Kate Inglis (http://www.kateinglis.com/) writes children’s fiction, including award-nominated novels and picture books. Kate's writing through the premature birth of her twins, the subsequent loss of one, and life beyond eventually led to her internationally recognized book, Notes for the Everlost (https://amzn.to/2KVNKzp). In today’s expansive conversion, we dive into the peak moments, both highs and lows, from profound loss to revelation, creation, community and celebration, the stories that have shaped her path, the unexpected universality of her experience, her creative lens, voice and commitment to a life of creativity and service.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Like yesterday, Kate endless is a photographer and other living in nova scotia, which is somewhat I've never been, but would love to eventually go. She writes children
fiction, including award, nominated novels and picture books and kate riding through the premature birth of her twins and then the subsequent loss of one and then life beyond venture
he led her to create her internationally recognised book notes for the ever lost in
does nature then found a glow in the world which is an online community for bereaved parents and then in twenty twelve shiva, a ted ex ta
called parallelism, which really is
or the similarities between the often solitary journeys of creative work and healing
grief and in
these conversation. We dive into the peak
moment along her journey, both highs and lows, from profound loss to revelation and creation, community and celebration and all the stories
have shaped her path and the unexpected universality of her experience in her creed of lens and voice and commitment to a life of creativity and of service so excited to share.
conversation with you, I'm Jonathan fields- and this is good life project
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in lunenburg county, so that is the land of pirates and rum runners and
peaches and craggy sultan the areas just rich with oceans, burp all the time I like the way it is rather and when you say pay
you literally mean pirates analyzed put them ass. You, like you, know, under the sidewalk of the of the librarian halifax, their mutineers buried. Your skeletons
it all over the city of of pirates and then, of course, the
most recent sort of generation of
its were in AL capone, used to kind of frequent the bay that I live on. So
of course running during the prohibition era was a sort of their the most recent pirates. Were those guys
so what's it like growing up in a place like that arise,
you grew up in that place it feels ordinary.
and you come to new york city
You are walking around with your head on a swivel and people go now
oh sure why I ah, and they think that I'm
sorry can, I think, lie
I'm in new york. How can you think that that lunenburg county is fascinating, but I think that the salt does
of seamen to you in a way that is instructional in terms of
it's one of those kind of elements. It's one of those foundations, foundational elements that were made up of
that we need. You need a faithful of spray from the EU
and every now and then for health, and I think, when you're far from it,
no. It's just one of those things that that keeps you closely.
it's her, and I think it's just something: it's really good for health. Soon you stay
far from the water for too long you feel it a well know, because, I'm always,
Fascinated in and totally and trance
with wherever I am, but then it's when I go back and I get
the plain and even just at the airport, you kind of just
yeah I'm home, and I need that because the air really is just wet and salty all the time
There. That's amazing atmosphere. As I read some of the way that you have described rigour up, I may I grew up in a very different place. I grew up in it and
while suburb of new york city, there was actually east egg from the great gatsby was my town.
The real tat is not tell us
egg shaped peninsula island of the enemy
in my town, it was a watertown and the end of my block was a beach. So I I was a water kid. I grew up on the water. All the time yeah and there is
Something about is rich in me. If, if I go too far away from it for too long, I just I don't have to be in it.
I just have to be around it, and I met about myself. Yeah definitely, and I find
For me, there is also an urban rural divide as well that that, if I'm sorry
by too much concrete for too long
are getting really junkie,
How do you know? I start just feeling really claustrophobic. I think I need grass under my feet. I knew I need a field
there's nothing or no one near me. So that does happen
I hear that so pray
sounds like a grown up where europe
you start to explore writing again.
And set it sounds from what I know can touch on your life, pretty early yeah. I
decided that I wanted to be an author when I was six which is a bit like
you know- I mean everybody has this before
experiment. I alright for a hot minute. I wanted to be professional roller skater or an author zuma too,
so the first one didn't work out
I didn't know. If I had any stories to tell, I knew that. That's what I wanted to do, and my parents actually
used to use writing as sort of punitive
as an avenue for teaching me, because I would do so-
wrong and there-
frustrated and they would say: okay go right, a story about this girl writers.
But a little girl who called the fire department when the house was burning down just to see what would happen and
So I did, and so it really I mean that
terror, but it was. It was just it's always been sort of them. A really
essential part of life and something that my parents, when I said I was six and I wanted to be an author. They said whirling going and they gave me empty books and staples in
and and pencils, and they really kind of expected a lot of me from having made
declaration, and they still do. I guess you now.
In that way. You just said: go
he's a very early age. Do you?
and things are calling the fire department just to see what would I think it's can. It tells me little bit about what kind of a kid you gave me yet be speckled end pigtails.
