Algonquin College Professional Writing
Graduating Class 2011
Algonquin College Professional Writing
Class of 2011
Table of Contents
Intro CoMMunIty & LIFe Carly askin 70
Introduction 8 Katie Bears 38 sandra Baranek 70
nadine McInnis, Professional Writing Jessica gatenby
Program Coordinator Kyra Belanger-theil 71
The Next Step 41
revIeWs & readIng Kaitlin stuart Joshua Bernier 71
Muse Haikus 12 Pots and Pans 42 Chris Carlin 71
emma sherratt sandra Baranek
Katie Bears Appetizer
dana Carman 71
Review: The Clockwork Angel 13 The Bandbox 46
Kyra Belanger-theil Michelle arcand Patrice elston 72
Feature Article by Jessica Gatenby, p.38 Feature Article by Patrice Elston, p.50
1984 14 Appetizer 50 Jessica gatenby 72
Chris Carlin Patrice elston
tara gleeson 72
Short Stories: Who Reads Them? 16 sPIrItuaLIty
Brandon rushton Kathleen Henry 72
Yoga's Place in Western Society 56
Top Ten Favorite Children’s Stories 18 Maggie McPhail Heather Kerr 73
Women’s Role in Maggie McPhail 73
Synthetic Serendipity 20 Modern Spiritualism 58
alex aksentyev Catherine Mcnair Catherine Mcnair 73
tHe CraFt oF WrItIng Pure FICtIon sean Mcnorgan 73
Pots and Pans The Bandbox
In Defence of Genre 24 Writer 62 Chris neish 74
Krystal roy sean Mcnorgan
Kristen nelson 74
Why Do We Write? 26 The Short Minutes 64
Feature Article by Sandra Baranek, p.42 Feature Article by Michelle Arcand, p.46
Kristen nelson Christopher neish Krystal roy 74
tHe reaL WorLd In Shades of Brown 66 Brandon rushton 74
Tips in the Back 30 emma sherratt 75
Kathleen Henry Therian 67
tara gleeson Kaitlin stuart 75
The Evolution of Conversing 32
Heather Kerr student BIos
The Basics of Housekeeping 34 alex aksentyev 70
Michelle arcand 70
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By Author By Article Type
Alex Aksentyev Catherine McNair
revIeWs/essays Therian 67
synthetic serendipity 20 Women’s role in Modern spiritualism 58 Review: The Clockwork Angel 13 tara gleeson
Michelle Arcand Sean McNorgan ProFILes
the Bandbox 46 Writer 62 1984 14
Chris Carlin Katie Bears 38
Carly Askin Maggie McPhail Jessica gatenby
the Basics of Housekeeping 34 yoga's Place in Western society 56 Top Ten Favorite Children’s Stories 18
Joshua Bernier Features
Sandra Baranek Christopher Neish
Pots and Pans 42 the short Minutes 64 Short Stories: Who Reads Them? 16 The Basics of Housekeeping 34
Brandon rushton Carly askin
Kyra Belanger-Theil Kristen Nelson
review: the Clockwork angel 13 Why do We Write? 26 oPInIon artICLes Appetizer 50
Joshua Bernier Krystal Roy Synthetic Serendipity 20
top ten Favorite Children’s stories 18 In defence of genre 24 alex aksentyev Yoga's Place in Western Society 56
Chris Carlin Brandon Rushton Why Do We Write? 26
1984 14 short stories: Who reads them? 16 Kristen nelson Women’s Role in
Modern Spiritualism 58
Dana Carman Emma Sherratt In Defence of Genre 24 Catherine Mcnair
In shades of Brown 66 Muse Haikus 12 Krystal roy
Patrice Elston Kaitlin Stuart InForMatIve artICLes
appetizer 50 the next step 41 Writer 62
The Next Step 41 sean Mcnorgan
Jessica Gatenby Cover illustration by Tara Gleeson. Kaitlin stuart
Katie Bears 38 The Short Minutes 64
The Evolution of Conversing 32 Christopher neish
Tara Gleeson Heather Kerr
therian 67 In Shades of Brown 66
Tips in the Back 30 dana Carman
Kathleen Henry Kathleen Henry
tips in the Back 30 The Bandbox 46
Poetry Michelle arcand
the evolution of Conversing 32 Muse Haikus 12 Pots and Pans 42
emma sherratt sandra Baranek
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Nadine McInnis, Professional Writing Program Coordinator
All week I’ve been trying to think of blocked as a writer again, no matter how be afraid of being alone in the sandstorm.
what to write about (I’m sorry to have long it takes to find your way in. All that electricity will recharge you.
to tell you that the aptly-named “tyranny
of the blank page” never goes away) and The writing life can feel like a sandstorm Maybe I’ll see you out in the desert,
one image kept coming to mind. I kept sometimes. A million possibilities are leaning against the wind, cloth across
dismissing this image because I couldn’t coming at you, but it can feel impossible your mouths and eyes. We won’t be able
see how I could spin its smallness into sometimes to separate one idea from to hear each other, with all that’s going
parting words of substance. But there another. Pursuing one idea means that on around us, but I’ll know you’re there.
it is again — a little detail I read in an another goes spinning off into oblivion Some of you may ground yourselves by
Annie Dillard book several weeks ago and what if that was the perfect grain of dragging a toaster behind you, or a family,
while I was on a silent retreat writing. She sand? What if that one was just the one or a job description, or your own mongrel
reports that people who’ve experienced you needed, the best, the brightest, the one you adopted from the pound. When we
sandstorms become nauseous and she that got away? do catch sight of each other, know that
heard of a man who discovered a cure. He we have in common this vocation that can
dragged a metal bicycle pump behind him, Don’t worry, just walk out bravely into isolate us and delight us and make our
grounding him so that the static electricity the static, the chaos, the stinging senses, lives meaningful. So raise your arm and
caused by all the grains of sands colliding everything that hits you. Sand may not wave, and I’ll wave back.
together at high speed was dissipated. be infinite, but it is an ever-renewing
This image delights me — the man resource. Another thing I learned from
shrouded in a sandstorm and the incon- Annie Dillard is that most sand is not
gruity of the bicycle pump on its leash. created by ocean waves beating on coastal
rock. In fact, the geological DNA of sand
Then I was walking my own dog before reveals that most of it is created by fast
settling in to write this and it finally hit flowing streams and rivers that carry the
home why this image was so persistent. sand to the sea. Then the waves toss sand
Ampersand: amp (electricity) and sand. back up on land.
Ampersand. So before I launch into the
symbolic rightness of the image, let me Where do your ideas come from? Your
bow to the great unconscious. life and the lives you imagine or collide
with. From things you observe, reflect
For those who don’t write, the uncon- upon, from conversations you overhear
scious can be one of the furies. Not to and stories you’re told. Ideas can come
say that writers don’t have demons or from daily life. Making a living, routine,
pursuing furies too, but the unconscious will not kill your stories if you give space
can also be your pilot, your muse, your pet to writing in your lives. If you care about
dog with a will of its own pulling you on writing enough to keep alert to what’s
its own very long leash. So work with it, going on around you and within you, that
trust it and give your unconscious room to miraculous unconscious will put things
range. Writing shouldn’t be all hard work. aesthetically right for you if you let it.
Once you learn to let your hidden self,
or the whole amazing collective uncon- Give yourself space, and picture that space
scious of the human race, pour itself into however it works for you — a cabin in the
your words you’ll never feel completely woods, a weekend away from the family, a
pause taken from a demanding job. Don’t
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Reviews of Literature Emma Sherratt | Muse Haikus Review: The Clockwork Angel | Kyra Belanger-Theil Reviews of Literature
Muse Haikus Review: The Clockwork Angel
Emma Sherratt Kyra Belanger-Theil
I choose to express myself through haiku Vampires, warlocks, fairies, clock- characters tell jokes using expressions Clockwork Angel didn’t fall into any of the
because it is the form of poetry which I work automatons, Shadowhunters; the from that time period. Admittedly, some of stereotypes they are often associated with.
have had the most experience with in the Infernal Devices book one by Cassandra the jokes went over my head, but in cases As for the other fantasy creatures, which
past. I have liked haiku since my elemen- Clare may very well be a teenage like this the overall experience is more all fall into the category of Downworlders
tary school years. The poems are short, fantasy lover’s dream. important. Clare also followed the customs in the novel, they also fit naturally into
have a set structure, and say a great deal that were common during the Victorian the story. Well, except maybe for Magnus
about a certain topic in a mere seven- Clockwork Angel isn’t something you read era. An example of this is when Tessa Bane, who, admittedly, is in a league of
teen morae. Additionally, they provide to contemplate the deeper meaning of life. gets embarrassed for addressing Will by his own.
a challenge, forcing me to be concise; his given name
normally I can write pages of information because it suggests tHe PLayers
on a topic of interest. Haiku has the added HuMans eMPoWered WItH that they are inti-
bonus of allowing me to be mysterious tHe BLood oF tHe angeL WHo mately close. This The Clockwork Angel, which is the
about topics, which I value because I attention to detail prequel to the Mortal Instruments trilogy,
am ill at ease revealing my interests in a Hunt deMons For a LIvIng. allows the reader to has just as much depth as its predecessor.
straightforward manner. experience London Clare’s characters always have this aura
The novel is all about meeting Tessa Gray the way it would have been in the late about them — in the way they move, talk
The reason I limited myself to only five and the Shadowhunters; human’s empow- 1800’s, monsters or not. and interact with each other — that makes
haikus was because I limited my scope to ered with the blood of the Angel who hunt them feel all the more real. They may be
only a few sources of inspiration. If I tried demons for a living. The reader watches as CLICHé or not a CLICHé fighting demons or sneaking into vampire
to write a haiku for every single muse the characters grow and simply enjoys the masquerades, but they are easy to relate to.
in my life, the poem would run long and story as it unfolds. I’ll be honest; I cringed a little when I However, I will admit that Will Herondale,
risk the appeal of this underappreciated realized how prominent vampires were the main male character in Clockwork
poetic art. I deviated from the traditional WeLCoMe to in this novel. These days I can’t help but Angel, is a little too similar to Jace, the
definition of haiku — a Japanese poem of vICtorIan London feel hesitant about reading any books with lead male in the Mortal Instruments. Will
seventeen morae centered on the beauty vampires in them because, let’s face it, is Jace’s ancestor, but the fact that their
of nature — and instead chose the more Clockwork Angel is set in Victorian they have become way too common in personalities are so similar and that they
modern, Western form, which can be London and Clare definitely succeeds in modern literature. However, I was pleas- both serve as the main female characters’
about any topic. Haiku is not practiced by bringing the era to life. For example, the antly surprised to see that the vampires in love interests in their respective novels
many modern, English-language poets for just doesn’t sit well with me. Even so, the
multiple reasons. Summing up a subject in characters were well-rounded overall and
seventeen syllables is a difficult task, and each one has a very distinctive personality.
there are differences between the English
and Japanese definitions of poetry. Clockwork Angel can be read even if you
haven’t read the series that precedes it,
HaIKus By eMMa sHerratt but I still recommend reading the Mortal
Instruments trilogy beforehand for two
Plain against pretty Ambitious rival A reckless teammate reasons: I prefer the trilogy and since
Skills unappreciated Craves an elixir of life He causes many problems some of the characters in Clockwork Angel
Name picked at random Eternal hunger Yet his heart is pure are either ancestors of the characters from
the trilogy or reoccurring like Magnus
In a burst of smoke Sheltered throughout life Bane, you’re missing out if you haven’t
You transform and spread your wings Becomes one with the machine read the Mortal Instruments. Either way,
Terror incarnate Her hands hold the key I definitely recommend Clockwork Angel
to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre or
who simply enjoys recreational reading.
12 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 13
Reviews of Literature Chris Carlin | 1984 1984 | Chris Carlin Reviews of Literature
George Orwell’s 1984, a dystopian as a result of public pressure over contro- exposed to on a daily basis, to where has
novel first published in 1949, became an versial content, as with the case of the privacy been relegated these days?
iconic piece of literature in a time before ISP, Institute for Global Communications
computers. Now, over six decades of taking down the controversial website, An entire article can be written on the
technological and media innovations later, Euskal Herria Journal (CNET News, many ways our privacy is being violated
Orwell’s commentary on the importance 1997). This opening for censorship, online and offline, but the central point
of language, the control of information however, has caused debate about who (if remains unchanging. The more privacy is
and the plight of intrusion retains its value. anybody) should be trusted as the gate- invaded, the less we are free to our own
keepers of Web content. thoughts. Whether it’s by The Orwellian
A cornerstone of 1984 was the manipu- Thought Police, or the prying eyes of your
lation of language. In the novel, a new A lack of information is not the only peers, our ability to experience what is
language called Newspeak was being problem our culture faces. This brings me now deemed acceptable will always be
eased into public use. One of the goals to surveillance. One of the most stressed compromised when privacy is
of Newspeak was to limit the potential trials of the populace (the Outer Party not permitted.
of novel thought within the Party. In his members, in particular) in 1984 is the
essay on the principles of Newspeak constant, invasive surveillance they are The lessons of 1984 are applicable so long
(1949), Orwell states that a conse- subjected to by Big Brother. This problem as we depend on power and information,
quence of replacing Oldspeak (English) presents an interesting situation, as Big because the problems addressed in the
completely with Newspeak would make Brother has taken a much different shape novel deal with the fundamental elements
thoughts diverging from the principles of in the information age. in society. Reading this classic should, at
the government “literally unthinkable, at very least, spark an important conversa-
least so far as thought is dependent MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, when tion about how to best navigate our way
on words.” participating in a satirical sketch about through the Information Age. We needn’t
Chat Roulette (a video chat website with live in an Orwellian nightmare to appre-
Though not threatened with the emer- The control of information was crucial in in what information is accessible to the randomly paired participants) with Jon ciate the freedoms that we, unlike those in
gence of Newspeak, our language has maintaining power. This perfectly illus- public. A study of Google’s 2010 feature, Stewart, claimed that we have become Big 1984, enjoy.
been subjected to moulding to meet the trates the need for an unfettered flow of Transparency Report shows how many Brother. He was more accurate than his
concision demands on mediums such as information, and runs directly into the government requests for user data and satire might have intended, as the internet reFerenCed MaterIaL
Twitter or instant messaging. The internet issue of censorship on the Internet. removal of content (both court-ordered has opened doors to phenomenal invasions
is not the first form of media to have and otherwise) have been made in recent of privacy by fellow citizens. Chomsky, N. (1992). Manufacturing
such demands. Noam Chomsky criti- Thanks to this new platform, information times. Along with this, you can find charts Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
cized the model of speech on radio and in our society can be a simple Google depicting the traffic flow to Google’s A moment should be taken to consider [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.
television for having to meet the “condi- search away. Any public figure who says services from countries worldwide. the fact that the average phone these days youtube.com/watch?v=3cceC3DeFcY.
tion of concision” in his documentary, anything in the presence of recording Within this feature, you can find trends has a built in camera and the means to
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky equipment has, for the most part, etched such as the sharp decline of traffic to upload images and videos on the internet. IGC Takes Down Basque Site (1997,
and the Media (1992). Both examples those words in stone. Websites such as YouTube in Iran since the dispute of their Webcams can record video and audio with July). CNET News. Retrieved from
show how language and thought need to YouTube are filled with videos of political recent elections took place. considerable discretion, adding to the http://news.cnet.com/IGC-takes-down-
be compressed for timely consumption, interviews, speeches, and debates, from already robust repertoire of surveillance Basque-site/2100-1033_3-201608.
even at the expense of novelty and clarity. which any amateur video maker can (and In recent years, there has been an outcry equipment previously in existence. With a html?tag=mncol.
many do) check these public figures for to make Net Neutrality a principle viewing platform like the internet, videos
Along with language and thought, Big consistency in their message. opposing the ability of Internet Service can and have been replicated and spread Orwell, G. (1949). 1984. London: Secker
Brother also exercised control over infor- Providers (ISPs) to limit or block access from website to website (go viral) in days. and Warburg.
mation. It was the government’s standard However, the free flow of information to web content legally enforceable. Cases When considering how many lenses and
practise to rewrite incorrect predictions on the internet is undergoing a constant of voluntary ISP censorship have noted microphones you may unwittingly be
made by Big Brother in order to make siege. Governments around the world have throughout the history of the internet.
them consistent with how events unfolded. one thing in common — a keen interest Usually, these cases involved censorship
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Reviews of Literature Brandon Rushton | Short Stories: Who Reads Them Short Stories: Who Reads Them | Brandon Rushton Reviews of Literature
Short Stories: Who Reads Them?
