Monthly Archives: April 2021

BWS 12.05.21: Waubgeshig Rice

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002, and spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a video journalist and radio host. He left CBC in 2020 to focus on his literary career. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and two sons.

Widening the Storytelling Circle

Does the world really need another podcast? I guess it depends on who you ask, and how you ask it. About a year ago, an old acquaintance of mine from Ottawa named Jennifer David heard I was leaving my longtime broadcasting career at CBC, and she asked me if I wanted to start a podcast with her. But this wouldn’t be any generic podcast with two Indigenous people riffing on random topics. She had a very specific idea in mind: a podcast about Indigenous literature. I didn’t have to think about it long. I was in.

It wasn’t an entirely new notion. Jennifer had reached out to me back when I lived in Ottawa years ago to see if I was interested in starting a similar project with her. But the difference in 2020 was I had the flexibility and freedom to give it a shot. After a few conversations over the summer, the idea started firming up. It would be a monthly podcast about Indigenous literature in the same vein as a book club, hosted by us, with a new guest every month to talk about a book by an Indigenous author.

And thus, the Storykeepers Podcast was born. We had ongoing conversations about the works in the canon of Indigenous literature we wanted to discuss, along with newer books that we wanted to spotlight. We came up with a dream list of potential guest hosts who were mostly Indigenous authors. We talked logistics and how we could make the project happen. We would each acquire a decent microphone, and record our conversations with our guests over Zoom. In the pandemic era of increased connectivity, it seemed totally doable.

We planned to fund the entire endeavour on our own, but then we decided to inquire with the Ontario Arts Council about funding. We were pointed to the Indigenous Arts Program, and encouraged to apply. In January, we found out we were successful in receiving a grant to cover some equipment and operating costs, and Storykeepers was closer to becoming a reality.

Our first episode launched in March with a discussion about Daniel Heath Justice’s crucial book Why Indigenous Literatures Matter. The uptake and response were great, and we followed that up with an episode on Maria Campbell’s classic memoir Halfbreed. Poet Gregory Scofield joined us for that one. And we have an extensive roster of books and guests planned for the rest of the year.

 We have been very humbled and honoured by the response, and the answer is now much clearer to us: yes, the world does need another podcast, especially another one that focuses on Indigenous literature. Many of our cultures are rooted in oral storytelling, so a spoken homage to the books that inspire, enlighten, and empower us is rather fitting. You can find us on most podcast and social media platforms, so please like and subscribe!

Waubgeshig Rice visits Brockton Writers Series via ephemera series on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 starting at 6:30pm alongside Elizabeth HirstRyanne Kapand Therese Estacion. Our guest speaker Tricia Fish, best known for her debut comedy feature inspired by her youth in Cape Breton – “New Waterford Girl,” talks us through, “Screenwriting versus Prose”.

Special note: As we adapt to current social distancing regulations, we’re happy to announce our event will be hosted by the wonderful ephemera series! They have already done their show online multiple times, so we are thrilled to benefit from their technical expertise, while also increasing collaboration within the literary community and growing connections between organizers, authors, and audience. You can attend the event by watching on the ephemera series YouTube channel. Please log in at 6:30.

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BWS 12.05.21: Ryanne Kap

Ryanne Kap is a Chinese-Canadian writer from Strathroy, Ontario. Her work has been featured in Grain MagazineFeelszinecarte blanche, and elsewhere. In 2020, her short story “Heat” won first place in Grain Magazine’s Short Grain contest. You can find her online at www.ryannekap.com or on Twitter and Instagram @ryannekap.

I asked Sarah Hilton and Victoria Mbabazi, two of my best friends and fellow writers, if we could ask each other nonsense questions about our writing. This is the result.

Ryanne: Sarah, what colour are your poems, and why? You can pick one poem if you want but your poems in general, do you feel like they have a certain vibe? Do they have a colour?

Sarah: I feel like the chapbook I wrote recently, maybe it’s like a moss green. I feel like that has almost a similar vibe to how Hozier sounds, like it’s just this cryptid living in the woods, and they’re rising up from the earth and they’re just trying to dig their lover out with them. That’s the vibe of my poems, it’s like the body combined with nature. 

Ryanne: Do you have a certain Hozier song that people should listen to before they read your poems?

Sarah:  I think “In the Woods Somewhere” from his self-titled album from the extended edition, or “Wasteland Baby!”, like the song. 

