1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Writing

A Response to Jia Tolentino’s “The Personal-Essay Boom is Over”

This response is directly on point.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zoeBy Zoë Bossiere

A couple of weeks ago, a piece by Jia Tolentino came out in The New Yorker called “The Personal-Essay Boom is Over.” The title alone was enough to deluge social media feeds with writers stepping forward to defend the vitality of the personal essay in spite of the article’s assertions, or otherwise agreeing with Tolentino that the personal essay is, in fact, “dead.” The only problem is, the article isn’t actually about what we writers know as the personal essay at all, but rather a separate subgenre of nonfiction called the “confessional essay.” If we want to get even more specific, Tolentino’s article is talking specifically of the confessional essays typically printed in online “women’s” publications such as xoJane, Jezebel, Salon, and others. To compare the personal and the confessional is a common false equivalence, and a great underestimation of all that first-person nonfiction writing encompasses.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Writing

Staging an (Accessible) Online Reading: A Step-By-Step Guide

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz_sonyaBy Sonya Huber

The typical literary reading presents an obstacle course for many people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. From finding transportation and parking to staying up late to navigating stairs and chairs, every decision involves stress and difficulty. My recent essay collection, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays From a Nervous System, deals with the twists and turns of living with chronic pain, and I knew that I needed to find ways to connect with people with chronic pain. I was surprised to find that an online reading was easy and fun, and I believe this is something other authors can easily do to extend their own audiences and make literary readings more accessible.

My first foray into online readings was through a Facebook Live Event. I hadn’t seen this done before so I kind of winged it, and in the end I think it turned…

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir Monday, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer

The Only Sure Things #FTSF #AtoZChallenge

“grief is the price you pay for love you see.”
—Miss Josephine Barry, “Anne The Series”

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Truer words have never been spoken.

The A to Z Challenge – T is for Taxes

How we pay for everything else.

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and nothing free either.

After love, all we are left with is grief, but that love is always there.

Then there are those dreaded taxes. I consider myself lucky that my sister works at a tax office. She is learning the ropes. It’s nice to have that in the family because I am absolute rubbish with numbers.

So this time is a tense one, for many people and reasons, full of stress. April is tax time and time for bloggers to decide on whether or not to tackle doing the dreaded A to Z thing. It’s a lot of work and I haven’t even arrived at the hardest letters of the alphabet yet. Oh boy.

I’m tempted to keep this post light, but talk of grief is on my mind, as it is impossible to escape forever. Love and loss are wrapped up in one another. It’s inevitable. I may keep my distance, afraid of loss and getting hurt, but love is still the best thing I know. I can’t close myself off from it, simply because one day it will end in heartbreak.

I’m facing down thoughts of death all the while, I’m leaving the tax part in my sister’s more capable hands.

***This is my late contribution to
Finish the Sentence Friday
(three days late) because the prompts just happened to fit.

Finding Ninee’s perspective is an interesting one: nothing to lose and everything to lose, all at the same time. Check it out.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, Piece of Cake

Here Comes the Diet Police #Nutrition #AtoZChallenge

Oh no. Here comes the dietician.

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So many doctors. So little time. It’s the dreaded diet doctor, who has come to lecture me on what to eat and what not to eat.

The A to Z Challenge – N is for Nutrition

From the moment I was diagnosed with kidney disease, I began to see doctor after doctor. One specialist I would see would be the one with all the expertise on nutrition.

I had low calcium. I had low iron, anaemia. I needed to take supplements. I was put on dialysis. I was under weight and malnourished. My body wasn’t getting any of the proper nutrients it needed. The kidney disease was preventing anything healthy from happening in my body.

From then on I saw the dietician, who told me what foods to stay away from. Then, once I’d had my kidney transplant, I saw one again, who told me I was to basically eat the opposite of all I was to stay away from while on dialysis.

It was confusing. It was confusing, going from fighting to keep any weight on to being on high doses of medications which put on weight.

Food has been a major factor for me, something I had to think about, since I was eleven years old. I fought like hell to be healthy, but I never dreamed that nutrition would be such a difficulty for me.

Now, I am on such low doses of those transplant medications, but the damage has been done. My body has been through a lot.

I try to find balance. I love salad and I love chocolate. I could live on fruit and vegetables, but I love my pizza. I love to drink water and still I drink Coke.

