Coasting Through Winter. a review of books by Gordon Phinn

Gordon Phinn

Coasting Through Winter

Works Referenced:

This Is Assisted Dying, Stephanie Green (Scribner 2022)
The Philosophy of Modern Song, Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster 2022)
Gangsters of Capitalism, Jonathan M. Katz (St. Martin’s Press 2021)
They Knew, Sarah Kendzior (Flatiron Books 2022)
Untold Stories: How The Light Gets In, Michael Posner (Simon & Schuster 2022)
The Animals, Cary Fagan (Book*Hug 2022)
A Factotum in The Book Trade, Marius Kociejowski (Biblioasis 2022)
Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart, Beatriz Hausner (Book*Hug 2020)
Shadow Blight, Annick MacAskill (Gaspereau Press 2022)

*

When a friend recently recommended Dr. Stephanie Green’s very personal account
of her interest in, and commitment to, medically assisted dying, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

The issue had been of great interest to me over the years of terminal patients petitioning the authorities to change the rules and being refused, on through those with sufficient funds travelling to Switzerland where the procedure had long been legal and thence to Oregon where the north American ice had been broken, while those without that recourse settled for anonymous local assistance groups to provide the helium regularly used for party balloons to ease the transition.  That and the likes of Jack Kevorkian, Dr. Death as he a came to be known, following their vision and finding themselves in the legal spotlight. Having some measure of dignified control over your death as well as your life seemed a primary human civil right to me, one from which all others sprang.

Of course this is a very contentious issue for many, perhaps even eclipsing the abortion debate, and its legalisation in Canada, 2016, was a triumphant celebration for some and an ethical disaster for others.  But for the early adopters, as we like to say, the clinicians who felt the call, there were the far more practical matters of studying the government’s guidelines on eligibility and proper procedure.  Dr. Green, it should be noted, had been a maternity nurse for nigh on twenty years and was beginning to wonder what other opportunities might be beckoning from around the corner when the choice presented itself.

Based in Victoria on Vancouver Island on Canada’s west coast, where it turns out, the highest number of requests for end-of-life services has now been noted, she began accepting referrals from doctors whose patients were at the end of their ropes and more than ready to take advantage of the new federal legislation of that spring.  Her memoir of that first year, This Is Assisted Dying, is a remarkable document, and will, I predict, be seen someday as a landmark in Canadian medical history.  She carefully illustrates the variety of family situations she encountered in her quest to aid the eligible to end the anguish of incapacitation and suffering that their conditions remorselessly dictated, whether fading away in hospice or home.  While the decision to bring their suffering to a halt, under Canada’s new law, rested entirely with the patient, spouses and adult children often pushed for a last minute reversal, pleading and sometimes bullying for what they thought was sensible and ethically defensible, with the patient’s agonies somehow kicked to the bottom of the list of priorities.  All the patients, I might add, were unconditionally grateful to have their wishes finally acknowledged by the system in which the doctors operated, some going as far as demanding the outraged promptly remove their passionate declarations of faith from the room.

It seems de riguer in memoirs for the author to recount their own upbringing and childhood wounds and confusions, explaining in Freudian fashion their path to dealing with the traumas of others.  While the author dutifully follows this pattern I’m not sure it is in any way relevant to the compassionate action she finds herself in service to.  Such embroideries seem superfluous to the momentous shift in public policy which replaces the god-decides-on-the-length-of-your-suffering dogma to the individual-is

-sovereign-in-assessing-their-situation, which may, in its turn, become the new ruling orthodoxy.

As a recent Globe & Mail article has outlined there are further complications on the horizon, and one of the author’s consultations points this up. A scheduled visit to a potential recipient quickly becomes edgy as the patient’s description of their symptoms and needs seems wonkily unbalanced and looks to be tangled with the disembodied voices of schizophrenia and suicidal fantasies.  While she manages to make a dignified exit with her sanity and bodily autonomy intact, Dr. Green is undoubtedly rattled. As the legislation in Canada is soon to be enhanced and broadened to include those suffering with conditions more psychiatric than physical, with the inevitable disagreements among clinicians over who has lost it and who might one day regain it, depending on new drugs and innovative treatment regimens, such situations might become more the norm that we’d prefer.  While we might fret over confused and inaccurate diagnoses, the hungry and homeless, who more often than not make up the bulk of our untreated psychiatric case load, seem as keen as the physically destroyed to be allowed legal access to the great beyond, where their port of arrival cannot possibly be any worse than their departure point.

