Memorable (To Me) Mothers in Fiction

I love being a Mother! But I’ll be honest, lots of days I fail at the job of mothering. Being a mother is hard. There have been many times I’ve wished I was in possession of a psychology degree or was, at the very least, was a mindreader. There are so many fierce, wonderful mothers out there that have provided me with inspiration. My own Momma included. I love her to the moon and back.

Me and My Momma

I’m thinking of my favourite books and who the mother characters were or weren’t in those stories. Although, in most of these stories the protagonist is often motherless. Take Anne Shirley, from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. And of course, Disney is in love with the storyline of motherless children and animals.

Mothers Are Like Buttons

The lack of mothers, the search for mothers, the importance of mothers is an far-reaching theme in books, movies, art, etc. Everyone, regardless of their origins, needs the warm, loving, protecting embrace of a mother.

In my own writing, for instance, motherhood is often a theme. In BACKLASH (Aspen Lake Series, Book 1), Constable Chase Porter and young Jason McCarran are both motherless and victims of abusive fathers. In EXPOSED (Aspen Lakes Series Book 2), recovering alcoholic Kate Logan’s own mother passed away when she was a teenager. In Gone (Aspen Lake Series Book 3 Work-In-Progress) Grace Bighill’s mother disappeared when she was 12. In OFF THE GRID (The Downtown Eastside Series) Sophie Monroe feels responsible for her older sister, Marnie, and is more of a mother to her than their own mother. Another character, Kellie Andrews, a young woman alone and afraid about to give birth.

Mothers in Fiction

Other books come to mind when I think of various mothers defending their family, their property, or their life. And other books depicting mothers who struggle or fail to give their children what they need. And women who adopt the role of mothering. Mothering isn’t necessarily a main theme of all of them, but these books all included mothers I’ve never forgotten or women who survived neglectful relationships with their own mothers or women who had no mother’s at all. I’ve listed a few of them in the order that I read them.

  1. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell by Nadia Hashimi
  5. Room by Emma Donaghue
  6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  7. We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Mothers in Fiction

I’m beyond thankful for my own mother who’s wonderful at mothering. I’m thankful for books who tell the stories of mothers and mothering. What are some of your favourite fictional mothers?

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Reading Improves Your Mental Health

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”  Joyce Carol Oates

May 1st to 7th is Mental Health Week here in Canada, not sure that holds for the rest of the world but it doesn’t really matter. Mental health is a subject for all 52 weeks of the year anywhere on the planet. I’m only just realizing how important a well rounded self-care regimen really is to one’s continued mental wellbeing. And seeing as my mental health isn’t always within the optimal range you could be fair to say I’m a slow learner. Good thing it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself.

Three websites listing MANY resources for those who are suffering or who know someone that is:

I wish I could list links for the planet, but hopefully the links above give you an idea of what information and resources you can search out in your own country or region.

But most importantly: Ask for help or seek advice from a professional – give your mental health the attention it needs and deserves.

I can say from personal experience, you won’t regret it. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy gave me important tools to manage my symptoms of depression and anxiety. But in reality it’s of benefit to everyone as we all have to deal with life’s challenges, stresses, and demands. Learn how to manage negative thinking or inaccurate thoughts. Learn the difference between positive thinking and realistic thinking. Make your mental health a priority!

We all need and deserve breaks. But we can’t all jump on a plane or boat and spend a month in Bora Bora. There are numerous ways to relieve stress that won’t put you in the poor house.

One of my favourite ways to relieve stress? Reading. Of course, reading has many benefits, but it’s also a way to reset and recharge. Six minutes of reading can reduce your stress levels by 68%. In the last few months I’ve taken to reading print books again, after having all but given them up. It was a craving really, a desire to hold a print book in my hands. There’s a term for this – slow reading. I guess it’s no surprise that I’m back to reading print (I haven’t given up ebooks!) as I’ve embraced a more mindful life style. Science has proven slow reading reduces stress, increases your ability to concentrate, and improves your sleep.

I’ve just started a wonderful (so far) book: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware! Good thing because this month promises to be a busy one.

When travel journalist Lo Blacklock is invited on a boutique luxury cruise around the Norwegian fjords, it seems like a dream career opportunity.

But the trip takes a nightmarish turn when she wakes in the middle of the night to hear a body being thrown overboard – only to discover that no-one has been reported missing from the boat.

