Thursday, 24 April 2008

SSC Janssen Ortho scholarships

2008 Building Bridges to the Future Bursary Program
The Schizophrenia Society of Canada and Janssen-Ortho Inc. are pleased to partner again in offering the Building Bridges to the Future Bursary Program. Though administered by Janssen-Ortho Inc., the program is now coordinated through the Schizophrenia Society of Canada. The Building Bridges to the Future Bursary Program seeks to encourage and support individuals living with schizophrenia as they pursue educational opportunities. The money from the bursary program can be used for tuition/registration fees, books and other costs related to completing education and/or training program. Further details at <>

Another Writing Contest

Saturday May 31, 2008

Burnaby Writers Society's 2008 Writing Contest

Open to all BC residents, the theme is "Green". Prizes of $200, $100 and $50, as well as honourable mentions, will be awarded for the best one-page submissions of either prose or poetry, freely interpreting the "green" theme in any way you wish.. Work can be in any form or genre, as long as it is complete on one page. The entry fee is $5.00 per entry, or 3 entries for $10.00

Results will be announced, and winners will be invited to participate in a public reading, in fall 2008.

For complete guidelines go to the website,

Contests for Writers

Deadline: postmarked no later than July 15, 2008
It's that time of year again—sharpen your pencils or fire up your laptop and send us your fiction,
poetry, or creative non-fiction contest entries. Prizes: 1st prize in each category – $500,
2nd prize – $250. Winners will be published in a 2009 issue of Room. Other manuscripts may be
published. Judges: Creative Non-Fiction: Rita Moir. Fiction: Ivan E Coyote. Poetry: Evelyn Lau.
Send entries to: Room Fiction and Poetry Contest PO Box 46160, Station D, Vancouver, BC V6J 5G5,
Canada. No manuscripts will be returned. Only winners will be notified.
Check website for all
complete rules - and also contests for other genres.


Deadline: Postdated May 15, 2008
Mother Tongue Publishing Limited is "very excited to announce the launch of our new BC trade
publishing company: Mother Tongue Publishing Limited. (m)Öthêr Tøñgué Press has changed its
name and spread its wings! We are inviting submissions for Rocksalt, an Anthology of Contemporary
BC Poetry,
the first in 30 years!
Rocksalt will be edited by Harold Rhenisch and Mona Fertig.

subTerrain's Annual
Lush Triumphant
Literary Awards Competition
Deadline: 15 May 2008
$3,000 in cash prizes!
go to for more details.

GEIST Short Long-Distance Writing Contest
Deadline: Postdated June 1, 2008
Send a short story where the action takes place in at least two time zones within Canada. Maximum length is 500 words, fiction or non-fiction. First prize $250; second prize $150; third prize $100. Winning entries will be published in Geist and at Entry fee: $20. For more information or to enter, see website.

Federation of BC Writers Literary Writes Competition
Deadline: Postdated July 1, 2008

This Year's Category: Short Fiction, any genre (literary, mystery, romance, science fiction, etc.)
First Prize: $500 and publication in WordWorks, Second Prize: $300, Third Prize: $150
The Federation of BC Writers is calling upon all creative souls to enter this year's Literary Writes
fiction contest. Be it literary or mystery, speculative or science, your short story should grab the
readers' attention, holding them sweet hostage until the very end. Enter now and you could be a
winner in Literary Writes 2008.

Fwd: RSVP: FED AGM, Reception and Anthology Launch

Federation of British Columbia Writers
AGM, Reception & Anthology Launch

Friday, May 9, 6:30 to 10 pm
Sculpture Gallery Room, Listel Hotel,
1300 Robson Street, Vancouver

Admission: Free to Federation members
Guests: $5 at door

Schedule of Events:
6:30 pm AGM
7:30 pm Reception
8 pm Launch of new FED anthology,
Imagining British Columbia: Land, Memory & Place
Editor Daniel Francis will introduce readings by
contributors Trevor Carolan, Pam Galloway, Victoria Marvin,
Mona Fertig, Luanne Armstrong and A.S. Penne

RSVP by May 2, 2008

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Mental Health Week Lecture Series at Strathcona Mental Health Team - May 6 - May 8