*

While Bob Dylan’s enigmatic and prophetic lyrics continue to haunt our collective conscious and unconscious, his writings have yet to reach those dizzying heights.  His new collection of short essays and appraisals “The Philosophy of the Modern Song” might change that.  A bulky and tastefully illustrated volume, it cuts into our perceptions of the ‘modern song’, serving forth pretty much anything from the last hundred years, with a vision as iconoclastic as one might expect from this troubadour of the life incarnate and the mystery sublime.  In his chapters, imaginative and poetic fantasias on the song’s mysterious vibe compete with more sturdy assessments of its place and radiating influence in pop music history.  Iconic rock songs like “The Who’s My Generation” and the “Grateful Dead’s Truckin’” take their place alongside blues and rock n’ roll songs from the 50’s, throw away pop from the 60’s and 70’s and obscurities from the 20’s and 30’s.

Make no mistake, this is a survey that stretches to the horizons, forsaking the shallows for deep dives into murky waters, muddy depths where occasional glints make for surprising illuminations.  As something of an obsessive music buff myself I was pleased to be ushered into dusty and uninhabited corners where details of forgotten careers and sloppily hidden sources spring up to slap me awake.  I can only hope the ‘Tell me something I don’t know’ mantra also applies to you.

Uncle Dave Macon’s Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy from 1924, “predates rock and roll by about thirty years” and is “Chuck Berry years before Chuck first duck-walked.”  Also, “The song is related to the talking blues.  It’s like Walt Whitman if he ever was a musician.  The song contains multitudes.”  And really, “How different is this from Kristofferson’s ‘He’s a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction’.  Is it the same message for a different audience?  Or as Sly would’ve said ‘different strokes for different folks’?

Witness Tommy Edwards 1958 ballad It’s All in The Game.  Sure, “Carl Sigman wrote the lyrics, but the melody was written at least forty years earlier by Charles Dawes, who later went on to become vice president under Calvin Coolidge.”  Sigman, “wrote the lyrics forty years after Dawes wrote the melody, and Tommy Edwards had the hit seven years after that.  Sometimes a song needs to find its time.  Other times you have to get it in the street the next day.  As for the game of love, sometimes if you are a spectator you can understand or see the game a lot better than the people who are playing it.”  Amen brother.

What about the Eagles’ Witchy Woman from 72?  You’ve been singing it almost as much as Take It Easy, about that woman in the flatbed Ford telling you not to let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.  Well, in the song bible according to Bob, “In 1954, Bob Luman wrote, recorded and released a rockabilly beside titled Twitchy Woman, and it has remained one of his lesser known songs.  Eighteen years later Bernie Leadon removed the first letter from the title and launched Henley’s song writing career with lyrics describing an hallucinogenic amalgamation of succubus and thaumaturge, equal parts troubadour temptress and Jazz Age casualty, conjured up partially by reading the Nancy Mitford biography of Zelda Fitzgerald in the throes of a flu-ridden fever dream.”  Myself I’d have been happy to line it up with the Doors 20th Century Fox, Donovan’s Young Girl Sunday Blues or Van Morrison’s Gloria.

I could go on, amusingly, historically and genre bending to the max, but I’ll leave you begging for more, just like all the best musicians.  Suffice to say Dylan, in all his magisterial appreciations, spans modern American culture in all its garish sing-song glamour and at times tracks the spider web effects of that empire on the rest of us enmeshed in its seductive charms.

*

Enthusiastically spreading one’s prized culture throughout the known world is a project several empires have eagerly embraced, America being the latest, with China chasing its tail with its own brand of cunning.  General Smedley Butler was one of those enthusiasts.  A confirmed Quaker with an unapologetic taste for the glories of conquest, the kind that is supposed to civilize the savage and make him susceptible to the exported products of the conquering nation.  The Egyptians, the Romans, The Italians, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Turks, the Dutch, the French, the British…they’ve all taken turns at being top dog before exhausting the energy it takes to sustain domination, but not before the profits are banked and the spoils secured for posterity.

