I tend to focus on my editorial projects when I do post anything, but, hey, let’s talk about my writing for a moment.
My creative non-fiction piece “When you could not hear, I spoke” will appear in the CNF issue of The Fiddlehead, edited by the brilliant Alicia Elliott. This is very significant for me for a number of reasons. First, I love Alicia’s work. She is a remarkable writer with tremendous insight. When I saw she was editing the Fiddlehead’s special CNF issue I knew I had to submit. Now I’ve learned she is also a terrific editor. I’ve never been so raw in my writing, and it was so damn difficult to get through this piece. Alicia’s edits were invaluable in tightening the piece and making it leaner, cleaner. Denise was a good friend, and I always knew I wanted to write in depth about her funeral and how I was the only person there. Intergenerational friendships mean a great deal to me, and I’m incredibly excited to have the piece out in the world. The CNF issue will be released later this summer.
The timing also feels perfect as I’ve recently started volunteering with Pals Connect, a queer youth-elder project run by the 519 in Toronto. The project focuses on connecting LGBTQI2S individuals with older members of the community facing isolation. So far the experience is echoing some of what I felt with Denise and my friends in Montreal with Les Petits Frères, where the focus of the organization was specifically to assist elderly folks without family.
In other writing news, my poem “Oliver“, about young queer love, was published by Plenitude, Canada’s queer literary magazine. I really enjoy their work, and I was thrilled when they accepted the poem.
My flash piece/prose poem “Concussion” was published in issue 1.1 of Augur. I’ve had a few concussions now due to my convulsive episodes, and although the piece was written after my concussion in April 2017 it more directly channels the big one I had in 2014. Augur is a new Canadian magazine with a focus on “writing that is difficult to classify—whether specifically speculative, substantially surreal, or slightly strange.” I loved both their preview issue and issue 1.1, and they recently released issue 1.2 with some terrific content. They are well worth supporting.
Another story, “The River Street Witch”, was published in the anthology Alice Unbound: Beyond Wonderland (Exile Editions), edited by Colleen Anderson, which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Back in 2016 my essay “Growing up in Wonderland” about living with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (Todd’s Syndrome) was published in Uncanny Magazine. Colleen apparently enjoyed the piece and asked me to write a story about it, which it turned out I had already been working on at the time. So now my very weird neurological/perception disorder has manifested in a little girl who, because of this condition, is convinced she is a witch. It’s quite a dark piece.
Finally, I just learned my poem “niece with a peach following four minutes of Planet Earth” was accepted by Yes Poetry, another journal with a strong focus on marginalized voices. I don’t yet know when this one will appear, but I’m glad to have it there. My niece/goddaughter Théa inspired this one in the way she keeps copying different behaviour. I think it’s a cute poem, but my family finds it a little horrifying.
I’ve been writing a lot of poetry of late, as well as some new creative non-fiction. It’s been a good year for my writing, in no small part due to the grants I received from the Ontario Arts Council. And that’s it for now!