Every year Strathcona Mental Health Team hosts a series of lectures related to mental health and addictions issues in Vancouver. I have attached a 1-page brochure. Please circulate, post, and spread the word about this event. We usually get excellent participation and this is an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with some of the experts in the field. The lectures are designed to be accessible to the general public as well as to professionals. The series is free and no RSVP is necessary.
Thank you,

Mental Health Week Lecture Series
Tuesday, May 6th to Thursday, May 8th, 2008
Strathcona Mental Health Team
330 Heatley Avenue

All talks are free and open to everyone. Please come and bring your friends, family, colleagues, and people you meet on the walk over here. All talks include interactive discussion on issues related to mental health and addictions for people living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

May 6, '08, 9:00-12:00. "Borderline Personality Disorder for the Everyday Worker,"
Alex Chapman, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology at S.F.U. and co-author of The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide. Things are constantly changing on how we perceive and treat this disorder. Dr. Chapman has conducted numerous workshops on BPD and has done post-doctoral work with Marsha Linehan.. He has done in-depth research on emotional regulation, self-harm and suicidal behavior and is the President of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Centre of Vancouver. Come and hear the latest on prognosis, treatment, and research on this disorder.

May 6, '08, 1:00-4:00. "Heroin, Cocaine, and Amphetamine Substitution Pharmacology."
Dr. Eugenia Oviedo-Joekes, Research Scientist, CHEOS, Dr. David March, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Donald MacPherson, City of Vancouver. Vancouver's illicit drug problem make the local papers virtually very day. At its most pessimistic, it seems like nothing can be done. However, there are people devoting a great deal of time trying to understand and to develop solutions for these problems. Come and hear the philosophical underpinnings and the research findings of substitution trials and programs worldwide, and what they might portend for the Vancouver scene.

May 7, '08, 9:00-12:00. "Alone in the Woods Without the Bread-Crumb Trail: Mental Health Housing and the Circuitous Paths to Other Neighborhoods." Allyson Muir, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Dominic Flanagan, B.C. Housing. It has long been an observation, maybe even a criticism, of Vancouver that many of the services have been "ghettoized" to the Downtown Eastside. Come and hear Allyson and Dominic describe the efforts being made in Mental Health Housing to address this situation and to bring a continuum of housing to Vancouver City at large.

May 7, '08, 1:00-4:00. "Community Court, the Urgent Response Team and the 100 Bed Facility: Implications for Re-institutionalization, Enforced Treatment, or Just Good Old Problem Solving?" Judge Gove, Denise Bradshaw, Urgent Response Team, and Lorna Howes, Vancouver Community Mental Health Services. There has been much speculation and prognosticating about this new form of service delivery. Come and get the latest information from the planners of this exciting new service.

May 8, '08, 9:00-12:00. "Far Away Pastures are Always Greener: A Comparison/Contrast of San Francisco's Tenderloin and Vancouver's Downtown Eastside." Dr. Tim Sinclair, Strathcona Mental Health Team, and Dr. Bill MacEwan, St. Paul's Hospital. It is part of the mythos of alcohol and addiction programs that things are always better elsewhere-Scandinavian Countries, Amsterdam, or small agrarian countries with few urban centres. Come and hear the thoughts of two psychiatrists who work in the inner city of two very different cities, both of which have their model programs and staggering challenges.

May 8, '08, 1:00-4:00. "Community Capacity Building: What Do Mental Health Services Have to Give Back to the Community?" Stephen Epp, O.T. Strathcona Mental Health Team and James Ash, Rain City Housing. Neighborhoods are usually concerned about the burden mental health services in their area will bring. But what can services give back? Stephen and James will look at some initiatives where the mental health community has given back tangible services to their local neighborhoods, and what a difference this makes in the great dialectical debate between stigma and xenophobia.

Wellness and Recovery Newsletter

Wellness and Recovery Newsletter

Volume 3 Issue 1 March 2008

Welcome to the Wellness and Recovery Newsletter

Welcome to a new issue of the Wellness and Recovery Newsletter, as it enters its third year of publication. Thank you to all our readers for your interest in the Newsletter, and especially to those who responded to the recent reader survey.

Thanks to Julia Joseph, University of Toronto Social Work student who is doing a placement with the Health Promotion Program at CRCT, we now have a cumulative Table of Contents which lists every article which has appeared in the Wellness and Recovery Newsletter since the beginning, along with a brief description of each article. This will make it easier to find things in past issues. The Table of Contents has been posted on CRCT's web site; to locate it, just follow the directions given in the 'How to Subscribe' section of every issue of the Newsletter.