The Great Game of geopolitics passes around its party favours to all who can grab while the going’s good.  Hang on to your clown hats and candies less someone else takes them in that smash and grab exercise that is the clash of civilisations.  All these salacious details have been pointed up in many a study and need not be debated further here.  From real estate to mineral extraction, museum bound art and antiquities, exotic cuisines and musical styles, cultural exchange has been regularly expedited by the bully boys of conquest.  The United States absorption of such glittering treasures as they ram the reputed benefits of democracy down the throats of any who dare to resist their operatic insistence is really no more rapacious than their forebears on gunboat and horse, but high tech theft is still theft.

Johnathan Katz’s retracing of Smedley Butler’s empire building trek, aptly titled Gangsters of Capitalism, employs a variety of reports and papers that were saved from careful destruction and many letters from the general to his mom as he made the grand tour as an enlisted Marine, gradually taking on more and more responsibilities until finally leading the charge, decimating cultures that they might more easily be rejigged for Wall Street bankers and their ilk.  Cuba, the Philipines, Nicaragua, Panama, Haiti and Shanghai were some of his ports of call as he dutifully subdued local resistance, all the while providing righteous heroic narratives for the newspapers and movie makers back home.  I was familiar with all this mythmaking from Stephen Kinzer’s Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006) but Katz’s take, quoting letters and following Smedley’s path decades later, lends an undeniable and sometimes piquant personal touch.

As the idealistic young Quaker longs to participate in the glories of conquest, then finds himself commanding battalions as country after country falls to Washington’s overwhelming military powers, then sees through the mists of his naivete to become the author of “War Is a Racket”, a fifty page pamphlet designed, it would appear, to stop Americans for falling for the propaganda for the next war in Europe.  A later series of articles for the lefty magazine Common Sense spelt out his position with scalpel like precision: “I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street, …seeing to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.  I spent 33 years in active service as a member of the Marine Corps, serving in all commissioned ranks from second Lieutenant to Major-General.  And during that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.  In short I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

That Smedley’s passions still reverberate is shown in the recent film “Amsterdam”, a mad caper comedy, which slots in the story of that 1935 ‘business’ coup, where tycoons like the DuPonts attempted to bribe Butler into leading a group of disgruntled vets on a march to Washington in the hopes of overthrowing the New Deal policies of Roosevelt and indeed Franklin himself, a task he turned down flatly, reporting the attempt to Congress almost immediately.  Smug comparisons to the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol are not entirely out of place.

That the fierce debate between expansionists and anti-imperialists has deep roots, going back as far as 1898, with the annexation of Hawaii and invasion of Cuba on the horizon, is also undeniable.  Kinzer’s later study The True Flag, details some of the passionate rhetoric exchanged in the Senate.  Octavius Bacon of Georgia: “Seeing that the Executive only has such powers as are given in the Constitution, I want to know under what clause the Senator finds the power to seize the territory of a neutral country with which we are not at war.”  John Tyler Morgan of Alabama replied that it was foolish to dwell on constitutional niceties when vital interests were at stake.  Taking Hawaii was ‘absolutely necessary for properly providing for the situation.’  As a precedent he cited Andrew Jackson’s invasion of Florida in 1818, which brought the United States rich new territory that it probably could not have obtained legally.”  Of the newspaper headlines quoted the most apposite is Paris’s Le Temps, concluding that the United States had become “the predestined instrument of that imperialism that is latent in every democracy.”

*

Does the lust for imperial power imperil the checks and balances inherent in democracy, not to mention the ethical standards that a Christian nation should observe?  Does the unbridled ambition for endlessly expanding markets and gargantuan profits ensure the cover-up of corruption and criminal activity in government and corporation?  For Sarah Kendzior the answer would be an unqualified Yes!

Her passionate polemic, fed by shocked disbelief and outrage, is yet another tributary to that sea of sour skepticism that greets every new development in the scandal sheets and podcasts that surround our daily schedules.

Beginning with the revelations in Rush To Judgement, Mark Lane’s sharp critique of the many gaping holes in the Warren Commission report, which I brazenly employed in a high school essay circa 1969, I have been following the trails of conspiracies and cover-ups all my adult life, gradually deepening my understanding of the many tentacles of the octopus as it snakes along the ocean floor well below the conspicuously hobbled radar of mainstream media, as it continues to debunk all the truths that point the finger at those who can always wriggle free, using their hidden connections, wealth, power and anonymous threats.  Conspiracy Theory, a phrase coined by the CIA way back when to get their media stooges to undermine the credibility of UFO researchers for generations, at least until the recent Pentagon admissions, has become the new ‘heretic’ category, joining ‘hippie’, ‘commie’ and all the other slurs that condemn the messengers and deflect the message.

