A summer night, where the thunderheads fist-bumped and parted ways, leaving our skies more Prussian blue than ash grey. Mosquitoes too were deported, sent elsewhere to do their whining — we think they all rented tiny jet-skis and rode off across the river.
Friends arrived just as the make-shift stage (soon to be returned to its rightful duty as a dock — rather than doc. — segment) was commissioned into service and we chatted and snacked and popped open bottles and cans and congratulated ourselves on being capable of being in such a place… in space and time, on Earth, today.
The loaner mic in friend & neighbour Jack Schellenberg’s hand-crafted and skookum-engineered mic stand crackled and away we went, led with panache by author Roger Groening. Knuckleball is Roger’s novel. (The author’s legs appear above, royalty-free; they’re the stems to the right.) He read a recent WIP excerpt that had us reaching for our decades-ago-discarded DuMauriers and l-o-l-ing and giggling through his vivid description of a wry woman tasking a man in a room without solutions.
Next came Leslie Wakeman who brought so much: snacks, wine, a beautiful quilt, handmade cards and her story, “The Goddess Cup.” We were gradually drawn in as her character’s embarrassment grew and our appreciation for Leslie’s deft, humourous-and-so-human touch led us along.
And then it was my sister Marnie Fardoe’s turn with a reading of a diary entry she had repurposed for us, for this perfect evening. She called herself a novice but we knew better. In addition, we got the family discount as Marnie gave us a quiet and moving performance of our sister Char Toews’ powerful poem, “Schedules are subject to change without notice”
[...] If the weather's that shitty it's kind of iffy
You're better off in the air or on the land
Or living or dead, which is what my Dad did
And me with a number of things planned
Then home in May, cutting the grass that first day
Mowing and crying and thinking about worms and their dirt [...]
Vid by Bonnie Friesen: https://www.facebook.com/580948274/videos/800154487823298/
The perfect lead-in to Wes Friesen and his soulful playing and singing. Two beautiful Leonard Cohen songs following by a fascist-killing presentation of Deportee/Plane Wreck at Los Gatos, by Woody Guthrie.
More poetry, from Winnipeg poetess Phyllis Cherrett who wowed and dazzled, showing us her calm control over word and emotion, ending with the perfectly-suited dent de lion
I offered a pair of flash fictions, “New War — Old Technology” and “Luck!”, bookending our great friend Christiane Neufeld’s spelky delivery of poet Ceinwen Haydon’sGooseberry, a repeat-performance from Prosetry 2019.
Two best-selling and truly masterful authors closed out the evening. MaryLou Driedger (Lost on the Prairie) offered us the first chapter of her WIP SEQUEL novel, set in 1936.
Writer, memoirist, author, instructor and warrior-woman Donna Besel did not disappoint, giving us a thematic reading about a boathouse construction job set at nearby Brereton Lake. The story was a piece from her hit collection of short stories, “Lessons from a Nude Man.”
Through all of this, photographer Phil Hossack was doing his quiet and unobtrusive professional best, circulating among us, taking pictures that caught mood and feeling as much as light and dark.
Cheers to local artists Janice Toews, Gale Bonin, and Allison Rink whose brushwork filled the SheShed with brightness and colour.
NEXT YEAR: Book the day, slot it in and make it sacrosanct… we want you here to read and listen, to watch the clouds part, to smell the woodsmoke and taste the wine, to read, to hear and experience. We’ll make it more of an afternoon event — we’ll start at 1 PM and make it possible to leave without rushing before the sun goes down.