What used to be a venue for writers to attempt to explain the art of writing, but literary great. His story appears almost and action written focuses towards one
begin their literary careers is now a dying only Atwood can sum it up perfectly into directly in the middle of a novel in which final conclusion that just may mistakenly
art form. Today’s readers especially, four pages, that leave the reader feeling as he illustrates the fall of an advertising surprise a few readers.
crave satisfaction from what they read; if the author knows them and their motives company. The story itself is about a
a satisfaction that apparently cannot be
attained through reading short fiction.
for writing personally. woman’s struggle with confronting breast
cancer. Though this seems out of place, the 4. ThE hEaDlESS hoRSEMaN
By Margaret atWood
It appears that no one appreciates short
stories anymore. 2. ThE ThINgS To Do aND ThE
PlaCE To BE By JosHua
FerrIs (FroM tHe noveL ThEN
story, which can stand on its own, compli-
ments the novel very well. Ferris uses the
pause in his novel to enhance the reader’s
Though it is cliché to have two stories
by the same author in a list of favourites,
Sadly, it is common knowledge that only WE CaME To ThE END) knowledge of its characters and to give a it has to be done. Atwood is simply that
writers read short stories. This is because glimpse into the moral. The Things to Do inspirational. This story was published in
short fiction is short, and that obvious Joshua Ferris is an up-and-coming writer and the Places to Be is a fantastic example a collection of linked stories that together,
fact turns people off them, some might with enormous potential to become a of how short fiction can work effectively formulate Moral Disorder. The collec-
even grimace. Readers require some alongside novels. tion follows one character through her
kind of pull-factor that a novel provides; adolescence and adult life. The flashbacks
The Tent, is simply one of the best pieces ever written about writing — period.
something that draws them in, like an
adventurous storyline or an intricate
character. They fail to see the pull-factor and hated for their open, and sometimes necessary. This is an art form in itself that
and character descriptions in the story
set it apart from the collection, in that it
teaches the reader all there is to know
in short fiction because they either end abrupt, endings. Famed by writers and writers appreciate and yearn to duplicate. Carver about the characters. Encompassing an
too quickly or seemingly never begin. hated by mostly everyone else. If a story entire novel’s knowledge into one story is
Comparing a short story to a novel is ends with the reader wanting more or If more people began appreciating the Sometimes, before something few writers can accomplish.
much like comparing a painting to a film. asking questions about what happens words as much as the story itself, the reading this story,
Most people do not understand paintings
because they are not moving to tell them a
story; they are simply hung on a wall to be
next, then the author has done their job in
keeping them interested. On occasions like
these, it is important for the reader to tip
genre of short fiction would blossom
again. Although this seems simple enough
for readers to do, I believe that writers will
I feel it necessary
for a drink. It is one
of those stories that
5. SlIghT REBEllIoN off
MaDISoN By J.d. saLInger
taken in. The same disinterest for objec- their hats to the author for a job well done. continue to have an audience of purely is probably better The incredibly under-rated story that
That is something writers for a long time to come. But hey, at understood in a debuted Salinger’s, (and one of modern
The swimmer is a masterpiece of fiction.
that people have least we still have each other. state of wonder. literature’s), most intricate characters,
todays readers esPeCIaLLy, seemingly forgotten The story follows a Holden Caulfield, is a pre-coming of
Crave satIsFaCtIon to do. Nothing compares to getting lost in collec-
tions of Atwood or Salinger, and even
man on his venture
to swim across the
age story for Catcher in the Rye. It is
obvious, after reading this story, why
FroM WHat tHey read; What most people though interest in them is declining, short county through Caulfield needed a larger outlet, as he
a satIsFaCtIon tHat fail to see is the
craft in writing;
stories will always be, to me, one of the
most interesting of art forms.
truly embodied Salinger’s spirit. Standing
alone, Slight Rebellion Off Madison is
aPParentLy Cannot something that With uncount- an easy read about a teenager’s anguish
Be attaIned tHrougH writers respect and
take very seriously.
The following is a list of my top five
favourite short stories, in order:
able amounts of
conforming to an early adult life. Stories
like this will continue to be written, but
sHort FICtIon. Writers are aware and foreshadowing, Salinger’s will always be one of the first
tivity can be applied to writing. Readers
that short stories
are structured to
have no extra words, information, or room
1. ThE TENT By
The Swimmer is
a masterpiece of
fiction that cannot
and best. Oh yea, and did I mention it
debuted Holden Caulfield?
want to be told a story without thinking for mistake. They are chiseled down to The Tent, is simply one of the best pieces be duplicated. Like
for themselves. a short polished version that gleams one ever written about writing — period. The the movement of a
specific moral or lesson which can be abstract story describes why writers write, train, every word
The length poses another glaring problem as simple or intricate as the writer feels in a way that only the creative genius This is an art form in itself that writers appreciate
for readers. Short stories are both famed of Margaret Atwood can. Many experts and yearn to duplicate.
16 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 17
Reviews of Literature Joshua Bernier | Top Ten Favorite Children’s Stories Top Ten Favorite Children’s Stories | Joshua Bernier Reviews of Literature
Top Ten Favorite Children’s Stories
10. ThE hoCKEy SWEaTER
By roCH CarrIe
fish is the most
beautiful fish in the
sea, but eventually
misbehaving, is sent to his room without
dinner. Being ever so imaginative, Max
goes on an adventure to an imaginary land
It’s now this story was turned into a movie
loving something or someone enough to
give up everything… and it all starts with
the line, “Once there was a tree…”
The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier is
the story of a young boy living in small-
town Quebec and is a true Canadian
his vanity makes
the other fish avoid
him. After some
where the wild things are. Max becomes
their king but soon misses being around
those that love him, so he makes the
3. ThE gIVINg TREE By
2. every story ever
WrItten By dr. seuss
classic. When the boy gets the wrong guidance from trip back to his room where he finds his “Once there was a tree…” No story on
hockey teams jersey in the mail, he’s a wise octopus supper… “and it was still hot.” this list has a greater opening line than How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The
forced to wear a Maple Leafs jersey in a the rainbow fish that of Shel Silversteins masterpiece. It’s a Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton
town of Montreal Canadians. As a result
he faces some hard times. During a game,
he’s kicked out for unsportsmanlike
decides to give
away all his shiny
4. ClouDy WITh a ChaNCE
of MEaTBallS By
powerful story of love and altruism kicked Hears a Who, Yertle the Turtle, The Cat in
conduct. It’s effective that this children’s so that every fish Just Lay BaCK and ease Into tHe Fun,
story doesn’t have a happy ending. The
boy is still stuck with the jersey but
could be beau-
tiful. Here Marcus
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the
story of the greatest tall tale of all time,
rHyMes and HaPPy rePetItIon.
somehow it all seems to fit. This story is a Pfister is giving about a town named Chewandswallow off with such a beautiful and simple line. the Hat, If I Ran the Zoo, Oh the Places
must-read for hockey loving Canadians. the message that where the weather would bring the town's For those who haven’t read this classic, You’ll Go, and And to Think That I Saw
vanity is wrong and food. Sometimes it would rain soup and The Giving Tree tells the story of a tree It On Mulberry Street… Are you kidding
9. alExaNDER aND ThE
No gooD, VERy BaD Day By
we should share what we have with the
Munsch is a fantastic story teller and this
is one of his best. Parents, don’t let your
kids near markers.
juice, or snow mashed potatoes and peas.
Could you imagine an ice cream cold
front? This was a regular bedtime story in
that strips itself down to nothing, giving
everything it has just to see a boy happy.
Now looking past the odd floral love
me, it would be so easy to make a list of
the top ten Dr. Seuss stories of all time,
but that would leave out so many great
Everybody has bad days but Alexander’s
7. PuRPlE, gREEN aND
roBert MunsCH 6. gooD NIghT MooN By
Margaret WIse BroWn
my house and with good reason… it’s fun. between the two, this is a story about stories that deserve recognition. Suess is
a legend and the finest children’s writer to
ever live. The Dr. Seuss anthology takes
was the worst and he knew it. I really number two in the top ten greatest chil-
like this story because it’s so relatable; Purple, Green and Yellow is better The right person with the right soft voice dren’s stories.
each page brings a new problem some- described as a cautionary tale than a reading Good Night Moon while you’re
thing new that the reader has undoubtedly
gone through at one point or another. I
mean on a bad day who hasn’t just threw
children’s story. It’s about Brigid, a very
young and artistic girl who convinces her
mother to buy her special super-indelible-
sipping on warm milk and honey is the
perfect way for any youngster to drift off
to sleep. Just lay back and ease into the
1. loVE you foREVER
By roBert MunsCH
never-come-off- fun rhymes and happy repetition. The greatest children’s story of all time,
a true CanadIan CLassIC. till-you’re-dead- Love You Forever has the rare ability to
up their hands and decided to move to
markers. Brigid colours her whole body
5. WhERE ThE WIlD ThINgS
aRE By MaurICe sendaK
make the reader both laugh and cry, all the
while reflecting on their own relationship
with their mother. Still to this day I keep
Australia? Ray Cruz does a great job with with the markers and like their name says, Few stories on this list have achieved a copy next to my bed, just incase I need
the illustrations, choosing to colour only it doesn’t come off. After taking special the mass following of Maurice Sendak’s a quick but good read. It’s a story about a
Alexander to set him apart from the world pills Brigid takes a bath, and not only Where The Wild Things Are. At nine mother and son as it follows their relation-
around him. washes the colours off but everything else sentences long, this “children’s story” ship through the years. While not the most
too. Now invisible, Brigid decides she has inspired both an opera and a full- popular title on this list, I double dog dare
8. ThE RaINBoW fISh By
will simply have to color herself in with
markers every day for the rest of her life.
length feature film (which I love). It’s the
story of Max, a young boy, who, after
you to pick it up, give it a read and then
tell me it’s not the best.
The Rainbow Fish is a wonderful story
that is only enhanced by the shiny foil a reguLar BedtIMe story In My House
scales that make it fun too. The rainbow and WItH good reason.
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Reviews of Literature Alex Aksentyev | Synthetic Serendipity Synthetic Serendipity | Alex Aksentyev Reviews of Literature
It is almost dawn, Wednesday, 7:00AM. cost of emotional connection. Observing common excuse for sloppy language is available to the public is unedited. Even
The lights of Manhattan are still on. body language, hearing each other's that it doesn’t matter, as long as the idea valid research resources on professional
Buildings and billboards flash with adver- voice, and making eye contact heighten is communicated as quickly as possible. sites succumb to embarrassing typo-
tisements and electric colour patterns. 42nd the emotional connection in face-to-face However, this effect of “Internet-speak” graphic and language errors. In this age
Street is filled with honking cars. On the communication. Nevertheless, we embrace has started to leak into everyday life. of information and shiny new technology,
streets, people are rushing to the nearest our future as a cyber-civilization. language is derelict. Our digitalization of
commute station, pursuing another day of Examples of seemingly professional communication, while fast, is contributing
work. Some have blurry thumbs hovering The anticipation of meeting with friends individuals shirking correct grammar for to the decline in literacy.
over their texting pads; some are speaking or family makes the conversation more convenience are increasingly apparent
on their Bluetooth devices; others are enlivening. After immigrating to Canada, in workplace environments. The English In his book You Are Not a Gadget: A
entranced by the music playing in their Manifesto, Jaron Lanier, a web pioneer,
earbuds. Like perfunctory parts of a joint states: “The most important thing about
mechanism, each person plays their part, a dIgItaLIzIng BooKs, BotH aCadeMIC technology is how it changes people.” All
tiny cog in the master engine. and reCreatIonaL, WILL CHange our of the aforementioned technologies have
undoubtedly affected humanity. But what
This casual stroll through New York readIng HaBIts. then can we say? Do the benefits we reap
City during the morning rush hour is The digitalization also applies to how we communicate with one another effectively compensate for the damage we
enough to show how disconnected we choose to ignore?
have become. We are detached from each developments in technology become details, omitting the other information I had to exchange hand-written letters by language consists of more than one
other, the world we live in, and, most outdated within a few years? that the author took care to write. It takes the post with my old friends from Ukraine. million words. While not all of them can It seems that most of us prefer convenient
importantly, ourselves. away from the immersive experience of We did not have internet access, so the be memorized, proper use of the most and brief conversations, and are willing to
Joanne Smith has worked at the Ottawa the printed pages that once held all of anticipation of receiving their reply made common everyday words is an old-world neglect the human necessity of face-to-
Technology has become an essential part Public Library for 26 years. “The change mankind’s literature. Constant distrac- our conversations more exciting, despite courtesy that I respect in our modern age. face communication. It is our emotions
of existence in the developed world. It is apparent,” she says, looking at her tions on-screen make the imagined world the three-week wait. The experience and our unique thought process that makes
is a creation that some hate, but submit would not be the same if it were digital. Containing unfathomable amounts of us what we are.
to because of the developed world’s information, the Internet is the ultimate
dependency on it. It provides communica- teCHnoLogy Has BeCoMe an Total disregard of proper grammar is an resource for reference and research. Regardless of how infinite the knowledge
tion, transportation and — can it be? — essentIaL Part oF exIstenCe In tHe emerging trend from the Internet. The However, the majority of the content of the human race is, without emotion,
literacy. The engine is running, and there thought, and language we become
is no slowing down. deveLoPed WorLd. machine-like, working our way towards a
foggy, unforeseeable future. We become
Over the last two decades, there has been clasped hands as we walk through the our mind creates little more than a list addicts of the ever-advancing world with
a growing neglect of authenticity. The towering bookshelves. The 56-year-old of facts. Beautiful descriptions become technology as our narcotic.
concern applies to every aspect of our does not see many adolescents using simple words, devoid of emotion. While
digitalized life. the library anymore. “I was always digital resources can act as a supplement We must explore and make the most of
passionate about reading. I guess that to research, they simply cannot replace a the beauty of not only our language but
The Cushing Academy in Boston has is why I decided to work here. Being classic book. also our inner selves, for nothing makes
recently emptied its library collection around books is a wonderful feeling. It's the heart leap more than something that is
of over 20, 000 books. “When I look at like being surrounded by the collective This digitalization also applies to how we deep, meaningful and real.
books, I see outdated technology, like human knowledge. You don't get that with communicate with one another.
scrolls before books. The future is digital,” the Internet.”
says the Academy's Headmaster, James When I inquired on an online discussion
Tracy. The Cushing Academy has made Digitalizing books, both academic and board which form of communication
a first step towards that future. However, recreational, will change our reading people prefer, many people picked e-mail
is it correct to say that the technology of habits. When we read text on the screen, and instant messaging. The internet offers Digital resources cannot replace a classic book —
printed books is outdated when our recent our minds only pick out important convenience and the ability to edit, at the but they will change reading habits
20 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 21
Craft of Writing Krystal Roy | In Defence Of Genre In Defence Of Genre | Krystal Roy Craft of Writing
In Defence of Genre
People stereotype one another over just the social conven- Hood are advantageous for presenting
about anything. They stereotype based on tions, politics or cautions and lessons to children without
clothing brands, television choices, music individuals of inflicting unnecessary paranoia. “Don’t
preferences and even whether one prefers the time. talk to strangers,” “some people want to
Mac or PC. The Pepsi versus Coke debate, hurt you” and “listen to your parents when
anyone? Everyone — especially when Call of the Wild, they tell you to be careful” are important
clustered into one or more of these groups Frankenstein, things for children to know, but it is better
— knows how irritating preconceptions Lord of the Rings, for these lessons to be taught in a context
can be and how false. But people continue The Chronicles of that children can understand and relate
to do it, despite being proven wrong time Narnia and Animal to — where they can make the connec-
and time again. When they discover a Farm all contain — tion themselves. Is Little Red Riding Hood
unique individual, that person becomes or else are driven any less valuable because it is unrealistic
an exception to the rule. And, from the by — elements of in the sense that one of the characters is a
standpoint of a writer, some of the most fantasy, but the talking wolf or because Little Red could
frustrating stereotypes are the ones people fantastical is used not recognize her own grandmother as the
place on genres. to state significant wolf in disguise?