Ryanne: Victoria, if one of your poems was going to be turned into a movie, which one would it be, and who would you want to direct it?

Victoria: The Plot The Heist The Pot.” I want co-directors. Judd Apatow and Jordan Peele cuz I think it’d be really funny but then also really cool cinematography-wise.

Ryanne: Nice.

Victoria: Okay. You know what, I’m sorry. Right off the bat. Ryanne, what book has influenced your writing the most and why is it The Road by Cormac McCarthy?

Ryanne: First off, I will not be accepting your apology. I think The Road is really brave for not using punctuation and expecting the reader to go along with it. So you know, I also like to see what the reader will put up with. And if they will accept that there is never a plot in any of my stories. Thank you for the question.

Sarah: Can I interject?

Ryanne: Yes.

Sarah: The Road really is fundamental to both of your writing because it has no plot like Ryanne, but also it has no punctuation like Victoria’s. 

Victoria: My question for you is similar to Ryanne’s question.

Sarah: Oh no.

Victoria: If your poetry was an animal, what animal would it be?

Sarah: I feel like… Oh no. I hate this. Okay so there’s this movie called Antichrist with Willem Dafoe and it takes place a lot of the time in the wilderness and Willem Dafoe comes across all of these creatures. And there’s a fox that says “chaos reigns” out of nowhere. Recently I got a poem accepted intoRelease Any Words Stuck Inside of You III. And I think that poem is a deer, but it’s specifically the deer from Antichrist. It turns to the side, and you see that it has half a baby deer coming out of its—

Ryanne: I get it. Thank you.

Sarah: You’re welcome.

Ryanne: Sarah, what are your questions?

Sarah:  Victoria, I’m thinking of the speaker of your poems. What is their sun, moon and rising?

Victoria:  I think “Femme Fatale” is all just fire placements, you know what I mean. Like an Aries sun, Pisces moon, and then a Leo rising. And then everything else is Aries. Some poems are just Pisces placements, but I think it always goes between Aries and Pisces. 

Sarah: Why is that?

Victoria: Because I’m not well. So I’m either really sad, or really angry. And then I think maybe the Cancer placement is the thing that tries to make it funny, because they’re like a peacemaker placement. 

Sarah: Ryanne, what are 3-5 songs you would put on a playlist about your next work in progress?

Ryanne: I next have to work on five short stories about adopted Chinese Canadians for a final project that I’m doing. I would say, “1901” by Birdie, “Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers, “right where you left me” by Taylor Swift, “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens, “Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz. The vibe is kind of like you’re 17 and you’re realizing that you don’t know what’s going on at all.

Ryanne: Okay, as a wrap-up question, what’s it like for your close friends to also be writers? 

Victoria: It’s harrowing. It’s definitely brave of us to be friends. Writing at the same time. You know, it’s such a solitary act. So, yeah, it’s solitary. It’s harrowing. It’s brave.

Sarah: You’re just saying buzzwords.

Victoria: It’s in conversation with. It’s the ways in which it’s happening. It’s speaking to. 

Ryanne: Okay, thank you. Sarah?

Sarah: It’s learning vocabulary outside of the same five things that CanLit always says. What about you?

Ryanne: I will not accept any edits that are not from Google Docs. That’s what I’ve taken from this experience. There’s nothing quite like having people live-editing your document, and just yelling things in the comments. 

Victoria: That’s what friendship is. It’s yelling in the Google Docs. 

Ryanne: Yeah, I think that’s really profound.

Victoria: I think that’s the most profound thing I’ve said all evening.

Sarah: I think you’re both saying nothing. 

Ryanne & Victoria: Yeah.

Ryanne Kap visits Brockton Writers Series via ephemera series on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 starting at 6:30pm alongside Elizabeth HirstWaubgeshig Riceand Therese Estacion. Our guest speaker Tricia Fish, best known for her debut comedy feature inspired by her youth in Cape Breton – “New Waterford Girl,” talks us through, “Screenwriting versus Prose”.

Special note: As we adapt to current social distancing regulations, we’re happy to announce our event will be hosted by the wonderful ephemera series! They have already done their show online multiple times, so we are thrilled to benefit from their technical expertise, while also increasing collaboration within the literary community and growing connections between organizers, authors, and audience. You can attend the event by watching on the ephemera series YouTube channel. Please log in at 6:30.