You know I mean every kid has those curiosities does it is that they just have to scratch. So I can say about.
the record, has all been seals. I can't go back, has met its effect on the world when you're, when you re no eight years old and to pick up the phone
look over your shoulder in whispers- something
the phone and then all of a sudden you can hear the sirens coming, look what I may happen there
but it also brings to mind for me in the eye
at a time where I was at the door after school, and I we were just in the neighborhood and jams during two things- sometimes doing not so good things running all over the place and then come back for healing homer,
dinner then go until the sun went down. I feel like the world isn't like that.
At any more, at least in new york, which makes me curious where you live in a fairly
isolated place and this small area is it more like that serve like we're?
you're not really anymore. I grew up in halifax
so I did grow up into the city. I grew up in exactly the same situation that you describe. You know that I was on my bike until everyone,
in everyone's mama. Dad was out the front door bellowing out that it was too
her supper and we would all kind of scatter. But now.
Gosh. It's I mean where I am now is: is really quiet? It's it's exceedingly quiet
And our sort of social circle enter our kids. Social circle is kind of spread out over a few little out: ports and villages. So
well. It is really different than when I was growing up and and what is
a sense of freedom.
When you're already really quite dispersed it. It's really different and
something tat kind of navigate as we go.
For all of us yeah. I know,
constantly trying to figure it out myself and as apparent to it's sort of like oh yeah. So where is there a helmet,
how much you are on the side of safety. Her says freedom exploration in yet
a debate these days. Definitely jamming back, and here
So now, let me sir, like talk about them
the side of the wedding? So you start
cover that writing. His is a part of you at an early age and your parents encourage it, which is pretty awesome when does is
artists are to become more of this is it's kind of sunday I'm doing on the side. Telling of this could be fully morphia yeah.
And I got a degree in public relations there, so I said about
that was so certain
indications, I knew,
if, as you ever in a way,
from my career may, be that I would want to do something that that
that that I could write all the time but hopefully make some money.
And I haven't even occurred to me at that point- that I might write books, but the first
novel that I wrote was actually something that
When my nine month old was was strapped me.
I was going for a walk with someone else's six year old
And we were in the woods and is in our hands, were wet and his feet were cold and his belly was empty and he was kind of way
and I started telling the story about pirates in the woods
That became my first novel only because
went home and I thought tat was kind of fun. I should just the other day
We don't forget it and I did
and, and it was really easy- it just kind of rattled off, but I think if I had have opened up a word doc with that horrible empty page and the blinking cursor,
I know the pitch a thief. I know it now, but I didn't that first time
you know cause. I wasn't sort of setting out to write a novel. I was just.
Scribbling down something kind of fun that I had told on a walk,
I so writing was always something that that had been met
Career, but in the corporate sense and
It became creative. It became about children's literature in and writing writings,
novels and picture books, but then, of course, the.
explosion in life happens. My my
first and then writing became something there.
More, like a life raft now, sir, certainly share what happened,
Yeah so my first pregnancy was ordinary and lovely, and my first baby was ordinary in lovely and my second,
I Nancy was a complete and utter disaster, so so I was pregnant with identical twins boys
and they were born at
Twenty weeks by crash
section which is exactly as it sounds you serve.
printed down the hallway on a journey in another room, explodes and then babies emerge from it in various states.
My case. Lemon band were both about two pounds. Ben was two pounds on the nose and
We were in the nick you for two months.
And liam died after six weeks bent his fine he's twelve almost and I feel like the luckiest unlucky person,
the unlucky S, lucky person, I'm not sure which, but you know that was the first thing in my life that ever really
felt like a trial? You know it and of course-
you don't realize that your life has never really been a trial until the first true trial hits you, because I had been sort of fuss
Overall, the all the vanities and regular things that
us about, but my life to that point had been
loving and surrounded by you know delicious food and lovely people who cared for me and you know nothin fancy, but all of the good things and
The only people in my life that has ever died had been old and happy, and that
is always sad, but it felt universally sort of cosmical except acceptable
So this was the first thing in my life that ever happened being liam's mother, that was cosmically unacceptable,
that was something I couldn't reconcile and also his body
was the first dead body I had ever seen the body of a six week old. Premature babies have
brain surgery and heart surgery and what a mess what a poor sweep see was, but
what an illumination, though
and I I I've. Never
in the same since then,
not in the ways you might think you know it's. The joy is bigger and brighter because,
him and the sadness
is more mythical and more important because of him
Ever since then, just the riddle of being alive and being human,
and being the only sentient animals in a hurry,
curse of knowing that we're going to die
we're going to love and then lose that love
one way or another. What a lonely thing to grasp
with you know that we're the only animals who really kind of get that beyond instinct and I've been
thinking about that ever since, and its thing that I'll always think about
you you also- I mean you're, I dont know if you did this a real time, but I know
you're writing during basically everyday through. It looks to the entire experience
Where are you ready updates? He helped with these nay.