How do you stop a killer, when no-one believes they exist?

Funny how reading about murder allows me to relax! What do you do to relieve stress? And please, offer book recommendations! I’m always in need of a great book to read.

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Be A Grinder!

I’m not the most coordinated person on the planet. I’m also not the strongest or the fleetest of foot. But I’m learning that doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of getting healthy. I’m also realizing that my exercise self can learn a little something from my writing self. Determination and the desire to improve are everything.

Karyn Good Blog

I’m a grinder.

Merriam Webster’s definition of a grinder: athlete who succeeds through hard work and determination rather than exceptional skill.

I’m not sure about the athlete part, but as someone who started at the bottom of the fitness rung, I’ve definitely made progress during my five month strength and fitness training journey. Heck, as a person who hadn’t done a squat or a lunge (never mind a plank, because WHAT!) in literally decades, I’ve come a LONG way. I’ve learned being slow, methodical and clumsy doesn’t matter. By showing up and doing the work, even when I’d REALLY rather not, my physical strength is returning and my mental health is improving. I’m increasing my flexibility, balance, endurance, and coordination. So, win!

My writing is following the same path at the moment. The words aren’t flowing and the path forward is often foggy. But I’m determined to get this project done so I will sit my butt in my chair and I will work through my roadblocks. I will grind away until I get where I want to go.

But back to exercising! Here are a couple of things I use for inspiration and motivation.

Harder To Kill Podcast by Steph Gaudreau. Steph is also the force behind Stupid Easy Paleo which focusses on nutrition, fitness, and mindset. Steph’s philosophies also jive with the things I’m learning from my personal trainer (Yes! I have one of the those and more on that in another post).

Nerd Fitness Blog. An excellent resource.

Run, Selfie, Repeat – Kelly Roberts. Kelly is on a mission to help others become the strongest version of themselves. She’s honest and open and lots of fun. She also just ran the London Marathon (it didn’t go well) and got a selfie with Prince Harry.

You gotta be who you are. Own your starting point. Set a goal. And grind away at it until it’s met.

Are you, like me, a grinder?

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A Writer’s Journey To Slow Fashion

My transition into slow everything, food, fashion, fitness, has been, well…slow. My evolution into a conscious consumer a work-in-progress. Good habits take time to cultivate, after all. And it’s not always easy. Improving my health, my carbon footprint, or my writing craft takes effort and a great deal of planning. Oh, the planning! I find I’m no longer the jump right in and get it done sort. The older I get the more planning becomes one of my cornerstones to achieving my goals

Cue my foray into slowing things down and letting go of Fast Fashion. I read a truly alarming statistic the other day in an article discussing the movie: The True Cost.  In a conversation with Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age, a fashion activist (also the wife of Mr. Darcy, sometimes known as Colin Firth), she mentioned The average garment remains in a person’s closet for an average of five weeks. What!?!

My first thought was the amazing amount of time some people must spend shopping. Yikes! If you’re throwing away clothes at that rate, you must be really like the mall. I’m also wondering about the amount of money being spent. But when you can buy a t-shirt for $4.99, who cares if you throw it out when it falls apart after one wash. So much of what we consume is disposable. Unfortunately, it’s not biodegradable.

Livia Firth is also a force behind the 30 Wear Challenge. When you buy an article of clothing commit to wearing it a minimum of thirty times. I know some of you are already a pro at this concept. But some of you, like me, might want to check out your closet, or take a look in your daughter’s closet. Or at her floor. What about that one-time-wear adorable holiday outfit you bought for your grandchild? Or your dog?

An estimated 1 million tons of textile waste is dumped into landfills around the world each year.

Armed with that tragic stat, I did a little research and learned what I could do to be more conscious about my wardrobe choices and my shopping habits. Enter the words: eco, ethical, and sustainable.

Me? I’m a terrible impulse shopper. So that’s one of the habits I need break. Turns out it’s not that hard to do when you have to keep an ear to those three ideals and the commitment to 30 wears. Shopping then becomes a little overwhelming, to be honest. But not impossible. Hence the planning part and also the realization I have to take it slow. Ease my way towards my end goal of an ethical wardrobe.

Five Ways To Becoming A More Thoughtful, Slower Consumer:

  • Buy local.
  • Buy less.
  • Buy used.
  • Buy from independent designers.
  • Buy quality garments that last.

