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Gwen Tuinman

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documentary

The Centre Cannot Hold

Years ago, one of my daughters gave me a beautiful book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. I wasn’t feeling well at the time and the daily readings lifted me. Today I flipped to a passage that reflected on feelings of being “spaced out” and “out of kilter”. Breathnach attributed this being uncentred within. “The centre is not holding,” is how she put it.

Talk of centres not holding made me think of Joan Didion (1934-2005). In recent months, I watched a documentary, by her nephew, called The Centre Will Not Hold. I sensed gravity in the words, interpreted centre to mean inner strength. The frailty of her physical body, in later years, brought to mind the final tenacious leaf that clings to its branch in spite of November winds. The film walks the viewer through Didion’s remarkable career as journalist and author, and the personal tragedies of having survived both her husband and daughter. Winter cruelly buffeted Didion, but for her to have carried on and written books like The Year of Magical Thinking, I can’t help thinking her centre did hold.

Continue reading “The Centre Cannot Hold”

Viola Desmond: Harbinger of Change

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Viola Desmond was a Nova Scotian who refused to abide by segregated seating in a public space — nine years before Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus. During Black History Month, Canada celebrates her courage and reflects on her experience. Continue reading “Viola Desmond: Harbinger of Change”

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