Kendzior’s take is more national than international, reflecting that customary naïve navel-gazing that american critics indulge in, assuming that the exceptionalism they deride is somehow shockingly new and different, as if ruthless power plays and corrupt practices did not exert their nastiness before 1900.

Imperial Rome anyone?  Her angle is mainly how the current culture of conspiracy renders America complacent to the continued rotting of whatever democratic values are left on the table when the elites have hoovered up their share.  While she acknowledges the stink of the sixties assassinations, the 2008 financial collapse, the rancid leftovers of 9/11 and the Iraq weapons-of-deception war, she saves her vitriol for the examined but unpunished criminality of the Trump and Epstein era and the appalling mismanagement and deliberate deceptions of the virus panic.

Though a fearless and focused critic, exposing issues and naming names, Kendzior’s youth, slowly shading into middle age, tells me her Dantesque trek into the dark wood is far from over.  As They Knew breaks much ground from her previous View From Flyover Country and Hiding In Plain Sight, I anticipate further appalling revelations in her next work.  As someone who has stepped into the muddy puddles of mockery and character assassination she will have her work cut out for her.  For now, if you wonder why Operation Paperclip and Operation Mockingbird sound familiar but the names Danny Casolaro and ‘the Octopus’ or Tom O’Neil’s ‘Chaos’ don’t ring any bells, this is as fine a base camp for your exploration as any.  As she writes, “There are grifters and liars and fantasists immersed in conspiracy culture, but there are also many people who simply refuse to surrender their conscience or curiosity to a social imperative to look the other way.”

*

The last volume of Michael Posner’s oral biography of Leonard Cohen, That’s How The Light Gets In, has made its appearance just in time for the holiday season, and along with the new documentary Hallelujah, the display of Cohen memorabilia at the Art Gallery Of Ontario and the surprize appearance of some previously unpublished stories, A Ballet Of Lepers, composed in the 57 to 61 period, when Let Us Compare Mythologies and The Spice Box of Earth were establishing Cohen the poet, it promises to be a Leonard Cohen Christmas for one and all.  I have been trekking through Posner’s almost encyclopaedic reconstruction of the poet’s life and times with something approaching delighted fascination this past year or so.  To say it fills in the gaps of my already bloated knowledge of Canada’s treasured export to the world would be something of an understatement.  With around 550 contributors, many gleefully contradicting each other’s accounts and assessments within the multilayered narrative as the rebel Jewish rich boy quits the confines of his father’s estate, Siddhartha-like, to seek the far reaches of experience and behaviour, charming with song and seductive melancholy.  His assemblage of reputations, for creative dedication, skirt chasing, selfless generosity, scholarly debate and a genuine spiritual humility are only amplified in Posner’s generous display of giddy contradictions.  There were, it would seem, many Cohens for encounter and reaction: the poet, the folksinger, the proud Jew, the label-less mystic, the voluptuary, the unrepentant horndog, the common man strolling anonymously behind shades, the obsessively dedicated worker in song.

Yes, what we have here is a genuine enigma, whose many faces did not add up to any solvable equation but only more folds of mystery:  An icon of Canadian culture about as impenetrable as Glenn Gould,  a world traveler with many psychic passports, each with a smile and a greeting in the native tongue, a chronic depressive always seeking a father figure, a womaniser with a heart of gold.

His standing in the acclaimed song writer leagues remains in flux.  Posner’s witnesses do him a disfavour by restricting their comparisons to Dylan, while other contenders are more or less ignored: Simon, McCartney, Mitchell, Buckley, (Nick)Drake, to name but a few.  Myself, I rate the earlier material much higher than that of the later professional entertainer, doffing the hat and kneeling to stage, mocking his youthful sincerity for bags of cash.  For about a decade his songs evoked the sublime and existed in the realm of the sacred, later he talked up the sublime and sacred as one who regretted his departure from it.  As is said in Zen, a finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.

Meanwhile Posner’s gargantuan contribution to Cohen studies will remain unmatched for many a year.

