Thursday, September 22, 2011



A heads-up for next Monday, September 26, if you're in or around Nanaimo, BC. I'm reading at WordStorm with David Fraser, Ursula Vaira and Lisa Shatzky. Starts at 6:30 PM and it's a good idea to get there early. It happens at Diners Rendezvous, 489 Wallace Street. Love to see you there.

What a couple of weeks it's been. I had a interesting cyber-chat with an old friend who professed not to be into poetry all that much. Sent him a couple of mine as examples of what we were talking about and just found out today that one of them, Cake, is to be included in Leaf Press' forthcoming anthology of love poems. Nice way to start the day. 

And another of my poems, Stones for a Fire Pit, was featured on Your Daily Poem at the beginning of the month. 

Last weekend I attended a screening of two documentaries by local film makers, Katherine Pettit and Amy Bohigian. 

Katherine's is a delightful animated short film presented from the point of view of her toddler. Dancing with the Moon deals with Katherine's difficulties getting pregnant after being diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cyctic Ovary Syndrome). In the course of seeking answers to why she was having difficulty conceiving after having had a miscarriage, she was offered a fertility drug. Instead she opted for a more natural approach which included paying strict attention to her diet and Lunaception, based on the theory that women's bodies respond to light and dark and if we weren't constantly surrounded by artificial light we'd menstruate at the time of the new moon and ovulate when the moon is full. I'd say Lunaception is working well for Ms. Pettit as in addition to the presence of her delightful small daughter she is very obviously pregnant again! I particularly liked the way she dealt with miscarriage in the film, suggesting that sometimes the children we conceive and lose are just not ready to join our family yet. Miscarriage is something that is so common to so many women. I had one once, and it was devastating. I remember my conflicted emotions as if it was yesterday (and as you can tell from my profile picture, this happened a very long time ago). Global music man, Adham Shaikh, did the music for the film. 

These days it seems the news includes at least one dysfunctional family story every time I turn it on. It was so refreshing to watch Conceiving Family which tells the story of Amy, her partner Jane Byers, and four other same-sex couples and their experiences on the road to adopting a child. Jane, who co-wrote the film, is in my poetry group in Nelson and you should see her light up when she talks about her kids. Yes, kids, plural. Jane and Amy ended up adopting twins! 

The audience at the Capitol Theatre was very kid-friendly — and that in itself was refreshing as earlier in the day I'd heard a story on CBC about a couple who think there should be a four-block child-free zone around their condo in the area where they live. They went on about the stressful jobs they have and how upsetting it is to come home after a hard day's slogging in the graphic design mines, or wherever it is they work, and seeing yards with plastic toys and overturned bicycles in them. I'm not kidding. Makes you wonder how they ever got through childhood without thoroughly offending themselves... but I digress. (Note: Apparently I didn't digress enough; one of my faithful readers —thanks, Jim — tells me there's a new show, This is That, that does stories like this with a straight face. That'll teach me to turn on the radio mid-program!) Anyway, back to the Capitol and Amy's film, the room was filled with many parents (some same-sex couples, some not) who had adopted kids from various countries. It looked like the United Nations in there! The story unfolded with all the couples' experiences en route to becoming parents woven into a whole cloth of story. If only, I thought, leaving the theatre when it was over, if only all kids were as wanted as the ones we saw in the film, to say nothing of the ones who were running around in the theatre. Music for this one was by Ben Euerby. He's in a couple of bands with my son, Jesse, who played some guitar for Conceiving Family. If you get the chance, see this film. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll scratch your head at the incomprehensible obstacles same-sex couples can face simply because they want to raise a child. I think it will be interesting to assess, in a couple of decades or so, how well the children raised by same-sex couples are faring in this adventure we call life. I'm betting they'll be doing just fine.

Jane and Amy at the Castlegar Festival, Summer 2011

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