Tender Loving Care

Welcome to the tlc issue of Room! From Devyani Saltzman’s poignant opening memoir about the lifelong relationship between herself and her Indian nanny, all the way to Onjana Yawnghwe’s closing poem about her mother’s hands, we offer you portraits in words and images of all facets of care: its giving and receiving, its presence, and its lack.

We have deliberately been quite free in our interpretation of TLC, and on the surface some of the poems we’ve chosen appear to range quite far from the topic. Look again. Both kate hargreaves’s examination of “the Sylvia Plath effect” and Andrea MacPherson’s images of Camille Claudel’s thirty-year confinement are on that side of the balance where all aspects of care are twisted, manipulative, or simply absent. On the other side of the balance, Madeline Sonik’s St. Teresa of Avila finds care everywhere she looks. And along the centre of the balance beam, many interpretations co-exist. Marilyn Gear Pilling and Julie Mahfood explore the care and trust that come from women bonding with women. Marita Dachsel introduces an unusual set of relationships in her poems about four of the many wives of Joseph Smith, while the lyrical, image-laden poems of Peggy Fletcher and Marti Webster explores more traditional aspects of relationships.

Our stunning cover is by Vancouver artist Colleen Heslin. Inside you’ll find more of her images of care of others and care of self, including two images that for women who love to read must surely be one of the strongest aspects of self-care—those moments when we can sink away from the world into the arms of a book.

Safety and protection are natural strands of TLC that weave in and out of this issue. In Kellee Ngan’s short story, one teenage girl tries to protect her older sister, and in Louise Beech’s short story about Claire-Maria, safety and protection are nowhere to be found, even at the heart of a seemingly loving family. Two of our writers explore how hard it can be to accept care during the recovery process. For Donna Sales, the dynamic is between daughter and mother, and for Julie Stern, it’s between artist and art.

We hope you enjoy the art and words in this issue. We’ve enjoyed putting it together. A lot of TLC goes in each issue of Room from every member of the collective.



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