Very cool to be published in With/out Pretend’s You Care Too Much put together by the wonderful Erin Klassen. The book is a collection of short stories, essays, and photography by a group of amazingly talented women that all centre on the idea of self-care. My story in it, Fall in Love if You’re So Unhappy, is about a young woman trying to make sense of her life after the sudden death of her father. One consequence of her grief is her paralysis. Her apartment has mice yet she can’t bring herself to set the traps that will kill them.
This is not a biographical story though some elements I did draw on from my life: my mixed raced background, my unhealthy obsession with grotesque and brutal news stories one summer, and the generations of mice that did, in fact, pass through my apartment a few winters ago. I remember the guilt I had at having to kill them. But there was no other away. I remember wondering, how different is this really, from how wars are started, and the little guy is defeated? I know. Leave it to me to root for the mouse eating through my bags of lentils in the cupboard.
My character in Fall in Love feels the same yet even more vividly. The prospective death of a mouse becomes tangled up with the death of her father becomes tangled up with the death of innocent people all over the world becomes tangled up with the idea of needing to fall in love to feel better.
The book launches tomorrow (Nov 23) at The Steady Café and Bar at 7PM. I think especially now, in this climate of social unrest, the book, which grapples with ideas about how we take care of ourselves in a world that can be so unkind, finds even greater resonance.