Where It Hurts

Where It Hurts

by Sarah De Leeuw


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Where It Hurts is a highly charged collection of personal essays, haunted by loss, evoking turbulent physical and emotional Canadian landscapes. Sarah de Leeuw's creative non-fiction captures strange inconsistencies and aberrations of human behaviour, urging us to be observant and aware. The essays are wide in scope and expose what—and who—goes missing.

With staggering insight, Sarah de Leeuw reflects on missing geographies and people, including missing women, both those she has known and those whom she will never get to know. The writing is courageously focused, juxtaposing places and things that can be touched and known—emotionally, physically, psychologically—with what has become intangible, unnoticed, or actively ignored. Throughout these essays, de Leeuw's imagistic memories are layered with meaning, providing a survival guide for the present, including a survival that comes with the profound responsibility to bear witness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781926455846
Publisher: NeWest Publishers, Limited
Publication date: 04/01/2017
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Sarah de Leeuw is a human geographer, award-winning poet and creative non-fiction writer. De Leeuw grew up on Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii, then lived in Terrace, BC. She has worked as a tugboat driver, women's centre coordinator, logging camp cook, and as a journalist and correspondent for Connections Magazine and CBC Radio's BC Almanac. She is currently an Associate Professor with the Northern Medical Program at UNBC, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and divides her time between Prince George and Kelowna.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from "Where It Hurts"

You know this game, right?

It's played at dinner parties?

After a few glasses of wine?

When we've left the kitchen and the dining room and we're all sitting in the living room and there's been three-in-a-row of those awkward conversation lulls, when saying anything seems too loud so we're all busy saying nothing at all, looking interested in the carpet?

The game where you try to figure out the lie in three guesses or less?

Like this.

I say: In my life I have eaten bear, shark, raw sea-urchin egg, ox-heart, seal, and caribou.

If you guess which one I haven't eaten, if you catch my lie, it's your turn to fabricate a story. To tell an untruth.

Mostly people guess bear. Especially if I'm in a city. Bear! You can't have eaten bear!

That's wrong. I've eaten bear. Quite a lot of bear, actually. Shanks of black bears pulled from the backs of 4x4 pickups, hunks of skinless slopping red flesh chucked onto stomped-down cardboard boxes thrown flat to keep the blood off the paint of the truck bed. Being hauled to the dump by trophy hunters. Meat rescued by my dad. Hundreds of pounds of meat thumped onto the kitchen counter and hacked into manageable wet slabs, chasing off the cats mewling at the fatty scent, wrapping it in newsprint, turfing it into the freezer. Turned into stew. Then fed to the dogs when it became too frostbitten for even our hungry mouths, a strange grey ice-mold that sometimes the dogs would pause over, sniff at before swallowing back in loud gulps.

If no one can guess what I haven't eaten, I get to lie again.

I could say: I have travelled to Seoul, Paris, Sofia, Istanbul, Tokyo, Delhi, and Chicago. One is a lie. It's everyone's job to figure out which place I've never set foot in.

I like the game. I like all the strange truths people keep hidden inside them. How easily a lie can be buried in such plain sight.

Table of Contents

Where It Hurts 7

Belle Island Owls 29

Seven in 1980 41

What Fills Our Lungs 53

Quick-quick. Slow. Slow 63

Soft Shouldered 71

After Paul Auster Spoke About Lightning 81

Aesop 91

Columbus Burning 95

Charting the Finite 103

This is Sunday Morning, Comin' Down 111

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