My discoveries so far: Miik (A 100% Canadian Company), Tonle (A Zero Waste Fashion Line) and SlumLove Sweater Company (Ethically Handmade in Kenya).

Personally, it’s also about improving the lives of people at the very beginning of the supply chain. The majority of garment workers are women who work and reside in some of the most underdeveloped countries in the world working for factories and brands who have little regard for safety and labour protection issues.

A dress from Tonle, a zero waste fashion line.

Someone complimented me on my Tonle shirt (my new favourite) the other day and after I said thanks I asked if they wanted to hear the story behind my shirt? As a writer and teller of stories, why not wear one?

What’s in your wardrobe?

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Recharging With A Spring Writing Retreat

Everyone needs to recharge their batteries, including me. An emotional reset and to rejuvenation of my writing routine was required. What better way to indulge in a little self-care and be productive at the same time then a writing retreat? My first one! And what better time to have it then spring and channel it’s spirit of renewal.

My writing group had been talking about a retreat for awhile and we finally made it happen. We found a place close by for the day-only attenders that supplied meals and snacks and it was affordable. The trifecta of retreat perfection. Enter the Living Skies Retreat and Conference Centre situated in the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley.

I was there to write, or rather revise. And revise I did. After three days worth of solid effort I felt I’d accomplished what I had set out to do which was to make some headway on my work-in-progress and jumpstart my lagging routine.

The accommodations were basic but we each had our own room with our own bathroom – so win. So what if I hadn’t slept in a twin bed in, like, forever. It was cozy and the place was impeccably clean – very important. The rooms were small but some of our group were clearly comfortable with the setup and chose to write in their rooms, some with the door open and some with theirs closed. Since we were the only group in a space able to accommodate approximately fifty, I chose to write in the huge common area, complete with big comfy chairs and a wall of windows. Also, it was close to the snacks. In went my headphones, on went my music and I got busy.

The away time was also something of a personal retreat for me. There was no television, so that temptation was easy to avoid. I also made a pledge to avoid social media. Who needs to scroll through their Facebook newsfeed when you have twelve lovely ladies to share stories with? What else did I do?

I went for walks along many of the mowed trails. One of which led to this meditation labyrinth. The idea being you wound your way to the center leaving your worries and stresses behind you. There was also a sun circle and other short hikes to take

Of course, I read a book! This was my first time reading Annabeth Albert but it won’t be my last. Can’t wait to dig into her new one in this series this weekend. It was the prefect way to unwind at the end each night. 

I may even have taken a short nap one afternoon! I’m certainly looking forward to repeating the experience. Perhaps in the fall! It’s safe to say the retreat was enjoyed by all and everyone expressed interest in doing it again.

I would love to hear whether you’ve been on any sort of retreat or taken some personnel time? Perhaps you want to share what your favourite at-home escape is?

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Learning New Things! And a Giveaway!

*************THE WINNER is Lorrie!******************

A reminder that from now until the 28th of October I’m hosting a giveaway! Sign up for my newsletter and be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. The winner will be announced on October 29th!

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I promise not to overwhelm your inbox! You’ll receive cover reveals, release date announcements and be eligible for member only giveaways.

Learning New Things

I’m also fooling around with Canva and trying my hand at designing some of my own marketing graphics. It’s a relatively straightforward process, but still involves a learning curve and takes some practicing. I love taking photos, thus my love of Instagram, so I have a fairly sizeable supply of images. Although Canva has some very easy to follow tutorials, I went searching tips and tricks.

20 Tips & Tricks For Making Awesome Canva Graphics

25 Epic Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Canva: An Easy How To Guide

I’m not sure what happened with the formatting above. WordPress sometimes stymies me. I wish I was a whiz at this kind of thing but I’m not, but I do like playing around. Often to the point of using it as a distraction. Like bullet journalling which I love but am trying to develop a system for using.

Bullet Journaling

Who knew I would develop and deep and abiding love of stickers at this age! And then there’s my addiction to washi tape. And markers. The good news is I’m no longer surrounded by bits of paper and sticky notes. My desk is neater and tidier than it’s ever been. Hallelujah!

Here’s to learning new things! What are you learning these days? What are you thinking about attempting?

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Giveaway and September Wrap Up!