*

Some books slot themselves, sometimes carefully, sometimes giddily, between genres.  Playing with flowers in some as yet unnamed meadow of writerly craft and invention, the authors of such volumes take great pleasure in escaping any attempt by reader or critic to frame the narrative in the descriptors common to literary discussion.  Cary Fagan’s novella The Animals arrives without those ribbons and bows to announce its intentions.  Nominally a fable feeding on the mildly fantastic, the village in which its interactions take their place could be medieval Germany or Sweden with English speaking natives but for the tease of automobiles and modern conveniences.  The city is a distant refuge for those uncomfortable with compact homes on narrow streets.  The hero is a woodcutter with a penchant for models, many of which decorate the displays of local shops.  His one true love is a schoolteacher whom he courts from a distance until the last line where, after many travails, he seems to win her heart.

Such a romantic denouement might be more satisfying if their circuitous route to relationship commitment were not hampered by the presence of wild animals, such as wolves, minks and bears in village homes did not constitute such a repeated obstruction to civilised behaviour.  The reek of the fairy tale, with its magical surprizes and gruesome violence, is never far from the reader’s nostrils.  The calm unruffled prose of subdued linearity which conveys this contentious mix neatly removes any threat of the post-modern from the mix, leaving one to contemplate the indignities deployed with authorial invention without that particular safety net.

Surprising as it may seem I am not one who objects to being puzzled in the course of a fictional unfolding.  I am, in fact, all too easily delighted.  From time to time I have been accused of being a push-over. Well, throw me in the jigsaw and let me part the waters of the mystery.  I came away from this one with an increasing admiration for Fagan’s subtle blend of the trite and surreal.  With his quiet under-the-radar track record, a quality the uninitiated might not know, I should have guessed.  This is not a novel to be put down and avoided, as the old joke goes, it is one to be picked out and treasured.

*

Books about books, books about bookselling, books about collecting books and repeatedly buying new shelving, books about the love of literature superseding all else.  For our crowd, what’s not to like?

The perfect accompaniment to afternoon sun slipping through the dining room window with a dusky red or Belgian ale to wet the whistle, Mozart quartets or Jacobean lute to serenade the already soothed nerves, what in all our blessed creation could be better?

I am sure some of you have suggestions, and may I suggest you compose an essay in praise of that particular learning as I would delight in reading it.  In the meantime we have Marius Kociejowski’s memoir A Factotum In The Book Trade to revel in, a series of exquisitely rendered reminiscences of a life lived in service to the bound pages of text and the rapscallions who trade in them.  While much of the worship is devoted to that category of literary exchange only the snobby posh can afford, the first edition and the antiquarian, the relish is real and the combat with the uncivilised other unending.

The author’s long employment as an assistant in various bookshops, some of great renown, mostly in that city of deep literary provenance, London, and tucked within the sanctified pocket of Cecil Court where the names of saints like Bertram Rota are whispered by the cognoscenti, and where his undistinguished childhood in Canada was smoothly disposed of, provides the ambitious sequence of anecdotes, some amusing, others overlong, some scandalous and some a profligate admixture of each, shapes an often enthralling narrative of posturing eccentrics and obsessives, each more debilitatingly wonky than the last.  Old, smelly clothes, sardines straight from the can and vodka for dessert: welcome to the world of bibliomania.

Unlike the tawdry parade of money grubbing owners and collectors, it was “all about books and people” for the ever put-upon factotum of the title, a poet and travel writer of some distinction whose works I am now keen to consume, having delighted in his rare picaresque recountings of the prideful and paranoid that the business attracts.  Without putting too fine a point on it, these tattle tales of shameless behaviour reek of the young idealist gone sour with dreams shattered.  Other career paths have their own pitfalls I hear, but automobile assemblers, waitresses and bus drivers rarely commit themselves to print, so it falls to the artsy and scholarly to give us the goods.  Poor babies all.

*

Is it possible that two poetic utterances specialising in classical allusions might appear in our snug harbour, ready to tie up at the pier and disgorge their rarified contents?  It would appear so, and having just read an article on the Greek poet Ovid and the success of his first book of poems detailing methods of picking up women in public spaces, I was keen to be saturated, at least temporarily, in such racy behaviour.

