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Monday, November 28, 2022

Reader's Diary #2058 - Matthew John Fletcher: Separation

 "Separation" by Matthew John Fletcher is a break-up story of sorts. But the humorous twist is that it's a man's shadow who's abandoned him. 

It doesn't delve into the physical how, the way say a sci-fi story might, but instead is a not so subtle analogy for a relationship where one half is taken for granted. 

Anyway, on top of the cleverness, I also appreciated that there was the possibility of a happy ending. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Reader's Diary #2057 - Heather Santo: Blue Glass Dog

 Heather Santo's "Blue Glass Dog" is a lightly supernatural, pleasant story about overcoming grief and finding one's way.

It reminded me vaguely of Gerald's Game which I watched for the first time last night and was disappointed when she didn't wind up adopting the dog at the end.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Reader's Diary #2056 - Moira Cameron: Musings of a Northern Verbiculturalist


If you are a fan of old school, form poetry, Moira Cameron's Musings of a Northern Verbiculturalist might be a good fit for you, while also getting a glimpse into a Northern life.

Personally, I found it a bit uneven. Some I quite enjoyed, some I didn't. I certainly appreciated the honesty and the imagery in her words, but often I found the syntax to be hammered into a form (for the sake of a rhyme, most often) that while grammatically acceptable, felt very unnatural. Lots of classic poetry did that as well, so again, it may be your thing. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Reader's Diary #2055 - Chelsey Blair: Rose's Reflection

 I've been thinking of the multiverse lately. You know that idea that comics popularized, but some physicists suggest might even be possible, that there are versions of us in alternate universes that are slightly different. 

I've been focusing more on the sheer fun of the possibility from a movie/comic book perspective. What if say Doctor Strange had to battle an evil version of himself? But while all that's entertaining, some of the philosophical questions have been intriguing me lately. The idea that other "me"s out there have made all those decisions I've questioned whether or not I should have made. How did their lives turn out? 

Anyway, in Chelsey Blair's "Rose's Reflection" there's a strange, but intriguing premise in which mirrors have been banned and it turns out that the reflection is really another version of yourself. Even more bizarre, Rose seems to have developed a crush on hers and seems to have found a way to meet. 

Honestly, I was more enthralled by the premise than the follow-through, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Reader's Diary #2054 - Kate Beaton: Ducks

 


A few years back I read Sheila Watt-Cloutier's The Right to be Cold and one of the things that has stayed with me was the way she called out other climate change activists for pushing the polar bear as the mascot for their movement. Watt-Cloutier respects polar bears, to be clear, but she (rightfully) took issue with the idea that this is what would motivate people when there's a very real people angle right there in the way climate change is, and will, affect the Inuit. 

I found myself thinking of this a lot when reading Kate Beaton's Ducks and wondering when there'd ever be mention of the titular fowl. The book, in actuality, is about her 2 years working in the Alberta Oil Sands to pay off her student loans and especially the misogyny, sexual harassment, and assaults she and other women dealt with. There are other themes on the health (emotional and physical) of workers and the lip service (at best) paid by the companies. Still, as she notes briefly, it was the discovery of dead ducks that got the public outraged. 

Having worked my entire life in female dominated work, such stories always seem shocking but far removed to me. Like, I knew they existed, but still that it would be some blunt, so commonplace, is still headshaking and angering. But I think it was Beaton's personal approach, and even empathy to an extent, that really touched me. 

Monday, November 07, 2022

Reader's Diary #2053 - Kevin Brennan: The Tennis Pro

Coming of age stories are great, but the concept itself implies that once a person's adult personality is figured out, it's stagnant from there on out. Which of course ignores all the changes an adult continues to go through; such as retirement and what that does to a person's outlook.

In Kevin Brennan's "The Tennis Pro," the person retiring is the titular tennis pro and his identity is perhaps more intertwined into who he is than most of us experience with our own careers. Needless to say, it's taking its toll.

But the story itself is poignant with light touches of humour.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Reader's Diary #2052 - Venita Blackburn: Halloween

In "Halloween," Venita Blackburn does a fantastic job of calling out Halloween movies, first off by their setting but later for the horror. As she illustrates, in a very creepy, off-putting way, real life horror is usually more terrifying that fictional monsters and ghouls.