as you progressed through like this for six weeks and weeks and is
so the usa sharing publicly at in. In real time, during the whole thing, it was
had started. Writing publicly, just cause. That's what people were
at the time- and it was kind of fun to be able
kind of share the desert parenthood journey there. This is
and hadn't yeah yeah says oscillate them very early days. A blogging
live or just starting to do the regular basis exactly, and it was something that that was never for me as a primary thing, but, of course
you know I remember was there. I guess it would have been the day after the surgery
And I just shut up in bed in the middle of the night, and I almost knocked over my ip and I remember
it was completely it probably wasn't pitch black. It was a house
that to me I was just so muddled with morphine, and god knows what else
this feeling around for a path of paper and a pencil, and I started writing
I couldn't see- but I I started writing because it was this frantic, it wasn't anything artful, but it was just this frantic.
Bubbling over of of trying to- and I think it was just my instinct- that whatever help
it's gonna be really brutal cause both
These were alive at that point.
They were alive in a way that was really terrifying and that's not the way. It was to feel when you look at your babies, you're not supposed to kind of recoil, but that
that circle of parents who have seen and premature child. It is
horrifying a is because that bad
beings is almost alien like they don't look like a baby. They look like a feed us because they are a foetus, and so
It's starting to feel very graphic at this point, but you know what I thought
whether they, sir, I didn't know if either of them would survive. I had no idea what lay ahead, but I thought this is the first.
Really monumental thing that ever happened to me.
I'm gonna be joyfully.
Ever again then
me too, I need
he'll be directing the story. I need
be finding the shape of whatever is going to happen, and it wasn't anything
I just I can only look back on it now and think that was the compulsion. I can't just let it all unfold because
need to be able to allow this dragon to
inside me without burning me up and somehow writing felt like dragon taming
In a way show me the seems, I was almost splendor of both an outlet for something
you're feeling and at the same time something that may be gay
Some remote semblance of control like theirs is one thing that I can I can write like. I can get
on the page. The way that I need to get it out of me, yeah, like
I've never been so out of control in my life you know to have to pay.
Baby, have open heart surgery and not to have to sign those papers and watch them. Take the incubator away, ah, no control,
no control their whatsoever, but.
The narrative is mine to control and well
It is a two palm baby trying to recover from a drug addiction
or a divorce or some other kind of really ground, earthshaking loss or trauma.
whether its artful or not, whether its writing or not. We
An all shape that narrative. That is the thing that you
and control and it doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't even have to be optimistic. I kind of
something really powerful in allowing those feel
two to boil.
That's where our heat comes from and that's a really important heat and so I'd. I I think that that's
important in whatever way,
is your away from me. It happened to be. Writing, doesn't have to be tied, it
have to be reconciled, but to let that lack of
reconciliation, have a place and to honour them
confusion and to honour that mess
in some way. I think this is the way back to to health.
I mean it's interesting too, that
but as this would lead to reconcile lands, let the reconciliation serve, have its own place and let it happen. But it's
Is it reconciliation at the time or is it simply
like there's something. If,
keep wherever this is, and I'm feeling inside it's going to absolutely dish
I may, and I don't know what it's going to look like, I dunno. If I will ever reconcile I dunno if we'll ever process it. I just know it can't,
stay. Where does right now now
that was the instinct having come
It is to be able to look at the horror.
The memory of it and the that existing moment, I needed to be able to look at them, and not just
See their context I needed to
try to dig deeper than
and see there
very small moments of peace and beauty and intention and love
and sometimes in our lives. It's hard to
for those things. It is a labour almost a bit like birth.
just as messy just as painful but real
really worthwhile to to.
Understand that, even in the middle of the worst kind of mass, when we feel most ashamed when we feel most abandoned and most
Even inside of that moment, there is so much beauty,
all around and it's ok. If you don't see it, there is even beauty in your own rage
you know what I mean. This is not some kind of a call to positive thinking. I think that's absolute bunk, I liked being cranky cells. Saltire, that's exactly
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notes and user promo code good life choose. I herb because wellness matters. What was the compulsion to go one step further?
and right, not just what you're moving through for your own purpose, but also to share it? Well,
you know I was writing through the actual assertive ordeal through through that chapter of my life, but.
It doesn't ends. You bring one child hung from the hospital whose premature that's being waged by the gram every week back the hospital.
It was two years after and three years after that that labour continues
while also looking, you know, taken care of an infant and I think
By sharing it, I felt
less alone. I found it easier
and other people that
to carry the same trauma that I had to carry and they can feel hard to find
times in a when you when something like that,
and you and your out moving in the world. This world in particular rejects the very notion of a dead baby.