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BWS 12.05.21: Elizabeth Hirst

Elizabeth Hirst is a Canadian horror author, graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop Class of 2006, and an editor of books and short stories. Her writing on LGBT themes in horror fiction has appeared on Tor.com and The Scariest Part, and her novels, The Face in the Marsh and Distant Early Warning are available from Renaissance Press. Find her on Twitter and Instagram as @hirst_author, and blogging at http://elizabethhirstblog.wordpress.com.

Elizabeth’s latest novel, Distant Early Warning, combines horror elements with adventure and climate change fiction in a story of redemption, love and loss. Today, she shares an excerpt from the book in which the protagonist, Denny, waits in the dark alone, not knowing what kind of creature she may encounter. 

Meeting the Wildlife

As the instruments dimmed, Denny looked for the touch light in the door pocket beside her. All of the contents were obscured by shadow, and no way was she going to go sticking her hand into random crevices in Seaburn’s car. For all she knew, he had old needles stashed somewhere unexpected. Denny pulled an old tissue out of her pocket. Better that than nothing. She poked once or twice on what might have been a couple of old cigarette cartons, then hit on something round. She pulled the touch light out of the pocket, laid it on her lap, and pressed the button.

A fountain of pale blue, flickering light sprayed out of the touch light. At first, Denny held it to herself like a treasured pet, but she soon realized that with the light so close to her face, she couldn’t see out of the windows at all. Once she set the touch light on the driver’s seat, she found that her eyes adjusted just enough that she could see the pale outline of the sky against the tops of the trees.

Having figured out her living arrangements for the next half hour or so (at least she hoped it would only be that long), Denny’s inner monologue started up. Geoff was asleep on the back seat, and so she wouldn’t wake him if she could help it. Tense, alone, and a little bit chilly, she tried to force herself to sit back in the seat and forget where she was. All she ended up doing was leaning back on her right arm and making it fall asleep, and counting the minutes until Seaburn was due back.

It had been at least twenty minutes when Geoff raised his head and growled. Denny looked back at the dog, then squinted her eyes, trying to see more of what was outside. Geoff never growled at people…even people he didn’t know. He only growled when there were animals outside.

Denny heard a loud crack coming from in front of them and across the road. Something big was trundling through the underbrush, breaking things in its way. Whatever Geoff was onto, it was big. Denny grabbed Geoff’s collar and shushed him, but Geoff was locked onto whatever it was and no amount of petting or shaking was going to break him out of it. He barked, and Denny cringed.

All of a sudden, she remembered the touch light on the seat. Whatever was out there would see that first, if it wanted to come looking for Geoff. She smacked the touch light, then huddled in the dark, staring out the window for any new information.

Please don’t let it be a bear, please don’t let it be a bear, please don’t let it be a mother bear of all things ran through her head like a neon news ticker. She remembered a story that her dad had been fond of telling, about her great-grandfather. Apparently, he had been on a tour of the Rockies one time, in a car with roll-up windows. While crossing through Banff, he had been forced to stop for a group of black bears crossing the road. One of the bears, smelling the sandwiches in the car, had decided that it wanted a taste of the food…and stuck its claws under the rubber sealing on the window and pulled it down with nothing but brute strength. If it hadn’t been for the timely arrival of a park ranger, as Dad told it, old Great-Grandpa would have ended up as dessert.

Geoff was still growling. As Denny’s eyes adjusted, she could see the road, a vaguely reflective charcoal grey strip, and the black blocks of trees on either side. Up above, the sky was a deep blue, not quite black yet, and speckled with stars.

A shape emerged onto the tarmac, and as it crossed the lighter portion of the road, Denny could see that it was a huge animal, with long, spindly legs, a droopy neck, and bumpy, scoop-shaped antlers. A bull moose. Denny let out a sigh of relief as a small cow with two calves peeked out of the bushes and crossed the road. Geoff barked again. The bull turned its head, then quickly ignored him. After the moose family had disappeared into the forest, Denny heard a long, hooting call, and then silence reigned once again. Geoff relaxed. After ten minutes, with the exception of the nervous dog stink that now filled the car, Denny would never have known he’d gotten upset in the first place.

By the time the moose had crossed the road, Denny figured it had been forty minutes or so since Seaburn had disappeared into the forest. She gazed at the mottled charcoal grey wall of the forest edge beside her, waiting to catch a washed-out glimpse of his flannel coat in the moonlight. After what must have been an hour, she blinked to clear the impression of the window and the trees out of her eyes and tried to think of something else to do.

