In 2005, I had a baby. The usual spit-up, disjointed sleep, and joy. In 2007, it was twins, born catastrophically three months too soon. One of them died. I started writing on a morphine drip and never stopped. Imagination became my altar, saviour, and jailbreak.
In 2008, feeling terribly isolated in grief—like Medusa, I always said—I founded Glow in the Woods, the world's first bereavement community for parents. For six years running I was the keynote speaker for the Walk to Remember in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada's largest memorial event for bereaved families. In 2012, I gave a TEDx talk called Parallelism, about the often solitary journeys of creativity and grief. When we lose someone we love, we've got to re-learn how to love, communicate, and abide with them, with the mysteriously vanished. There's beauty and companionship in that learning.
My latest book—Notes for the Everlost: A Field Guide to Grief—is out now with Shambhala Publications. It's the latest in a career of adventure novels and picture books for kids, all infused with Nova Scotian salt and mischief, woodstoves and rum-running. It all lines up. Hooliganism and friendship, exquisite beauty, explosive mess. Losses and gains. I'm glad you're here.
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The wonderful PRH Audio is releasing excerpts of the audiobook, as read by me in a three-day marathon inside a little black cave-room in Nova Scotia. Reading aloud, re-living, time-travelling. And feeling very much with you, with us.
Such happy news: a new picture book for Fall 2020! “…A rhythmic, playful story about three frogs who ride bicycles through the woods, singing and playing instruments for the other animals until a huge storm wins them an unexpected fan…”
The third video reading—direct to you from the closet!—is on the silver lining of a heart full of holes. All the things that work exactly as they’re supposed to thanks to their holes: sponges, souffles, the foam inside lifejackets. And me, and you.
The second video reading from the book—on strength—is all about fluidity over bruce force, with public domain treasures that fit the words. Not muscle, but flow. That’s the way to life again, and I like thinking about that. I hope you do, too.
I went into the crowsnest closet to record three pieces of audio that felt important. The first—Dandelions in Chernobyl—is about how time does her work on an exquisite scale, and the moment you realize she’s been doing that work all along.