Ivan Coyote called it "powerful and poetic". In this piece I grapple with a question that haunted my childhood: What are you doing here? Honoured to have this work acknowledged by PRISM International magazine.
"In 1961 my mother committed my father to Crease Clinic, at what was then known as Essondale, the Hospital for the Mind. This was a euphemistic title for what is usually called a mental institution or lunatic asylum." This is the opening from All My Love, Alex, the second-prize winner in Event Poetry and Prose Magazine's 2021 Creative Non Fiction contest.
Leave With What You Came With is long listed for the BC Federation of Writers 2021 Literary Contest in the Creative Nonfiction category. This work is essentially a braided essay. It is a glimpse into the story of my father's institutionalization in a mental hospital in 1961.
On a macro level, there is a big global change going on. Change happens on the micro level, too. Who is this stress-crafting woman, awake before light to swim in a frigid dawn, sewing as the midwinter afternoon darkens, crocheting by moonlight?
My people came down from the mountains, brittle ghosts armed with blades and hacksaws. They were big eared, small-footed and had red-knuckled hands. They carried no expectations. The men were tough and canny, ready with violence, religiously upright, but secret drunks.