For those who stay, maybe we can set the boreal ringing with this unforgettable folksong refrain:
Janice and I reside in the boreal forest just north of the Fiftieth latitude in eastern Manitoba on Treaty 1 and 3 lands. Our property is situated on Métis land: Anishinabe Waki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ http://www.anishinabek.ca/
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HEADINGS: EDUCATION, ASSOCIATIONS/MEMBERSHIPS, PUBLISHED WORKS, CONTESTS-PRIZES-AWARDS, FUNDING, READINGS, WORK IN PROGRESS, FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS, PANELS, ARTIST’S STATEMENT
University of Victoria (1974-75) University of Winnipeg (1975-77, dangerously close to a B.A. in Sociology) Masters Certificate in Marketing Communication Management, York University (2001) “So You Want To Write Indigenous Characters…” Manitoba Writers’ Guild (2019)
Member — Manitoba Writers’ Guild Professional Artist — as designated by Manitoba Arts Council New/Early Career Artist — as designated by Canada Council for the Arts Past Member — Winnipeg Public Library’s Prose Writing Circle, led by Winnipeg Public Library Writer in Residence Carolyn Gray (2019-2020) Past Member — The Sunday Writers Group, led by Donna Besel (Lac du Bonnet, MB) Member — WriteRamble, led by Lauren Carter, Winnipeg Public Library Writer in Residence, 2020-2021 Member — Write Clicks, a Winnipeg River/Winnipeg city alliance: a critique circle formed in 2021 Member — Winnipeg River Arts Council Member — The Writers’ Union of Canada
111 short stories and flash fiction published in periodicals, anthologies, and contests. Approximately 700 submissions overall.
40 pieces accepted in Canada, 34 US, 25 UK, and 12 in other countries (India, Australia, etc.)
Two stories translated into Spanish.
A collection of short stories, “Pinching Zwieback” will be launched in the fall of 2023. (At Bay Press, Winnipeg). The collection was accepted by the first publisher to which it was submitted.
A debut novel, and several other WIP literary projects, including a second collection of short stories, are also underway.
2016:16 short stories | 15 online, 2 paid print, 9 Canada, 6 UK, 1 US
2017:20 short stories | all online, 4 Ca, 1 India, 7 UK, 8 US.
Note: 2017 short stories Include: Best of Fiction on the Web: 1996-2017ISBN: 9780992693916 (ISBN10: 9780992693, ISBN13:9780992693) and The Machinery: Fauna ISBN: 9781544723266.
2018:14 short stories, 1 interview, 1 podcast (audio) | 1 paid print, 3 unpaid print, 6 Ca, 4 UK, 1 Ireland, 5 US
“I am Otter” — short story, CommuterLit (Ca)
“Fall From Grace”, short story, Literally Stories (UK) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Of a Forest Silent” — short story, Alsina Publishing LingoBites (UK – English and Spanish)
“City Lights” — short story, Literally Stories (UK)
“The Bottom of the Sky” — short story, Fiction on the Web (UK)
“In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence” — short story, riverbabble (US) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Nothing to Lose” — short story, riverbabble (US) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Shade Tree Haven” — short story, Doorknobs & Bodypaint (US)
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” — short story, Blank Spaces (Ca), paid print
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” — short story, Just Words, Volume 2Anthology (Ca), print ISBN: 9781775279273 (ISBN10:1775279278)
“Away Game” — short story, Pulp Literature (Ca), paid print
“Groota Pieter” — short story, River Poets Journal, Special Themed Edition, “The Immigrants” Anthology (US), print (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Five Questions for Mitchell Toews” — interview, Mennotoba (Ca)