This nutrition thing is hard and I don’t see it getting any easier, the older I get.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Shows and Events, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Spring Has Sprung – Bright Side, #10Thankful

“I’m living on the bright side. It’s all a state of mind.” —Angela Saini

I’ll be honest, often, the world scares me.

I look to things like this TToT and its gratitude exercise for some relief.

Ten Things of Thankful

So, let’s just get to it, because I need some relief from the news of the day.

I am thankful for writers and thinkers such as Margaret Atwood.

I have not read The Handmaid’s Tale, as Atwood’s genre is one that covers uncomfortable truths and possibilities, through fiction and inside fictional realities. I don’t feel comfortable reading that stuff, but I do believe I am missing out.

She has had a long and esteemed writing career in Canada and we are lucky to have her intelligence and her talents.

I am thankful for those I know who travel and are out there living life, reporting back to me somehow on their journeys.

The world scares me and that is why I must see more of it, as much as I possibly can.

But, when and where I cannot, I value my friends, better than all the travel blogs I have followed on Facebook. My friends and those I’ve met, somewhere, somehow are out there and inspiring me to not feel so scared all the time.

And, if I am unable to push away my fear completely, they prove to me that it is possible to go ahead anyway. You miss less by going and doing, fear be damned.

I am thankful for Canada and my extremely privileged citizenship here.

We have our problems and we must acknowledge those. I see protests and silencing in Russia, famine and governmental corruption in Africa, and the unrest and polarization in the U.S. and I hope Canada can face our sins and remain as united and reasonable as possible.

I plan to write more about this as Canada Day, 2017 draws closer.

I am thankful for audio progress reports.

The sound of the App notification on my phone is enough to make me smile and forget my other racing thoughts for a few moments.

My friend may be over in Ireland, but I still get to hear her daughter’s growth, through trying to fill her baby’s bottle and spilling an entire jug of milk all over the floor or not understanding why she can’t fit into her doll’s clothes.

The photos my friend captions for me and then I listen to the short video clips with great interest. I look forward to them in my week.

I am thankful for more time holding my baby niece.

Speaking of growth…she is now one month old and my sister feels she is already growing too fast.

She loves to eat. I like to hold her the other times, when she is not nursing, and then my sister can do some other things.

My niece has a real angry cry, as babies do, but I hold her when she sleeps and she is so peaceful then. Hard to believe it’s the same child. You gotta love it.

I am thankful for all those who help me understand things better, things I often miss out on, those like my extremely generous friend.

My writing mentor is teaching travel writing across some of Africa and she posted a tree. I knew she wouldn’t post it for no reason. She must have seen something special in that tree. I wanted to try and see something in that photo too, in my mind.

“When a bulb burns out, I see. Even in the dark, it feels sunny to me. Skipping in the shadows, every corner holds beauty. There is always light if you look closely.” —Angela Saini

I don’t expect the world to always modify for my needs. Photos are visual things. I get that. Sometimes I just want to imagine what one looks like.

My friend, a writer and a scientist, she heard about this and offered to describe the tree. I learned a lot.

“Splashing through the puddles. Knowing that’s how green grass grows.” —Angela Saini

I am thankful for the first real spring weather.

The other day was so mild. The sunshine was warm on my face. No more shivering.

“I don’t own a poncho. Whenever it rains I only see a rainbow.” —Angela Saini

Spring means rain. I like a good rainstorm. Bring it on.

A rainbow is one of those things, like any photo, that I long to see and never likely will. I appreciate any person’s interpretation of what a rainbow looks like.

Anyone want to give it a go? Leave your description in the comments to this post.

I am thankful for a lesson I thought was certain to be bad.

We had to miss a week. My teacher is in university and this time of year is particularly chaotic.

Any time we have this happen, like when I was in Mexico, I assume the next lesson will not go well at all because of the extra time in between.

I’ve learned this isn’t always the case. I had an extremely productive and energetic practice just before and we had a great talk about the strain and endurance of playing the violin.

Oh, I also did work on the actual practicing techniques too, trying to make it more of a constant flow of sound, rather than always so start and stopish.

Like this. Maybe…one day. Maybe.

I am thankful the U.S. dodged an extremely wrong and risky bullet.

At first I was negative about it, as it strikes a nerve because I have needed lots of medical care, so I immediately thought this was winning a battle but not the war.

Why does this need to be a fight anyway?

