On October 17, 2022 the Club welcomed guest speaker, Leah Horlick, the Canadian Writer in Residence, University of Calgary Distinguished Writer Program. She is the author of several collections of poetry: Riot Lung, For Your Own Good, and Moldovan Hotel.
Ms. Horlick started with a brief introduction, relating her personal love for the Central Memorial Library. Then, she gave read a selection of her poems. The first, Amygdala, was from ForYour Own Good, a collection of poems relating her experience of intimate partner abuse.
The next readings were from Moldovan Hotel, and included the title poem from the collection. Horlick’s went to Moldova in 2017, seeking insight into her Jewish family’s life before, during and after World War 2.
Following the readings, the speaker answered member questions about her creative process, the barriers to getting published as a poet in Canada, her early love of reading assisted by the Saskatoon library system, and why she was drawn to poetry.
On April 5th, 2022 the Club welcomed a marvelous guest speaker, Teresa Wong. She is the author of the graphic memoir Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression, a finalist for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize and longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2020. Her comics have appeared in The Believer,The New Yorker and Event Magazine. She teaches memoir and comics at Gotham Writers Workshop, and is the 2021–22 Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary. Read more at: https://www.byteresawong.com.
The author gave an beautiful and engaging illustrated reading from her pandemic narrative #tantrumseries. This narrative started on Instagram, and will be part of the anthology Good Moms on Paper, which presents the challenges and rewards of being a mom while authoring creative works. During the early days of the Covid 19 pandemic, she recorded her 4 year old son’s morning tantrums with photo’s and watercolours, which she then posted. In total, 20 watercolour portraits of her son were completed – visit her Tumbler blog or search #tantrumseries on Instagram to view these lovely images and more.
While recording these moments, she pondered her motivation: Was she recording these moments for herself, for others, for her son in the future? Was this an intrusion into her son’s privacy? Was her motivation to present a more realistic portrait of toddler parenting and to show it can be funny? Or was she looking for affirmation or “likes”? The series ended when her son told her “stop taking my picture”. Two years later, he sometimes scrolls through the pictures and recognizes himself. Her concluding comment on #tantrumseries was that the creative work was “fully alive and fully itself, like a child in my care”.
The author was going through a crisis herself at the time of the #tantrumseries, and found she could relate to her son’s frustration and feeling of helplessness. In early 2020, she was trying to get Dear Scarlet into the world, along with the daily work of parenting 3 children. To quote her: “mothers have guilt rather than the space and time to do creative work”.
Next, she presented Piano Lessons, short comic published by Believer magazine , illustrating her 10 years of piano lessons and what classical music means to her. To quote “music took me somewhere… elegant, refined, orderly”.
After the presentation, there were a number of questions from members about Ms. Wong’s development first as a writer and then as a graphic memoirist. Ms. Wong said that she was always a writer, but began painting after she had children. She described the graphic genre as more poetry than prose, bringing out ideas with phrases and imagery. Personally, I am a fan of graphic memoir, history and fiction and hope to read more from Teresa in the future.
Here’s another chance to enjoy more from Natalie Meisner, as playwright and actor! The Calgary Public Library downtown is hosting a free play, but with only 40 spots available, it’s worthwhile to book a seat for the 7:00 – 8:30 pm performance. You can reserve seats, if you follow the link below.
Nothing beats beautiful music, and this is certainly the season to hear plenty! It’s even better when it’s live and you know someone in the choir. Perhaps you’ll find a CWLC member or two in the audience, as well! Cecilia invites us to:
A MILLION DREAMS CONCERT ST. MARY’S UNIVERSITY CHOIR
Dates? December 1 & 2
Time? 8:00 pm
Where? St. Mary’s University, M-100, McGivney Hall
Janet Halls has a fitting author event to showcase for Remembrance Day, for CWLC and others. When We Were Shadows was written by a Calgarian and former teacher (coincidentally, a neighbour of Janet Halls.) Janet Wees worked closely with “Walter” to bring his story to others. Even in the Netherlands, few were aware of this story. Although technically this is a book for youth, it is a riveting read for adults too.
Synopsis from the CPL Program registration:
Based on a true story, When We Were Shadows is the story of Walter, a young Jewish boy and his family. They stay one step ahead of the Nazis in Holland during the Second World War, eventually hiding in a hidden village deep in the Dutch woods, forced to rely on strangers for their safety. It is a story of human resilience, the power of family, and the kindness of strangers. Suitable for ages 12 and up.
WHERE? Memorial Park Library, Main Floor Salon
WHEN? Monday, November 11, 1-2 pm
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER: (Not required, but recommended, as only 42 spaces are available. Your CPL library card number is needed for registration.)
CLICK HERE for Bill Brooks’ enthusiastic article about this fundraising event for the Lougheed House in September. The keynote speech was by author Shaun Hunter, who highlighted three women authors in Calgary’s past.
Although we missed this luncheon, the Lougheed House, with Shaun Hunter (author of Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers,) will host a 2020 exhibition beginning January 23 called Literati: Calgary’s Early Writers.
The artist’s last name should ring a bell for CWLC ladies: It’s Anne Marie’s husband. The show Twilight & Nocturne/Rivers & Streams will run from October 26 to November 13 at Wallace Galleries (#100, 500 – 5 Avenue SW.)
A reception is being held Saturday, October 26, 2-5 PM. Anne Marie & Bill will be there, accompanied by live jazz. Why not mark your calendars and join a Happening? It would be fun to bump into each other!