contemporary, social, political and reli- book, it can be disheartening and, in the
Whenever I recommend a book to a gious ideals. worst-case scenario, can create an aver- It is sad to think that people may never
friend, I dread the question: “What genre sion to that genre. As a solution, I recom- pick up their favourite book purely
is it from?” People get so unnecessarily War of the Worlds, Brave New World and mend researching the lesser-known novels because they stereotype and avoid the
hung up on the genres. Yes, sometimes Neuromancer are not only classics, but within a genre — there are treasures to genre to which it belongs. I believe that
there are formulas involved in the writing also deeply rooted in science fiction and be found! any honest reader has an obligation to be
process, but to group every novel written aware of the true natures of the genres
into certain categories for these few is a If it is fiction and a responsibility to consider each book
feigned claim of elitism. Nobody likes a
IF It Is FICtIon anyWay, WHy anyway, why does — not by the author, cover illustration or
know-it-all, especially when that person does tHe settIng Matter? the setting matter? genre — but as time sacrificed by a fellow
does not know half the story… or stories, human for the entertainment of another.
as the case may be. Even worse is the Werewolves have
person who has a prejudice without actu- the future-yet-to-come. Margaret Atwood been metaphors for the difficult changes You do not have to like everything, and
ally having read anything from that genre. writes books of a similar fancy. However, of pubescence; science fiction genocide yet you should not be so careless as to
In addition, there are thousands of books; these works make us think and reflect on can hold a candle to real-world wars; dislike everything either. So the next time
just because the first hundred are similar ourselves and on the world around us; that and zombies can represent our fear of the people tell you that a particular genre is
does not mean the next one will be. is what makes them literary. unknown and our fear of losing control. garbage, remember to check their cred-
We want to separate ourselves far enough ibility and ask them: “Have you read every
Look at literary fiction: how much of it Then, of course, there are novels that are from certain issues, situations that are book ever written in that section?” because
is strictly literary fiction? This goes into purely for entertainment. Readers are able better depicted in a fictional context, no one person can decide whether a genre
the realm of genres upon subgenres upon to relate individually. If they cannot — or but can still teach us something about is good, bad or valid.
subgenres, but very few classics are fiction cannot learn to understand the perspec- ourselves and mankind’s collective beliefs
alone. These books are not criticized tive of the characters — then it becomes and fears. What is the harm in entertain-
because of the other genres they envelope, a negative on their reading list. However, ment when it is entirely subjective?
but are appreciated for their relevance to that does not make the genre it belonged
to a terrible one. For anyone who has Though not considered literary fiction,
had such an experience with a particular fables and folktales like Little Red Riding
24 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 25
Craft of Writing Kristen Nelson | Why Do We Write Why Do We Write | Kristen Nelson Craft of Writing
Why Do We Write?
To begin to answer the question, you through the entire application process.
would have to understand that there could Being tested, assessed and submitted for
be no answer at all. No one could tell critique was a first and uncomfortable
you why twenty students have chosen to experience for many of us. Waiting for
tread the path of a professional writer. In acceptance was near ulcer-inducing but
two school years, roughly 15 months, we when the envelope arrived and it was
lost more than half our starting number. confirmed that we made it, the price of
We wove into tight knots of confidants the antacids was justified. That first nod
that helped us refine our craft or create of approval made us eager for more. Who
inspiration. Sometimes we even thought else might accept us? Who else might see
that it was hopeless and we’d never catch merit in our minds and craft?
up. A few of us can say that blood, sweat
and tears actually went into our assign- On the first day of class we may have
ments. That’s what it’s really all about. had some skills but now, three semesters
Good writing is trial and error, using all of in, we have tools. Our professors have
the right tools and hard work. You have to boosted us up to peer through the windows
take risks and play by the rules at the same into the working world and told us all of
time. Oh, and you have to learn to ditch the cautionary tales. We know it won’t be
all those tired old clichés. easy. Nothing but long hours, thick skins Some of us want to be novelists, playwrights, and short story writers.
All of us chose to learn about the world of the working writer for different reasons. and a willingness to keep trying will build
All of us chose to learn about the world of our careers. For those of us who want full more enviable contacts than we could government, and experience a more struc-
the working writer for different reasons. full time employment hard to secure it full support of their family and friends. time work, it is there for us. For those ever have expected, people who want to tured environment. There are a few who
For some, it was a second choice, one seemed like the perfect time to go back to The extensive list of broad job types and who need a bit more guidance on the see us succeed. We all have dreams and want to live as freelancers. All of these
school. At least one opportunities on the program brochure way to their career, it is there. We have most of them are still vivid and vibrant. aspirations are immensely possible. We
LearnIng aBout tHe of us wanted the helped smooth away some of the doubt. Some of us want now know that careers in writing aren’t
right to continue Writers are thought to be a little preoc- tHat FIrst nod oF aPProvaL to be novelists, only built on luck or rare genius.
PrograM, and aLL oF tHe declaring himself cupied with the dreaming aspect of goals playwrights, and
Made us eager For More.
PossIBLe JoBs We CouLd Be a grammarian by so some student's parents and friends were short story writers. Electrified with possibilities, we are
having the training just happy to see some action taking place. WHo eLse MIgHt aCCePt us? Others want to assembling this magazine. It is our hope
equIPPed For aFterWards, and credentials to Some prospective writers had to over- get in with the that it will stand as a testament to every-
Was surPrIsIng In tHe Most back up his state-
ment. Some pupils
come the gentle scepticism of parents who
were ready for their offspring to be out
thing we have learned in the Professional
Writing program. We know that it will
deLIgHtFuL Way. always knew that in the world forging ahead in life instead showcase our talents and hopefully it
their careers would of heading back to the classroom. Some will entertain. Perhaps instead of telling
have to do with roads stretch longer and have more bends you why we have chosen to write instead
more layer of education to drape over writing, in some capacity or another. It just than anyone can see. of becoming doctors, window makers,
university degrees. Some had no idea took a while to find the right place and the photographers, caretakers, teachers or
that there were so many opportunities right program at the right time. With the task of making a decision over, anything else, you can simply read on.
out there for someone who loved to play there were the nerves that prickled us Find out for yourself.
with words. Gaining support
proved to be a To my fellow 2011 graduates of the
Learning about the program, and all of formidable hurdle.
notHIng But Long Professional Writing program at
the possible jobs we could be equipped Most of the writers Hours, tHICK sKIns and a Algonquin College: never settle on a
for afterwards, was surprising in the in this graduating single reason to write. Please find a new
most delightful way. For others, with the class were fortunate
WILLIngness to KeeP tryIng reason every day.
economy in such a battered condition and enough to have the WILL BuILd our Careers. On the first day of class we may have had some skills but now we have tools
26 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 27
The Real World Kathleen Henry | Tips In The Back Tips In The Back | Kathleen Henry The Real World
Tips in the Back
HoW tHe LaWs surroundIng on November 10th, D faces the prospect daughter is my pimp,” she jokes, while last attempt at even partial decriminaliza-
sex WorK aFFeCt of being arrested simply for being present curling her hair. tion — the Fraser Report 25 years ago —
‘FrInge’ WorKers and employed. According to Stephanie D can hardly be blamed for her caution.
Sturdy’s 1997 essay on prostitution in It’s not the most ideal way to support a According to the National Post’s article
When Judge Susan Himel struck down Canada, police don’t actually need proof family but D has few other choices. “If on October 24, 2010, the Justice Minister
Ontario’s prostitution laws, it did not of illegal activity in a massage parlour someone would point me to a job that I at the time, Progressive Conservative
clear up the confusion in every sex to raid it. could get without a high school diploma John Crosbie, not only “flatly refused”
worker’s life. that would pay as well, I’d drop this one to consider decriminalization, he insti-
A reputation of having “indecent acts” in an instant.” As she looks up at me from tuted the “communications for the
'D' does not fit the stereotype of a ‘fringe’ occur is enough — and police often raid her biology textbook, D explains that she purposes” law.
sex worker. She doesn’t walk the streets to satisfy public complaints. If charges are attends an adult high school on her days
picking up tricks, work and live out of a laid at all they are usually dropped before off and saves money in an RESP every Crosbie’s changes bear some resem-
medieval brothel or travel the city as an they get to court, but in the meantime, month for her daughter. blance to the current federal government’s
escort. She works at a massage parlour the damage to a woman’s reputation has attempt to ban the erotic services section
and does nothing more serious than give a been done. An arrest for prostitution — The usual concerns do not worry D. She of craigslist.ca. Some people in the
hand job for her pay. even with dropped charges — can be does not agree that decriminalization industry wonder if the federal government
enough for most employers to select a could mean a huge boom in the sex trade isn’t hedging their bets.
“It’s safer,” says D. “I’ve got a one-year- different applicant. industry, or that she’ll therefore have more
old at home. I can’t afford to pick up competition to deal with. “[Full service] “There might be some hope there, after
some disease or get beaten up at some D is safe from being charged with commu- isn’t why people come to see me. They all,” D says, grinning, because ignoring
psycho’s apartment.” walls are a pale blue and punctuated with relates a few stories about previous clients nicating since she includes the cost of a want a massage, not a whore.” the Fraser Report has taught us that the
sea-side frescos. The room smells of that range from amusing — “I had to ask hand job in her prices. She “charges” for current laws aren’t working and it might
Although she dresses in low-cost fash- incense, and the radio plays a love song on ‘wasn’t your name Tim last time I saw her time and state of undress, but even Even if prostitution does get decriminal- be time to try something different. “It’s
ions and, she says, “kills” her hair with 105.3 KISS FM. you?’ ” — to disturbing — “He asked if I with these precautions she and all her ized, D won’t be doing full service, which strange but the greatest thing about all this
treatments and bleaches, D knows three would sit on his lap like a little girl.” co-workers could be arrested anyway. is intercourse of any kind or other extras. would be filing my income tax. I’d love to
languages and has something to say about Until September 27th 2010 when Judge Every member of her family except her “[Doing full service is] just stupid.” be able to do that.”
any subject you would care to pick. She Himel repealed the prostitution laws, Still, the job has its dangers. Like the baby daughter is already guilty of living D does admit that it would be nice not
laughs a lot. All in all, she’s a beautiful, D was a criminal who hadn’t yet been massage practitioners arrested in Gatineau off the benefits of prostitution. “My to have to worry about cops on top of Is that so much to ask?
vibrant young woman. caught. She still might be. everything else: her family finding out,
or a client trashing her reputation to other
D’s place of work is a tastefully decorated Although prostitution has never been potential clients.
massage spa in Ottawa’s West end. The illegal in Canada, three laws prohibited
prostitution-related activities: commu- The federal government has appealed
untIL sePteMBer nicating for the purposes of prostitution, Himel’s ruling, and the 30-day stay has
27tH oF tHIs year running a bawdy house, and living off
the avails. Those laws were purportedly
been extended to April 29th, 2011, at the
earliest. Until there is a final decision, it
WHen Judge HIMeL intended to protect prostitutes from pimps is still unclear whether the laws will be
rePeaLed tHe and madams and get them off the streets
— and out of the public eye.
repealed, and changed or remain as they
are. “It just means it’s business as usual,”
ProstItutIon LaWs, D says. “I’ll wait until I know it’s decrimi-
d Was a CrIMInaL Of all the permutations of prostitution,
D’s job is the least dangerous. Without
nalized before celebrating.”
WHo Hadn’t yet working the streets, the chances of being Facts about the on-going status of the
Been CaugHt. sHe arrested are low, and working in a studio
provides a measure of protection against
appeal are hard to find. Conservative
Members of Parliament are not quick to
stILL MIgHt Be potentially violent clients. Still, she reply to inquiries. Given the results of the
30 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 31
The Real World Heather Kerr | The Evolution Of Conversing The Evolution Of Conversing | Heather Kerr The Real World
The Evolution of Conversing
“Do you know how late I was up last night promotes multi-tasking. The Internet is clearly has some refinement of speech
studying for this stupid test?” here to stay. tHose WHo patterns to do.
It’s not a sentence that’s particularly out of The dictionary definition of evolution, as
regIster WHat The bottom line is that the way people
place in any high school or post-secondary pertains to biology, is a “change in the a Fast-taLKIng converse is a direct response to the
institution across North America. Along
with it are phrases such as, “What are you
gene pool of a population from generation
to generation by such processes as muta-
MuMBLer Is environment in which they live. Those in
older generations may very well say that
doing after this test?” and, “What do you tion, natural selection, and genetic drift.” sayIng tHe FIrst the younger generation is butchering the
think will be on it?” Taking it one step further, the definition
of natural selection is “the process by
tIMe around not language, but the plain and simple truth
is that the younger generation exists in a
Once upon a time, conversations began which forms of life having traits that better onLy Have good social sphere that their parents and grand-
with a greeting, were followed by insig-
nificant chitchat (especially about the
enable them to adapt to specific environ-
mental pressures… will tend to survive.”