This issue begins with an article by Mandi Luis, describing her experience wrestling with depression on the job. She highlights the many things which people experiencing depression on the job need to know, but quite often don't find out about until too late.

The next article in this issue is by Mel Starkman, writing about the Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto (PSAT). Mel states that, "PSAT is particularly interested in combating stigma in all its forms and in building values to enable survivors to assert their proper place in the full citizenship of our country."

Finally, I have contributed a book review of "The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want," by Sonja Lyubomirsky. This book describes in detail how to take advantage of some of the findings of recent research in the field of positive psychology.

-G. Dewar

What I Wish I Knew: A snapshot of my experience with mental illness at work...

Seven years ago I was a successful employee at a large financial organization, and if depression hadn't hit me, I would now be retired with benefits and a 32-year unblemished record of outstanding achievement.

But depression did hit me, and it hit hard. I underwent an 11-month struggle before I realized that I was experiencing depression. During that time, a number of personal life challenges erupted which compounded the stressors at work. My confidence ebbed day by day - I was suffering. As a result the quality of my work also suffered. I lost a career that I loved.

I now know that with the proper information and support, my career did not have to be a casualty of depression. I believe I could have remained employed and avoided the financial impact and trauma of losing my job.

Depression looks different for each of us.

Perhaps you are unable to start projects, focus on tasks, or meet deadlines - and people are noticing.

Perhaps you are obsessed with details, or everything seems like a blur.

Perhaps you are worried about your lack of productivity, and feel guilty about letting your team down.

Perhaps you are irritable with colleagues, and feel like they're ganging up on you.

Perhaps you feel overwhelmed, guilty, frightened, and pressured - and see your self-confidence slipping away.

Perhaps you feel powerless to voice your needs because you can't seem to determine what they are.

Perhaps you wish to have time off, but you've used up all your sick days and short term disability, and the paperwork to apply for long term disability overwhelms you.

Perhaps you are concerned about losing your income if you go on long term disability.

Perhaps you are worried about losing your job because you are experiencing depression.


I needed to know that I was at risk for depression.

Within four months I went through the loss of a significant relationship, had a near death experience and ongoing serious family trouble, started a new senior position with a high degree of responsibility and stress. I wish I had known that grief, personal stress and work stress increased my risk of developing depression.

I needed to know that I was ill, not weak.

I started to lose my memory and was often confused at work. My job included gathering information and writing analysis reports. I could gather the information but could not turn the information into a report. My self confidence decreased day by day with increasing panic. I felt guilty, stupid and ashamed, like there was something wrong with me. I wish I had known that my confusion, feelings of despair and hopelessness were symptoms of depression.

I needed balanced information about treatment.

My doctor prescribed an antidepressant medication and said I had to be on it for the rest of my life. My doctor presented medication as my only option. The medication took away my energy, made me sleep sometimes for 23 hours a day. Taking medication as the only option did not match my personal philosophy about treating illness. Since I have always believed that optimal health is achieved when people are actively involved in their own health and wellness, I needed balanced information about other forms of treatment, alternative therapies and information resources. I wish I had understood my treatment options and understood that my road to recovery was unique to me and my illness.

I needed to know that depression would impact every area of my life.

My experience with depression affected my relationships, my daily routines, my physical well-being, my ability to be productive at work and my sense of purpose and meaning. It took over every area of my life in a torrent of hopelessness. I wish I had had more information to share with my family and friends.

I needed help earlier

After 11 months of struggling, I finally told my manager that I was having trouble coping, and it was suggested I use the services of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). I wish that I, my colleagues, my subordinates, or my manager had noticed that I was struggling. I wish someone had suggested assistance.

I needed to know I was not the only one that had experienced this.

I felt isolated at work, I was not understood and stopped sharing my thoughts. I started to disengage and my productivity declined. I wish I had had someone to talk to at work who had themselves experienced depression.

I needed to be valued at work.

Although I was struggling at work, I had contributed 25 years of my life to the organization and had been extremely successful. Past performance was totally discounted and current performance was highlighted. I wish that my problems had been looked at in context of my highly successful work history.

I needed to know that it was okay to ask for my manager's help.

