Monday, April 29, 2013

From Horrors to Sorrows (to Laughs)

Both The Speed of Dark and Callanish Writes Volume VIII are now available for perusal.

The Speed of Dark is the brainchild of Canadian author and publisher Clayton Bye, named for his young son, who tottered in one night to ask, "What is the speed of dark?" The book itself is not suitable reading for young children, though. It is a collection of "strangely different and disturbing" horror stories.

Those of you who have read my stories may be surprised that I have anything in a horror anthology--so am I. But by and large I let stories write themselves. Certainly, I help. But if a story needs to take a turn that is uncomfortable for me, I will hang in and let it work itself out. "Eating Our Young" didn't take an uncomfortable turn, exactly. It began grim and continued on that way. But it speaks about a kind of wrong that I feel deeply, something that crept up and said, look at me.

I invite you to have a look, too.

The Callanish Society of Vancouver, BC offers week-long retreats for people with cancer. I had the privilege of being one of their scholarship participants in February 2012, and it really was a life-changing event. I am extremely grateful that I was told about them days after receiving my cancer diagnosis, and that I was able to attend a retreat before my treatment began. The amount of intelligent caring and joyful openess that surrounded each of us was incredible, and the eight participants gained immeasurably from our week together.

It was not all gloom, by any means--I should perhaps pull out some of the ukelele pictures for you some day--but the laughter and kindness and beautiful food and surroundings (in the woods near Whistler, BC) helped to make it possible for us to look at the hard facts of cancer in each of our lives.

A couple of months later Callanish offered a writing class for former retreat participants going back several years. The group met once a week for several weeks in a row and with poetic prompts and such-like, sat together and wrote whatever sprang (or dragged) forth. Rather than then critiquing them, we read them aloud (or didn't) and responded from our hearts. Some of us were healing, some of us were dying, and some were long in recovery, but all knew both the joy and the sorrow that cancer can bring.

Many of the offerings we wrote over those weeks are now in a book called Callanish Writes Volume VIII. There is some darn good writing in there, and some very honest talk. A beautiful book, and I treasure my copy.

To download the first volume of Callanish Writes (not the one I refer to above), click here. To learn more about the Callanish Society, sign up for a retreat, donate, or winkle a copy of the latest volume of Callanish Writes, click here.

No comments: