Karin Hedetniemi lives in Victoria, BC on the traditional unceded lands of the Lekwungen/Songhees peoples, where she photographs and writes about nature, place, inspiration, and being human. In a former life, she helped lead an environmental education charity. Karin's stories are published/forthcoming in Prairie Fire, Hinterland, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Sky Island Journal, Sunlight Press, Moria, and other literary journals. Her photos appear in Parentheses, Barren Magazine, CutBank, and elsewhere. Karin shares her creative work at: AGoldenHour.com. Angela Rebrec is a writer, singer and graphic artist whose work has appeared in journals such as Prairie Fire, GRAIN, EVENT, the Dalhousie Review, and NationalPoetryMonth.ca 2020, as well as the anthology Voicing Suicide (Ekstasis Editions, 2020). Most recently she participated in ART SONG LAB 2020. Her writing has been shortlisted for several awards and contests including PRISM International’s Nonfiction Contest. Angela currently facilitates writing and expressive arts workshops for kids and adults of all ages. She lives in Delta, BC with her husband, three children and dog on unceded Musqueam and Tsawwassen lands. V.J. Hamilton was born in Saskatchewan and has lived in Germany, Japan, and New Zealand. She currently calls Toronto home. Her work has been published in The Antigonish Review, The MacGuffin, and Penmen Review, among others, and has been nominated for the Journey Prize. She won the EVENT Speculative Fiction contest. She has hitch-hiked out of Wawa and loves to strum the ukulele—but not at the same time.
PRECIOUS MOMENTS © Jerena
The private hospital room in which I had visited my uncle a few weeks earlier was empty, the bed neatly made. My heart sank. Was I too late? I stopped at the 5B nursing station to ask. Afraid to hear the answer. “Excuse me,” I said, feeling my stomach knot. “George Edwards, has he been moved?” “No,” the nurse replied. “He’s still in room 7.” As if seeing disbelief in my eyes, she rose from her chair and led me back to room 7, full of confidence. She marched into the room, only to backtrack quickly, apologizing to an orderly and the room’s new occupant. She returned to the nursing station and snatched up the room chart, scanning it. “Ah!” she said, “He’s been moved to station 5A.” She pointed down the hall. I released the breath I had been holding and felt my gut ease a bit. Station 5A was quiet, the lights dimmer. Near the station, a nurse was in whispered conference with a family. They all spoke in small voices sounding full of sadness. Some dabbed at tears flowing down their cheeks, others sniffled. I caught the eye of a volunteer sitting behind the desk.
“Can I help you?” she said. “Yes, please,” I said, leaning toward her, not wanting to intrude upon the quiet conversation taking place nearby. “I’m looking for my uncle, George Edwards.” “He’s there,” the volunteer said, having consulted her list and pointing. “That room - just opposite.” I thanked her and turned away from the grieving family. I inhaled deeply, trying to bolster myself with positive energy before I entered my uncle’s room. The room was large and quiet, brighter than the hallway. I had expected to see my aunt and cousins gathered around my uncle, but he was alone. He lay on his bed, looking up at the ceiling, confusion and pain creasing his face. A folded white cloth lay across his forehead. He moved, raising his left hand to massage his right forearm, which rested on a pillow. His breathing sounded laboured with pain. “Hi there!” I said, summoning all of the cheerfulness I could muster. “How’s my favourite uncle today?” I had never thought of him as anything other than my favourite uncle, and he knew it. He smiled a small smile, as his eyes searched for me. “Oh, not too well,” he said, his voice slurred and croaky. “My arm hurts.” He asked where my aunt was, as if he needed her to ease the pain. “I’ll ask at the nursing station,” I said. “Be right back.” While we had been speaking, my nose had isolated an unusual odour, leaving me to wonder what it was it, where it was. It clung to me as I crossed the hallway. “The nurse asked everyone to leave, so you could rest,” I said a few minutes later. “They went home to freshen up.”