Then I was reminded, if I were living in the U.S and relied on the healthcare system there in a big way, I’d want just a short period of time to relax and feel relieved for this moment in time.

I am still worried, anxious for all who would be affected, but I feel helpless to do anything.

Many of us feel like people see us as such a drain on the system, but we’ve faced death or serious illness. It’s no game to us.

“My train home is three hours late. Must be time for another piece of cake – I like chocolate.” —Angela Saini

I am thankful for the positive reception and Canadian support of the newly told.

The Canadian people watched the new Anne of Green Gables series and they have spoken that they approve.

The CBC was going to air the second episode two weeks after last week’s premier, but the reception was so positive that they went ahead and aired it last night.

I am keeping an open mind, as the story makes Canada proud from what I see, so I am going to keep an episode diary on my Facebook page every time it airs.

I will call it Ahead By A Century, like the theme song for the show, by The Tragically Hip.

Living On The Bright Side – Angela Saini

This song is all about seeing the silver lining, but her lyrics suggest there is always something good in everything. That’s what TToT is all about too, in a way.

Of course, I know this is a bit of an over simplification, we all know it, but really we have to at least try.

“Enjoying life, cause’ I’ve got only one.”

—Angela Saini

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Memoir Monday, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Muddy Puddles and Horizon Blue, #FamilyDay #ClimateChange #GuiltyPleasure #10Thankful

This past week broke records in Ontario, with temperatures well above average for this time of year.

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February 20th was Family Day here in Canada and three days later we found ourselves even more of one than we already were.

Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful

I was going along, having a hard time, with putting one foot in front of the other. Then I found myself, suddenly and pleasantly surprised by just how thankful I could feel again. Spring come early. But…wait…it’s still winter.

This song captures that energy Mya brings into the picture, a fresh and new perspective on so many people and things I was already thankful for. Blue skies as I look toward the horizon.

I was thankful for a violin lesson where my teacher seemed happy with some of the progress I’d made.

I know, for some, it’s hard to see this. I challenge them to pick up a violin and give it a try sometime, to see just what I’m up against. Yet, still I forge ahead with it because it is the most beautiful thing.

I’m thankful for pleasant surprises that come along to remind of what hope looks like.

My sister gave birth a week-and-a-half ahead of her due date. All was well enough, but I am still thankful things went smoothly, once they were helped along some.

I am thankful that my family have each other, that we live in a country like Canada with the healthcare available, and have access to safe medical facilities.

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I am thankful for reminders that there is beauty and sweetness, whether that be the sound of a violin or the feeling of peace and calm holding a newborn baby brings.

I am thankful my nephew is a big brother to a beautiful baby girl. He is so proud and, at the same time, indifferent, depending on the moment he’s in, in his four-year-old world.

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He can’t wait to be able to play with her, brother and sister, to jump in muddy puddles and go to the park with Grandma and Grandpa.

I am thankful both mother and daughter are doing well.

I am thankful that I get to share a middle name with my niece.

She brought good luck it seems, first with the warm weather on the day of her birth.

Not that I really think such weather is appropriate in February. So many celebrated getting to be out on patios and wearing t-shirts, but I wasn’t celebrating, if it hadn’t been for my other news.

I am thankful for that luck I speak of, as I sent a writing pitch out, quite unexpectedly on the day of my niece’s birth, and received what seems like an acceptance.

Nothing is for sure yet, but after my piece being published in Bustle last month, I am taking all of it as a sign of the kind of year I could end up having, though I had a few bad days recently where I feared none of that would ever again happen.

We have over a dozen family members born in the month of February and now we add one more to the list.

Mya arriving in this most excellent month, to be born as far as I am concerned (and her uncle Paul and her daddy too) in the best month of the year,
only the second in any calendar year,
I am taking this as proof positive that anything is possible. Really, anything can change from one year to the next, one month to another, and even from start to finish of a single day.

We started out 2017, February, and this week without her in our lives, for real, and within a day of the news she would come early, there she was.

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Introducing: Mya Lynne

Here she is, a forever part of our family, and that’s really the only thankful I need.

And it’s a lesson, in life, that as a child is born, someone will die.

RIP Bill Paxton, director of this epic 80s music video, among his other notable film credits.

“They can’t play baseball. They don’t wear sweaters. They’re not good dancers. They don’t play drums.”
—Fish Heads, Barnes & Barnes

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