And this world rejects all kinds of uncomfortable things whatever it is, that sort of a little,
Of horror is for you, or for
Where is listening, there are
There's a whole host of things that the world want. Lucky won't look
you square in the face it might become
it might be any number of things, but especially
the rare things which, thankfully.
infant loss is rare. Thank goodness.
But what that means is when you're walking through the world having to carry that have
be that kind of bereaves. Nobody will look you in the face: they they pay
back from you, almost instinct julie, and it does make you feel a bit like medusa,
it makes you feel like people, people
can see it unfolding. The people come forward to you,
They see you there you can see.
on their face that, oh god, she's
pregnant anymore, I heard what happened and they kind of they start looking at their shoes.
And that is something that is so profound
isolating, and then you see layer that in on top of how the world once grief to be tidy and
world once grief to suit it rather
the other way around, and so you know you ve gotta, think positive.
and you dont want to make people uncomfortable and now don't go turn
into one of those angry people. You know don't
about a too much and don't this and don't that, and you should be grateful
There is nothing more enraging then have
people say those things to you when you are absolutely sure
of sparks like like, like like a bad, my electrical wire, and you can't help it in Europe.
angry, and you just hate the world for this, for what you ve seen for what you ve had to witness and the most
Rich moments of healing from me came from people who would see me coming
would stride right up to me and take me by the shoulders and look right at me and say: oh, my god. What happened that is
shadiest thing, I've ever heard the name, others
people who kind of came up to me with
and vigour, and
a really sort of a real out
age. For me that that's not supposed to happen. How on earth are you doing
and they look at you and they keep looking at you and I
we're thinking yeah, you know that sucked to put him
lie that was awful and then
looks in says yeah. That was awful. I can't even believe
like. I don't even know what to say it's not that they came out
and said something profound or or that they knew what to say it's that they came up to me.
with injustice in their hearts, and
something in me was just starving
and one that would happen to me. I could breathe and I would say.
Thank you. Thank you for seeing my awfulness. It means a lot and then I would
away feeling better. You know and that that kind of some
That kind of interaction, I think, is what pushed made it I mean. I just had to keep writing, but I thought you know. I hope that
that in sharing my reckoning with all this. I hope that someone else has that sensation who needs it
We ve had a number of years ago now is becoming a friend of my megan divine who
Oh yeah, hum nearly writes about some are thing
And she says she shared sets in this. The same experience
the world. Just wants you to serve gathered
to see the right side and an eye.
largely because everybody around you feel so uncomfortable with just the thought of what you're going through that they want you to feel better so that they can feel better.
Here there is not necessarily a negative thing. They think they're like offering help, but at the same time it's really about them, and you
oh entirely, yet essentially, they're asking you in that moment to perform a presentation
and of yourself to their satisfaction, and that's just not possible. It's not ever going to be possible
So here I mean that's yan mechanism,
if there's a many sided coin, she's just another side of the same coin. In that way, because of obviously for her, it was her husband, her partner, I mean
and for me it was a baby, and I think there are some other layers and there you know I in the book. I talk about feeling a bit
kaleidoscope, did it
the same elements, but when you look through it and turn it.
You see the same elements, but they rearrange in a way that there is something completely distinct, and so I think in our suffering.
Which is the one thing that really unites us? You know death and taxes.
We see those familiar colors in those familiar shapes kind of clicking clack their way into something.
Isn't that all like what I went through.
but I can see what I went through in what you went through and we can kind of connecting those ways. You know yeah
its end. Those those connections are absolutely lifesaving.
an end? It really does feel that way that that sounds I come,
overseas overstating I had to come to stop and think of my saying that too strongly but
think I am, I think when I mean lifesaving, I dont mean you know cpr, I mean those moments actually prop up your.
journey into whatever life then becomes from that point of explosion
and as you shared while you're moving through this time.
you have the these were twins and one child was last, but one child is there and also had a previous child. So there is no there's this
experience of you trying to figure out and moves through this profound
at the same time. You know
feeling a sense of of obligation.
and wanting to be there for the people who are still with here right, which is gonna, be
just this strange said: polarities to live with a date in the alley bends birthday every year I mean I,
plurality, saintly cost up, saying it that way, but it is true, it's Ben's birthday is.
the anniversary of the worst day of my life. You know,
if so awful to put it that way. But it's
true, and I can't hear
but beyond that moment and be mixing buttermilk enter into you, a flower and cocoa, and
thinking yeah this was this was
one of the many ways that that I lost liam. You know we lost him a few times and he kind of game.
gravelling back just by way of intervention, you know, as they have to try and
it is, the anniversary of one of.
Worst days of my life and then you know that's my fifth and then june fifteen.
The anniversary of the other worse day, which is the day he died, but.
in the same way that there were gifts on that day on the birthday, obviously ben.
Is is, is- is a living testament to that gift. I now exists.