“The Narrowing” — short story, Scarlet Leaf Review (Ca) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Wide Winter River” — podcast, Not Ready for Prime Time (US)
2019:14 short stories, 1 interview, 1 CNF essay | 1 paid online, 1 paid print, 2 unpaid print, 3 Ca, 2 UK, 1 Australia, 3 Iran, 8 US
“The Fifty Dollar Sewing Machine” — short story, Literally Stories (UK)
“The Toboggan Run” — short story, The MOON magazine (US) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Peacemongers” — short story, The MOON magazine: “Out of This World” Anthology The Best Short Stories from the MOON (US), Volume 1, printISBN: 9781078315326 (ISBN10: 1078315329, ISBN13: 978-1078315326) (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Cave on a Cul-de-sac” — short story, The Hayward Fault Line, Doorknobs & Bodypaint (US) Issue 93
“Din and the Wash Bear” — short story, The Hayward Fault Line, Doorknobs & Bodypaint (US) Issue 95
“Died Rich” — short story, Fabula Argentea (US), Issue #27, paid (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“I am Otter” — short story, Short Tales – Flash Fiction Stories (Iran)
“Away Game” — short story, Short Tales – Flash Fiction Stories (Iran)
“4Q Interview with Author Mitchell Toews” — interview and excerpt from WIP novel, “Mulholland and Hardbar”, South Branch Scribbler (Ca)
“Concealment” — short story, Me First Magazine (US)
“Hundred Miles an Hour” — short story, Rivanna Review, (US), paid print, March 2022
“Piece of My Heart” — short story, Miramichi Flash, (Ca), Spring/Summer 2022
“Downtown Diner” — short story, Cowboy Jamboree, (US), Bruce D’J Pancake Issue
“Winter Eve at Walker Creek Park” and “Shade Tree Haven” — Guernica Editions’ “This Will Only Take a Minute: 100 Canadian Flashes,” (Intl), a collective anthology edited by Bruce Meyer and Michael Mirolla, August 2022 ISBN: 9781771837514 (softcover) Identifiers: Canadiana (print) 20220195986
“I am Otter” — short story, Lintusen Press “Small Shifts: Short Stories of Fantastical Transformation” edited by Shawn L. Bird, (Ca), anthology, royalties print, July 2022 https://books2read.com/Prose-by-ToewsISBN: 9781989642351 (ISBN10: 1989642357 ISBN13 9781989642351)
“Sanctuary Quandary” — short story, WordCity Monthly (Ca-Intl), July 2022
“New War — Old Technology” — flash fiction, The Fieldstone Review (Ca), Fall 2022.
“No Strings” — short story, Bell Press “Framework of the Human Body” edited by Catherine Mwitta, (Ca), anthology, paid advance/royalties print, 2022. ISBN: TBA
“The Spring Kid” — short story, Macrina Magazine, (US, Intl), Summer 2022
“A Cultivated Halloween” — short story, CommuterLit (Ca), October 2022
“Sweet Caporal” — poem, WordCity Literary Journal (Intl) November 2022
“The Sewing Machine” — short story, Rivanna Review (US), paid print, December 2022
2023: 6 flash/short stories | 1 royalty agreement, 1 UK, 2 Aus, 1 Canada. 2 US
“The Margin of the River” and “I Am Otter” — short stories (2), D.A. Cairns “I Used to be an Animal Lover: An extraordinary and eclectic collection of short stories.” (Au), anthology, royalties print, 2023. ISBN AU: TBA
“Piece of My Heart” — short story, Literally Stories (UK), January 26, 2023
“All Our Swains Commend Her” — short story, PULP Literature (Ca). Spring, 2023
“Pass It to Freddie” — short story, The Other Journal (US), Spring, 2023
“Angel Delorme and the Craigflower Bus” — short story, Hawkshaw Press, “Hardboiled and Loaded with Sin Volume 1” edited by Dianne Pearce (US), anthology, print. Fall 2023. ISBN: TBA
TOTAL: 111 short stories/flash fiction/interviews/essays/poems/podcasts in total out of approximately 650 submissions.
