Tag Archives: history

How funny is death? SPOW Conference Part Two

Or is that really the question I want to ask? I am forever niggled by something having to do with writing obituaries and it has, partly, to do with the reactions from womenfolk and menfolk, children folk too (although less … Continue reading

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Loss. Regret.

Writing obituaries sometimes feels like an exercise in loss and regret. The subject has died, of course, and so I lack the opportunity to interview this person. Instead I must gather details of her or his life from colleagues, family, … Continue reading

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“Let him rest,” says his widow

When I’m writing an obituary, I live among the family. Not literally, of course, but emotionally. It begins with reading the death notice, usually written by one of the deceased’s children, placed in a newspaper at great cost and twigging … Continue reading

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Mrs. Journalist here

My first “Mrs.” In my copy, I mean. I have never been nor shall I ever be a Mrs., but the Globe and Mail deigned to snap that honorific to the woman I profiled in today’s paper. It is hard, … Continue reading

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Writing about housewives

How do I write about housewives? It has been my consistent belief that there is a story, nay, many stories, in every individual life. It’s just a matter of finding them. Sometimes it means sitting someone down, making this person … Continue reading

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Virginia and Roger

I have lost friends, some by death… others through sheer inability to cross the street. In this madly slap-dash way we’re living, with twisted wires limply cascading from our ears and the steady thrum of recorded voice pressing against our … Continue reading

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Differences in labour and the need for choice

Sometimes I sleep among the dead. Anxiety stirs me in the night, often after I file an obituary with the Globe & Mail. I can be lost to all worldly cares, softly purring, tucked away all feline-like in bed when … Continue reading

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Vera Barker and President Kennedy

“It’s my Grandma’s birthday! I pledge to drink wine in her honour too.”  That’s an email sent to me by Vera Barker’s granddaughter, Heather Anne, earlier today. “It’s also the day they shot Kennedy but we don’t talk about that … Continue reading

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Voices of the “untongued dead”

I recently came across an essay by Matthew Skelton, a teacher of book history in Mainz, Germany. He describes sorting through a collection of old books and papers left by an obscure librarian named Elma Mitchell after her death in … Continue reading

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Raymond Souster: Toronto poet and sometime-beatnik

I can tell from the sunlight on the window sill that this day means business.  Raymond Souster was sometimes called the Bard of Toronto. Or street-poet-in-residence. One fellow poet called him “Canada’s Homer,” because at the end of his life, … Continue reading

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