Giveaway Announcement

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From October 11th until October 28th, 2016, sign up to receive my newsletter and be entered for a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo or Barnes and Noble. Winner announced on October 29, 2016!

Choose the Newsletter tab at the top or the Subscribe to Karyn’s mailing list option on the sidebar!

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Signing up means receiving news of future books, cover reveals, deals, contests and giveaways!

Top Three Images of September

www.karyngood.com

My revamped office!

I’m back in my revamped office after a two month writing break! It feels great to be back writing in a space that inspires me.

Queen City Marathon #yqr

That time I walked 20.1 km.

On September 11th I walked a half marathon and checked a major item off my Life Goal List.

Prairie Inukshuk

The Inukshuk we found on our Sunday drive.Top Book I Read

I don’t know about you, but for me fall Sunday’s are meant for drives in the country and discovering hidden gems.

Top Book I Read!

I read one book in September which is very unusual for me. Thank goodness I really enjoyed the one I finished. Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase is our October book pick. If you’re interested, you can even try a sample of either the book version or audio version at Eve Chase’s website!

writing

Writing Life

Now that I’m back in my office and in a neat and organized space, I need to get back into a regular writing schedule. I do better with schedules.

How about you? Do you like the freedom of winging it? Or are you most productive when adhering to a schedule? Or do you enjoy a little of both?

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Summer Wrap Up and Exposed is 99 cents

EXPOSED is 99 cents until Friday, September 16th!

Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series

Kate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

* AMAZON * KOBO * BARNES AND NOBLE * THE WILD ROSE PRESS * iBOOKS * ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS *

It’s been a great summer!

It’s also flown by way to fast. August basically passed in a blur! Doesn’t it always.

Top Three Images!

This happened!! Our son and future daughter-in-law!! That was the giant news of the summer! Huge! And we are SO excited!

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We swam and camped and golfed and generally had fun.

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Our Second Annual Hundred Mile Dinner which included everything local with a couple of exceptions. So much fun and such good eats. Thanks mainly to my talented mother and my sister, who along with the Adorables stayed for two whole weeks!

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Top Book I Read This Summer

The Nest by Cynthia D’aprix Sweeney

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Technically, I’m not sure it was one of my favourite books. But I sure had fun discussing it for our Holiday Family Book Club and this crew! Also, it’s one of the picks for my Sanity Seekers Book Club so now I’m ahead of the game!

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Three Things About My Life This Summer

I put my writing on hold for a couple of months while I made over my office. I needed to clean and declutter my space which I hope will get me back on track again. I can already feel my writing mojo coming back. See my post at the Killer Chicks if you’re interested in pictures!

I upped my golfing game by taking a lesson. Much work needed in this area but I saw improvement which was exciting. Even if it was preceded by a whole bunch of why-did-I-think-this-was-a-good-idea.

We went camping this summer. In a tent. Twice. The first time I also got lost on a trip back from the bathroom because it was pitch dark. The second time the first night got down to 4 degrees Celsius. I think that translates to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Whatever. It was darn cold. Both experiences will some day find themselves in a book!

What I’m Looking Forward To Next

Getting back into the writing groove!

Autumn. I love fall. Especially the clothes colours.

The start of another season of Globe Theatre productions. This is our local theatre company and they put on amazing performances.

What are you looking forward to the most in September?

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Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series, on Sale for 99 Cents!

EXPOSED, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series, is on sale for 99 cents (in the US and about $1.30 in Canada)!

Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series

Kate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

* AMAZON * KOBO * BARNES AND NOBLE * THE WILD ROSE PRESS * iBOOKS * ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS *

EXCERPT:

His eyes flashed. Kate didn’t imagine it. Didn’t think either. She simply reacted, leaning in with the certainty he’d meet her halfway. Instead, he withdrew a fraction of an inch. Not far but undoubtedly a retreat.

Oh, God.

“I…” Kate closed her eyes in horror. Or denial. But no, it was happening. She knew this because she opened her eyes and he was still there. Close enough to smell the sweat of humiliation pooling out of her pores. He was staring at her in ear shattering silence. With nowhere to go, she stood up. Wiped her hands down the side of her skirt.

Pull it together, Kate.

She refused to gasp out an apology like a fish. “I shouldn’t have done that. I crossed a line. I’m sorry.”