HearIng, But are parents would have difficulty grasping.
weather, if you’re Canadian), and only It isn’t that big of a stretch to apply this CLearLy taKIng This brings us back to the original ques-
after these pleasantries, you dove into
the deeper issues. Today, however, all
entire concept to conversation, and see
quite clearly how greeting with a question,
tHe tIMe to Pay tion: Does this form of communication
represent a step forward in the evolution of
three of the above sentences are viewed speaking quickly, and enunciating poorly attentIon to conversing, or a mighty step back? Much
as perfectly acceptable ways to begin a
conversation. As if being greeted with a
became commonplace. WHat Is CoMIng like Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals, the
answer seems to be more of a step to the
question isn’t change enough from the Greeting with a question falls under out oF tHat side. Deep and intellectual conversations
conversing style of your parents and
grandparents, these questions will now be
the rapid-fire nature of modern social
media: I want to know this, you tell me
Person’s MoutH have their place, as does the point-and-
shoot method of conversation spawned by
thrown in your direction at twice the speed the answer, I now know. While it is not a faster, more connected world. Perhaps
and half the enunciation. The real ques- a form of interaction for those who wish without its side-effects. Speaking quickly the true test of evolution is to wait and see
tion is: does this form of communication effective. You wanted an apple, your their heads in recent years and sigh that to savour and cherish every conversation and enunciating poorly frustrate many if these two forms of conversation will
represent a step forward in the evolution friend was closer to the apple than you, the English language is devolving? in their day, it allows basic information parents and co-workers, but as frustrating continue to exist side by side.
of conversing, or a mighty step back? you pointed and grunted, and your friend to trade hands quickly. It is not, however, as they may be, these speech patterns are
passed you the apple (unless said friend With a highly practised motion, many not unredeemable. If
In the days before “once upon a time,” was feeling peevish that day, at which hands will point unswervingly towards anything, those who
when Homo Sapiens were still evolving point all bets are off). Over thousands of the Internet. The Internet is always getting register what a fast-
and Neanderthals still walked the earth, years, distinct sounds became associated faster and faster. The Internet doesn’t talking mumbler is
there was grunting and pointing. It was with specific objects, and soon concepts have any method of insisting on proper saying the first time
simple, straightforward, and overall fairly started receiving their own noises as grammatical usage. The Internet demands around not only
well. Language was born, but by no immediate answers, and encourages have good hearing,
you Wanted an means was it finished its growth. As time short attention spans in those who use but are clearly
continued, the Art of Conversation began it. The Internet is highly addictive, and taking the time to
aPPLe, your FrIend to emerge. Word-play, metaphor, and takes people’s attention away from real pay attention to
Was CLoser to tHe subtext all became recognized additions to life. The Internet isolates people. The what is coming out
both the written and spoken word. Witty Internet connects people. The Internet of that person’s
aPPLe tHan you, banter was enjoyed by participators and is being used more and more by major mouth. On the
you PoInted and listeners alike. It seemed, for all intents businesses, companies, and stores. The flip-side, if no one
and purposes, that the Art of Conversation Internet delivers rapid-fire information and can make out what
grunted, and your could only continue to improve. So why, the fast-talking
FrIend Passed you then, have many people begun to shake mumbler is saying,
32 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 33
The Real World Carly Askin | The Basics Of Housekeeping The Basics Of Housekeeping | Carly Askin The Real World
The Basics of Housekeeping
You’re travelling on work-related busi- mostly occupied rooms, it’s going to be a of the guest’s belongings. I, however, look and leave the service area with my cart. I
ness. You arrive at your hotel pretty long day. at occupied rooms with a less optimistic end up in the hall; it’s completely silent.
late, check in, and fall asleep. The next view. Occupied rooms are the bane of my I push my cart an inch, and the wheels
morning, you wake up late. When you’re The first day I was on my own I was existence. I listen carefully for longer than squeak and glasses clank. I stop and look
finally ready to go to work, your clothes assigned eight rooms, the next day 10, necessary before knocking on the door of around, adjust the glasses slightly, and
are strewn across the room, you’ve made and so on. It was three weeks before I was an occupied room. Once I’m safely in the keep going, making my way to the first
a mess of the bathroom, and in scrambling assigned the standard 16 rooms. For the room, I clean in constant fear of the poten- occupied room on my list. First, I check
to figure out how to use the hotel coffee first few days I skipped my lunch break, tially awkward return of the guest while the peephole. Generally, if I can see light
maker, you’ve left a pretty big mess there working steadily for eight and a half I’m cleaning his or her toilet. in the room, I assume the guests inside
too. You leave without looking back at hours, still struggling and rushing through are already awake, and lightly press
your mess, but you know it’s there. my two last rooms. I went home every day My FavourIte Part my ear to the door to listen. Of course,
thinking, it’s not possible. It’s not possible hearing nothing could mean there’s no one
You arrive back at the hotel around five. to clean 16 rooms in eight hours. It was in aBout a CHeCKout there — or that those inside are asleep.
After a long day, all you really want to my fourth week, however, when I checked rooM Is tHat WHen Hearing a TV could mean that someone’s
do is relax and watch TV. You remember the last room off my list, looked at the inside watching it, or that it’s been left on.
the mess, but then you remember you’re time, and saw that I was finished half an It’s FInIsHed, It There’s really no way to tell other than
staying in a hotel! Sure enough, you open hour early. It was the same day I mastered LooKs aBsoLuteLy knocking. So I go for it.
your door, and it looks like a different the five-minute bed. I was stunned, and
room. Your bed is neatly made, as though figured I must have missed a room, so I PICture PerFeCt. “Good morning, housekeeping.” I hold my
you never slept in it. Your bathroom double-checked. No, it was all done, as if breath and hear shuffling from inside the
by magic. Since that day, I’ve never had a Assuming it’s afternoon, which is the room. “Come back later,” a disgruntled
problem finishing my rooms. checkout time, checkout rooms are easy to voice calls. I’m sure I’ve woken him up.
you reMeMBer tHe get into, less nerve-wracking, and infi- This is the worst part of the job, but my
Mess, But tHen very friendly until she started cleaning,
then she was all business. I stood in awe
into the housekeeping office. It’s absolute
havoc until one of the coordinators begins
Occupied and checkout rooms are exactly
what they sound like. Occupied rooms
nitely more satisfying to clean. I’ll take the
extra work over the anxiety attack any day.
shift starts at 7:45AM, and some of you are
going to get woken up.
you reMeMBer as she ran around, first making the ten- the daily meeting and tells us the statistics are said to be easier to clean for a few In a checkout room, the sheets need to be
you're stayIng In layer bed, then cleaning the bathroom, of the previous night. “We were at 100% changed, all amenities need to be replaced,
then finally dusting and vacuuming the last night.” Like every night, I think. For a I CLean In Constant and I like to pay a little extra attention to
a HoteL! entire room, all in under 25 minutes. hotel with more than 400 rooms, those are the general cleanliness of the room as it
I made sure to pick my jaw up off the pretty impressive stats. We’re then given Fear oF tHe will be a new guest staying, rather than
is clean and shiny with your toiletries ground before she noticed and cleaned our assignment sheets for the day, which PotentIaLLy someone who’s already stayed over. My
arranged neatly on the counter. Your it up. Far be it for me to make any more let us know which rooms we’ll be cleaning favourite part about cleaning a checkout
clothes are no longer strewn about, and not work for this woman. I watched her do and whether they’re occupied rooms aWKWard return room is that when
only is the coffee maker clean again, but this over and over for eight hours and or checkout rooms. I look at my sheet oF tHe guest WHILe it’s finished, it
all of your amenities have been filled. finally came to the conclusion, there’s no detailing the 16 rooms I’ll be cleaning. looks absolutely
way in hell I’m going to be able to do this. Whether I have mostly checkout rooms or I’M CLeanIng HIs or picture perfect.
Housekeeping is the biggest department in Her toILet.
most hotels. Housekeepers play a crucial
role in making the hotel run smoothly,
On my second day, she let me help. I
would take 20 minutes making the bed
I Made sure to reasons. First, you don’t have to change
So, I’ve been
assigned my rooms
but no one really knows much about how while she did everything else. After that, PICK My JaW uP the bed unless the guest has requested for the day, make
it works. I didn’t know anything about it
either, until I started working as one.
we’d move on to the next room where I
would take 20 minutes cleaning the bath-
oFF tHe ground fresh sheets. Remaking the bed rather
than stripping it and making it fresh
my way up to the
19th floor where
room while she did everything else. BeFore sHe can take between 30 seconds and a I’ll be working,
I was trained by a Romanian woman of
about 40. She’s small, and wears her hair Then she’d send me on break. At 7:45AM
notICed and few minutes, compared to six or seven
minutes. Second, there’s usually less
and pack my cart.
I check my watch;
slicked back in a neat ponytail. She was every morning, 40 housekeepers crowd CLeaned It uP. surface area that needs cleaning because it’s 8:15AM. I sigh
34 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 35
Features: Community Jessica Gatenby | Katie Bears Katie Bears | Jessica Gatenby Features: Community
A steady hum of a running motor fills the as they look at the piles of leopards, cats, simple giving of a teddy bear to mean so by example. She worked as a computer travelled through a low-income part of Fraser family decided that the next year
air as yellow arms turn white clouds of dogs, lions, ducks, bunnies and teddy much, but there could be no better way to technician and she used the predominantly town, and it was in this area that Katie they would do it all over again, but this
fluff. Yellow, green, red and blue lights bears that make up the latest addition to celebrate and remember such a gifted and dominated world as motivation to work gave away the first bear. "The first bear time with more bears. By the 2009 parade
cycle through, highlighting the soft Katie Bears, a charity started in memory wonderful spirit. harder and achieve more. She used her she gave away was to a little girl that was the Frasers had 18 bears, with just two
puffs of stuffing as they spin around like of their daughter, Katie. “That’s 160 of own behaviour to encourage others. Lynda standing on her dad’s shoulders and her donated by family members.
the inside of a washing machine. The them, we’ve still got 40 for the girls to Katie loved to read, Science Fiction believes that, “because everything came mom was standing right beside them,
giggles of a young child ring through stuff up,” the manager tells them, “and this and anything that was strange that most so easily to her she helped more people, they were just on their front porch. Katie In the spring of 2010, the bears started
the store; he stands in front of the one is for you, not to give away.” people would not like, but Katie just with relationships with encouragement walked up with this bear (and these bears pouring in. Within the first few months,
machine pointing at the cloud-shaped adored it. She always liked to help people for writing, with her fiancé who had ADD were huge), stuck it right in the dad’s their supply had grown to over 50 bears,
window watching as everything swirls She pulls out a white West Highland out, whether it was encouraging them to so bad there was no way that they figured face and gave it to the little girl. She just all donations. It was after the loss of
around. He looks back at his dad, his Terrier stuffed dog and hands it to Lynda; write a book, giving advice on relation- he would ever get into university, but started hugging it and immediately the Katie that everything started happening.
smile beaming, and it is like watching its white fur brings a soft focus to the ships, keeping the peace. Her dream when he went with her to Guelph and he got mom started to cry because they know, Normally it takes a lot of work to start up
a tennis match. The boy’s head swivels Katie Bears’ blue and red logo ironed on she was five was to buy land to build an into university. She was always there to they appreciated it. She knew as soon as a program, but to Ian and Lynda’s delight
from Dad to the machine. His little voice a white T-shirt. The dog’s name is Skittle, observatory and create a secret lab in the encourage everybody and keep everybody she gave away that first bear that that was with Katie Bears, it just happened.
grows louder as he alternates between a nickname given to their daughter Katie. basement in which she would cure all going. Maybe it is because of the way she the right thing to do.”
joy-filled laughter and screams of Love, with just a hint of moisture, is diseases. When Katie believed in some- was that she liked people, and she could The outpour of support and love astounds
utter delight. beaming from Lynda’s eyes. thing, she believed 150 percent, and once help people too easily that she was limited She ended up giving away four of the Katie’s mother, Lynda, “It’s unbeliev-
she decided, she would set out to convince being here. You can only help so many bears in the low-income area, the last of able how much people want to help.
“That’s a lot of teddy bears.” Ian and In August of 2009, at the age of 22, everyone else, knowing that everyone had people in your own little world.” which was to a handicapped adult in a Sometimes you tend to forget how many
Lynda Fraser look over at ten bags of Katie suffered from a blood clot in her to believe in something. wheelchair in the centre of town. When good people are in the world.” This year,
stuffed animals in the Fun Factory, a lung, which then resulted in a heart The first parade Katie took part in was her mother asked her why an adult, Katie donations helped Katie Bears purchase
teddy bear building store in the Kanata attack, but it is not her death that leaves Katie believed that you could do anything in 2008. The Frasers had five bears to replied that she looked like she needed 200 stuffed animals from the Kanata Fun
Wal-Mart. Their excitement is contagious its mark. Katie never intended for the no matter what anyone said and she led decorate their float. That year the parade a hug. After the parade had ended, the Factory. While the immediate support is
38 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 39
Features: Community Jessica Gatenby | Katie Bears The Next Step | Kaitlin Stuart Features: Community
The Next Step
astonishing, to simply meet Lynda and Ian try really hard to behave, or Katie would There’s the Teddy Bears That Care It first hit me in September 2010. It was into your skirt
and hear Katie’s story, it is impossible not be disappointed. Program that donates to children between the second week of my last year in the or pants, or a
to want to help. the ages of three and 13 who are dealing Professional Writing course, and our class shirt or sweater
“That was Katie, if you had a goal and with loss, injury, grief or trauma. They began discussing the one topic that had that is business-
Their love and charity is truly infectious wanted it then she wanted you to try the are a nation-wide program that provides been on everyone’s mind, but had been appropriate.
and their radiant spirits make you feel best you could and if you didn’t then she bears to hospitals, burn camps, fire- approached with much caution: gradu-
cherished and adored. Lynda states that, “I would be on your case about it.” Lynda houses, shelters, social workers, child ation. It was sooner than each of us had • How to act as
don’t travel without having two of them remembers. Katie’s legacy doesn’t just advocates, public safety agencies and expected — in fact, this was our last full an employee in
in the car, because you never know what change the lives of those who receive non-profit groups. There is Teddy Bears semester in class. Many of us are over- a professional
you’re going to come across. You could bears; it touches everyone connected to of Hope that was started after the 2004 whelmed as we are faced with a wide- setting: The best
come across somebody that just looks like that person. One year a family received tsunami in Asia. They started collecting range of emotions upon our last year of thing to do as a
they need one or you could come across a bear, and in return the child’s parents bears from Canadian children, and they post-secondary education. So as the year new employee
an accident where there is someone there brought in two bears. Later, the grand- currently donate to Cambodia, Sri Lanka, quickly passes us by, we are faced with in a professional
that could use it. Any kind of a situa- parents brought in two of their own. Guatemala, the Philippines, Afghanistan, many important questions for when we setting is to
tion, it doesn’t matter where you are. If Therefore, by giving away one bear, Katie Thailand and Uganda. finally land that first, post-graduation job. conduct yourself
you pay attention when you’re in public, Bears received four in return. in an appropriate
it’s amazing how many people look like There are programs that gather teddy • How to have a successful interview: manner. Phil
they need a hug. And people aren’t too Katie Bears is a way to connect people bears for hospitals, shelters and children in Dress code is always business-casual. Brosch, a long-
accepting of strangers coming up and who want to help those who could use it. need overseas. While most organizations Ensure that you know who is going to time government
giving them a hug, but most people are When she was younger, Katie would invite help children in obvious need, Katie’s be interviewing you and address them employee who
quite accepting of someone coming up and friends to talk to her parents about issues if legacy helps people of any age that just in a respectful manner. Finally, it is began in an
giving them a teddy bear.” they were not comfortable talking to their need a hug. beneficial to research the company that entry position
own. Her desires to help provide and find is interviewing you — what is their in communica-
Though she was only with us for a short support for those who need it is reflected The Frasers have no concrete plans for mandate? What are some interesting tions and is now
time, Katie has touched and inspired in every Katie Bear and the response that what the next few years of Katie Bears facts about the company? This shows a Director says,
countless lives. Lynda recalls a remarkable each one inspires. holds; their theory is that whatever that you value the company. “One of the best
story of a child who, though she never met happens will happen. Though they are things a new
Katie, had her entire life changed thanks As donations pour in and word spreads, thinking of making Katie Bears a regis- • How to dress professionally: As previ- employee can
to a Katie Bear. Last year, one little girl Lynda is finding that many people want tered non-profit charity next year, it is a ously stated, it is always best to abide do is attempt to
she gave to had severe behavioural issues. to help, but many don’t know how. With very fluid business. One year, donations by the business-casual dress code, talk to people
She couldn’t go to parties or join figure Katie Bears, they can buy a bear or donate could equal over a hundred bears and the unless otherwise specified. For men, and get to know
skating. Her behaviour was so erratic that some money. Knowing that their dona- next, there may only be ten. The Frasers this means wearing a pair of dress pants how the organization works, what they to learn about the company and all of
the only people who could handle her tions will help the community has people plan to continue giving bears to those who with dress shoes, both in dark colours. do, and learn what everybody does as its employees.
were her parents and even that was tough. willing to do so. need a hug and carrying on Katie’s legacy On top, it is best to opt for a dress shirt well. Try to get as much information
as long as there is support and bears to which you will tuck into the pants. A as possible.” Contrary to that, Brosch Our first year post-graduation can be many
Now that she has a bear, she does every- There are countless organizations that give. As long as there are people who want suit jacket and tie are optional. stated that one of the worst things a things. It can be nerve-wracking, and it
thing. She can go figure skating, go to donate teddy bears. There is one in British to help, Katie Bears will continue. new employee can do in a workplace can be stressful. Aside from that, our first
sleepovers and she cheers at hockey Columbia that used leftover bears from • For women, it is best to opt for a pair is to assume that you know every- year post-graduation can be the begin-
games, as long as she has that bear. If Christmas donations to hand out to chil- Katie Fraser’s charity is echoed in every of dress pants or a skirt that is at least thing going into the job, as opposed ning of something fantastic. It can be the
she doesn’t, then she’s back to where she dren of military families. The American bear given and her love is reflected in knee-length with either flats, dress to taking the time to listen to what start of the life that we want to live, with a
was before. When she first received the Forces have done the same with their own every recipient’s life. Lynda’s belief, shoes or heels that are appropriate for individuals are willing to teach you and career that we worked hard for.
bear, her parents told her that Katie was a programs; in Michigan, police and trauma much like Katie’s is, “if you can make one the workplace. On top, it is best to opt
special person and that if she was going units use teddy bears to help children, and change in one kid’s life, it doesn’t matter." for a dress shirt, which you would tuck
to own the bear then she would have to in 1989, the New York Police Department
give it a name, and she would have to started a similar program.