With such section titles as The Importance of Human Romance and The Orgasm Elegies in Beatriz Hausner’s Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart I felt the gods were guiding me, perhaps ones of ill repute.  The sensuous music of Hausner’s lyrics is best experienced with the live unfolding of her incantatory declamation, one example of which I was fortunate to attend.  As a listener one is gradually submerged in the warm waters of evocation as the textures and rhythms wash one into the dream.  As a reader the language takes longer to entwine the little you gamely trying to stay afloat in its magic as the intellect takes some pride in untying the knots of the obscure and obfuscatory.  Once that effort is retired, however, the reader, now a spy in the house of love, can delight in the carnival caress of unknowing and be seduced by the siren song drawing you ever onward.

Begins the Bright Season

heal this wound start to rest easy in your company

turn around make your case for the importance of human

romance between these legs you and your veins where

flows the liquid spice welling at your sex as the tie is

wrapped around your wrist in order to be joyous again

indeed – blood and fear and reticence hardened once

when silence echoed.  Repent the mournful sounds.

stop.  Between your eye is my heart.  See this, we

stand at the beginning of the bright season indeed and

remember the black herons were perched on black rock

they cackled their song.  Let me be the expert of your

ecstasy and repeat make your case for the importance

of human romance you who are kingly come indeed do

lie here and let us be you and I here as we stand at the

beginning of the new day we will dance among

us and with ourselves dance dance dance

*

The spectre of the tragic haunts the lyrics of Annick MacAskill’s Shadow Blight and although I was heretofore unfamiliar with the figure of Niobe in classical myth, whose loss of her children turned her into stone, I felt drawn closer to those fires of grief where we warm ourselves with the relief of distance.

Knowing but ultimately rejecting the power of myth over our lives, I wished to stand free of such encumbrances but the poet’s identification with the suffering of Niobe, and by extension, all women, called me to salute her nobility of intent.

Yet when the author, citing Ovid’s Metamophoses as her primary literary inspiration for the project, declares Niobe to have been the proud mother of twelve or so children, taunting her friend Latona for having only two then finding that Latona, former consort of Jupiter, now possessed with the lust for vengeance, orders her son and daughter Apollo and Diana to kill Niobe’s children, whereupon her husband commits suicide and she, understandably sorrowful, turns to stone, one is more drawn to the realm of satire than that of the tragic.  Teasing your girl pal for her lack of issue is, perhaps, a rash error to be immediately retracted.  And if she is a babe of the elite, however constituted, an insolence above and beyond the call of stupidity.

Can one, in this modern era of prideful rationality, be a heretic of pagan myth as well as Christian dogma?  Mea culpa I guess.  I will not be “shut up in stillness” as MacAskill intimates.  Yet her efficacy in expression still holds my admiration, as exemplified in the following.

Small Warblers  (after Dioreann Ni Ghriofa)

I did not know that’s why they were there,

suddenly, and everywhere, in the trees and on

the sidewalks, inconsequential and familiar,

yet sparkling, like perfect round jewels

with the most remarkable prismatic calls.  Like a brook, winding

through winter and spring, spilling,

across cities and mountains and along the Atlantic

and before every window I would find.  I started noticing,

as of blinking through a mist, searching,

thinking of God or romantic love, their sounds

like noise or music, and sometimes

these things were indistinguishable, as in a baby’s cry.

Their ordinariness does not diminish them.

Now I tilt my head, and listen.

Return to Jounal

Gordon Phinn has been writing and publishing in a number of genres and formats since 1975, and through a great deal of change and growth in CanLit.  Canada’s literary field has gone from the nationalist birth pangs of ’65 – ’75 to its full blooming of the 80s and 90s, and it is currently coping as well as it can with the immediacy and proliferation of digital exposure and all the financial trials that come with it. Phinn’s own reactions was to open himself to the practices of blogging and videoblogging, and he now considers himself something of an old hand. His Youtube podcast, GordsPoetryShow, has just reached its 78th edition, and his my blog “anotherwordofgord” at WordPress continues to attract subscribers.

Phinn’s book output is split between literary titles, most recently, The Poet Stuart, Bowering and McFadden, and It’s All About Me. His metaphysical expression includes You Are History, The Word of Gord On The Meaning Of Life.

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie is now completing her first novel where, for a family with a Seventh-day Adventist father and a Mennonite mother, the End Times are just around the corner. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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