Almost without realizing it, she fell into her old trick from the doctor’s office. Whenever she felt both bored and nervous at the same time, she had developed the habit of attempting to recite familiar poetry in her head and trying to remember all of the stanzas perfectly. Some people, she knew, did the alphabet backwards in similar situations, but she had worked that trick up to light speed years ago, along with much of Yeats and most of the prologue to The Canterbury Tales. She started out with something from the Blake book Dad had given her. It was the last piece of literature she had read, and thus the most likely for her to remember.

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Okay, that was the easy part, the part they always quoted in textbooks. Now what was the next part again? Something about “skies” and “Burn the fire of thine eyes.” “In what far immortal skies?” No… “In what deeps and in the skies…” still no, but closer…

Denny had almost cobbled together half of the second stanza (In what distant deeps or skies/ Burnt the fire of thine eyes) when Seaburn slapped the hood, startling her out of her memorization game. He slung open the door and slipped down into the driver’s seat, spine supple as new rubber.

 “Better?” Denny asked flatly.

  “You know it,” he said, breathing heavily for a moment, then, “Did the bears get you? How about the boogey man?”

  “I survived,” she said.

Elizabeth Hirst visits Brockton Writers Series via ephemera series on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 starting at 6:30pm alongside Ryanne KapWaubgeshig Riceand Therese Estacion. Our guest speaker Tricia Fish, best known for her debut comedy feature inspired by her youth in Cape Breton – “New Waterford Girl,” talks us through, “Screenwriting versus Prose”.

Special note: As we adapt to current social distancing regulations, we’re happy to announce our event will be hosted by the wonderful ephemera series! They have already done their show online multiple times, so we are thrilled to benefit from their technical expertise, while also increasing collaboration within the literary community and growing connections between organizers, authors, and audience. You can attend the event by watching on the ephemera series YouTube channel. Please log in at 6:30.

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Brockton Writers Series 12.05.21

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 – 6:30pm

Brockton Writers Series presents readings by:

Elizabeth Hirst

Ryanne Kap

Waubgeshig Rice

Therese Estacion

Special note: As we adapt to current social distancing regulations, we’re happy to announce our event will be hosted by the wonderful ephemera series! They have already done their show online multiple times, so we are thrilled to benefit from their technical expertise, while also increasing collaboration within the literary community and growing connections between organizers, authors, and audience. You can attend the event by watching on the ephemera series YouTube channel. Please log in at 6:30.

The reading is PWYC (suggested $3-$5) and features a Q&A with the writers afterward. Books are available for sale.

 If you’d like to donate, please do so here.

Many thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for their support.

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GUEST SPEAKER

Screenwriting versus Prose

Tricia Fish is a Canadian writer who studied art; she is best known for her debut comedy feature inspired by her youth in Cape Breton – “New Waterford Girl”, nominated for seven Genies. She writes features, shorts, and television; her new series is in development with Sienna Films.

READERS

Elizabeth Hirst is a Canadian horror author, graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop Class of 2006, and an editor of books and short stories. Her writing on LGBT themes in horror fiction has appeared on Tor.com and The Scariest Part, and her novels, The Face in the Marsh and Distant Early Warning are available from Renaissance Press. Find her on Twitter and Instagram as @hirst_author, and blogging at http://elizabethhirstblog.wordpress.com.

Ryanne Kap is a Chinese-Canadian writer from Strathroy, Ontario. Her work has been featured in Grain Magazine, Feelszine, carte blanche, and elsewhere. In 2020, her short story “Heat” won first place in Grain Magazine’s Short Grain contest. You can find her online at www.ryannekap.com or on Twitter and Instagram @ryannekap.

Waubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist from Wasauksing First Nation. He has written three fiction titles, and his short stories and essays have been published in numerous anthologies. His most recent novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, was published in 2018 and became a national bestseller. He graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program in 2002, and spent most of his journalism career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a video journalist and radio host. He left CBC in 2020 to focus on his literary career. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and two sons.

Therese Estacion is part of the Visayan diaspora community. She is an elementary school teacher and is studying to be a psychotherapist. Therese is also a bilateral below knee and partial hands amputee, and identifies as a disabled person/person with a disability. Therese lives in Toronto. Her poems have been published in CV2 and PANK Magazine. Phantompains is her first book.

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