All posts filed under: Nonfiction

Breathing Underwater by Judi Anani

Rabaul, Papua New Guinea (PNG), August 2016   I am on board a 5-meter-long aluminum dinghy, Miss Ginny, as it unapologetically carves a path through otherwise serene blue waters. Squinting against the sun, three of us propel across the tropical expanse. We allow the shore to shrink behind us until the ever-intimidating volcanic mount Tavurvur becomes a mere wisp in the horizon (1).    Jonathan, our local guide, sits with a hand casually placed on the tiller steer and stares ahead thoughtfully. Our eyes meet and he smiles genuinely bearing red buai stained teeth (2).    Everyone I have met on this island nation smiles like they mean it. As if they do not mind at all an arduous trek up the mountain in the tropical heat to access freshwater. As if they do not care that the lime powder they mix with betel nut has eroded their teeth. As if they are not perturbed by foreign-owned mines growing rich from local commodities, while the local economy struggles.    Nathan, my employer, and scuba companion sits across from me …

Writing with the Universe: Marguerite Porete: By Chantal Lunardi

– I – Marguerite Porete (13th century – 1 June 1310) was a French-speaking mystic and the author of The Mirror of Simple Souls, a work of Christian mysticism dealing with the workings of agape (divine love). She was burnt at the stake for heresy in Paris in 1310 after a lengthy trial, refusing to remove her book from circulation or recant her views (Wikipedia $25). A rare flower, considered a weed at the time, Marguerite Porete came to me while I was digressing at the library of Simon Fraser University. Digression was my favourite state of mind. Is. I would wander amongst rows of books outside of my assigned multiple fields of study and, with the coming of the online age, gallivant from rare and restricted virtual academic publications to historical novels, folktales, plays, poetry and handwritten journal entries giving me infinite possibilities to roam deeper into remote obscure quadrants. I would cross entire universes of abstractions and sometimes come back on time for dinner, hundreds of pages further away from the end of …

1963 – A short Reflection on Life Guidelines by Ilkay Cakirogullari

In times, where “time” doesn’t seem to play a role, it almost seems as though everybody just keeps on running. “A new challenge”, “Something New”, “Recreate yourself”. Voices blend. Many talk, few do. Yeah! That’s how it is nowadays. Who’s done plenty in the past, may rest now. Who’s done little thus far, has to work even more. And who’s to say, if you’ve done much or little? Maybe traditional media, or even social media as they seem to be the ones dictating how and with what we are supposed to effectively fill our “leisure time”.  In the article “PositiveLivingInPositiveEnvironentsTodayfor70+” an exact time table is being suggested, which ought to give ‘my’ life – and even claims to give everyone’s life – a new and deeper meaning. In short: PLIPET70+. My daily routine should somehow look like this: 6:30: Get up 6.31: Drink a glass of water. ROOM TEMPERATURE (Neither cold nor warm) 6.33: Prepare your yoga mat for meditation 6.48: Bathroom 7.02: Breakfast (Every bite has to be chewed 20 times) 7.37: Brush your …

The Poorest Postal Code in Canada by Meredith Joy Macdonald

I am Canadian, and my identity as a Canadian is something I cherish. I feel grateful because I was born in a country with a vibrant landscape where every person has access to healthcare. All children can receive an education and an opportunity to be literate. As a country, we appreciate the diverse cultures, the customs, and beliefs of all many types of Canadians. Despite all these beautiful strengths, there are still places in Canada where people are struggling, and one of those places is in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. I was born in North Vancouver, although I lived in Nelson from two years old until I was thirteen years old. Hume was my elementary school and I spent two thirds of grade eight at Trafalgar. By the time I was fifteen, I had moved back to Vancouver, and by the age of sixteen, I was living in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. The DTES was my home for years, and there are lots of people who still consider the DTES their home. My …

