Submission to Anansi

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Submission to Anansi Publishers

February 1, 2022,

Hello,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit my manuscript, ‘Small Rituals”.  I fall inside your category of “debuting after forty, and without an M.F.A.”

Small Rituals is a 53 thousand word memoir with 31 chapters. Small Rituals is a travel adventure memoir with unexpected twists and turns and unusual encounters. The book begins with a small misfortune prompting an unexpected journey. A denied work permit leads to a missed connecting flight in Chicago that begins my adventures through the Americas. At a time before the skies were filled with satellites and travelling required paper maps, in essence, during the last days of authentic travel I got lost on a journey to nowhere.

I was a high school dropout because back then, they kicked you out of school when you got pregnant. I worked on boats as a Fisherman and a Tenderman on the West coast in my 20’s, earning my Master’s Navigation Papers at a young age. Against all odds, I got myself an education while raising my children alone, I went to school for 10 years and got a Phd. in Theatre History. During that time, I wrote and directed short plays and toured during the summer on the Fringe theatre circuit across Canada. Then, I left Canada. Earning my living working in bars and boats, and sometimes teaching. Now, I teach an online course and write while I travel. I’ve been writing for a long while, but I am only just ready to publish.

Again, thank you for this opportunity, I am including a brief synopsis of Small Rituals and a pdf file of the manuscript. I hope you enjoy your read.

Sincerely, Erika Paterson

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A Brief Synopsis of Small Rituals

(53000 word, 30 chapters)

Small Rituals is a story about a remarkable and transformative journey across continents and through a landscape of memories. My story begins on a plane on my way home. Home was an old weather-beaten wooden sloop tied up in a lagoon on Grand Cayman Island — that I shared with Rock, who was equally old. And weather beaten. I had a two-hour layover at the Chicago airport, so I went outside for a smoke, missed my connection, and without thinking about it, I jumped on a shuttle to the Grey Hound bus station and began a long journey with no destination and little cash. Traveling by bus, I crossed the Mexican border and high in the mountains of Oaxaca I was invited to join a magic mushroom ritual, in the highlands of Guatemala I lost my ATM card and lived for months with no cash, on the Rio Dulce, deep in the jungle, I worked in a bar that raised money for a home and school for Mayan children, and in Honduras I stopped to help to open a small university. In the end, Rock sailed our ‘home’ from Cayman Island and joined me in Honduras, but I was a different person.

Traveling alone is a special kind of journey, and more so when you have no destination. When you travel like this, time changes. In a strange way, time becomes meaningless and disappears, and when time disappears the border between memory and imagination melts away. Whatever happened in a long ago past, is so easily reimagined in a timeless present. I was so often left alone to reflect. On those long bus rides, vivid dreams from the past filled my waking hours with memories. I wrote those memories down and crafted them into stories. Playing with my stories, fitting the past into my present like pieces of a colourful abstract puzzle, a larger story took shape, a story about memory and destinies.

My book is called Small Rituals, because in the writing I realized that, for some of us, it is the small rituals that hold our lives together: those little gestures and repeated practices, the small trinkets we collect and endow with meaningfulness, and our uncomplicated bits of knowledge which we cherish as endearing truths. These are what contain us and prevent us from asking the unanswerable questions.  

3 thoughts on “Submission to Anansi”

  1. Oh I cannot wait to read it and I love that I get to be a part of your journey! I miss you and hope we can reunite soon! Love you Heather

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    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Heather ! Thanks for your enthusiasm … I will send you a copy of the manuscript – would love to hear you thoughts!

      Like

  2. Erika,By your presentation I would buy the memoir. Very well presented and it flows without burps.Thanks for sending this part to me and good luck.If you need a critique, let me know.Ross

    Like

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