40 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 41
Features: Community Sandra Baranek | Pots And Pans Pots And Pans | Sandra Baranek Features: Community
Pots and Pans
The broth is nearly made. Water bubbles of us crawling out of our shared double- bills and I’m in charge of the kids, and the weekends, because it was the only time our long careers as amateur translators. “Shit everywhere!”
around the chicken, Portuguese sausage bed only because the dingy, cracked blinds as long as they’re not going around this he didn’t have to wake up in the middle Besides, the only time Mamá ever went to
and an old soup bone saved up from last in our bedroom did nothing to block the of the night, take a taxi across the river to the threshold in this country was to wave She didn’t realize that the word for
Christmas. The chicken’s nearly falling
from its white bones. That’s how you can
noon-time sun. tHat’s HoW you the factory in Ottawa, meet Frannie and
me after our twelve-hour shift, and take
goodbye to her teenage daughters as they
set off to work their twelve-hour shifts,
shit is the same in French as it is in
Portuguese, and Frannie and I would
tell a good chicken, when the meat falls I think about my own teenaged children. Can teLL a good us home. and to wash away the piles of human shit giggle to ourselves at what our neighbours
away with barely a touch. The ones they
sell at the Value Mart, the meat sticks
They’re still in bed, although it’s almost
noon now and I’ve been fixing up dinner
CHICKen, WHen So Papá was at work and Mamá was in the
and vomit that we sometimes found on
on the other side of the wall must think,
hearing Mamá cursing in what she thought
on the bone like the bird doesn’t know for the past hour or so. They don’t spend tHe Meat FaLLs kitchen, blessedly walled off from the rest was her secret language.
it’s dead. Take the meat from the broth.
Potatoes and carrots, kale and cabbage
their weeks watching loaves of fresh-cut
bread feeding into plastic bags for $1 an
aWay WItH BareLy of our two-bedroom apartment, preparing
dinner. She had just added pimento to
“What is wrong with these Canadians?”
Mamá would ask us, an empty bucket “It’s because we Portuguese have too
have already been chopped, ready for the hour, as Frannie and I had done. a touCH. the chicken, and the apartment was filled hanging off her wide hip like a baby. much pride for such things,” Papá would
pot. This pot sat for years, brand new in with that comfortable, red smell. But “Shit shit shit… everywhere! They have answer when she had calmed down. And
the upstairs closet at Papá’s. The veggies In this generation, school comes before nosy town with holes in their clothing, he even if our parents had been home or had beautiful toilets in every building here, so he was right as well.
are simmering. Put the lid on; it fits just as work. I will be a rich women when they doesn’t complain too much. been available, we still would have been why do they shit all over the place? Back
well as it did that Saturday afternoon. go to university because these days, I give sent to answer the door that afternoon. home, we didn’t even have toilets, but did Any time the doorbell rang, Frannie and I
them the extra money from my little retail It’s been a good 30 years since that The Rosarios had been two years in this you ever see shit on the streets like you answered it together because she was, and
It must have been a Saturday, because paycheques. It’s one of those secrets kept afternoon. Yes, it must have been a country, in this city that straddles both do here?" still is, the type of person who can’t say
I was home and Frannie was home between a mother and her children. Saturday because Papá was working a English and French, and yet neither of our no. This flaw had cost Papá $94.99 for a
(although her name was still Fernanda back-to-back shift at the Swiss Chalet, parents spoke or understood much more We didn’t like it when she made fun of half-set of English Encyclopaedias which
at the time, and always has been to our Men just don’t seem to understand how scrubbing strangers’ greasy leftovers from than “hello/bonjour” in either language, Canadians, but she was right, and we had will surely be divided in our inheritance;
parents and the rest of the old ones). Each much things cost these days, and Sam is their meals of tasteless, stick-to-the-bone even to this day. Answering the door and to agree. it would also cost Frannie her happiness
of us was still in our floral nighties, each no exception. But he’s in charge of the chicken. He always worked extra hours on the telephone was only the beginning in later in life, as she gave birth routinely to a
42 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 43
Features: Community Sandra Baranek | Pots And Pans Pots And Pans | Sandra Baranek Features: Community
pack of sons who took after their father in Yes, we explained, Mamá was home, and “I’m here to talk to you about pots.” He Frannie and I lay in bed that night, waiting “Well, I just thought maybe that’s why
all the wrong ways. no, she would not be able to speak sat between us on our plastic-covered for the traffic on St. Joseph to die down so your soup always tastes funny.”
with him. couch and with each sentence he spoke, that we could fall asleep. My brand new
Although Frannie was older, she was his head turned from one to the other of pots were stacked at the foot of our bed, She’s laughing.
scrawny and quick. When the doorbell “Well you know, I speak French as well.” us. “Pots and pans.” His voice was as loud gleaming still in the broken night-time
rang that Saturday afternoon, she raced to as his pots and pans and it felt so grown light as they had that afternoon, and as “You’ve never even tasted it!” I’m
the door ahead of me, gripping her long, I thought at the time that it was so kind up to discuss cookware with him. they do today. laughing too. Laughing and stirring,
cold toes into the plastic that covered of him to ignore the darkness of our skin covering the bubbling soup and asking if
the hall-carpet, leaving me behind to and hair and accents (which must still I’m sure that Mamá snapped to atten- “You don’t even know how to boil water,” she remembers when we were young and I
straighten pictures and trinkets and have existed although I can’t remember tion when she heard a man’s voice, and a Frannie said. bought these pots.
cushions and rugs behind her. When I when they began to disappear), and the Canadian man at that. Maybe she moved me. His eyes were looking at me and they
finally caught up, she was standing before smell of pimento coming from the cracks away from the bubbling at the stove so were blue. I counted up quickly in my “Don’t touch me with your cold feet!” “What a crazy girl you were. Boy-crazy.”
a very tall, very lean, very curly-haired of the kitchen door. I had started going by that she could hear us better, so that she head, trying not to move my fingers. I kicked at her and stole the covers and
man. He wore a suit too-short in the leg Leah instead of Aurelia over a year before, could make sure nothing wicked was pretended I hadn’t heard what she said. Has she always had an accent?
and leaned against a cart blooming with stopped speaking Portuguese in public, happening. Of course she could not under- “I’m sixteen.”
metallic cookware. folded up my skirt as soon as I left the stand the words, but giggles and sugges- “I’m never getting married,” Frannie “But I’m still using them.”
house, but this was the first time that I felt tive tones translated well enough for her “That’s perfect,” he said. Then he started continued. “I’m going to join the convent.”
“Bonjour,” the stranger said. like I had been mistaken for a Canadian. mother-wolf ears, and were cause enough using words like long-term-investment, “And how many years did you spend
I was glad when Frannie responded with: for her to withhold speech and affection lifetime warranty and small monthly “No, you’re not!” paying off that Frenchman? You should
I tugged at the hem of my nightie, just “Is there anything I can do to help you?” from her daughters for a day at least. We payments. “If you buy today,” he told me, have just waited for your wedding gifts,
above my knees, wishing it to disappear knew this very well from the monthly “I’ll even throw in a complimentary set “Yes I am. I’m not cooking for a big hairy like me.”
and be replaced by the floral jumpsuit We led Guy into the living room, dragging dances at the Portuguese Hall, behind the of serving utensils and wall-bracket. I’m man my whole life.”
that had been in the window of Ogilvy’s Portuguese Church, that Papá had helped sure you’ll make your future husband very The kids are up and showered and hungry
for the past month. I was thankful for my WHen tHe to build. The only boys we were allowed happy with the beautiful meals you can “There are no convents in for the soup. They sit at the kitchen table
morning habit of putting on a bra and to dance with were our cousins, even prepare for him in this set of cookware.” Canada, Fernanda.” watching me add the mint, waiting to
makeup as soon as I woke up. doorBeLL rang though they were far less timid and far be served, listening to me switch over
tHat saturday more handsy than the shy, quiet boys who
“I’M never gettIng
“I don’t care. I’ll go back to São Miguel to Portuguese as I talk to my sister in
He introduced himself as Guy, I wanted to talk to so badly. and join one there.” our secret language. Saying goodbye to
pronouncing it in French although aFternoon, sHe MarrIed,” FrannIe Frannie, I pour them each a bowl.
he spoke perfect English. “Are your raCed to tHe Guy’s eight-piece, stainless steel display
The telephone rings just as I’m spooning
parents home?” shone off the pink carpet of our living pimento into the soup.
door aHead oF room floor. Soup pot, small pot, steamer, goIng to JoIn tHe
Me, grIPPIng Her frying pan, different sizes and different
“Don’t forget to add the mint, Aurelia.”
uses, all so foreign. I remember seeing my
Long, CoLd toes first icicle at 14 years old. It was beautiful It’s Frannie. Her voice wants me to ask
Into tHe PLastIC but terrifying, the thought of living in I thought about those utensils and those how she’s feeling, how she’s doing, how
a country where cold and ice piles onto meals. I had never touched a pot in my are the kids, how’s your husband. “You
tHat Covered the street and hangs from the eaves of life, unless it was to hold the handle while know that was always Mamá’s secret.”
tHe HaLL-CarPet bedroom windows. I scooped food onto my plate. I didn’t
even know how to boil water. “Fernanda, I’ve been making this soup for
The pots were like that. years. The kids love it. I know what
his pots and pans behind him as noisy as “With the minimum monthly payment of I’m doing.”
a whole band of Gypsies from the stories “How old are you, if you don’t mind me $5,” Guy leaned in close to my ear, “you
my grandfather scared the village kids asking?” Frannie was no longer paying can own this set by 1976.” He was nearly
with back home. attention. She was flipping through the TV whispering now. “I’m sure you’ll be
Guide. His question was directed toward married by then.”
44 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 45
Features: Community Michelle Arcand | The Bandbox The Bandbox | Michelle Arcand Features: Community
Last Monday was my birthday, and I Carefully, I removed the lid. Inside lay a I could see her blowing out the candles the bandbox on my lap and removed the The next two letters were much the same. I will try to finish my business here as
received a most interesting gift. It was an stack of letters tied together with a piece on her cake, her face alight with excite- lid, setting it to one side. Then, I reached The fourth, however, was written nearly quickly as possible so that I may soon
old bandbox, and by old, I mean really of red ribbon. Picking it up, I saw that the ment. I could see her opening her special two years later. return to you. With love, Alexander
old. Grandma gave it to me, and she said it letters were addressed to Grandmother gift from her tall, dark-haired brother and
belonged to her great, great, great grand- Catherine. They were from her husband, giving him a big, heartfelt hug in thanks.
It Was CHILdIsH oF My dearest Catherine, he wrote. By the third letter, I had been yawning, but
mother Catherine who lived during the my great, great, great grandfather, She was crying because she loved her gift, Me to aCt as I dId, now I was fully awake again. My interest
War of 1812. Alexander Stokes. Under the letters but also because she loved her big brother The trip went well, and I have arrived was peaked. Who was this Gordon?
lay a pair of crocheted gloves, a square and he was leaving for war the next day. I
and I aM sorry. safely. I only wish that it was not neces-
“It’s been passed down from grandmother locket, and a lace sachet filled with dried thought about how she may have clasped aFter ConsIderIng sary for me to leave you so soon to the I unfolded the next letter, the last of the
to granddaughter on the granddaugh- rose petals. the locket in her hands as she lay on her birth of our child, especially since the packet. Like the others, it began My
ter’s seventeenth birthday ever since bed sobbing the day her family received
It, I agree tHat We length of my absence is indefinite. dearest Catherine, but it was written
Grandmother Catherine’s daughter, Grace, “The sachet belonged to Catherine’s the news that her brother had been killed. sHouLd naMe our during a business trip nearly a year after
passed it down to her granddaughter, my daughter, Grace,” Grandmother told me. I am sorry that we argued before I left. I the last letter, and no mention was made of
grandmother. Now that you’re seventeen, “The crocheted gloves were my grand- Then I thought about her mother’s
son aFter gordon. suppose I was jealous because you wanted the mysterious Gordon.
it’s yours,” Grandma told me. mother’s, and the locket was my mother’s. crocheted gloves. Perhaps Grandmother to name the baby Gordon if it was a boy,
Her older brother gave it to her for her Isabelle had worn them with her Sunday in for the packet of letters. Untying the instead of following family tradition. It I sighed with disappointment. Reading
I looked at the bandbox again. It was a tenth birthday before he left to fight in best to church. red ribbon, I picked up the first letter and was childish of me to act as I did, and I the fourth letter once more, I refolded the
large oval shape with sides of about five the First World War. He was killed later unfolded it. am sorry. After considering it, I agree that letters and tied the ribbon back around
or six inches high. The sides of the box that year." My thoughts turned to Grandmother we should name our son after Gordon. them. After replacing the packet in the
and its lid were covered with pale brown Catherine and the letters from her husband Dearest Catherine, it began. He went on to He was a fine man; I wish I had known bandbox, I fitted the lid back on and set it
wallpaper in two different patterns, and That night, I lay awake in my bed thinking Alexander. ‘Are they love letters?’ write about his business and how he soon him better. on my night table. Then I switched off my
the top of the lid was an even paler brown about all the history connected with the I wondered. I turned on my lamp and hoped to be able to come to her father, lamp and snuggled down under my covers,
with small orange and white flowers. bandbox. I thought about Grandmother’s went and got the bandbox from the top of formally asking for her hand in marriage.
mother being ten years old. In my mind, my vanity. Climbing back into bed, I set
46 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 47
Features: Community Michelle Arcand | The Bandbox The Bandbox | Michelle Arcand Features: Community
These ques- the bottom of the bandbox near one side. closely behind it, and I was the one who name her first son
tions haunted my It felt a bit too wide to be the ribbon from startled it. after him. And to
memory throughout the sachet, and I was certain it was not the think that all this
the following week, ribbon tied around the letters. I wish I did not have to leave you, my family history
both day and night. bride, so soon after our wedding. But had been hidden
Carefully, I removed the lace sachet, the when the army undertakes a campaign, a away under the
‘Gordon… crocheted gloves, and the locket. Then, soldier must go where his army goes. false bottom of the
Gordon...Gordon...’ with cautious fingers, I gently pulled bandbox for nearly
That name was on the tab of ribbon. The bottom of the I know you may be frightened because two hundred years!
starting to drive me bandbox began to come up! I held my of what could happen to me, having a Grandmother had
crazy. ‘If I don’t breath with anticipation, and my heart beat profession such as I have, but I want you told me the history
find out who this loud with the suspense. The bandbox had to know that no matter what happens, I, behind everything
guy is,’ I thought, a false bottom! Was there anything hidden Gordon MacGregor, love you more than else in the box;
‘I’m going to go beneath it? anything else but God, and I will always surely had she
insane.’ However, be with you in your heart. known about the
it all happened so With the false bottom removed, I peered false bottom and
long ago, I knew into the box. There on its real bottom lay Here the writing changed to that of about Gordon, she
that there was very little chance that I a faded letter and a folded paper. Slowly, another hand. would have told me
would ever find out who Gordon was. I unfolded the paper. It was a sketch of a about them, too.
soldier from the War of 1812, a member of Mrs. MacGregor, the new handwriting
Today, nearly a week after my birthday, I the Glengarry Highlanders. began, please forgive me for relating to I think the bandbox
decided to read Grandmother Catherine’s you such terrible news. Your husband, is the best gift I
Underneath the sketch was written in ink: Gordon MacGregor, was killed in battle have ever received.