His left hand continued to rub his right forearm, as if trying to make the cancer disappear. “Would you like me to massage your arm?” I said. “Yes, I think it would,” he said, “but you’ll have to come to the other side of the bed. You can’t reach from there.” I set my wallet on the portable table and walked around the bed. Time seemed suspended, yet full of clarity. As I walked around the bed, my uncle pointed out two large armchairs. “The previous room had no space for chairs,” he said. “I thought I’d sit up for a while. It’s painful to be bedridden all the time. When my wife returns, I’ll try sitting in one.” I looked at my uncle, the length of him filling the bed completely. Even at eighty-three years, he was still over six feet tall, with a friendly face, bright blue eyes and snow-white hair. He was one of the most beautiful men I had ever known. He was kind and funny; sometimes a trickster; quick-witted and clever. He had survived an ugly world war, and built a career as a highly respected, honest and fair-minded police officer. He called me super sleuth because once I had held a private investigator’s license. I adored him. Gently, I lifted his arm. His large paw of a hand encircled my wrist. I massaged his arm with all the love I could infuse, from elbow to wrist and back again. “Does that help a little?” I said, worried I might inflict more pain. “Yes,” he replied, “it helps a lot.” He sighed. “But it really hurts.” He told me that his doctor had promised to arrange a painkiller, and that the nurse had yet to bring it. I offered to enquire but said I was reluctant to leave. “Please ask,” he said, his eyes pleading.
The strange odour accompanied me on my return trip to the nursing station. “My uncle is asking about a painkiller,” I said. “Has his doctor prescribed one?” “I have instructions to provide him with as much as he needs,” she said kindly. “I’ll bring one in shortly.” I returned to my uncle, told him that the nurse was on her way, and resumed massaging his right arm. In the silence, my mind tumbles with questions: How advanced is the leukemia? Why does his arm hurt so much? What is that odour? Will he die soon? In a lightbulb moment, my mind screamed: I don’t want him to die! Then logical thought fingered through my grief, reminding me that everyone will die. A cruel disease was claiming my beautiful uncle. This was his time. “Mr. Edwards,” the nurse said, shattering the room’s stillness, deadening my wild thoughts. “Does your arm hurt?” “Yes,” he said, “the morphine you gave me earlier helped a little, but not much.” I heard the weariness in his voice and wondered whether I had stayed too long. “This is my niece,” he said in a small, proud voice. “Since no one else is here, she can be my nurse of the night.” The nurse acknowledged the introduction and the suggestion, then left to organize the medication. While we waited, we talked about my aunt and his marriage, and he told me about the cross-Canada train trip that they had planned at the end of the month.
“I guess that will have to wait for another time,” he said. We talked about the flowers and cards that lined the windowsill - bright, cheery colours, loving words of encouragement, remembrances from people who cared about him. The sun shone brightly through the window, touching us warmly with late evening rays. The nurse returned. She handed me a plastic bottle of ice water and a small white paper cup containing the morphine tablet, then left. My uncle raised himself up on the bed. The white cloth fell from his head and landed on his thigh. He held out his hand. I tipped the tablet into it. He was not able to see it at first. The tiny white tablet disappeared into the paleness of his large hand. He felt for it and popped it into his mouth. I held the water for him, and he took a shallow drink. While he slid back into the pillow, I offered to refresh the cloth for his forehead. He mumbled his gratitude, as he tried to find a comfortable position. “How’s that?” I said, resting the refreshed cloth on his brow. He thanked me, and I resumed the massage of his arm, deciding to linger until he fell asleep. While we waited for the morphine to take effect, we talked again, about relationships and how wonderful his had been with my aunt, and how he hoped that I would find someone special too. A few minutes later, he apologized for having to close his eyes. We both knew he would be asleep soon. “I’ll keep rubbing your arm until you sleep, then . . .” “You’ll leave,” he said, finishing my sentence. “Yes,” I said, feeling the weight of sorrow rounding my shoulders, glad that he had closed his eyes, before burning tears traced a path against my nose. “I need to sleep now,” he said a moment later. “Okay,” I replied, my voice shaky. I placed his arm gently on the pillow.
“I love you very much,” he said. “I love you too,” I replied. I leaned over him and kissed his soft lips. A hint of white whisker prickled mine. “Goodbye, dear,” he said quietly. “Goodbye,” I said, gagging on a sob. I waited ten heartbeats, memorizing his beauty, then collected my wallet from the portable table. Free-falling tears blinded my reluctant departure, the odour of death severed by the closing of an elevator door.