I had been taught not to bring my problems to work, so for 11 months I struggled and didn't say anything to my manager about what I was going through in my life outside work. I believed that I was being a good employee by dealing with my life issues on my own. If I had seen my manager as a contributor to my wellbeing and productivity, I would have engaged her much earlier. I believe things would have turned out much differently. I wish I had known that life stressors outside of work can create a need for accommodation at work, and that my employer could have been a major contributor in my recovery.

I needed the people at my workplace to listen.

As I gained greater acceptance of what was happening to me, I wanted to talk about it at work so that we could seek solutions together. I was told that workplace policies advised against this, since what I wanted to share was seen as confidential and outside of the workplace. I felt frustrated and alienated because I felt that sharing was important to my recovery. I wish that workplace policies could have been based on the principles of recovery which include: people can and do recover, self-direct my own recovery, be able to provide input to my own treatment options, be given the education to make decisions based on my needs and goals, be able to take responsibility for my own recovery based on my own philosophy and values.

I needed ongoing support at work.

Being referred to EAP was not enough to improve things at work. Work processes continued as before, and my manager did not inquire as to what I needed to do my job. I wish that my manager had known how to work with employees who are in distress.

I needed my benefits to cover more than six sessions of therapy.

Through my Employee Assistance Program (EAP) I was referred for psychotherapy, but my benefits only covered six sessions. This was not enough time to establish trust with my therapist, identify my issues and begin to address them. I wish that my benefit package had been designed to meet the therapy needs of people with depression.

I needed organizational support during the discussions with my subordinates, colleagues and supervisors about my recovery.

When I returned after six months on short term disability, I felt intimidated, confused and frightened during the negotiation meetings I was required to attend. Driven by fear of losing my income, I made decisions without support, good judgment, and knowledge, and benefit of the accommodation process. I wish I had moral support and information so I could make better choices.

I needed to return to work gradually using a process of accommodation to help me ramp up to full time.

I was entitled to have my job adjusted as part of the recovery process so that I could gradually resume full time employment. I didn't know how to state my needs, and thought that I had to be agreeable and accepting of the accommodations being offered, even though it didn't work for me. I wish that I had known about job accommodation.

I needed information, support and adequate time to consider options.

While making this decision I was not well and was incapable of understanding my options. I accepted a severance package because I wasn't properly informed about my rights to receive long term disability insurance. I wish that the organization could have supported or provided an advocate for me.

I needed to know that it can take a long time to recover from depression.

With each doctor and therapy appointment, I kept thinking that things would quickly get better and I would bounce back to being me. I had no idea that it could take a long time to recover effectively from the effects of depression. I wish I had known that recovery can take months or years.

As a peer, I use my story to help others who are experiencing mental health problems in the workplace...

What I discovered is that recovery is a process based on continual growth, occasional setbacks, and learning from experience. My recovery encompassed my whole life, including my mind, body, spirit and community. My hope is that you will explore the recovery process fully - while you are still employed.

Mandi Luis is a certified Peer Support Specialist and Career Consultant. Her focus is on facilitating a successful Return to Work process that is in the best interests of both the employee and employer. For more information about Peer Support or to talk to Mandi please call or email: (905) 639-4525 Email:

The above article by Mandi Luis first appeared on the web site of Mental Health Works at, and is being reprinted with permission. The article has been edited down to fit the space available; if you have web access, visit the unedited version of the article online as it includes many related resource tips.

Psychiatric Survivors Archives of Toronto

An idea considered as far back as 1981 in Canada began to come to fruition in January of 2001 when a few visionary people began to give serious consideration to the creation of a repository for the numerous records being created by the psychiatric survivors of the mental health system however they self-identified. As well as records of individuals, there were many and varied organizations that were developing that reflected the interest, advocacy and communication among groups and individuals. There was a recognition on a grassroots level that while much of the material produced was giving voice to a large, previously, unrecognized, culturally identifiable segment of society, no effort was being made to centrally collect and house these materials. Being that many of the documents that could record the history and development of psychiatric survivors were ephemeral in nature, the rich heritage of people who had been through the mental health system stood to be lost to future researchers and historians as well as those exposed to the mental health system.