Gordon MacGregor, 1812. today. He was a fine soldier, and it was an Not only did it
WItH tHe FaLse honour to serve with him. Please accept contain items
BottoM reMoved, So this was a drawing of the mysterious my most sincere condolences for your loss. from my family’s
Gordon! I was so excited to find out Lieutenant Adam MacDonald history, but also
I Peered Into tHe what his full name was, and that he was a a secret hiding
Box. tHere on Its soldier — and handsome to boot! I shifted my eyes to the date on the letter; place where my
reaL BottoM Lay a With trembling fingers, I laid aside
PLease ForgIve Catherine had
Faded Letter and the drawing and picked up the letter, kept safe some of
unfolding it. As I did so, a dried flower Me For reLatIng her most precious
a FoLded PaPer. It slipped from the folds. It was so delicate;
to you suCH treasures. I will
Was a sKetCH oF I gently slid a piece of paper under it and treasure the
wondering some more about this person set it on my night table. Then I turned my terrIBLe neWs. bandbox always,
named Gordon. Who was he? a soLdIer FroM attention to the letter before me. and someday I will
tHe era oF tHe it was 1812, the same as the drawing. I pass it down to my
All night, the name Gordon ran through My very dearest Catherine, could hardly believe what I had discov- own granddaughter
my head. Whoever he was, he obviously War oF 1812... ered! Gordon MacGregor, a handsome on her seventeenth
had meant something to Grandmother First of all, I wish to reassure you that young soldier, had been married to birthday.
Catherine. But why was he so special to letters again. Maybe there was something I am all right. I have not so much as a Catherine, my grandmother from long
her? Why would she want to name her son in them I had missed. Getting the antique scratch, although yesterday I narrowly ago. This was her last letter from him. No
after him? bandbox, I opened it and took out the escaped being kicked by a horse. But that, wonder he held such a special place in
letters. As I did so, my fingers brushed darling, I must confess, was entirely my her heart, so that in later years, after she
against a piece of what felt like ribbon at own fault; I was the one who walked too had remarried, it was her dearest wish to
48 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 49
Features: Community Patrice Elston | Appetizer Appetizer | Patrice Elston Features: Community
Making her way along the path that skirted must-stop-and-sees — Pearl circled of things Rae Lynn would rather not do, darting from her table to the garden and And are you ready for this? All the way to ***
the beaver pond, Pearl placed her walking- around the back of the Hancock’s white, but baking wasn’t one of them. back again, her words spilled out, “He Vancouver, Canada!”
stick every few steps, just as she’d done turn-of-the-century farmhouse. She rapped went and bought us an anniversary vaca- The next Sunday afternoon, Pearl settled
lord knows how many times over the their ritual four times, tap-ta’-tap-tap, on Despite having made three overflowing tion, Pearl. An airplane, rent-a-car, mo-tel, Pearl’s automatic response was the classic in the rose overstuffed chair in Rae Lynn’s
past thirty-nine years. She’d worn out or the thickly painted door and let herself pans of pastries, Rae Lynn flitted around real get-away vacation. Just him and me. southern belle’s phrase which meant bedroom and watched as her friend bustled
broken more than a few gnawed limbs, in. Rae Lynn expected her, but in spite her kitchen in a tizzy. Pearl sat and sipped everything from How sweet! to Holy Hell!: from closet to dresser, laying stacks of
and the trail had varied a bit in elevation of Pearl’s “worldly ways” (Rae Lynn’s tea, and waited for her friend to wind “Well, i’n that nice?” clothing out across the bed. “I can’t thank
as the beaver families built new dams words), her southern upbringing would not down. One would never know from this rae Lynn exPeCted you enough for loaning me your suitcases,
and the county deputies tore them out. let her walk in without knocking. morning’s peculiar, manic activity that Rae Lynn, Pearl knew, had never in her Pearl, but all this is nevah gonna fit. How
The Georgia seasons had changed the Rae Lynn was close to seventy. Not that Her, But In life traveled further than Atlanta: fifty- in the world do you decide what to take?”
trail’s surface from mud to ice, dust to “Konnichiwa, signora! Happy anniver- she would ever be asked, or admit it, if she sPIte oF PearL’s two miles north of their little farms in Happy to help, Pearl talked Rae Lynn
autumn leaves and everything in between. sary!” Pearl called, pulling off her jacket was. Well into their second cup of tea, Rae Woolsey… and that, only the one time. through the next two hours, sorting and
Pearl’s morning destination, when she and rubber boots in the mud-room. Pearl Lynn’s flustered chatter began to subside. “WorLdLy Ways” When their kids were young, Pearl, who laughing until they persuaded the last
wasn’t away on holiday, was always the and her husband, Jackson, delighted in It was obvious to Pearl that something (rae Lynn’s adored Atlanta, had insisted on a shop- lid shut.
same. Thirty-nine years ago today, she’d bringing home not only trinkets, but important had happened, but she would ping trip to the city. Having grown up four
carried her favourite plate, mounded with verbal greetings and endearments as never pry. She knew Rae Lynn trusted her Words), Her miles across town from her current home, ***
warm brownies, to welcome the newly- souvenirs. Her combinations of French, and would tell her when she was ready. soutHern those few hours of crowds and bustle
weds to the neighbourhood. It had been a Spanish, Mandarin, Greek and Japanese, Meanwhile, she would do nothing that nearly did Rae Lynn in. “Careful, Leroy!” Rae Lynn blanched as
gorgeous, sharp spring morning, just like among other languages, always made her could possibly embarrass her friend. uPBrIngIng her husband turned the rented gold Taurus
this one. friends — especially Rae Lynn — smile. WouLd not Let “Oh sure, it’s nice,” Rae Lynn said, her around a cement pillar of the eight-lane
Breathing in the sweet scent of fresh Finally, Rae Lynn heaved a great sigh, genteel accent laced with trepidation. “It’s bridge above and down a steep hill.
Twenty minutes after letting her wooden cinnamon rolls, Pearl strode into the swallowed hard and sprung the news: Her WaLK In darned near more than I can say grace over.”
screen door slap shut behind her — give warm, familiar kitchen. There were a lot Leroy had surprised her that morning WItHout KnoCKIng. “It’s alright, love, we’re ok. Where do I
or take a few, depending on nature’s and she was plumb beside herself. Eyes turn next?”
50 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 51
Features: Community Patrice Elston | Appetizer Appetizer | Patrice Elston Features: Community
Rae Lynn, spinning the Vancouver map parking space with jerky back and forth the first half of the flight; and at Pearl’s Ten minutes later, their waiter reappeared off behind the curtain to the kitchen.
to keep the lane in front of her pointed moves. They had arrived. appeal, lunch at Samurai Sushi House. with a lovely wooden tray covered with “Fire!” shouted the chefs behind the
up, counted the short, twisted blocks of small mounds of rice and fish and dark- counter. “Fire! Everyone please, out now!”
tiny Granville Island. “Second left, I think “Thank you, Jesus,” Rae Lynn whimpered. Sorting through her woven tote bag, Rae papered rolls. He explained the wasabi,
should take us to the parking lot… No, Her right hand uncurled from the overhead Lynn ran through her checklist: umbrella, soy sauce and ginger etiquette, and gave Looking at each other in disbelief, Leroy
right! Right!” Leroy squinted around a handle and flattened the crumpled map maps, pocketbook, passports, Leroy’s them their first lesson in the use of chop- and Rae Lynn slowly stood as guests
delivery truck and spotted the one-way against the side of the seat. “Darlin’, will favourite hat and her best cardigan sticks. “But it’s fine to pick them up with scrambled around them and headed out the
sign just before turning in. Jerking the you please remind me why we needed to sweater. Everything was in order. She your fingers,” he smiled. door. “Shall I?” Rae Lynn asked, a twinkle
wheel back, he drew a shriek from Rae come down into this crowded neck o’ reached for the rental-car keys with its in her eye.
Lynn and barely missed hitting the truck’s the woods?” huge yellow fob and shut off yet another Leroy, by silent agreement, went first.
front bumper. radio ad for the upcoming Country Music Dipping a small piece of California roll “You’re darned tootin’!” he
Over the car’s tinny speakers, Kenny
PearL Was Festival. “I bet those bands will all be
purt’-near-rock-and-roll,” she thought to
into soy sauce, he popped it whole, as
instructed, into his mouth. Rae Lynn
Chesney crooned the chorus to his hit, aBsoLuteLy In herself. She wouldn’t say it out loud, for watched carefully; his weathered, lined Opening the top of her carrying bag, Rae
Back Where I Come From. This was the
only country station they’d found since
Love WItH tHIs fear of hurting Leroy’s feelings, but she
could not wait to get home.
face was so familiar she would know his
thoughts long before he spoke. His eyes
Lynn gently placed the curved maple plate
covered with sushi atop her sweater and
arriving early yesterday, and in four PerFeCt susHI... softened, lighting up with pleasure at the covered it with a napkin. On the sidewalk,
hours of circling the streets in and around
the city, they had yet to hear one Hank
tHey CouLd not Leroy fumbled through his pocketful
of unfamiliar coins, fed the meter, then
mix of lovely new flavours. Nodding his
head and chewing through his smile, he
Leroy pressed a fifty dollar bill into the
waiter’s hand, and they scurried back to
Williams or Loretta Lynn song. They just MIss It. tHe Food opened Rae Lynn’s door and helped her The restaurant was nearly full, and almost gestured for her to try it. Rae Lynn, her the car, giggling like children, to celebrate
didn’t get this new country.
Was aBsoLuteLy up out of the car. Locking up carefully,
Rae Lynn wrote down their parking space
everyone was Asian. It was another first
for the Hancocks: they had never been the
pinkie in a genteel crook, lifted her piece
and gave it a careful sniff. Salty, fishy, and
their newly discovered feast.
Leroy’s shoulders were hunched high, dIvIne, and tHere number on the edge of a brightly coloured minority before. Voices murmured with a little bit spicy. She wondered at the tiny
nearly touching his ears. Manoeuvring
through the city was so different than
Was noWHere map. Looking down over her shoulder,
Leroy said, “Looks like it’s just a few
unfamiliar sounds and rhythms around them. orange dots sprinkled over the surface,
then braved it.
country driving. And he hadn’t been any More roMantIC. blocks away, sweetheart. And there’s all “Konnichiwa,” the hostess called and
place where he needed to use a map in kinds of shops and galleries along the way. led them to a window table. Rae Lynn Covering her too-full mouth with the
over twenty years. Reaching for Rae Maybe you can find presents for Pearl and couldn’t help but smile. linin napkin, Rae Lynn also found herself
Lynn’s hand to comfort them both, he Leroy went through it again… Pearl Jackson and the grandbabies.” transported to a foreign place of culinary
asked, “How about we try the next was absolutely in love with this perfect Leroy explained to their young waiter that delight. “My stars…” Leroy grinned,
right, hon’?” Sushi restaurant on quaint little Granville Rae Lynn smiled up at her handsome this was their first attempt at sushi, and snapped the last of the flying-fish roe
Island. They could not miss it. The food husband and tucked her arm through his. they were at his mercy. “Would y’all be between his front teeth, and reached for
Ten long minutes later, after circling the was absolutely divine, and there was “Let’s get this lunch over with first.” willing to choose for us?” another colourful mound.
island twice and winding through three nowhere more romantic. Pearl insisted on
parking lots, Leroy navigated into a a full report of what they tried and how Passing the noisy open fish market, Rae “Of course, sir. Any fish you don’t like?” Before his fingers touched the next sweet
they liked it directly upon their return Lynn nudged Leroy, “Lawsy! Did you see They shrugged, searching for catfish, brim pile of rice and tuna, a piercing bell went
home. Sushi. Neither Leroy nor Rae the size of those crabs and lobsters?” He or trout on the menu. They glanced across
Lynn had ever tried Japanese food (or nodded in admiration, and asked if she’d at each other.
was it Chinese? They always got those like to get one. seCond LeFt, I
confused). But they had determined that
this was to be a vacation of firsts: Rae “Ha! I wouldn’t have any idea what to do
“Anything should be fine,” Leroy smiled.
Lynn’s first trip out of Georgia — clear with one of those wild looking things!” Rae Lynn poured them each a tiny cup of taKe us to tHe
out of the country; their first airplane ride
— hands clasped and white knuckled for A moment later, they entered the Sushi
Jasmine green tea and relaxed a bit into
her seat. Tea she knew.
House to the sound of a quiet bamboo no, rIgHt! rIgHt!
wind-chime and delicate Japanese music.
52 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 53
Spirituality Maggie McPhail | Yoga's Place In Western Society Yoga's Place In Western Society | Maggie McPhail Spirituality
Yoga's Place in Western Society
I’ll be honest: I’ve never taken a yoga It was also a way the guru Ajay Kumar for nine months in balanced meal once every three weeks and future of yoga. She believes that yoga
class before, although I’ve made (rather to transcend the Mysore, India. fast-food every other day, so why should has the ability to help everyone. “It stops
pathetic) attempts to practise yoga at home ego — the part of we expect any different from yoga? being about the poses when you realize
using instructional DVDs and YouTube the conscious mind Lithwick tells me that yoga changed her that, okay, I can’t do the same pose that I
videos. As soon as I mention this to responsible for life. She believes that it has helped her Lithwick doesn’t seem as against the did last week, and you just have to accept
Danielle Lithwick, a yoga instructor at self-identity — to with everything from mental clarity to westernization of yoga as I anticipated that.” Yoga might be frustrating at times,
Ashtanga Yoga Ottawa, I feel like I’ve reach different anxiety and is “literally realigning” her from an educated yoga teacher. She says, but the physical, emotional and mental
committed a sin. Good. I am going to states of conscious- spine. She is just one of many who have “Most people come because they have benefits are irrefutable.
learn something. ness and become benefited from yoga. A study done from a physical problem, but end up leaving
closer to God. 1983-1984 by Yoga Biomedical Trust feeling like, wow. They always feel good After speaking to Lithwick, I have a
My impression is that the yoga of the west recorded the responses of 3000 individuals after.” She knows that not many who renewed inspiration to attend some
has lost its roots. Anyone toting a yoga The yogis created with a variety of health ailments who were practise yoga fully understand its purpose, classes. Clearly, my instructional DVDs
mat and sporting Lululemon pants thinks several different prescribed yoga as an alternative therapy. but she’s okay with that. Lithwick is not and YouTube videos are failing to provide
she is a yoga master. branches of yoga. According to the study: out of 1,142 about indoctrinating people in her classes me with the full yoga experience.
