2010 Archives

“Djinxed” in Indonesia: Ellen Hawkins’s new memoir

Ellen Hawkins, a Canadian author residing in Santiago, Chile, announces the publication of her memoir Djinxed. Ellen participated in my workshop series at Los Parronales Writers’ Retreat in Santiago, in February 2010. Here, in her own words, is some intriguing background on her book:

When my husband and I and our two small children arrived in Indonesia in 1971 this populous Muslim country was gradually recovering from the social and political upheaval that had brought Suharto to power five years earlier. Patchy infrastructure, widespread poverty and colossal heat were daily reminders that we were a long way from home.

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Monday, October 18th, 2010

Finding Voice in Memoir: My Father’s Final Gift to Me

by Dace Mara Zacs, Guest Blogger

A brief exchange over long-distance telephone one night: “Dace, your pappy is dead. You come to Latvia of course.”

“Ja, of course,” I said to Aivar, my cousin. “I’m coming.”

This was not entirely unexpected. Before my father left on his holiday to Latvia, I’d begged him to assure me he’d return. But he’d said, “Dace daughter, I can’t promise anything,” and then shared with me his last wishes. And two weeks prior, I’d had a dream of him dying and my travelling to Latvia to bury him. In the dream, three other Latvian women stood by my side. We were encircled and brutalized by Soviet soldiers. I pleaded with the Russians: “My father is dead! What more do you want?” The dream filled me with dread.

And then came the midnight call.

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Friday, October 1st, 2010

Cheryl Andrews Gets Wicked … and Gets Published

Here’s what past workshop participant Cheryl Andrews has to say about her recent publishing credit:

In May of this year the Writers’ Community of Durham Region launched Wicked Words, an anthology of best entries from their recent prose competition.  The contest attracted more than 125 submissions from across Canada and around the world.  Although my story didn’t progress beyond semi-finalist level, I was thrilled when the invitation arrived to include my fictional story “Four Forty-Four” in the anthology.

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Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Memoir Writing: The Power of a Family Secret

by Ruth Zaryski Jackson, Guest Blogger

In my family, no one ever talked about my maternal grandfather. I always thought he’d died before I was born. I learned not to ask questions, until one day when I was about fifteen my mother received a call and I overheard her end of the conversation. When I asked about it, she said her father had just died in a mental hospital in Brandon, Manitoba. I probed further and the truth about his mental illness came out.

Family themes. Family legacies. Family legends, stories and secrets. All are compelling topics for a writer to explore. I’ve been thinking about this since reading an article called “A Family Theme, a Family Secret” by K.L.Cook that appeared in Glimmer Train in 2008.

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Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Tilya Helfield: Short stories, a witty blog, and a memoir seeking a publisher

"Lakeside," by artist and writer Tilya Helfield

Former workshop participant Tilya Helfield recently learned that her short memoir “Blink” has been selected by Imago Press publisher and anthology editor Leila Joiner to appear in OASIS Journal 2010, a collection of prose and poetry by writers over age 50. Stories to be published are also finalists in the OASIS Journal writing competition, winners of which will be announced this fall.

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Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Mayank Bhatt: Two stories published in anthologies

Former workshop participant Mayank Bhatt writes with news that two of his stories will be published within a few months of each other, one in the latest edition of TOK: Writing the New Toronto (Diaspora Dialogues), and the other in the second volume of Canadian Voices (BookLand Press).

Here’s what Mayank has to say about his recent successes.

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Thursday, September 2nd, 2010