-------------------------------------- PRECIOUS MOMENTS copyright Jerena Tobiasen
RCLAS Announcements REMINDER Deadline April 12021 WRITE ON! CONTEST Info https://rclas.com/awards-contests/write-on-contest/
RCLAS presents In Their Words with host Ruth Kozak - Online Edition Date: Thursday March 18, 2021 Time: 7:00pm Pacific Time. Three Feature Presenters: Alan Girling presents Tony Hoagland (American poet) Jerena Tobiasen presents Slavomir Rawicz (Author of The Long Walk,Polish Army lieutenant) Alan Hill presents Jack Gilbert “The Great Fires” (American poet) Zoom room opens at 06:45 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada). Let us know on the event page if you would like to attend. Facebook link: https://fb.me/e/3nSQbeosu OR you can RSVP by email to secretary AT rclas DOT com. You will be sent the zoom link via email or Facebook messaging. RCLAS presents Tellers of Short Tales – Online Edition with host, Carol Johnson Featured Author PJ Patten Date: Thurs MARCH 25, 2021 Time: 6:00 to 8:00pm Zoom room will open early for open mic sign up starting at 05:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) Let us know on the Facebook event page if you would like to attend. https://fb.me/e/3mwc2NEqW OR you can RSVP by email to email@example.com You will be sent the zoom link via email or Facebook message. The evening will include an Open Mic for short stories. Space is limited. Born in Japan and now based in New Westminster, PJ Patten is a graphic novelist, visual artist, tattoo artist and writer. He draws inspiration from the ancient Japanese art of Haiga and Southern California’s skate/surf/punk culture.
TOWER 25 is a 128 page graphic memoir about homelessness, addiction, trauma and recovery. Written and illustrated by PJ Patten, Tower 25 follows his journey through homelessness, from living in a nice condo to sleeping in bathrooms at the beach after losing everything to meth addiction. This project engages with themes of addiction, trauma, responsibility and ultimately healing. It offers a first hand account of the struggles of being homeless and the challenges one is faced with trying to get off the streets.
FREE Online Workshop: RCLAS presents “SETTING THE STAGE: HOW TO WRITE FICTION NOVELS OR MEMOIRS” Facilitator: Ruth Kozak Date: Saturday March 27, 2021 Time: 1:00pm to 3:00pm Register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Registrants will be emailed the workshop ZOOM link. If you would like to make a donation visit rclas.com Renew your membership or become a member here: https://rclas.com/membership/become-a-member/ Description: The workshop will cover such topics as: Theme Developing Plot Knowing Your Character Settings & Writing Description Ruth will also share her research tips for writing any kind of fiction or non-fiction including travel memoirs. There will be writing prompts during the session. W. RUTH KOZAK is a historical fiction writer and travel journalist with a strong interest in history and archaeology. She is the author of SHADOW OF THE LION, a historical novel in a 2-volume print edition or in full as a Kindle ebook. She publishes regularly in print and on-line travel magazines and wrote an e-book guide of Athens for a US publisher. A frequent traveler she has lived several years in Greece and visits there regularly. She is past president of the BC Association of Travel Writers. Recently Ruth published a poetry book SONGS FOR ERATO, Poems written in Greece. Available on Amazon and Kindle.
