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Gwen Tuinman

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Feeling Nostalgic

Women Speaking

I once played a dinner-party game with friends. We took turns drawing cards from a deck of conversation starters. What famous person, dead or living, would you like to have dinner with? That sort of thing. The question I drew asked what famous person’s voice would I like to take on for a day.

Thought of certain theatrical artists and actors arose as I combed my mind for candidates. They train their voices for the stage. They learn to annunciate and project. Actors know how to breathe. You’d think breathing would come naturally. I often forget to do it when I’m anxious or overly focused on a task.  A well-meaning new acquaintance once commented unbidden, on the pitch of my voice and the way I spoke from ‘high in my throat’. She claimed that these aspects pointed to mother issues I’d yet to unpack. I gaped at her. Although I’ve written openly about the mother wound, the betrayal of my vocal cords felt like an ambush.  

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On Writing a Picture of the Whole World

Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “I am trying to make, before I get through, a picture of the whole world—or as much of it as I have seen. Boiling it down always, rather than spreading it thin.”  As a writer, his sentiment about rich story content is at the forefront of my mind. I strive to bring something of value to the page hoping to engage readers, if only to evoke their own introspection on the heels of my own.

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First Art Piece

I read an essay recently in which the writer reflects on the first piece of art she’d ever bought as a young woman. The purchase of this large gaudy painting, she declared years later, made no sense then or now. She deemed the colours too bright, and the subject matter unaligned with her cultural identity. By the final paragraph, however, she concludes that the painting reflected her mood at the time of purchase.

It got me to thinking about the first art I’d purchased. It’s become such a part of my environ that I haven’t considered it for some time. The piece is a stone sculpture by George Henry. I acquired it around 1978 at the gallery in Whetung Ojibwa Centre of Curve Lake, Ontario.

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