What we would have looked like because they were identical
I dont know necessarily that what made that, what makes Ben tick
I've made lamb tick, but I certainly like
king about it, but there were also gifts on limbs, definite
but were entirely shocking and unexpected in
I think it's really fascinating how different deaths kinda can can be, can feel
hardly comforting, oddly wholesome oddly beautiful and some of them, are just flat out horrific and and
absolutely nightmarish am, and I guess,
His death was all of those things, but what it
After me was served, as that was the imprint of things that I dont know that I'll ever figure out
and I think I'm more content to not try.
but to just try to remember what that felt like you know, because he was right here,
my chest when he died and I think.
there is some kind of muscle memory there. There was
sensation that I had when he died. That was really unexpected,
I think that a lot of us witness death. I can only say that I've only witness just the one lot of us
and in the room when people have died,
I was actually on.
He was on me when he died and
After I leave here today, I'm gonna go to the haven planetarium, taken myself. The church and I'm gonna look up
at the stars, and that is the moment that I'm gonna be thinking about, and it's beautiful it was deaf.
awful. It was wrong, it was Cosmical messed up, it will fall
enrage me, but it was beautiful and what what a funny powers
It is to be human, you known to keep going and to keep on making birthday cakes and too
vehicles in running in mud puddles
You ve still got to do that because you have a two year old in a four year old at home. At the same
I am as trying to figure all this stuff out and figure out how to
keep going on that really
what we all have to do with it?
the two year old,
Four year old, an infant or a beloved grandparents
still have to get up in the morning and put jam on a bagel when it feels absurd to be putting food in her mouth. Because how can we.
But you do you just eat is due.
that's how we honour the people we love. I think, storage, him.
Planetarium visits, oh yeah, yeah,
You're moving through this you're writing. Also, your waking up every morning
I'm putting the jam on the toast and doing what you need to do to get through every day and
is used. You said also, like writing was one of your outlets. It was one of your ways as her like expressway need to express them and at the same time, he also said that people- and
being around people who in some way saw you understood, you didn't, try and make everything better, but just stood next to you and was really really important.
And it sounds like you also felt some kind of call to create a way for people who had been through loss to find each other right. Where does it come from, and how did that sort of
begin well year after Liam died. I started glow in the woods, which is an online community for
parents, particularly those who have experienced infant loss because there was no. Where there is nothing there was a lie.
Online at the time for miscarriage because miss kept miscarriages really common, but
was really no way of finding a space to be
necessarily raw about what I have been through.
in a way that didn't feel like mixed company like
say some of the things I need to say
have someone else not flinch, and
I thought you know imagine without feel like if I could be in a room full of people who have had a bit,
on them who have held a dead child
it's it's sound so absurd and and ridiculous that that any of us have to do that. But what, with
feel like what kind of an exhale with that feel like to be able to turn
let all her snakes out and no one's gonna look away. And so I made that place
And then the years went by and I I went back and kept writing more children's books and eventual
a kind of graduated away from having to write more frequently about grief, because life continues
to carry on in the grief, became kind of more embedded,
You know that dragon kind of crows content it's still there, but it's kind of curled up in front of the fire. Like a cat. You know just
Resting and only blowing off smoke now and then
I didn't really need to be writing about that all the time. But then I got a call from,
someone that had really just been a very distant acquaintance through a photography community that I used to write for.
And my phone said: paris who do I know in paris, and I didn't know who was, I picked it up and
there was a woman on the other end of the phone that was just wailing and crying and through her cries, I could figure out
that it was this fellow writer on this topic of photographer and she's.
I didn't know who else to call my son didn't wake up from his nap yesterday. I think he was maybe three or four months old and you're. The only person I could think of that has been through this
and I dont know how to breathe. I dont know what to do. I don't know I'm supposed to live and in that
And I know that was probably a monk
that may be seven or eight years past
And I certainly didn't flinch, Anna
In that moment she needed someone to,
Let her know that she didn't need to die.
And I knew what to say to her like she just wanted input. She wanted me to talk and
cause. She didn't have her own words. Yes, she was just you know completely
she was obviously just wrecked, but she needed to hear someone
telling her that she wasn't always forever going to be wrecked
and so I hung up the phone after that conversation,
I think it's time for me to write that book now that you know, because I felt
I didn't feel like it taxed me to kind of time. Try.
well in that way. I'd been kind of.
Delaying writing notes for the everlast.
for so long because it is such a deep dive and I was just
playing along through my life and life was busy and joyful, and I thought I don't know if I'm right
to kind of cut down to the bottom about well again,
in a way that I know is going to be required for me to write this book, but
and it s called me- and we had them
It was a call more than
the phone call, and so I hung up the phone and I started- writing ever lost in that kind of became that bigger projects in creating space.
For those medusas for those people who.