Huck Yeah! By Stephanie Henriksen

Moving to Nelson, British Columbia changed my relationship with skiing. It was never my passion. I was introduced to the sport by my Canadian father, but we spent most of our time in Indonesia, swimming in a warm ocean. The snow globe of Winter sports is unique because it requires one crucial element: snow. Where I grew up there is no snow, there are no seasons, constant Summer and tropical rain. In observing the cultures of my mother’s and father’s countries of origin I am left in awe at the creativity of humanity; our traditions deserve to live on and we are allowed to be proud of them. Honestly, ski culture seemed self – indulgent and elitist to me, always on the outside looking in. Yet it was I who decided to move to a secluded mountain town. Skiing on the mountains makes me feel alive, less depressed. How can I judge a way of life that has accepted me and helped me to heal? Well, I can’t. What I can do is use my …

Education in Hand by Cari-Ann Roberts Gotta

One day, I told a student I was going to be away the following week to take a course. His response was, “Ms. Roberts, don’t you think you’ve been in school long enough?” That was two degrees and a diploma ago. My family thinks there is no reason to go to school if you have a job. I disagree. I’ve spent most of my life in schools because there has always been something I wanted to learn or wanted to teach.  Many years ago, I went to school because I wanted to learn American Sign Language. I loved the language learning but loathed the social politics of my classmates and the field of sign language interpreting, so I left after completing the first level of training and moved to a small mountain town. One day, a friend told me about a job posting at the local elementary school for an educational assistant that knew sign language. Knowing that I had less training than was ideal, I was reluctant to apply. But it turned out that …

DIANA MORITA COLE INTERVIEW – The Practices, Affirmations and Courage of a Misfit

Introduction: I was extremely fortunate to have met with Diana Morita Cole, Author of Sideways: Memoir of a Misfit in the fall of 2019 to discuss everything from her book and writing practices to life experiences and philosophies. It goes without any shadow of a doubt that Diana’s words of self-care practices, of overcoming doubts and obstacles, and of meeting expectations allowed me to reflect on who I am as a young writer, and I firmly believe that her words will do the same for many more. Hence, it may come as a great surprise that after our interview was over, Diana told me “when I go home, I’ll think of something else that I should have told you”. Diana, thank you for your time, words, your great influence, and most of all, your courage. Love, Samantha Smith Managing Editor Black Bear Review   Interview: How would you define success? I’m very happy when my readers identify with my characters and their struggles. That transference allows me to take my readers on a journey that, …

The Xerophyte by Carina Costom

~1~ Cottonwood Whispers March, first buds of the cottonwood appear. Sandspit Beach at Kokanee Creek: iolite blue glacier-fed lake and sixty feet of sandy ribbon-like shores. I walk the line between icy liquid and tiny crystals. Two dogs, at first friendly, pick a fight. One of the men yells to break up the canines vying for status. Now, the bitch barks at him. “Bad dog!” The leash goes on. “Somebody’s going home early!” The magic light of dusk fades. A figure with a tripod packs up his gear. Passing almost too close to me, an elderly couple walks in supportive unison.  As I look into them, one seems both ailing and determined to be here. In an instant, all—except the dogs, ducks and early midges—seem to stand still like sculptural Giacommetti groupings. Frozen, in life. Away from the icy water’s edge, a woman stands with a plastic bucket, harvesting. From afar, I can see that something deep, dark, and old stains her fingers and nails: a thin, waxy, crumbling layer, the true colour of dried …

Baba

Before I had a say in the matter, my weekends were dedicated to being with her. The quaint apartment became my part-time home. As years past, our adoration for one another grew stronger…Click to read more.

(Written by Shelby Rosen)

The Blood Red Sunset

Somewhere in our hopeful hearts we believe the hero should get the girl, bravery should win, and the hardest worker should get rich. Then, we read a tragic little tale like Cormac McCarthy’s ‘All the Pretty Horses’…Click to Read more.

(Written by Ella Soleil Parcels)