“Kate.” He got to his feet. “It’s not that I don’t want to—”

“No need to explain.” Please, do not explain. “It won’t happen again.” So, so, so not happening again. “I promise.”

Why was he moving in closer? He smoothed a knuckle over her cheek. Her skin tingled in response, proving humiliation didn’t kill desire. It was merely trampled and ready to rear its ugly head again. Then he shoved his hands in his pockets. “It’s not that I don’t want to kiss you. I’m just not in a position to right now.”

“You’re involved with someone.” Relief washed through her. It wasn’t that she was a horrible person. He had a good reason. One she could live with. “I understand.”

He shook his head. “I moved here with the intention of concentrating on my art. I can’t afford to get involved with anyone right now. No matter how beautiful or appealing. You don’t seem like the sex and forget it type. And that’s all I have in me right now.”

Wasn’t that the story of her life? Men wanting to have sex with her but not interested in getting to know the real her? All they saw was the face.

She knew how to deal with men like that. She froze them out. “Well, thank you for being honest with me.”

Really, it was for the best. Did she want him to get to know the neurotic, insecure woman she’d become in the last six years? Did she want this beautiful man to see the real her? She should back away. Put more than two feet of distance between them.

“Tell me I’m wrong.” His Adam’s apple bobbed. “Then ask me to stay and I will.”

“No, you’re not wrong.” Kate looked away. Too tempted by far to risk being carefree enough to sleep with him. To kiss him goodbye afterwards. To work with him the next day like nothing had happened. Wished she didn’t believe in consequences. Or guilt.

“I should go.” He ran a hand over the stumble forming along his jawline before retrieving his shirt. At the door, with his back to her, he said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She nodded, but he didn’t see it. He was out the door. His boot treads fading as he jogged down the stairs.

Then silence.

The kind that stretched to fill the four corners of a room. A quiet that left little doubt you were utterly and completely alone.

Exposed Postcard Kate Logan v2 (1)

I loved writing these characters, their story! I hope you enjoy it too!

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When Listening Is The Answer

“More than any inheritance, more than any sacred item, more than any title, the legacy he left behind is this: as one that day in the sundance circle when he lifted me from the depths, he taught us that during our time on earth we ought to love one another, and that when our hearts are broken, we ought to work hard to make them whole again.

This is at the centre of sacred ceremonies practised by Indigenous people. This is what so many of us seek, no matter where we begin life.

This is the reason you walk.”

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

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I’ve spent considerable mental energy the past couple of weeks trying to figure out how to deal with the fact that’s I’m white. That’s very strange thing for me to type out – I’m a white woman. When I think of all the words I would use to describe myself ‘white’ wouldn’t even hit the top ten. Quite possibly not the top twenty. I’m not sure it would occur to me at all.

I guess that’s a case in point for white privilege.

“an invisible package of unearned assets”   Peggy McIntosh

There has been considerable talk, especially in light of Black Lives Matter, asking others to listen to what needs to be said, no matter how hard it is to hear it. It reminds me of the time my son travelled to El Salvador in high school on what was essentially a mission trip. Not to build home or schools, but to spend time with the people of El Salvador in their homes to hear their stories of their country’s violent civil war and the impact it had on their lives.

Hard, harsh, cruel stories of death, loss, and violation from people who wanted their stories told and heard to than be retold and heard again by people who knew nothing of that kind of violence. Stories that were incredibly moving and very hard to read. That process also involved decompressing at the end of each day, because that kind of intense listening needs an outlet.

We cannot simply listen and listen and listen some more and at the end of the day be silent too.  But first we must hear what others have to say.

Or read what they have to say. Hence my book choice and reference to the quote above. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now and finally picked it up as one of my summer reads. Then I thought maybe I’d wait for the fall to read it in favour of a more ‘beachy’ type read. The kind of books I write! Then people died. And more people died. And the call to action was listening to what people of colour have to say about systemic racism, inequality, and ignorance .

Reading The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew is my response to that call to action. To read a book by a First Nations politician, broadcaster, musician and activist, who’s also an Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. I will read his words.

Because we need to do more of what my son did in El Salvador right here at home. We need to listen, absorb the words, without prejudice. Without defence. Or defiance. The words of the people of this country who have stories of oppression, reconciliation and redemption to tell. Because we do better when we know better. But first we must listen. Read. Or both.

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