Hatha yoga has people with backaches 98 percent reported and she tries to keep a practical approach
When Lithwick and I enter the studio, become the most benefits; of 838 people with anxiety 94 to the practice. However, she does have
I’m impressed at how authentic it feels; popular in the west, focusing on poses, religion either. It’s merely a set of tech- percent reported benefits; of 112 people her students chant at the beginning of
I expected something modern and edgy. breathing and meditation to achieve niques to help us find spirituality. with nerve of muscle disease 96 percent class as a way to get connected to some-
In the hallway hang several collages, better health. This branch contains many reported benefits; and out of 50 people thing greater. “In
including one with photographs from different styles of yoga, some of the Lithwick and I enter the practice room, with heart disease 94 percent Ashtanga, we really
India, many featuring guru Sri K. Pattabhi most common being Iyengar, Integral, which is sunlit and smells of soothing reported benefits. emphasize the
Jois, the founder of Ashtanga Yoga. There Ashtanga, and Kripalu. incense. At most windowsills are photos breath, and moving
is also a large painting of the Hindu of Pattabhi Jois, or an idol of one of the Since my discovery that Lithwick is with your breath,
Elephant god, Ganesha. countless Hindu the real deal, I’m curious to know her so that is part of
In asHtanga, We reaLLy deities. True opinion on the westernization of yoga. the meditation…
Yoga seems to be the hip new way to to yogic form, She seems a bit indifferent initially, but Most people come
exercise in western society. Everyone is eMPHasIze tHe BreatH, and we conduct our upon a moment’s reflection says, “The for the physical
doing it. It’s all about strengthening your MovIng WItH your BreatH, interview seated problem with this whole western thing is part, but they may
muscles and improving your flexibility… comfortably on the that people lack a teacher, so they’re going get a glimpse of
right? Well, partly. Our society has devel- so tHat Is Part oF tHe floor. As soon as to all these different classes… when it’s getting deeper
oped a misconception of yoga. Many don’t MedItatIon… Most PeoPLe we begin talking, convenient for them, and yeah, they’re into it,” she says.
know the vast history behind the practice I can tell this is getting some results, but I don’t think they “You don’t want to
or that yoga is really more of a lifestyle CoMe For tHe PHysICaL Part, Lithwick’s passion. can take it much deeper than that.” She tell someone how
or philosophy than a simple workout. But But tHey May get a gLIMPse “For me it’s like a speaks very highly of her own teacher, to feel… yoga is
how much does that really matter? mirror, every day, Kumar. “He gave me faith in the system; a very personal
oF gettIng deePer Into It. in my face,” she that’s a huge thing. And I think most experience. It’s
The first evidence of yoga dates back to says. “That’s why I people in these studios are not looking for how you feel in a
around 3,000 B.C., in India. Hindu priests, Hatha yoga is what most of our society do it every day.” She tells me she prac- that, or even thinking about faith…they pose. I can’t know
called yogis, developed the different forms believes to be the essence of yoga. This is tises for an hour and a half to two hours just want a good workout.” She explains to how [everyone]
and ideologies of yoga. They believed not true, as there are five other branches every day. “I have to wake up at 4:30 or me that commitment is the most important is feeling… I just
that in order for humans to become more (Bhkati, Raja, Jnana, Karma and Tantra) 5:00 in the morning, but if I don’t do it, aspect in yoga; it is essentially what makes try to let people
in tune with nature and themselves, they involving many different paths such as I don’t feel right.” She’s been practising it effective. Yoga was meant to be a life- have their own
must combine the body, mind and soul. self-control, good deeds and wisdom. yoga for only about five and a half years, style, so how can we expect life-changing experience.”
Yoga was created to help people lead a Yoga isn’t just an exercise, but it isn’t a which is not that long for a teacher, though results when we only practise when-
more spiritual life. It involved breathing she’s done her time. She studied with ever we feel like it? One doesn’t get the Lithwick remains
patterns, focus and relaxation techniques. physical and mental benefits of eating a hopeful for the
56 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 57
Spirituality Catherine McNair | Women’s Role In Modern Spiritualism Women’s Role In Modern Spiritualism | Catherine McNair Spirituality
Women’s Role in Modern Spiritualism
The room is quiet, and a soft breeze lifestyle according ownership of the husband. If a man asked about death and what comes next. Other men are attending the Spiritualist Church,
circulates the cramped but cozy space. to the teachings a medium to marry him and she refused, religions do not offer the same solid and there are an increasing number of
Incense is burning, and the atmosphere discovered through or if the medium wanted a divorce, the evidence that Spiritualism does. Yes, they famed male mediums, including John
is calm and relaxed. Hundreds of books such communica- man would have her arrested. “An insane acknowledge that there is a heaven, but the Edward and Steven Holbrook.
line the walls. In the centre of the room, tion. “Spiritualism asylum really was, for women, a jail. It image of angels floating around on clouds
two decks of tarot cards lie on a small, is a perspective,” was a way to control them,” is just not as satisfying the closer you “A lot of men that come to me have had
circular table. Sitting at the table is a Meadows, who Meadows says. get to facing it. Canada has also become their own psychic experiences and recog-
middle-aged woman with short, brown has a Master’s extremely multicultural, and in the Eastern nize that it has validity,” Meadows says.
hair and a twinkle in her eye that gives the Degree in Religion In the past, women have always been part of the world, psychic readings are The stereotype is clearly breaking, and the
impression she has a secret. This is her & Culture from more connected to the spiritual world than very much a part of the culture. Masters of combination of men and Spiritualism is
office, and the tarot cards are her trade. Wilfred Laurier men. Meadows says, “The thing about Qigong, which is Chinese for practicing not as a surprising as it once was. As soon
A Spiritualist and a psychic medium, University, young women and men, but particularly life energy, are highly respected in China, as the media picks up on this increasing
Kathleen Meadows is a communicator explains. “The young women, is that when they cross as these skills take a lifetime to develop. trend, it will finally be okay for women
with the spiritual realm. point of mediums the threshold to adolescence their psychic It is also very common in central Asia for and men to be openly in touch with the
is to scientifi- ability develops. I suppose it has to do people to consult a Shaman or an oracle spirit world.
At the mention of the word psychic, cally demonstrate, with the expanding mind.” In the past, about many aspects of their lives. Now,
several images come to mind, such as a because you should have proof; you in Seneca Falls, New York, not very far there have always been more female Western people, including men, have been
crystal ball or a woman wearing gaudy should be sceptical about things.” from the home of the Fox sisters. mediums than male. “Perhaps women are given cultural permission to explore their
jewellery and a turban. These are both just more comfortable to talk about it,” spiritual side.
common stereotypes, but only one seems Modern Spiritualism and the Feminist Though not all feminists are Spiritualists, she ponders. Gender roles have always
to have validity. That, of course, is the Movement both began in 1848. The all Spiritualists fight for the equality of portrayed women to be delicate and spiri- It is obvious that the heart of Spiritualism
woman. Like Kathleen Meadows, many famed Fox sisters, Kate and Maggie, women. “Spirit always said that women tual, whereas it is not as socially accept- does lie with the female gender, for
psychic mediums are women, but where were the forerunners of Spiritualism since should be, and will be, equal,” Meadows able for men to be as in touch with their the two have such a deep and strong
does this trend come from and why does they were the first mediums to become says. “The women in the Spiritualist spiritual side. The media has assisted with history together. However, the future of
it exist? The central characters in popular publicly known. The young girls trav- movement supported all the things that that perception by portraying so many of Spiritualism is changing. More and more
television shows like Medium, The Ghost elled the country, performing in front of made women free.” It was the Spiritualists television’s spiritual characters as women.
Whisperer and the reality series Rescue thousands of people. The audience would who demanded that women have the right “Men don’t get the permission or the vali-
Mediums are all women. Was it the media ask the spirit a question, and through the to their own money, property and indepen- dation of their intuition the same way that
that created this stereotype, or does the mediumship of the Fox sisters, the spirit dence. In fact, Cora Richmond, a well- women do,” Meadows theorizes. “The
female gender actually have a strong would reply with one knock for yes or two known medium in the mid-late nineteenth saying is women’s intuition.”
connection to Modern Spiritualism? knocks for no. After the fame of the Fox century, was the first woman in the United
sisters, many other women discovered States to have control of her own money. Though the majority of mediums seem
Spiritualists believe that communication that, they, too, had a connection with the to be women, the number of men inter-
between this world and the Spirit World Spirit World and Modern Spiritualism was “Spiritualism had its enemies because its ested in Spiritualism is rising. Initially,
is possible through means of mediumship formed. That same year, the world’s very message was very threatening to some of Meadows assessed her clientele of women
and they try to base their character and first women’s rights convention was held the powers that led,” Meadows explains. to men to be a ratio of 100:1. Now, years
When men realized that Spiritualism later, she estimates that approximately 40
tHe tHIng aBout young WoMen was a doorway to women’s indepen-
dence, many tried very hard to prevent
percent of her clients are male. Clearly
men are becoming more comfortable with
and Men, But PartICuLarLy young it. In the nineteenth century, a number their spirituality and more curious
WoMen, Is tHat WHen tHey Cross tHe of female mediums were committed to
insane asylums because men saw them as
to explore it.
tHresHoLd to adoLesCenCe tHeIr a threat. Performing in front of a crowd Our population is getting older, and the
PsyCHIC aBILIty deveLoPs. I suPPose It night after night brought in a lot of money,
and since women were not allowed their
baby boomers now account for almost
one third of Canada’s population. As
Has to do WItH tHe exPandIng MInd. own money at the time, it went to the people age, they become more curious
58 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 59
Fantasy Sean McNorgan | Writer Writer | Sean McNorgan Fantasy
He was about fifty, and he was intently peered at the New York skyline in the and characters. This stuff doesn’t just splintered, but miraculously the light
looking across the aisle in my direction. Spring. I mused how long I would scream pop out — .” stayed on. The second blow ceased that
I looked around uneasily; certain there after jumping before I splattered into the miracle.
was someone else sitting next to me, but crowd of pedestrians. “Great, keep me updated,” Freddy said
no, the yawning businessman had left, brusquely. He shuffled his papers around, I tried to upturn my desk, but the computer
presumably for the small airplane bath- “Hey, not all of her picks are Hallmark brows furrowed. I lit another cigarette, weighted it down. Okay, I’ll take care of
room. I nonchalantly buried my nose back pap,” Freddy pointed out. He picked up wondering what to do. it first. My foot kicked the monitor, and I
in the paperback I was reading, A Walking a newspaper and tossed it to me. “She heard a satisfying crunch.
Shadow. did get you back at number one on the *
bestsellers list. I even heard through the *
He came over excitedly, and I looked up grapevine that Brad Pitt’s looking to “Why don’t you just write a sequel to
anxiously. He pushed up the bridge of play Jenkins.” Jenkins & Sinclair?” Jill asked. Jill’s “Put out your cigarette,” Freddy said
his glasses and held up a hardcover in his my best friend from high school. She’s quietly but firmly.
shaking hands. Against a black back- “Great, which paper did I sign to sell a freelance photographer. Maybe you’ve
ground, Jenkins & Sinclair was written my soul?” I asked innocently. I stubbed seen her work on the homeless in The New He tapped his fingers on the desk and
in red embossed letters. Below that, there out my cigarette on Freddy’s ashtray York Daily. stood up. I extinguished the cigarette
was a picture of a smoking gun and the and started shuffling through his clutter. and shifted uncomfortably on his sofa.
author’s name: Sara Dabrowski. Freddy swiftly grabbed my hands. “Because one of them is dead at the end, Outside, indifferent snowflakes drifted by.
and the other is contemplating suicide,” I
“Ms. Dabrowski, I would be really, really “Look, I understand that you never wanted explained patiently. “And don’t suggest a “I should’ve gone with my gut and told
honoured if you would autograph this. My to be a mainstream success. Sorry, but get prequel. There’s no dramatic tension once you to rewrite this avant-garde rubbish.
book. Your book,” he babbled, sticking a anywhere,” I said with a small chuckle, was looking quite relaxed in his green used to it. How long until you write the we know their fates.” Rewrite every page, down to the last
ballpoint pen in my face. turning my attention back to my book. pullover vest and tan pants, reclining in next one?” comma and period. I told myself not to.
his plush swivel chair. A burnished oak “Well, you’re a good writer,” Jill said. It’s just sophomore nerves. Give the girl
“I think you’ve mistaken me for someone I heard the sound of pages being rapidly table was disorderly with papers of all I sighed and brushed back a loose strand “I’m sure you’ll think of something.” a chance. Hey, I gave Jenkins & Sinclair
else,” I said coolly. flipped, and then, a pause. “‘Believe me, sizes; a boxy desktop computer between of hair. “I don’t know. It took a whole year a chance and it was a runaway success.”
I wish I weren’t a criminal, but wishing us. Every so often, Freddy’s phone would to write Jenkins & Sinclair and another “Thanks, anyway,” I said, and hung up Freddy took a deep breath.
He flipped to the back and showed me never got me anywhere,’ Sinclair gasped ring. He would glance at the caller ID and year before that to come up with the plot the phone. I couldn’t think of anything.
the author’s picture. She was in her late out on the gravel road,” quoted the man then silence the ringing by pushing a small I flipped through a “But, no, Writer was a failure. We can’t
twenties. Lengthy and unkempt brown and he shut the book triumphantly. I silver button. small creased note- afford another disappointment. Not in this
hair framed her unblemished neck and a turned to look at his smug, smiling face. book where I jotted economy. Do you understand?”
dimpled smile. It was like looking into “Page 347.” “It’s getting to be a bit overwhelming. I down ideas. Every
a mirror. wish I wasn’t part of Oprah’s publicity line either was I nodded.
“So what?” I said. “I could’ve read that machine,” I griped bitterly, taking a long crossed out or had
“Oh, her,” I said dismissively. “Yep, I’ve book too, and — ” drag from my cigarette. I paced to the multiple question “Please leave now,” Freddy said finally
gotten that a lot lately. The resemblance is elongated windows behind Freddy and marks next to it. I and returned to his desk.
uncanny, don’t you think?” “Yeah, yeah, yeah, enough excuses,” the threw the notebook,
man said impatiently, handing me his pen. BeLIeve Me, I and it skittered I took a last look around his office,
The man looked at me and then at the “Save your breath and my time, Miss. Can across the linoleum contemplating the windows. I left.
photograph. “Yeah, it is,” he you sign it now?” WIsH I Were a floor. Pleased with
said uncertainly. BestseLLIng the effect, I took
* the nearby lamp
“Exactly. Believe me, I wish I were a best- autHor, But positioned on my
selling author, but wishing never got me “How are you handling being a star?” WIsHIng never got desk and smashed
Freddy Weatherby, my editor, asked me. it against the floor.
Don’t tell him I call him Freddy. Freddy Me anyWHere. The lampshade
62 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 63
Fantasy Christopher Neish | The Short Minutes The Short Minutes | Christopher Neish Fantasy
The Short Minutes
I'm panicking. My heart feels like it's The man answers me almost
about to burst out of my chest. I don't pre-emptively.
know where I am, how I got here. I don't
know who I am. “All you need to know is that you are part
of a very complicated plan.”
I am in a very small room with one light
bulb hanging from the ceiling. I can feel “What? Please, let me go.”
that I am trapped inside a case. It takes
only a few seconds to realize that it is a He ignores me.
glass box. A coffin. I kick at the glass with
my feet and pain burns up my leg. “You aren't going anywhere. Not until
your purpose is served.”
My left leg is bloody and feels broken.
Is this the least of my worries? The I plead with him, “at least give me some
panic that is choking me squeezes my food. I haven't eaten in fifteen days.”
throat tighter. I've been taken. It is at this
moment I see two men in the room. The first sign of emotion twitches across
his face. It is confusion.
“Hello? Please, get me out of here!”
I can feel that I am trapped inside a case. “Fifteen days? You've only been here a
They don't even look at me as I yell for little over an hour.” I am in a very small room with one light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
their help. They must be guards.
My stomach aches and my requests for I can hear the sound of footsteps from far He is lying. That isn't true. I have been floor. As you can see, there is barely a He raps his knuckles on the lid of my
I now notice the consistent leak from the food have been just as unsuccessful as away. The footsteps take hours to reach here for days. The way my stomach feels puddle at all.” coffin and turns to leave the room. The
ceiling. The drops of water fall every 2 my attempts to escape. I wonder how I me, but maybe it is only a minute. The and each time I pass out it is for hours. sound of my screams push against his
seconds. All I can hear is the sound of the am alive without any food or water for a suspense is making me insane. He is right. There should be a small lake retreating figure.
“You're lying. I have been here for days.” there by now. He can't be telling the truth
The guards nod to a man as he enters the though. He just can't be. It is day one, and I am in hell.