You know not just for infant loss, but for people who are carrying something that feel
irreconcilable. It feels like its upturned.
Everything that they know about how to live there. I mean
I can imagine, also nobody plans for what you want it to happen and
as somebody who's on a path you like you like us,
mom, but then also somebody who's. You know sort of found their way to contribute to the world, like as a writer as a creator, as a maker talking about fantasy and beautiful,
belgian stories and street, and things like that
and you find yourself in this in this place, but
not necessarily, on the one hand, knowing that you're moving through something. Knowing that this is that you're right
you're. Your ability to express and together is powerful for you
but also wanting to not learning to live in this way.
for the rest of your life,
money, sir, like move through it never being the same, but not staying in this
Place it, you are getting to place years down the roadway like you're like so, as you said, there is joy theirs
out of getting your, let me not to see it and live a different place and your
off in your right in your doing different things and then to get a call
kind of say like weighing you'll like do. I stepped back into this
at this point years down the road
You know as I, like I've processed I've got into a certain place. It's not
in writing that book yeah. It's you completely dropping back into place,
other, but also when the book comes out each,
you sort of putting a flag on the ground.
also for a window of time, as every other knows when a boat comes out, saying, because people will go from that point forward, identify you as the act version as the last person as the grief person as this person and look to you.
For a lot of different things, as that person was
all sort of what was spinning around your head, as you were trying to figure this out it. Why
see now because I I found a glow in the woods and
for a while. I was sort of among friends I
I hope that I felt like the pied paper of death. You know that there was that process
in public speaking from memorial walks. There was one particular really really lovely walk in Edmonton that I would do. I think it was six years. I did that and it was deeply fulfilling, but I didn't want that kind of work creatively to do
Find me any more than I wanted that experience to define me. You know what I mean
as I wanna be multi dimensional. I want to be silly ends
fall, enjoy full and advice
tourists and all of those things I never want to be reduced to. Oh there's, there's the woman whose baby died so
I think that if I hadn't have already written a couple of novels and if I hadn't already sort of been fairly
published least as an author before
that I don't know that I would have written ever lost as my first book, because then it would be grief, gray, father, kate angle.
It's, whereas now it's it. It really is all over the map. You know I've got another children's picture book coming up and it's like going from. You know I I say to people
What have you been working on? You didn't pirates and adventure novels, and you did this book of a monster, poetry and dress up what's next and I would sail deaf people kind of step,
and I have to say no, no, no! No! It's so good, I'm so excited about this book, but I am glad that it wasn't my first because then that would be something that would feel some.
Tethered in that defining way, but then you
write, something else I mean you just it
just as easily been my first book. I mean
Yes, and I mean you do just write something else and an annex
At a time when you write something really what euro, which is so deep
and so moving and about something so emotional like something that lead somebody
years later to reach out to you. I don't know why, because you were the one person they felt like they could talk to. Their is that people will want to keep
in that way, still wanted to find you as that person. In weighing like look, this is
I wrote this because I had
they d share. It had something to say, and I can pick up the phone for every person
They call me so this hopefully will enter the world can help me and then I
other things, to write and other things to do in it? And left to live there
there's a often when you write and tell me what you written about the topic. There is a real compulsion for people to want to keep you as a person
yeah, and you know I mean for years. People would write to me,
and send me thousands of words. Let me tell you about my baby and this would.
These little bombs would go off in my email all the time and I would think o k right, like I've
need to absorb these stories. Any to respond to them, so in a way, I guess
I hope that ever lost does that, but at this
Time, I don't I've never met.
Ended at least not so far when people
shouting and they say all kinds of things. They say. No, I didn't lose a baby, but I lost her
husband been and they talk to
about where they are in their right in
own reckoning and they they tell me what
aspect of my story or what aspects of ever lost felt like input for them. I dont see that book as being answers.
Those for the ever is simply sharing and
the all those questions that one
ever be answered and that can never be answered, but what
We do in the midst of all this riddle there.
You know, and we can make sense of it. How do we go forward and
it is a shared dialogue, and so I love it when people get in touch and they say this is what I bring
that dialogue so far it doesn't feel taxing and if it ever done,
start feeling it taxing them,
No I'll have to figure that out when I get there. I guess, but I do hope. The book kind of takes on a life
so in that way,
it's more about companionship, then right then, to do yeah yeah,
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Part of what your eyes are so poetry
Yeah little best here I mean by that
say that everything you're right is poetry, discerning a certain extent. Thank you, I mean there's and then arrive and the rhythm cheer writing you write em,
it's also, I can imagine, cause it's like the topper. We're talking about like people listen to be like loses heavy
At the same time, sitting across me, if people can see this but
as we ve been talking a lot of times, we are talking about the what would be perceived as the
this moment- searches smile on your face. There's almost like this, like knowing a smile of light, there's almost like a bit of a sinister, smart or late, there's, a part of you, which is a little edgy and sarcastic and start here, which
which is really weird, that it
I'm through in your writing in the context of ass, regarded and topics, I hope so in a way which is which it just change
the way it lands. I dont ever that one of my biggest fears
that my writing would be unintentionally, saccharine, because
not. I am not a sugary person. I am not a whoo
person, I love those people
but that is not me. I am a pessimist. I am
Angry, I'm not better
I love my anger. I love my discontent and I love
all that I dont understand. I love not understanding things, because all the possibility in the world lives there.