“So Are They All”— short story, Second Place in the Adult Fiction category of the Write on the Lake (Ca) contest, 2016, paid print ISSN: 1710-1239
“Fall from Grace”— short story, Honourable Mention in The Writers’ Workshop of Asheville (US) Memoirs Contest, 2016
“The Phage Match” —short story,Finalist in Broken Pencil’s (Ca) annual “Deathmatch contest, 2016, print
“Cave on a Cul-de-sac” — short story, Winner in The Hayward Fault Line—Doorknobs & Bodypaint Issue 93 Triannual Themed Flash contest, 2018
“I am Otter” — short story, CommuterLit (Ca), Runner-up in for Flash Fiction Feature, 2018
“Sweet Caporal at Dawn” — short story, nominated by Blank Spaces for a PUSHCART PRIZE, 2019, print
“Piece of My Heart” — a 750-word or less flash fiction was named “Editors’ Choice” in the 2020 Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest from Pulp Literature Press, paid print
“The Margin of the River” — short story, nominated by Blank Spaces for a PUSHCART PRIZE, 2020, print
“Fetch” — short story, one of 11 finalists in a national field of over 800 entries: The Writers’ Union of Canada’s Short Prose Competition for Emerging Writers (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Sweet Caporal” has been nominated by Rivanna Review, Charlottesville, Va. for a PUSHCART PRIZE, 2021, print
“The Rabid,” finalist in the 2022 PULP Literature Bumblebee Flash Fiction Contest. (750-word max.)
The 2022 J. F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction. This Open competition drew over 400 submissions from around the world from writers in all stages of career development. “The Spring Kid,” was one of 28 longlist finalists and later advanced to the shortlist.
“The Mighty Hartski”: 2022 longlist for the Humber Literary Review/Creative Nonfiction Collective Society (CNFC) Canada-wide CNF contest (“Pinching Zwieback” 2023)
“Winter in the Sandilands” was named to the longlist for the 2022 PULP Literature Hummingbird Flash Fiction Contest. Mitch’s story, “Luck!” was on the shortlist in this same contest.
“All Our Swains Commend Her” 2nd Runner-Up in the 2022 PULP Literature Raven Short Story Contest.
“What I thought the most while reading this one for the first time was: ‘This must have taken so long to write!’ Every sentence is packed with detail and not a word is spared. A highly skilled piece of writing with a lot to say about the way we live and how we treat one another. Can’t believe such a short piece of writing left me with such memorable characters and so much to think about!” -Judge Leo X Robertson
Manitoba Arts Council, June 30, 2020. Financial support for the creation of a unique Manitoba artbook, ekphrastic in nature and featuring artistic photography and short fictional stories. The theme is “People, Places, and Light”. Photography by collaborator, Phil Hossack. Project extended due to Covid 19 to July 1, 2022. Complete.
February 2022. Mitchell has been partnered with veteran, award-winning author Armin Wiebe, a mentor in The Writers’ Union of Canada Mentorship Microgrant program. Armin and Mitch will be reviewing Mitchell’s debut novel: “Mulholland and Hardbar” (“Fargo with Mennonite accents.”)
Excerpts from “No Strings” at the Zoom launch for the “Framework of the Human Body” anthology from Bell Press Books. February 11, 2023
Excerpts from “All Our Swains Commend Her” at the live launch of PULP Literature’s Winter 2023 at the Fabrique St. George Winery in Vancouver, February 20, 2023. (My story is forthcoming in PL Issue 38, Spring 2023.)
Regular appearances on Manitoba Writers’ Guild monthly Zoom critique circle
“Winter in the Sandilands” and “I Am Otter” at the inaugural Open Mic Sessions in Lac du Bonnet, MB in the historic St. John’s Anglican Church. March 22, 2023.
A short story collection, “Pinching Zwieback” is underway (At Bay Press) and a FALL 2023 release is expected.
Pinching Zwieback: Made-up Stories from the Darp focuses on recurrent, related characters with a common reality: small-town Mennonite life. It’s socially engaged autofiction based heavily on the author’s own background and experiences. The loosely linked stories read, “almost like a novel,” with characters whose lives are given form by the past but undergo change as the world reshapes beliefs and circumstances.
Author Mitchell Toews’, who grew up in his parents’ Mennonite bakery in Steinbach Manitoba employs a sinewy style with ample psychological depth. Toews’ stories reveal the truth behind the fiction. This collection is a blend of memory, fable, and trauma that examines profound moments in which the conflict might be subtle or camouflaged but the consequences are real. A Keatsian, “mansion of many apartments,” the stories combine to offer a broad narrative on how the people once known as the quiet in the land have evolved, and are evolving.
