August 2021 ~ Four Months in Review

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It was a flash of time, a few blinks of the eye, and four months passed since my last post.  Let me make a few remarks for posterity.

March – April – May – June:  I was immersed in my fanciful online course, “How to Write a Book in Four Months.”  Four months is a serious under-estimation but, of course, I knew that before I started. The class, nevertheless, provided much appreciated structure, support, and inspiration for my writing efforts during those months.

Many thanks to facilitators Mike Cameron (Sherwood Park) and Dr. Linda Tucker (Magnolia, Arkansas) and to my diverse class mates for sharing their very unique projects. I continued to write over the summer, albeit at a more leisurely pace, and am hoping to work soon with a professional editor. Our target is publication in early 2022.

Other highlights:  Bill and I have both received our Covid shots.  He, being older than 75, was eligible earlier and had his second vac on April 18; mine was on June 13.  A state of medical emergency was declared in Alberta April 30 – as we rolled into week #59 –  due to record high numbers.  Lock-down continued until the end of June when Alberta reopened for the summer.  That was week #68, at which time I stopped counting.

We had attended a small patio gathering for our grand-daughter’s birthday in April and a slightly larger outdoor party for our grand-son’s grad in June.  In spite of my rather full and busy Zoom life, it was refreshing to visit restaurants and gather with friends more freely over the  summer.

May 6-7 was the virtual Canadian Sexual Exploitation Conference: Disrupt Demand sponsored by Defend Dignity.  Such a wealth of amazing speakers provided excellent content for our book – Gail Dines, Debra Haak, Donna Hughes, Suzanna Jay, Robert Jensen, Laila Mickelwait, Valiant Richey, and Joy Smith to name a few.  It was reassuring to be part of a group of like-minded people and I hope we can represent their ideas adequately.   It is so sad that abolitionists often feel alone in the world.  I was honored to be part of the CEASE presentation of our STOP: Sex Trade Offender Program.  Still hoping to name our book after the Pattison sign of yesteryear.

A disturbing event disrupted what peace might have settled over the summer with the launch of a horrible website claiming that Cara, among others, was killed because of “stigma.”  There is not much legal recourse, I found, to the distortion of public images.  I will never give “them” the satisfaction of public identification, although I’m sure “they” know a line was crossed.

Needless to say, the cause of abolition has become even more personal.  And to think I seriously attempted to explore a “middle ground.”  Many women have lost their lives because of nasty perverts.  How dare the “decriminalization” movement claim victims could have been spared if men were allowed more freedom to exploit.  OMG.  Sadistic buyers need to be contained not encouraged. 

As Linda MacDonald recently posted, “it seems humanity is on a race to the bottom.”  There are not enough words or emojis to fully express my disgust and disappointment – not to mention incredible sadness that such revulsion is readily promoted and funded. 

A more memorable occasion was virtual participation June 24 in an event with the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.  The MMIWG Inquiry received many artistic expressions as part of their proceedings, from beadwork to blankets, books, carvings, clothing, collages, containers, drawings, driftwood, mosaics, murals, music, novels, paintings, poetry, quilts, sculptures, a talking stick, and videos. This symbolic collection of expressive art was bequeathed to the Museum as a “legacy bundle” so MMIWG survivors and family members now have the additional responsibility to ensure our expressions are honored and displayed for posterity.  My contribution, as well as a written submission, was an invitation to the website.  I look forward to visiting the Museum again in person.

Work continues with the Memorial Park in the Alberta Ave area of Edmonton where so many women have disappeared over the last few decades.  After a lovely ceremony, Elder Elsie Paul gifted the Park Committee with the name KISEWATISIWIN which translates as compassion, goodness or kindness.  Cree is an interesting language. Kiskisiwin means “remembering” or “memory.” If I understand correctly, “wati ” is a burrow, den or cave, so putting the two words together gives us the comfort of Mother Earth.  We can only hope that having a place to remember all who were taken far too soon will also help motivate us to find ways to prevent further violence and exploitation.