officially thank, in print, all the people who’ve encouraged, supported and helped me along the way. That’s a long list since, no matter how solitary the act of writing is, pretty much the most important required constant is care and feeding.

You better believe Mr. O’Gorman, my Grade 12 English teacher, is on that list.

What I’ve learned is, for all my revving up and experimentation, I’ve finally begun to feel like I’m making real the visions I’ve had in my head.  All it takes is belief in YOU, faith in your talent, surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and support your efforts, practice and more practice, good instincts and steady steps forward.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have time to experiment.

Although you may, at times, have to put your ultimate goals aside when life gets in the way, know that the thing that compels you to pick up a pen, paint brush or musical instrument will probably always be there. Creativity is a forever thing. Keep your eye on the prize, whatever that prize is to you, and try to remember to nurture your creativity in whatever way you can. Keep working towards that final product.

You will get there. You’re already on your way.

Thanks for having me tonight. I wish you the greatest good luck with your creative endeavours and your lives.

# # #

* Voices is a publication the Ridley College English students put together every year to showcase their creative writing; essays, short stories, poetry, photography and art.

* I was referring to Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent essay called Late Bloomers, which changed the way I think about my slow and painstaking approach to writing – as in, I don’t think it’s so bad after all!

Books and Authors · herkind.com · Men · The Vault: best of Herkind.com · The Writing Life

The Vault: best of Herkind.com / The Measure of a Man

(originally published Oct 21, 2011)

“This beautiful, cleverly executed story gets to the very heart of the complexity of the first and most basic masculine bond, and how even through disappointment, abandonment, anger, confusion and pain, a son can still love, honour and protect his father.” – The Globe and Mail

This is the final paragraph in my Globe & Mail review of Vancouver writer, JJ Lee’s new memoir about his father.

The link to the whole review is below, but that paragraph is all you need to know to pick up the book, without ruining the surprise inside: fine, emotionally evocative and brutally truthful writing about one of the most important topics in a man’s life. There’s also a fascinating history of the men’s suit inside the pages of this book.

Father-son tale an elegant weave , Globe Books, Oct 21, 2011

***

I’m working on a father-son anthology called Lonely Boy, stories written by men about the loss or absence of their fathers. It’ll be published in 2013. It’s an incredibly important, yet untapped topic. Sometimes I think men don’t get enough of our compassion anymore and I guess this project is my little contribution to righting that.

For more, visit my Lonely Boy website.

Books and Authors · Feminism · herkind.com · Media · Men · News and current affairs · Televison · Women

Fifty Shades of Grey

50 Shades of Angst is my recent TVO, The Agenda essay.

And, if you missed it, watch the hilarious SNL skit.

The popular romantic / erotic trilogy, 50 Shades of Grey, occupies the top three spots on best seller lists. After reading the first installment, it’s hard to understand why. I get that the material is titillating, but, as a writer who appreciates and is inspired by great writing, I’m a little disappointed. Still, you can’t argue with success, especially since the trilogy began as Twilight fan fiction, then developed its own storyline and characters and was self-published before being picked up by Vintage and became a runaway success.

Oh, there will be sequels, and yes, there will be a film! Any guesses on who will portray Anastasia and Christian?