(NOTE: In the story listings above, those pieces selected for inclusion in “Pinching Zwieback” are, in their first appearance on the list, shown in blue.)
“Mulholland and Hardbar” — a WIP novel (“Fargo, with a Mennonite accent”).
“Myths and Troubadours” — a WIP collection of short stories. A wider range of topics, places, people, and circumstances than “Pinching Zwieback.”
“People, Places, Light” — an ekphrastic Manitoba artbook including original photography and short stories (Funded in part by The Manitoba Arts Council | Le conseil des arts du Manitoba.)
A number of new short stories are always on the go, being submitted to literary journals, contests, and anthologies.
“The Mismaloya”— a proposed novelette screenplay adaptation. Seeking a collaborator.
FRIENDS & FOLLOWERS
Goodreads 274 friends, 22 followers
1.15.21 Mitchell Toews participated as an Artist Testifier for the Commission on Basic Income. This Ontario/Canadian (Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts) jointly-sponsored commission requested Mitch to “share your experience and thoughts with our commissioners and to inform their future report on the issue of Basic Income for Artists.”
As a storyteller, I’m often driven to tell my own “Mennonite story.” Partly fact, partly fable. Within that fictional framework, my writing comes from three places: Family, history, and love of storytelling. My most popular and critically acclaimed stories come out of this tradition.
Family is the inspiration for most of my writing. These stories are meant as a lasting message to my family.
History is elusive, cloudy, and is sometimes the subverted domain of those who seek to control the broadly written record. I concern myself with providing a coherent feel for the underlying sentiment of the times and the people. This is the living history I want the reader to experience—one that is visceral and personally felt.
Storytelling is served by the creation of a place and its people both remembered and imagined. I tend towards scenes that hang on action sequences which place the characters in a moral dilemma. The vibrancy of the natural world is always well-represented. Physical harm is often a threat or a consequence. Characters make both good and bad decisions and their relationships contextualize each outcome. If there is trauma, there must also be hope.
A fourth core element might be to “observe my culture” as a Mennonite author. Others have done this extremely well, but I have my own perspective and address issues not yet widely developed by others, or not available in the same time frame/location in which I might write. Important themes include:
(ii.) violence within the pacifist doctrine of Mennonites
(iii.) patriarchy and misogyny
At all times, I am guided by the tenets of CULTURAL INTEGRITY IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS.
In general, I strive to provide open and accurate artistic observation—even when it is critical—and also to articulate the joy I have seen and felt, and to “stuff my eyes full of wonder” as author Ray Bradbury put it.
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Janice and I spent a month over Christmas and New Year visiting family and dog-sitting in BC. The majority of the time had us in Victoria. While we were there I contacted the Victoria Writers’ Societyto see if they had any events or functions taking place during our stay.
They did: the Society’s Annual General Meeting was on the slate and the Secretary, Ms. Sheila Martindale, invited me to sign-up for their Open Mic, which, she assured me was the main activity of the evening.
So I did: reading a sightly abridged version of “Sweet Caporal at Dawn”. It was fun and Jan & I really enjoyed the various readings. Lots of grab-ya-by-the-throat poetry and some fine essay and memoir pieces.
A reading I found particularly entertaining—and relatable—was Ron Stefik’s bright, funny ramble, “Mak’n Sparks”. I’ve received Ron’s permission to share it here.
Like Conrad led us upriver into a world of winding darkness and deception, so—conversely—Ron takes us downstream, away from lives filled with confusion and dilemma.
We are brought into the quiet of the workshop: the place of washer-filled Cheeze-Whiz jars suspended by their lids from the underside of a shelf… the land of pegboard and felt pen outlines on the wall… the sanctuary of our favourite tools—their double-insulated smells, their familiarity, their loyalty, their simple ways.
But also the power tool’s growling capacity for raw, emergency room-feeding might!