And our lack of understanding tell him or better. While I think that
Why? It's? Why I'm so excited to go to the planetarium? I get a real charge out of feeling insignificant.
Small like like a hiccup.
In terms of my existence there,
act that we are so insignificant. The fact that our carbon manner oxygen and everything that all the dust that that that clings to
that happens to make a body a body that work
sir body, that doesn't there is such
randomness in it
makes us so extraordinary. You know our insignificance makes us ridiculously meaningless and ridiculously wonderful
and I love matching that around in my head
even when it's kind of all wrapped up in my own trauma in terms,
you know, having had a child who died and
having had incredibly perplexing,
and bewildering aspects of having known him and having held him as he died it still.
Just an exquisite to have this to have been
close to the veil between.
Knowing everything and knowing nothing and for twelve hours as he die
after they took up ventilator. I was at the veil of existence
In that sense,.
that's feel strange to put it that way, but, my goodness, what a gift I've, no answers,
but I remember how it felt and
I wouldn't wished on anybody, but it is one of I think. Probably the biggest treasure in my heart is having held him through that
and I can't tell you why I can't tell you that I have made any decisions about what happened to him, but it's that pivot point.
that insignificance and that lack of knowing that freaks us out so deeply ass humans. We really are incredibly arrogant creatures, we love knowing stuff, but what we don't know
and submitting to what we don't know into sort of marvelling at it is one of our
just grounds for peace and for
attitude and for your sense of humor.
no to marvel at. Although we don't know it's just it's marvelous
So that just feels like
really important, I'm here
I could call it a practice, but I dont practice it. I just cling onto it,
dont know and that feels important to me
I've heard it argued that the vast majority of what we do during our waking hours is quest for immortality
basically you know everything that we can do to
I acknowledge our own and in the other like those around us, and-
and at the same time I know that you know your life on the part of a certain number of years. You're gonna go through stuff you're going, everybody is going to experience loss in in your context. It was this one extremist
in both, but if anybody's listening to this who's older than x years on the planet like you will have experienced your own version of extraordinary loss and the ability to look
the world and in some way, even for a heart beats. You wonder, is
is everything in it. Some of the usa is its timorously tariff.
and yet, as did the biggest gift yeah
and it's also, I think you know- can have certainly been
different dimension of europe. What you
Do you know as a creator as a maker as a writer, you half do exist in that place from long periods of time.
because that's where the magic comes from here, creative people have to play with terrifying things, they're kind of compelled to
I think it makes all creative people just a little bit wacky
really good way,
but yeah, that is. Creativity is too to play with what scares us the most and tom.
Yeah well, what an honour to be able to do that. You teach writing to us
extent these this is too. I teach it sometimes retreats and stuff like that yeah I'll over the map
new when you do, that is something that comes up.
Something that you invite people into guys, not loss but tat. The idea of stepping into the space of the extra
mary unknown in the name of tapping, something better, bigger, greater. Definitely I
in order to do any good, creative work, even if we're just practicing
trying to put words together and we have to get
two territory. That's frightening.
there is no greater exercise
for a writer, then,
to try to
turkey late. What is impossible to articulate
and there was something about doing that in the hospital and every day since that really appeals to that craig
Part of me says I am going to find the words to describe how I'm feeling, because I am going to make people know where I'm at whether they like it or not-
I need to not let this sort of annex
wrestle thing swallow me home, and so I'm gonna conquered by expressed
it in a way that makes me feel like I've. I've made something that feels
like it represents where I am, and that's so deeply satisfying and so in encouraging
people to write what
further writing about. We want to try to get there. It's like hell
every every yoga,
sort of visionary will tell you that the poses that you hate the most are the ones who need them straight, but may I think we're also
to send any we. We feel that
that uncertainty about the unknown.
