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Just One Thing with Alex Simand

We are delighted that our current featured memoir, "A Tall Order," comes from Alex Simand. And again, if you haven't read it yet, we're on hiatus for July, so go ahead and check it out, with the rest of our June issue. We've got time! Alex recently shared with us a truly beautiful cat photo, and just one thing about writing trauma and "A Tall Order":

"I don’t always know what I’m writing about until days, sometimes weeks, after I’ve written it. This is especially true when it relates to a trauma. Instead, I circle and circle, keeping it in the periphery, pulling in images from a child’s hazy memory, making sense out of the sensory. This is exactly what I’ve done in 'A Tall Order.' Here is a revelation: my father cooked my rabbit. One day I came home and Elvis was no longer hiding in the hutch. Initially, my father told me that he had taken him back to the forest from which he was plucked and I lived with this story for a long time—saddened to have lost a pet whom I loved but ultimately resigned to the fact that he was better off in the wild where he belongs. It was only years later when my father—a little brandy drunk and sipping tea at the dining room table—revealed to me that he had taken Elvis to our upstairs neighbour and offered him as a living meat to be boiled and consumed with a bottle of strong black liquor. Though I was well into adulthood already, this sudden revelation thrust me right back into my simpering childhood—

But that’s not what this piece is about either. Not entirely. There’s a darker, more insidious undercurrent that lives in that house, in that cuckoo clock, in the boiling pot of water on the stove. My father its sneering attendant. There’s a claustrophobia, an emotional repression that nips at the heels of the kind of destructive masculinity handed down from a previous generation of men. This whole essay is my attempt at describing and, hopefully, reconciling those uniquely male modes of operation. The hilt of a broad-bottomed blade I did not ever want but was handed to me nonetheless. Call it an exhuming of the family crypt—and 'A Tall Order" is the inevitable coughing that proceeds in its wake. Call it a retribution that comes only from placing the old ways in the sun and watching them blow away.'


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