“I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself.”—Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
by Ron Stefik
I enthusiastically read the latest Canadian Tire advertising flyer that had arrived in the mail. These are basically glossy hardware porn. The centrefold display caught my attention, the item between the stepladder with open legs and the set of socket wrenches. Angle grinders were on sale.
I have always felt a desire to own a portable angle grinder. Not an actual need, but a desire. When I had worked in the design office at Strathcona Steel in Edmonton, I would occasionally have reason to go down to the cavernous shop floor; to get a measurement, to get a progress update, or to get yelled at for not wearing safety boots. Metal shaping and welding stations were busy all around as I navigated across the factory, but those using angle grinders seemed to have the most satisfying tasks. Like Prometheus delivering fire, labourers cast long showers of fiery sparks to the howling accompaniment of their empowering device. Here be men!
Ownership of such a tool might lead to identification of a previously unrecognized daily need for such a thing, and would likely inspire a worthy addition to my story series, “The Joy of…”.The Joy of Radial Arm Saws, The Joy of Hedge Trimmers…..The Joy of Angle Grinders…..intriguing titles like that.
Scanning the store shelves in my quest for self-worth, I suppressed a rising panic this item would be sold-out and unavailable to the remaining local angle grinding citizenry. Such disappointing ventures are reminiscent of potential dates that never show, an unfulfilled promise of a happily ever after future. Discovering my equivalent of the Golden Fleece craftily located on a lower shelf, with fevered anticipation and sweaty hands I made my selection from the inventory. I had briefly considered using some of my hoard of 5 and 10 cent Canadian Tire coupons to finance the investment, but wisely decided to maintain this bankroll for a future spending spree, such as the purchase of an electric lighting fixture to donate to an Amish charity. However, I did also acquire a 10-pack of grinding wheels. I was sure to identify many things around the house that could benefit from a good grinding. I could hardly wait to get home and start annoying the neighbours.
Alone in the privacy of my workshop, I savoured the moment of unveiling. The box included an instruction book sealed in a plastic bag. This would preserve it in pristine unopened condition for the benefit of future generations. It was tough plastic, and curiosity getting the better of me, I used the grinder to get it open. A thick booklet, it was printed in a multitude of languages, for the convenience of angle grinding Swahili bushmen and Bedouin travellers with long extension cords. Of the 32-page English section, the first thirty-one and a half pages were dedicated to safety advisories of the “never do this” variety. Such as using this power tool to open a plastic bag.
As it would happen, I had recently brought home from a neighbourhood free-pile a damaged air compressor. I did not see any need to compress air but had a vague idea of using the attached small pressure tank for a future inventive project. It was welded on. My first grinding task! Safety glasses and ear covers on, I attacked the task with suitable angle grinding élan and vigour. Electric motor whining at a satisfyingly high pitch, sparks flew as I spread destruction, Jedi warrior descendant upon a metallic foe. Within minutes I transformed a once useful piece of equipment into bits of scrap. This was progress!
Having satisfied my initial primal urge to cut through metal, I await the next necessity that will present itself to use this latest weapon in my home-improvement arsenal. That jam jar that has been getting a bit tough to open? Perhaps a bit of grinding to remove the lid is in order. Or perhaps a passerby on an electric shopping scooter will overturn in front of my home and require my rescue with a portable angle grinder to cut them free from the wreckage. One can only hope.
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My short story, “Groota Pieter” based on my experiences in Southeast Manitoba, is included in this thoughtful, important conversation on forced migration. In 1873, my great-great-grandfather, Cornelius Toews, was one of a group of 12 delegates to travel to North America to scout locations for a mass migration as Russia constricted around their Mennonite villages in the Molotschna region of Ukraine. This historical connection, plus my life in a Canadian diaspora community that now sees others arriving as they once did—scared, unfamiliar, poor, and without a choice—makes the story personal for me.
