My piece “The Sweater” will be in The Malahat Review’s theme issue “Elusive Boundaries: Mapping Creative Nonfiction in Canada.”
I owe this to Nalo Hopkinson, who helped me take this to the next level. But I especially owe this to Nisi Shawl, without whom this would just be a 250-word piece in my diary…
I think the best way to talk about this is to relate what happened earlier this morning and yesterday.
So as I was passing the office of my building’s superintendent yesterday (after screaming and bouncing and muppetflailing etc. all over my apartment), I told him the good news.
This morning, as I was coming back from putting out the garbage, he was about to go through a door on the first floor. He stayed there, watching me, smiling.
“What ya smilin’ ’bout…?” I asked as I approached, smiling myself.
“Good for you. Progress, progress.”
This guy’s seen me at my worst; and in a way, I chronicled this in “The Sweater”. As I told him, waiting for the elevator, and he nodded, knowingly, me ticking topics off: it’s about not having money, sacrificing what you have just to get something nice; going to the food bank; being mentally ill; worrying if a guy’ll ever accept you; not having enough or the best supports; being alone; wondering where the light in the tunnel will go as you enter old age.
All in 1,400 words.
It’s like, the shortest thing I’ve ever written. My genre shit tends to be LONG.
As I told him, walking into the elevator, “At least I can write… at least I can write…”
[EDIT: Wendy Delmater was in integral part of the process, too. She’s mentoring me in all aspects of my writing, and so assumed to be a given my myself (NOT PRESUMED/TAKEN FOR GRANTED!) I don’t even think…. She saw it at its inception, through its many iterations, helped with the painstaking integration of lyrics, then their extrusion (Oh, GOD!) to find something Public Domain…