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					Algonquin College Professional Writing
Graduating Class 2011
Algonquin College Professional Writing
Class of 2011
Graduate Magazine




Intro
                      Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                           Introduction




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
Joshua Bernier
                                                      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
                                                      dana Carman
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
Carly askin
                                                      Michelle arcand                                 70




 4             Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011                                                                          Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011   5
                      Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Introduction




Index
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
                                                                                                                                                 Kyra Belanger-theil
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
                                                                                                                                                                                          Patrice elston
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
                                                                                                                                                                                          Maggie McPhail
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
                                                                                                                                                                                          sHort FICtIon
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
Heather Kerr
the evolution of Conversing                   32                                                                                                 Muse Haikus                        12    Pots and Pans                                 42
                                                                                                                                                 emma sherratt                            sandra Baranek




 6             Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011                                                                                     Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011   7
                     Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                  Introduction




Introduction
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




 8            Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011                                                 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011   9
revIeWs &
 readIng
          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




1984
Chris Carlin

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

 14           Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011                                                                                                 Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011   15
          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?
Brandon Rushton

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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   3.  ThE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       SWIMMER
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   By rayMond
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   his neighbourhood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   swimming pools.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   descriptions, hints,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               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
                                                                                                               Margaret atWood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   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
Joshua Bernier


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
                                                                                                                                                                                                       last year.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             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
                                                                                                                                                                                                             sHeL sILversteIn
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                     rainbow scales
                                                                                                                                                        4.   ClouDy WITh a ChaNCE
                                                                                                                                                             of MEaTBallS By
                                                                                                                                                        JudI Barrett
                                                                                                                                                                                                       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
    TERRIBlE, hoRRIBlE,
No gooD, VERy BaD Day By
                                                     we should share what we have with the
                                                     less fortunate.
                                                                                                         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
JudItH vIorst

Everybody has bad days but Alexander’s
                                                    7.  PuRPlE, gREEN aND
                                                        yElloW By
                                                     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
                                                                              and-maybe-even-
                                                                              later-colouring
                                                     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
      MarCus PFIster
                                                     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.
 18           Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011                                                                                                   Spine Magazine | Professional Writing graduating class of 2011 | www.spineonline.ca/2011   19
          Reviews of Literature                      Alex Aksentyev | Synthetic Serendipity                                                                                                          Synthetic Serendipity | Alex Aksentyev                          Reviews of Literature




Synthetic Serendipity
alex aksentyev

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
tHe CraFt
oF WrItIng
                Craft of Writing                    Krystal Roy | In Defence Of Genre                                                                                                                 In Defence Of Genre | Krystal Roy                           Craft of Writing




In Defence of Genre
Krystal Roy

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?
Kristen Nelson

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
                  The Real World                     Kathleen Henry | Tips In The Back                                                                                                                   Tips In The Back | Kathleen Henry                           The Real World




Tips in the Back
Kathleen henry

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
heather Kerr

“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,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the mumbler
tHe aPPLe

 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
Carly askin

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
CoMMunIty
    & LIFe
        Features: Community                         Jessica Gatenby | Katie Bears                                                                                                                           Katie Bears | Jessica Gatenby                        Features: Community




Katie Bears
Jessica gatenby

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
                                                                                                                                                         Kaitlin Stuart

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
Sandra Baranek

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
                                                                                                                                                                                                       our stoop.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             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
                                                                                                                                                         ContInued. “I’M
                                                                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                         Convent.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “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




The Bandbox
Michelle arcand

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
                                                                                                                                                                                                     Grandmother
                                                   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




Appetizer
Patrice Elston

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
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           answered, laughing.

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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     tHInK sHouLd
                                                     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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                     ParKIng Lot…
                                                                                                         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
                       Spirituality                 Maggie McPhail | Yoga's Place In Western Society                                                                                  Yoga's Place In Western Society | Maggie McPhail                              Spirituality




Yoga's Place in Western Society
Maggie McPhail

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
Catherine McNair

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
  Pure
FICtIon
                             Fantasy                 Sean McNorgan | Writer                                                                                                                                          Writer | Sean McNorgan                         Fantasy




Writer
Sean McNorgan

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
Christopher Neish

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




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
                                            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



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