I’m pleased to be a part of the book and if you happen to be in Melbourne, September 16…
Now available in Australia… For release September 27, 2019 in the U.S.
The Regal House Initiative, together with Pact Press, is proud to bring you an anthology of writing by and about refugees, asylum seekers, and other forced migrants.We Refugees is intended to amplify the voices of displaced people and bring their experiences to the awareness of readers. The lead editor for this anthology is Dr. Emma Larking.
Our aim is to provide insights into the lives of the displaced, insights that are often ignored in contemporary media accounts of the global refugee crisis. Rather than present a vision of crisis, we would like to present a vision of hope and energy, to celebrate the resilience of people who have been forced to leave their homes and seek new ones. We sought contributions that may discomfort or challenge readers, presenting the experience of displacement in a manner at odds with more typical representations.
Proceeds from the publication of We Refugees
Editorial work will be provided free of charge by the Pact Press editorial team, lead by Dr. Emma Larking, and all net proceeds from the sale of the anthology will go to support the work of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC).
Based in Melbourne, Australia, the ASRC describes itself as:
…both a place and a movement. We are an independent not for profit organisation, whose programs support and empower people seeking asylum to maximise their own physical, mental and social wellbeing. As a movement, we mobilise and unite communities to create lasting social and policy change for people seeking asylum in Australia. We are proud to be owned and run by our community of volunteers and supporters.
Photo Caption: Here we are on July 20. Photo by Phil Hossack.
POSTED HERE EARLIER (Pre-event): Janice and I live in a 1950 cottage on the shore of a lake in the Whiteshell Provincial Park in Manitoba.
We try to live simply out here in the boreal–WiFi and Polish beer notwithstanding–but even the residents of Walden Pond gave in to the occasional venture back to the city for supplies and human contact. Us too.
On July 20 we will try to bring the city to the Park. We hope to be swamped by forest-thirsty urbanites, neighbours, and friendly randos here at our Walden. We will welcome these visitors to be our guests and, if they can, to bring a story, a poem, a song, a painting and share it with the gathering.
A night under the stars. Informal artistic expression and reflective appreciation. Come by boat, windsurfer, canoe. Swim, hike in, ride a bike or fill a vehicle–float plane, microbus, Red River cart, or a 1947 Lincoln Zephyr. . . whatevs–with your most convivial merry prankster friends.
[…] “twas in another lifetime,
one of toil and blood.
When blackness was a virtue, the road was full of mud.
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
‘Come in,’ she said, ‘I’ll give you shelter from the storm.'”
Let us, like Bob Dylan’s friend in his mystic lyric above, offer you an evening of shelter from the storm.
AND, if you can’t make it in person, we’d welcome your proxy–a snippet or an excerpt or a few lines of verse. We’ll present your work with reverence and hope. Then we’ll toast you and hope once more—that you join us next year.
Contact me here or on Facebook, twitter, email, Goodreads, phone, or drop in for details. firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about the point in time and space where reality meets infinity, borne on blintering starlight at the 50th latitude.
Each building tour, on the half-hour, will stop for a brief reading: Seven-minute excursions into the boreal, towards the dim light, to the bottom of the sky, and screwed to the sticking spot, all for free in the 119-year-old Gault Building, now home to ARTSPACE.
Readings may include selections from:
“I am Otter”
“Sweet Caporals at Dawn”
“A Plum of a Night” (for groups with lots of little kids)
“Operation Night Bandit” (for groups with lots of exhausted young moms)
“In the Dim Light Beyond the Fence” (for groups with more than one Blue Jays cap in evidence)
The opening sequence of “The Fisherman’s Story”, Part Two in a trilogy.
“Wide Winter River”, an excerpt from the short story, “The Margin of the River”
“I try to write about everyday people and events, but to see the drama in these lives. Regardless of whether the story takes a turn towards humour, or sorrow, or action, or even fantasy, I often come at it from an underlying perspective of hope, often with a good dose of emotion and courage in the mix.”—Mitchell Toews
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