A few months ago I was asked by The PineRidge Arts Council to do an interview for the September-October issue of their publication ArtScene. I was excited to receive my copy today.
Since there is no online link and my BlackBerry photo is hard to read, I am publishing the interview here.
1. Tell us a little about your background and family.
I was born in Toronto, the eldest of four children of Ukrainian Canadian immigrants. After studying Anthropology at University of Toronto, then Counselling Psychology at University of Waterloo, I worked as a teacher, counsellor, and researcher. My last job was Historical Planner for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s Central Region where I documented heritage resources and made recommendations as part of the Environmental Assessment process. Some of this work was in Durham Region.
I am the mother of four grown children and grandmother of seven. I live with my husband on a farm near Mount Albert, just over the border in York Region.
2. What is your arts discipline and areas of interest?
I write memoir, poetry, creative nonfiction and blog at Memoir Writer’s World.
About four years ago, I started memoir writing through Ryerson University’s online course with instructor Allyson Latta. I’m now finishing my memoir “Missing Sadie, Missing Myself: Memories of a Childhood”.
It’s a coming of age story of a precocious daughter of Ukrainian immigrants uprooted from a downtown Toronto rooming house to follow her mother’s dream in 1950 of moving to the suburbs. Colourful characters, considered part of her extended family, were left behind. Against this background, she struggles with loss, longing, family secrets and conflicting values to find a place in her family and the world.
In 2008, my first short story “Room in My Heart” was published in "The Wisdom of Old Souls", an anthology about Grandmothers. In 2010, two poems about each of my grandmothers “Knowing You” and “Wash Day” were published in another anthology, "Grandmothers' Necklace", a fundraiser for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. My personal essay “The Power of a Family Secret” was published in 2010 on Allyson Latta’s website.
Besides writing and blogging, genealogy, learning to speak Ukrainian, and helping people with genealogical research, I am the family archivist and my present passion is picking up dropped threads in my family histories. I love to research some forgotten relative who died young or invented something and was never given credit. I’m rewriting history.
I am a member of the Writers’ Community of Durham Region, have attended the Ontario Writers’ Conference and belong to a dynamic and accomplished writing support group: Life Writers Ink along with Cheryl Andrews, Mary E. McIntyre and Anahita Printer Nepton.
My blog Memoir Writer’s World address: http://www.memoirwritersworld.blogspot.com/
3. How did you hear about PRAC and how long have you been a member?
I joined P.R.A.C. about two years ago when I heard about it from my writing buddy, Mary E. McIntyre who had been a member for many years. She introduced me to the Arts Scene newsletter where I learned about all the talented artists in Durham Region.
4. What would you like to see added to the community to enhance the arts?
I love the artist studio tours. I’d like to see more events in the northern part of Durham Region, stronger support for community theatre, more funding for Arts groups and more free arts activities for children in the community such as year round Arts camps for kids. Do Durham libraries have an Authors Series as we do in East Gwillimbury? The annual Stellar Literary Festival in Oshawa showcases local and emerging authors. A festival similar to WordsAlive could bring in popular writers for workshops and readings.
Post Script: The inaugural McLaughlin Literary Festival will be taking place at the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa on Sunday September 18, 2011.