Poetic Justice Online Edition National Poetry Month 2021 Date: Sunday April 11, 2021 Time: 3:00 to 5:00 pm Featuring: Jen Currin Aidan Chafe Open Mic sign up starts at 2:30pm. Find more info on Poetic Justice Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/poeticjusticepnw RSVP to receive Zoom Link or contact Carol Johnson on Facebook
Online Workshop - RCLAS presents “Wild Mind: Freeing the Writer Within” Facilitator: Heather Conn Date: Saturday April 10, 2021 Time: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Register via email to email@example.com Registrants will be emailed the workshop ZOOM link. Workshop Fee Via PayPal: $5 members/$10 Non-members Non-members – Use the Donate link at bottom of page here: https://rclas.com/workshops/ If you would like to renew your membership or become a member here:
https://rclas.com/membership/become-a-member/ Description: Do you suffer from writer’s block? Do you find it hard to let go and follow your creative muse? Would you like to find or regain a new sense of joy in self-expression? Heather will help participants find their vibrant inner voice as a writer and gain selfacceptance, using fun, spontaneous exercises and short, timed writings. This online workshop will draw on the work of Natalie Goldberg, author of Wild Mind, and Writing Down the Bones, and other authors. Learn to write with greater trust and confidence, sharing stream-of-consciousness musings in a supportive atmosphere. Heather will provide inspirational tips, encouraging active discussion. The focus is not on technique. Open to writers of all genres and skill levels. Presenter Biography Heather Conn coaches authors one-on-one and teaches creative writing for the City of Port Moody. She has spent about eight years offering a variety of workshops on spontaneous writing, including through the Vancouver School Board and Powell River Digital Film School. Heather has taught at Selkirk College, SFU, Capilano University, Vancouver Coastal Health, and other venues in genres from journalism and professional writing to creative nonfiction and travel writing. Her memoir No Letter in Your Pocket will be published by Guernica Editions in Ontario in 2023. Heather is the author of two nonfiction history books and two fiction picture books. As a freelance writer, she has published in more than 50 publications, including The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, and Canadian Geographic. Her features have appeared in diverse anthologies including Emails from India (Seraphim) and Raincoast Chronicles 22 (Harbour). Heather has edited dozens of books for both publishers and individuals. She has co-written two short dramas for Bravo! TV and written/directed two short documentaries. Heather has worked as an oral historian, magazine editor-in-chief, and communications manager. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Goucher College in Baltimore, Md. Find out more at heatherconn.com.
SAVE THE DATES Online Workshop RCLAS presents “Show Versus Tell – Getting the Balance Right in Your Manuscripts” Facilitator: Eileen Cook Date: Saturday May 1, 2021 Time: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Register via email to firstname.lastname@example.org Registrants will be emailed the workshop ZOOM link. Workshop Fee Via PayPal: $5 members/$10 Non-members Non-members – Use the Donate link at bottom of page here: https://rclas.com/workshops/ If you would like to renew your membership or become a member here:
https://rclas.com/membership/become-a-member/ Description: We know great description allows a reader to dive deep into a character’s POV and picture the scene, but we don’t want to have so much description that we slow the pacing and don’t have enough action to keep readers turning the page. This workshop will discuss what description works, when you want to use it, as well as how to balance it with action. Come with your laptop and pen ready as there will be prompts and things to get you thinking about your manuscript. Visit Eileen’s website https://eileencook.com/ In second grade Eileen’s teacher wrote on a homework assignment “I am sure someday you will be an author” which is a tribute to the psychic abilities of elementary school teachers, as well as Eileen penchant for making things up. While she would go on to fill endless notebooks with really bad poetry, short stories, and the occasional start to a novel, she would first go on to pursue a career as a counsellor working with individuals with catastrophic injuries and illness. Eileen quickly discovered that the challenge of working with real people is that they have real problems and she returned to writing where she could make her characters do what she wanted. Her first novel was published in 2008. Entertainment Weekly called her novel WITH MALICE a “seriously creepy thriller” which pretty much made her entire year. When not planning murder and mayhem on the computer, Eileen enjoys reading, knitting, yelling at her dogs to stop digging holes and watching hockey (which she is required to do as a new Canadian.) Eileen is a popular speaker at conferences both in the US and in Canada, provides writing/editorial coaching, and is a mentor/instructor for The Creative Academy and the Simon Fraser University The Writer’s Studio.
SAVE THE DATES
RCLAS presents Tellers of Short Tales – Online Edition with host, Carol Johnson Featured Shawn Gale Date: Thurs April 22, 2021 Time: 6:00 to 8:00pm
RCLAS presents Tellers of Short Tales – Online Edition with host, Carol Johnson Featured Cathy Stonehouse Date: Thurs May 27, 2021 Time: 6:00 to 8:00pm
RCLAS presents In Their Words with host Ruth Kozak - Online Edition Date: Thursday May 20, 2021 Time: 7:00pm Pacific Time. Three Feature Presenters
March 2021 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 82 ISSN 2291- 4269, 31 pages. Issue 82: 2021 Write on! Contest Call for Submissions. Th...
Published on Mar 24, 2021
March 2021 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 82 ISSN 2291- 4269, 31 pages. Issue 82: 2021 Write on! Contest Call for Submissions. Th...