I have also seen especially with writers, but not just with writers, with literally
buddy who consider themselves in any way hum tapping there,
Activity has already made their contribution, there's a fear of what
This might arise if they really just-
not unless it for three years ago actually asked how little cafe in santa Monica California, with them the steep press field, who
I have been a long time in my rather than had not chase, had done an interview him
and he was sharing a story with me about a friend of his it's like a grizzled old cop who had started writing
and ass. He was writing. It went to really dark place, and it was scary
Anyone. That esteem is like this. It what's happening he's like that's. It freaking me
is this. A k.
and steve was like right through the darkness
The darkness like right, it all feel it all right it all it don't centre,
yeah. I mean you're, saying that and I'm my
reaction. Is this welling up of eu like for yeah cause? I don't think we like to see that inside ourselves, really good. Where does that come from? Is there something dark and the evil inside of me or if I'm capable of evens
like seeing stories that go to this place
and then expression them and just sharing them, you know, is that it
way because as a part of me yeah and were terrified of say, maybe it ass, it is yeah we of course it is. Oh, my goodness I mean.
I think that people, if you turn away from their own darkness, because they don't want to present that way they don't wanna, be that person on those or not
I'm going to make a statement here, that's gonna sound rash, I'm gonna say it anyway. Those are those
both are going to be less healthy. Then people who
allow their darkness to be there and they figure out how to talk to it. So there's a chapter in the book called a chat with
and I imagine death is a thing
Actually has to come and wants to come and talk to me and nobody wants to talk to death.
But those of us who have seen it have to say
the rest of our life talking to it and
Sometimes we have under the bed from it. Sometimes were you know,
I think I say having heart car two hearts under the sheets with a flashlight,
is sometimes talking to death straight in its face.
is exactly what we need and
we can't deny that darkness, because
darkness is just as important as the light and so why
make it really beautiful in. I went to one the met yesterday
And I always seem to go towards the modern wing, and so
I was there and there's another painter Alex Colvin, who is from nova scotia and.
Extremely expansive darkness.
In his work, almost mathematically so
and in a way that I see, of course, all over the place at the mat and em when use
darkness done well gas? It sets a good feeling. It
reaches right out and just grabs.
Z by the scruff. You know, and it might be a little like
answered it makes us stop and it might make us uncomfortable absolutely, but when it's beautiful
done when someone has really kind of just struck that gong really good and hard, and we can all,
I that reverberation through our bodies, whether its with a painting
or a song or a book anything that vibration is,
What helps to connect us and link us says the scent
creatures that we are, and that is
so so so important and so grounding in Seoul.
So humility making. You know we need humility and ordered
it's to remind us of our insignificance and to remind us of our fears, because that I think that
if humility helps us to calm down,
realize were not so important,
Maybe we can just like get some work done and get over get through that sort of
spinning chatter and our heads when you realise that like listen you're, not that important just keep moving forward, you know that
that humility that comes from that vibration from seeing really good juicy darkness,
is a really wonderful thing.
So interesting. As your saying, this would fly
into my head, was that much of the top of the podcast charge written?
are really beautifully produced and well told true crime stories.
Right right is I've always kind marveled at that, unlike other yes, it's support
human condition, but I mean.
It's not even that has been produced its that the fact that it is persistently at the very top of the charts means is being devoured.
it is being massively consumed- and I often wonder, unlike like word, a time in society right now, our people-
pretty anxious on edge as it is, and yet so much of what they're. Turning to distract them from their day to day are beautifully, told stuff
is about rage at murder and at what is going on here.
I don't know I don't even I mean you know, oliver bigshot
he's right now apocalyptic. There said it the whole way out over and over and over again there's somebody mother, human condition yum that draws us there
and not in a way that makes us your
to do or partake, but there's something that in some way were connects us
Yeah cause, I don't know what it is or whether it's
true crime or whether it's some pulpy horror, you know flake or something.
There is that moment of, like are here for
yeah that was freely and there's this
it was like. Are you? Are you scared, shitless right now, yeah yeah yeah, the like
something about gore. There's something about
beautiful gore, that
We're all gonna have a little bit of our own,
you know, and it can be beautiful and it can be artful in it at we see it all over the place and yeah I like that
so, as we sit here, and this feels a good place for us to come full circle as well. So if I offer out the phrase to live a good life, what comes up.
I think in order to live a good life in a way that is sustainable, not just in
this moment to say what is a good life. A good life is a vacation, are a good life. Is a beautiful home not like that, but the kind of.
Sort of centering in the body that you get when you make peace with darkness, and when you do that,
when you have. You know when you're no longer afraid of that
dragon inside you.
when you don't mind the heat of it when you acknowledge that
He didn't say all right little dragon you burn on cause. Of course you should,
is that what you ve seen and what you ve felt
when you can let that live alongside the joy of the most perfect ball of french onion soup on a really cold day.
And just have the perfect little moment that is just tactile
and listening to the conversations with the people around you and feeling really lucky
in the sun is streaming through the window, and you just have this perfect bowl of soup.
And the dragon is there
I am carrying it around with me and I'm proud with how I carry to carry it around, and I think that is the underpinning necessary for a good life. Thank you
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-26.