Part One Synopsis:

Small Rituals”

It began as a spontaneous event. I stepped outside of the Chicago airport to have a smoke between flights and with no intentions to do so, I set off on a pilgrimage to nowhere. I let Destiny have her way with me. Following the signs as they appeared, co-incidences, unusual encounters and small explosions determined my path. Living for months with no cash, I crossed borders and climbed mountains. I was initiated into the art of transcendence in a magic mushroom ritual high in the mountains of Oaxaca. I stopped to help in an orphanage in Guatemala, and I was a co-founder of a little university in Honduras. My travels were liberating, validating, amazing and magical. I witnessed how time can evaporate and boundaries disappear as memories cross-over into the ‘here and now’ — which I discovered is the same place as nowhere –“now/here”. “Small Rituals” is a travel memoir that plays with time and mimics memory. My stories offer hard-earned truths with imagination and a sharp wit. This is the first part of a Trilogy.

A short bio: At 15, I dropped out of school and ran away from Toronto to the West Coast of B.C. where I got a job deck-handing on a 38’ salmon troller. A few short years later I earned my Class 4 Master Navigation papers with the Pacific Marine Institute, which was a most unusual accomplishment for a young woman in 1976. When my kids were young, I went to university and eventually wrote my Ph.D. thesis for the University of Victoria, Ordering Chaos, Canadian Fringe Theatre. In the 80’s I was a writer and director in fringe theatres across Canada and when the kids left home, I became a minimalist and a traveller. Travelling with my trusted little suitcase on wheels, I crossed North and Central America by bus and train — and once by motorcycle. I worked in Mexico, Cuba, Grand Cayman, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. In 2005, I returned to Canada when the University of British Columbia (UBC) hired me to teach in the English department. I also periodically teach for a U.S. program called Semester at Sea, I’ve sailed around the world three times and 900 miles up the Amazon River. To celebrate my 50th year, I walked for 50 days across northern Spain on an ancient pilgrimage. Now, I live part time on a little island off the coast of Belize and teach online courses in Writing for the English Dept. at U.B.C.. “Small Rituals” is my first memoir, and part one of a trilogy: “A Memoir of the Imagination in Three Parts.”

Born in the 50’s, liberated in the 70’s, radicalized in the 80’s, educated in the 90’s – and now so diversified beyond these generalizations many of us no longer care to gender ourselves, so, I’ll just say people like me who enjoy reading memoirs and travel adventures, who have an open-ended sense of humour, a fascination for how memory works, an interest in migration, ethnography, adventure, and an enduring penchant for transcendence and transformation – these are my readers

A note on narrative style: In mathematical nonlinear systems the change of the output is not proportional to the change of the input. This seems like a fitting way to describe my writing and perhaps a metaphor for my life. Sometimes over productive and sometimes counter-intuitive, always unpredictable while remaining wonderfully balanced on the edge of contradictions and coincidences. I think my audience will appreciate the refuge of such a fine balance and enjoy this alternative vision of lived experience.

Self Portrait in Brugge, Spain, 2012
Self Portrait in Brugge, Spain, 2012

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