Creative Non-Fiction

This is what I can tell you: On a June night in 1986, my mother drinks from a tall glass of ice water. The radio might be on. If it is on, she is listening to Patti or Luther or The Pointer Sisters or Whitney. She might be singing, voice off-key but still rising proudly up her throat.

Our 2017 Creative Non-Fiction Contest Honourable Mention.

I’ve heard that when you see someone you love your pupils get bigger, as if your eyes themselves want to swallow them up and trap them inside. 

Do you wonder if the people who assaulted you ever think about it?

Created in 1995 in the pre-digital video days of A/B roll editing, this educational video about media literacy examines the media's shaping of the Montréal Massacre to deconstruct media representations of violence, trauma and gender. Created with the financial support of the Canadian Studies Directorate and the Ministere de culture du Québec. Included here as part of our No Comment project.

Nothing that bad happened to me. Certainly nothing out of the ordinary. I was lucky. I wasn’t raped. I wasn’t sexually assaulted. At most, I was sexually harassed. Cross out at most. I was. And even that is so complex and equivocal and tenuous.

If I had to describe myself at twenty, this is what I would write.

A hyper-verbal, defensive, funny, and skinny skate betty. A poet, thin-skinned and capable, ambitious and in love with the idea of love. A lonely girl from a big family who was open to everything and acutely aware that, at any moment, the next man I met could be the one to change my life.

Before reading this essay about accessing appropriate health and wellness care as a sex worker I’m going to ask you to reflect on your own relationship to othering—perpetuating, witnessing and surviving it—and how it has impacted your health.

I attended the University of British Columbia from 2008-2014. I spent four of those six years in the Creative Writing Department, first to get my Bachelor’s degree, then my Master’s. I was raped twice during my time at UBC, once by one of my classmates in the Creative Writing program.

Our 2015 CNF Contest Honourable Mention.

Mom says she doesn’t know how to twist her tongue in half.

Read the Honourable-Mention Winning Entry From Our 2015 CNF Contest

Any writer can give you an angst-filled list of reasons why writing didn’t happen (again) today: there were the kids. Or a special meeting, or the first sunny day in months, or … Rarely do we mention, “Oh yes, and I was afraid.”

In truth, I’m not a poet. Nor do I, as a rule, pester strangers with chitchat.

The honourable mention entry in Room's 2014 Contest Creative Non-Fiction category.

I learned how to pick locks in prison.

I ate my first raw peanut a few months before we left for Sudan.

Fifty years married, devoted to Jesus and family, Mom and Dad had remained your protectors in spite of your adult status and incessant lying, your manic highs and pitiful lows.

The honourable mention in Room's 2012 creative non-fiction contest, judged by Kathy Page.

The honourable mention for Room's 2011 creative non-fiction contest, judged by Susan Juby.

Pages

Currently on Newsstands

  • Migration Cover
    Room 40.3, Migration
    Edited by Nav Nagra

    In this issue:

    Rasha Abdulhadi, Juliane Okot Bitek, Ariane Both, Aimee Henny Brown, Leonarda Carranza, Rose-Anne Chabot, Karla Comanda, Marita Dachsel, Stacy Gardner, Branwyn Holroyd, Sandeep Johal, Sharon Kirsch, Katherine Koller, Lydia Kwa, Emily McKibbon, Amanda Merpaw, Shelley Marie Motz, Dorothy Nielsen, Rita O’Grady, Kimberly Peterson, Claire Polders, Ramna Safeer, Nilofar Shidmehr, Arielle Spence, Chanda Stallman, Catherine J. Stewart, Florence Treadwell, Sarah Wolfson, Annie Wong

    .