Deep Salt Water: Month Nine

Room is pleased to feature the final installment of the captivating and thought-provoking Deep Salt Water, an interdisciplinary collaboration among four artists—author Marianne Apostolides, collage artist Catherine Mellinger, photographer Melanie Gordon, and composer Paul Swoger-Ruston—based on the forthcoming book by Apostolides of the same title.

Deep Salt Water is an intimate memoir of abortion, expressed through the language and imagery of the ocean. In Month 8, we moved through the book’s larger themes: ethics in a changing world, regret and loss, submission to forces greater than ourselves, and desire, returning to notions of smallness and intimacy: from the ocean to the womb, from the vastness of the anthropocene to a single person—a woman. As in all of the installments of Deep Salt Water, and the book itself, Apostolides attempts to create a sense of meaning amidst the constant onrush of life.

To hear this month’s text read aloud by Apostolides, embedded in a larger sonic landscape by Swoger-Ruston, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Deep Salt Water: Month Nine

Life doesn’t disappear, although that’s what ‘abortion’ means. My bible tells me: ab + oriri—‘away’ from ‘appearing’—becomes abortare through frequent, repeated, intensification. She’ll never appear through continual effort not to see.

I’d like to abort that conclusion.


Elision: abortion. What’s cut is the tissue—material, body—potential for life. But the potency—energy—gets released. It’s hubris to think we could nullify that; it’s like saying that humans could kill the earth.

Abortion exists in a realm I call ‘spirit.’ I can’t hold this concept inside my brain. In my womb: then I could, like the hint of a secret whose words I can’t know. Only whispers and tingling, like breath on the nape. Like the promise of more. I believe this sensation.

Refracted through the lens of sin, we quickly reach abyssal blue. But light, in the deep, is a radiant body whose warmth fills my veins and my mouth with its song. Luminesce in this lightness: I don’t seek forgiveness. I seek, instead, to bear the burden of my awareness.

“Bear it with me,” I’ll say to you.
Intensely, repeatedly: Bear it with me.

Click here to listen to Swoger-Ruston’s soundscape, featuring Apostolides’ reading of Deep Salt Water: Month Nine. Click here to be directed to the entire Deep Salt Water album. 


Deep Salt Water by Marianne Apostolides has been published! Click here to order your copy.

This month’s images are from a mixed-media collage, 'Coral', by Catherine Mellinger, macro-photographed by Melanie Gordon.

We’d like to acknowledge the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council, which funded Marianne Apostolides in the writing of her text, and the Waterloo Regional Arts Fund, which funded Catherine Mellinger in the creation of her collages.


Marianne Apostolides is the author of five books, three of which have been translated. She’s also a recipient of the Chalmers Arts Fellowship. Deep Salt Water is forthcoming from BookThug in spring 2017.

Catherine Mellinger is an analog collage artist and mixed media artist whose works find inspiration in ideas originated by the Dadaist and early Surrealists, breaking the barriers of an image in order to re-infuse it with lyricism. Using vintage paper ephemera and personal photographs mixed with pencil, pen, and watercolour, her collages explore and reflect on memory as a sensory experience. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and having studied in Toronto, Catherine now lives Waterloo, Ontario.

Melanie Gordon is a conceptual and documentary photographer based in Toronto. For the past 20 years, she's been inquiring into the nature of time, the meaning of home, and the shifts in her own identity as a woman, mother, and artist. Melanie's photographs have been described as intimate and magical tellers of stories. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and published in magazines and books in Canada and internationally.

Paul Swoger-Ruston engages in a philosophy and science of music that considers style a compounding of evolutionary, environmental, and cultural patterns of observation, evaluation, and imitation that obscure the dynamic, emergent properties of interactive gesture (body), acoustical space (environment), and neural entrainment (ear/mind).

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