“The Final Transmission,” by Erika Thorkelson

Thanks so much to Leah Mol for inviting me to be a part of this inspiring project again!

word and colour

james-gilleard_1The final transmission from Station Alpha came from General Watkins himself, who had gone to inspect the new device just two days before. Right up until the moment of the explosion, there had been hope that the device, a single man’s dream realized through unprecedented international cooperation, was the solution everyone had been hoping for.

There was no picture in the final transmission. Cloaked in static, Watkins’ voice was thick, moaning even. “The Earth’s heart is heavy.” He sighed. “So much heavier than we could even have imagined…” Then the whole facility evaporated.

Marcella Watkins, the General’s wife and special envoy to the United Nations, knew the voice well. It was the one he used when he wanted her to move closer, toward his side of the bed. It was the voice he used for quiet, reflective thoughts he could only express near sleep.

“Something is coming,” Marcella Watkins told…

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Storytelling Show – Growing Room

“I don’t make any bones about the fact that I’m actively looking for Indigenous writers and women writers on Joyland… . I’m willing to deal with criticism if it is lobbed at me about that.”

-Carleigh Baker

Festival Director Arielle Spence and writer Carleigh Baker discuss the Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival (March 8-12, 2017), Baker’s short story collection Bad Endings and the role of accountability in publishing.

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A thinking person’s guide to becoming an Instantory

Since announcing my intention to join the Conservative Party of Canada, just this past Friday, I’ve run into a number of points of confusion about what this means. I’d like to take a moment to clear these up.

  • This is a new idea

Left leaning Albertans have been taking out conservative party membership for decades, long before Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell suggested it on Twitter, because in a province with such a strong, enduring conservative leadership, joining the party was the only way to feel like you had any control over who ended up running your province. A friend’s mother called it being an “Instantory”—a portmanteau of Instant and Tory, which I love, and so have used in the title of this post. She did this twice during leadership races but ultimately gave up when people like Ralph Klein just kept getting voted in.

  • Joining the Conservative Party requires you to go to an actual party.

As much as I like the idea of acquiring a Sarah Palin chestnut wig to cover my blue hair and spending a few hours at Value Village tracking down the kind of matching skirt and blazer that would make an Ayn Rand heroine jealous, it’s not actually necessary. Like most things these days, voting for the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is carried out remotely.

Someday in April, I’ll be getting a ballot, which I will fill out and mail back and the deed will be done. I won’t even have to prep a number of stories about hunting deer with my grandpa’s rifle to charm party members into submission before I willfully subvert their party’s democratic processes. Sadly. Continue reading

Storytelling Show – Hoda Hamouda

“A multiplicity of perspectives is what we need to understand ourselves and each other better.” – Designer Hoda Hamouda

World events over the past few weeks, and particularly this weekend, have reminded me of this Storytelling Show conversation I had in January 2016 with my brilliant Emily Carr U colleague, designer Hoda Hamouda. Here we discuss her work surrounding Tahrir Square during the 2011 revolution in Egypt and how citizen media can counter hegemonic narratives in times of resistance.

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Notes on Hesitation

I wrote this bit of flash fiction in response to an image by Juan Travieso.

word and colour

350dpi009The birds in my neighbourhood are having an existential crisis. They’re hesitating on their branches, resting for a moment longer than they should. Even when I scream and stomp my feet at the foot of the tree, they stand there, thinking about whether or not to fly away, wondering if it even matters.

              I learned the term “existential crisis” from my English teacher because we’re reading The Stranger by Albert Camus. I’m in this advanced class where everything is so deep. I love it. Anyway, the birds, right? I think I noticed it before I learned the word—is that possible? Can you notice something subtle like that and then learn the word for it, or is it kind of invisible until you can name it? I guess it doesn’t matter—the point is I’ve learned it and I can’t unlearn it.

              It’s weird because I was pretty sure flying…

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Storytelling Show – Sasha Singer-Wilson

“Some of my peers in the community who are making exciting work are on the edge of an exciting breakthrough. I feel like folks are craving work that breaks boundaries and is not pretty but brave.” – My Ocean playwright Sasha Singer-Wilson talking about contemporary theatre in Vancouver. Also mentioned: tense family dinners, Fringe guilt, and epigenetics

Check out her work at www.sashasingerwilson.com.

The songs we mentioned have been removed from the file for copyright purposes. They are The Shore by Basia Bulat, Lost Cause by Hannah Georgas and Youth by Luca Fogale. The final song was Damp Animal Spirits by Tanya Tagaq.

Storytelling Show – Francine Cunningham

“What makes me angry is when people say just get over it. But what people don’t realize is that it has literally changed your DNA. Once people understand that, we can have a conversation.”
-Indigenous writer and artist Francine Cunningham talks about the legacy of residential schools in her family, writing about mental illness, and art making.

Check out her website: www.francinecunningham.ca/

The songs we mentioned have been removed from the file for copyright purposes. They are Uja by Tanya Tagaq, Stadium Pow Wow by A Tribe Called Red and Clumsy by Our Lady Peace. The final song was Rideback by Hannah Georgas.