HeLLo? PLease, get Me out oF Here! room. He walks towards the glass coffin. “No. You must have hit your head very
His face covered by the darkness. Is this hard on your way in here,” he smiles a “Thirdly and fourthly, my dear, the cut
the person who has kidnapped me? little at the guards. on your leg is still fresh and has barely
water hitting the cement floor. My mouth week. You can't survive without water for formed a scab. And how, with no food for
starts to feel dry and all I want is a glass this long. My body is eating itself from the I don't know who he is. I try to say this, He looks back at me with his eyebrows two weeks, would you have been able to
of water. The drip has sped up, but I'm not inside. but I cannot speak. I have been waiting to knit together and tells me everything I maintain your voluptuous figure? Surely,
sure if I am hearing the water on cement find out who has trapped me in this coffin, don't want to hear. your belt would be loose by now.”
or the beat of my heart. Everything turns I am crying for food now. The guards still and I don't even know him. He is just
black as I pass out. ignore me. Tears are rolling down my an average person. The man is in a very “First, the guards have not moved since He's right. I have only been in this glass
face as I scream. This is torture and there expensive black suit. He speaks in a low you have been here. Look at their faces, coffin for 60 minutes. How could this be?
It is now probably day seven. I succumb is nothing I can do to stop it. My heart and rough voice. they are still clean shaven. They haven't
to the panic attacks every few hours and, starts to race again. It races faster than the even switched shifts yet.” I am going insane.
gratefully, pass out. In these seven days, I water drips. I can feel the darkness coming “How have you been, Kara?”
haven't eaten. before it consumes me. I slide my eyes over the guard’s faces. “When you reach fifteen days, I will tell
That is my name? I don't know. He knows This is a shock, but I am not convinced. you. If this is any indication, though, I
“Please, feed me. I will die if you don't.” It is day fifteen but it feels longer. My who I am. I'm screaming now. would be fearful that you will, by then, be
stomach hurts. The guards still refuse to “Secondly, the leak in the ceiling should a shell of your former self.”
feed me. “Why are you doing this?” have created a much larger puddle on the
64 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 65
Fantasy Dana Carman | In Shades Of Brown Therian | Tara Gleeson Fantasy
In Shades of Brown Therian
Dana Carman Tara gleeson
The blue wall at the side of our classroom squirrels: food to mouth, nibbling quietly, wipe the thick dressing into the and my little ankle like a clapper. I held I never wanted to be a wolf.
had the consistency of cardboard and the eyes to board. We were in trouble. paper towel. my tears until I was buckled into the car,
habits of an accordion. Every time I was where the injustice could finally stream I never asked for the feeling of it. The
sent to put my “nose against the wall” I heard her shoes scuffling behind me and “Do it properly.” down my face. feeling of being trapped inside a body
I could see it sway, and in my eight- held my breath, sitting extra straight. She which doesn’t quite fit. I look in the mirror
year-old mind I guessed that someone smelled like mothballs, and mint, and cat. I dabbed at the mess. Then I felt her dry Days later, my Mom came home with and see a stranger every day even though I
had forgotten to secure it to the floor. I put my hand over my nose and mouth hand push against the back of my neck, four yellow-topped plastic containers know it’s me.
Shoddy workmanship. to block the smell. She looked down her sending me to my knees. for my salad dressing. It wasn't until
crooked beak at me. my first year of college when I told her I never wanted any of this, and yet, this is
One lunchtime the wall opened with a “There.” the story of my knee, and she told me the way I’ve always been. It’s hard some-
click and scrape that scratched the back of “The sandwich is spicy,” I lied. those plastic containers came from the times. I can’t help but feel I should be
my brain as much as it did the floor tiles. My nerves, covered in thick corduroy, Urology department. running on four paws instead of two legs.
My teacher was at the front of the class. She shuffled away. were oblivious to the jagged triangle of I can’t help but want to howl my feelings
I turned to see who was making all that glass underneath my knee. It sunk deeply deep into the night, hoping someone will
noise, and 25 new sets of eyes stared back For the 90 lunches that she supervised, she into my soft ligament. An urgent red hear and respond. I can’t help but be who
at me. This strange other class. wore nothing but brown. Even her white stream spilled onto the front of my pant and what I am. I’m just as much human
blouses were dulled to a sickly beige. leg. I caught up with the spill and wiped as I am wolf, and sometimes I can’t help
Looking at the other Grade 3 class was my hands off. When I stood, my pant leg but feel the world would shun me if
like meeting the people from your parallel It was October and Mom’s turn to work floated against my soaked shin, turning it they knew.
universe. There were the outcast, the the night shift at the hospital. Dad was a dark burgundy. My leg felt warm. I was
group of giggly girls and the inseparable delegated to packing our lunches. Mom sent to clean myself up. But there are times when I wake up in
best friends. All of them seemed to be a left only one instruction: think healthy. wonder of it all, looking at the world in
hair colour or t-shirt different from the You know those kids who got cookies In the bathroom, I unlaced my shoe and a different way. I see the world with two
ones we learned with each day, and we that you dipped in icing, or candied fruits peeled off my bloody sock. The door sets of eyes and hear with two sets of
were expected to eat together. I didn’t like pressed into little mats? Or that one kid jar filled with Caesar dressing. Oh, goody. squeaked open. I looked into the mirror ears. I laugh and play as happily as any
it. They were different, and when Mrs. who was sent to school with a can of pop? I ate my half-soggy half sandwich, picked through my eyelashes, and saw Mrs. pup, and I care deeply for the family that
Wright stepped out from behind the door, I’d love to have been that kid. the chocolate chips from my granola bar Wright standing directly behind me. surrounds me. And there are the days
I knew why. She was eight feet tall and and chewed up my apple. when I realize how lucky I really am to
160 years old. The outline of skull showed Noon came, the blue wall opened and “I need to go to the office.” know exactly what
under her thinly coiled hair. Was it white the air in the room stilled. It was Mrs. I was unscrewing that small jam jar lid is on the inside.
hair? Or blonde? It reminded me of my Wright’s shift. when the mothball-mint-cat smell wafted “What for?” Confusion still
Grandpa’s toenails. over my shoulder, wilting my crisp grips me, but at
I pressed the cold zipper tag between my lettuce. I turned to see where she was, and I pointed to my knee. least I know what
Mrs. Wright nodded to our teacher who thumb and finger, closed my eyes and dropped the jar. It spun in slow motion and to call myself.
ran out of the classroom, leaving us prayed. Dear God, please have made Dad smashed onto the tiled floor in a pool of She grabbed my sneaker and pulled me
alone. Traitor. pack just one salty or sweet snack. Amen. cut glass and white dressing. Mrs. Wright out of the sink. Her scaly cuticles pricked I never wanted
towered above, jabbing me with a roll of against my skin, and farther up her arm, to be a wolf. I
“Everyone take out your lunches.” Mrs. Zzzip. Apple, granola bar, half a jam sand- paper towel. I saw the dried margarine caked between never asked to
Wright’s voice struggled up her sand- wich, and… two new containers. I grabbed the creases of her elbow. She pulled me feel that way. But
paper throat. the corner of the small Tupperware and “That’s why you don’t bring guh-lah-asss too hard down the hallway and dropped something inside
cracked off the lid, sitting on the very to school.” me in front of the secretary's office. Then always makes me
My pink and purple Beauty & The Beast bones of my butt for an optimal view. she turned on the heels of her brown feel proud when I
lunch-kit sat on my desk, but I didn’t dare My hands trembled as I reached for loafers and swished away. look in the mirror.
unzip it. Mrs. Wright was wafting between Salad. Romaine with slivered carrots. I the thick roll. I could feel the stingy I am proud to be
the rows. The alternate-universe class was rolled my eyes skyward and shook my liquid creeping up from the backs of my By the time my Mom came to collect me, a Therian.
already eating like a hypnotized army of head. The other container? A small glass eyeballs. Squatted on my heels, I started to my stiffened corduroys hung like a bell Artwork by Tara Gleeson
66 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 67
Student Bios Student Bios
Student bios A-C
alex aksentyev Kyra Belanger-theil
Alex Aksentyev strives for honesty and truth in his writing, which has been called at times Kyra Belanger-Theil is currently in her final year of the Professional Writing program at
dark and poetic. Sarcasm is one of the preferred weapons in his writer’s arsenal. He is Algonquin College. When she is not busy working on assignments for her classes, she
inspired by the works of Wilbur Smith, H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. When he spends her time drawing on her tablet and working on her novel which, she admits, is
isn’t writing, he feeds his creative side by playing guitar, and experimenting with graphic making slow progress. Upon graduation, she hopes to find a steady paying job or to
design and nature photography. continue her studies in university.
Michelle arcand Joshua Bernier
Michelle Arcand is always writing. When she is not writing, her interests include reading, Josh Bernier, born and raised in Ottawa, is a student in the Professional Writing program
bicycling, cross-country skiing, ice skating and spending time with her family and friends. at Algonquin College. After graduation, he plans to enter the Scriptwriting program to
Genealogy is another one of her passions. After years of hearing stories about her an- continue working on his creative writing skills. Ultimately, he would like to try his hand
cestors, she recently began to build her family tree by looking through various records to in the film industry, an ambition which could bring him to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver,
search for more information about her family. New York or even Hollywood.
Carly askin Chris Carlin
Carly Askin learned a long time ago that she could not always organize her thoughts A graduate of the Law Clerk program, Chris Carlin acquired a morbid taste for convert-
when she was speaking. Instead, she started putting her ideas into writing, where she ing Legalese into everyday English. Still, he retains a passion for essays and fiction. He
finds herself able to express more eloquently. That is what led her to the Professional loves of all forms of humour, but holds dark comedy in the highest regard.
Writing program. The program will lead her to the next (and best) phase of her life: writ-
ing for a living.
sandra Baranek dana Carman
Sandra Baranek spent four years feverishly reading and writing about literature while A lifelong reader, Dana Carman took her passive passion for reading and turned it into
obtaining her honours BA in English language and literature at Brock University. Now, an active love of writing. Through the Professional Writing program, she has discovered
with her Professional Writing program at Algonquin College nearly complete, she feels her preference for writing feature articles and short fiction. Most mornings, even if the
ready to write some literature of her own. Her preferred genre is short fiction, where she day ahead is looking busy, she can be found curled up on the couch with a mug of tea
explores subjects such as family, immigration, and shared human experiences. and a good book.
70 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 71
Student Bios Student Bios
Student bios E-M
Patrice elston Heather Kerr
Patrice Elston is a lifelong learner. A U.S. citizen on her way to permanent Canadian Heather Kerr is a writer and aspiring novelist currently in the Professional Writing
residency, her former life includes careers in real estate and massage therapy both in program at Algonquin College. She graduated with a BA in English from the University
private practice and teaching positions. Her psychology degree has helped in both her of Guelph in the summer of 2009. Her hobbies include recreational writing, horseback
careers with assisting clients, students, colleagues and friends through their stressful life riding, and the odd rollerblading session. Future goals include owning a farm, becoming
experiences. Patrice is passionate about healthy communication, self-development and a published novelist and finally being able to reach that itchy spot on her back.
creating happy, fulfilling relationships.
Jessica gatenby Maggie McPhail
Jessica Gatenby is an aspiring romance writer with her first novel, Hidden Desires, Maggie McPhail is an artist of many varieties, but her true passion has always been
published through iUniverse. A passionate person who strives to bring that same hunger writing, where she focuses on free-style poetry. She holds a diploma in photography and
for emotion to the stories she commits to paper, she uses her words to elicit intense sen- professional writing from Algonquin College and upon graduation, hopes to work as an
sations and cravings. Readers connect with their innermost selves through her relatable editor or critique/blog writer. Her final goal is to combine both her diplomas to travel the
and inspiring characters. You will wish she wrote your life. world and record absolutely everything. Maggie has a strong passion for her work, for
the world and new experiences.
tara gleeson Catherine Mcnair
Tara Gleeson is pursuing her dream of becoming a writer and an independent comic Catherine McNair is a writer with wide eyes and an ambitious spirit. Her goal is to travel the
book artist. The Professional Writing program has given her the skills to write across vari- world in the hopes of seeing and understanding the cultures within it. Though her dreams
ous styles; of these, she favours her creative work. Tara commonly refers to herself as take her across the globe, her career goal is to work for the federal government in Ottawa.
an introverted eccentric. She loves to write twisted tales, and occasionally a light-hearted Whether for business or pleasure, writing is a passion she will never stop living.
fantasy or two.
Kathleen Henry sean Mcnorgan
Kathleen is a student in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. Hi! I’m Sean McNorgan. You may remember me from reading the story Writer. If you
don’t remember, I suggest you stop reading this biography right now and read my tale in
shame. I’ll wait until you’re done. Now then, I’m currently attending Algonquin College’s
Professional Writing program, I am an award-winning film critic and a former Guinness
World Record recipient. I love reading and writing fiction, especially writing my biography!
I’m just kidding on the last point.
72 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 73
Student Bios Student Bios
Student bios N-S
Chris neish emma sherratt
Christopher Neish is passionate about reading, writing, pop culture, and all things comic Emma Sherratt is in her second year at Algonquin College. Her obsession with fiction
book related. Although he may seem quiet, once he gets talking it’s hard for him to stop. keeps her writing stories in her spare time. She currently lives with her mother and father,
In his free time, he can be found reading a book by his favorite author or writing a short her two younger brothers, and her pet dog. She is a highly eclectic individual, and just
story. He hopes to find a career in business writing while working on a comic book series can’t decide on a favorite genre of book, movie or music. Emma was born with Asperger
on the side. Syndrome, which gives her a unique view of life and of the world.
Kristen nelson Kaitlin stuart
Kristen Nelson decided a year ago that filling her free time with fiction writing was no lon- Kaitlin Stuart is in her second year of the Professional Writing program at Algonquin
ger enough. She sought out the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College with College. Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, she hopes to build a career in business
the hope that she could take a medium that she already loved and turn it into a career. communications. Her hobbies include cooking, shopping, running and yoga. She enjoys
Interested in all genres of writing, she especially enjoys short fiction and web writing. Her expanding her knowledge about health and nutrition and works hard to maintain a
goals include a position in a communications field and a career in freelance writing. healthy mind and body. A lover of awkward humour, she loves to laugh and delights in
making others smile.
Krystal Roy has been interested in writing for as long as she can remember. Her goal
is to become a published novelist, though she also hopes for success in a proofread-
Credits Photoshop, as well as printing preflight. Team members: Josh
Bernier, Maggie McPhail, Kaitlin Stuart, Alex Aksentyev,
ing career. She spends most of her time creating more characters than she knows what Many thanks to the following individuals and organizations Jessica Gatenby, and Chris Neish.
to do with and monsters that should never be released into the wild. Some of her other
who helped make this magazine possible.
interests include behavioural psychology and sketching.
The Proofing team was responsible for making sure the
The Editorial team was responsible for editing the 22 entries magazine was error-free. Team members: Krystal Roy, Patrice
of the magazine. Team members: Carly Askin, Heather Kerr, Elston, Sean McNorgan, and Kristen Nelson.
Sandra Baranek, Michelle Arcand, Brandon Rushton, Dana
Carman, and Catherine McNair. All stock images were taken from www.sxc.hu.
Brandon rushton The Design team was responsible for choosing the magazine
look-and-feel, including fonts, colours, paper, splash pages
We would also like to thank the Algonquin Print Shop, who
prints this magazine every year. This document was printed by
Brandon Rushton is a thinker and a dreamer, but most importantly, he is a writer. Though and cover artwork. Team members: Kyra Belanger-Theil, Tara high quality digital printers on Spicers digital silk paper, cover
much of his future is still unclear, he is passionately committed to becoming a profes- Gleeson, Emma Sheratt, and Chris Carlin. pages on 80lb cover stock and inner pages on 70lb text stock.
sional writer. When not studying, he can be found indulging in one of his many passions,
including sports, movies, and fiction. At this moment, Brandon is probably in an Ottawa
The Layout team was responsible for taking the edited articles Lastly, we would like to thank Jessica Rousseau, Professor of
coffee shop, sipping tea with an Atwood, Carver, or Salinger in his hands.
and placing the text into the designed magazine template. the Winter 2010 Production Projects course for which this was
This included text and image formatting in InDesign and the final assignment.
74 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011 75
Professional Writing Class of 2011