There was also the recognition that what research had been done on our movement has largely ignored certain political, social and economic factors implicit in our history and development. As well as developing our own voices we needed a repository that would gather material reflecting on these and giving our own people a place to do research even if they had to develop the skills to do so. Mainstream historians, social science researchers, journalists and mental health professionals would have to apply to us for permission to use what promises to be a very rich resource tool to be mined.

There are many myths about mental illness which have dogged the footsteps of the psychiatrized. To alleviate these myths would go a long way toward the raising of consciousness of consumer/survivors such that they could facilitate their own recovery first in an episodic manner at least, then in the full blown realization that they were liberated to become whatever they chose to become. Those who live in the shadow of those myths, such as those myths about violence or the inability to recover or the unquestioned efficacy of some modalities of treatment need to hear from those who have been caught up in the system itself. Decisions about our lives need to include our involvement. Nothing about us without us. That brings up the whole question of advocacy and where do we draw the line between taking cognizance of the divisive issues that mark the landscape of mental heath and our mandate as a cultural institution with a charitable status raising public and private money to underwrite our activities or publicize our views as a non-profit incorporated body. For instance: is it justifiable to fight labeling and stigma, and what are the parameters of such an effort?

The vision of PSAT is to document the rich heritage of psychiatric survivors. Our mission is to collect, preserve, organize and make available for research this material in any of the varied formats it is found. Among our goals is to raise the consciousness of survivors themselves to a level of self-regard and self-knowledge of the value of their lives and those of their peers and empower themselves outside the context of a paternalistic system which often tells them how to direct their lives. By documenting the valued lives of persons and the organizations they have built to foster their means and ends, PSAT is particularly interested in combating stigma in all its forms and in building values to enable survivors to assert their proper place in the full citizenship of our country. We further wish to raise the consciousness of the public, the media, governmental bodies at all levels, and mental health practitioners, to the issues that effect us. All this activity fosters the recovery process of consumer/survivors from the process of becoming more aware of their history and identity, to participating in events succouring that identity.

As part of our advocacy and activism we have engendered a number of activities that speak to issues that relate to self-identified concerns. For instance through publicity we have shed light on the history of the patient built walls of the asylums of the past and have shown how lives of patients were more useful to society, even taken advantage of, as against the prevailing public perception that a stay in a hospital was only custodial. Rather than being a charge on the public purse the inmates saved the government of the day money and it has been argued that in the onset of the industrial organization of the economy social control mechanisms were evident in the populating of the asylums. Before the 1850s, it was largely families that looked after their kin if they became disturbed or could not meet the exigencies of life. In the following periods illness became the metaphor of approach and this is being argued by a new breed of social historians. Think of what will happen when the inheritors of those inmates have a chance to look at the record through the lens of their own experience.

It is particularly notable that at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto the input of patient labour to the building of the walls has been publicly recognized in publicity about the redevelopment of the Centre. This has largely come about thanks to the efforts of PSAT and it is hoped that in the redevelopment much more historical information will be divulged reflecting alternate perspectives on the lives of patients in the past and have some impact on the present and future. Again it is the inmates that are the focus of concern in the institutions and studies of their lives and culture would fill many significant gaps in the historical record.

Another important step taken by PSAT reflecting a world wide phenomenon in the survivor movement is the refurbishing of inmate cemeteries from the abject neglect they have usually fallen into. It is doubly tragic that lives that were marginalized and discounted in life are neglected and unceremoniously dealt with after their passing if the inmates did not have families looking after their concerns. In a cemetery at the corner of Evans and Horner in Etobicoke 1,511 forgotten people are buried, most without a visible marker and in an uncared-for facility without even a group memorial or signpost to mark their place for those who pass by to know. These are composed of people who were patients of Mimico Insane Asylum, Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital between 1890 to 1974 - people who have been forgotten due to the prejudice against those who have a psychiatric history.

Another activity we are very much involved in is the mounting of exhibits. At PSAT's Open House we had an exhibit of some of the rare materials from our collection, books, posters, radio scripts, reports, minutes and other material going back to the 1960s which reflect the growth and development of the survivor movement world wide. Much interest was shown by the appreciative attendees of the ceremonial occasion officially opening our facility.

We also contributed to the exhibit that was put on by The Market Gallery in Toronto from March 6 to June 20, 2004, "The Provincial Asylums in Toronto and Mimico: Reflections on Social and Architectural History." This exhibit was partnered by the Toronto Region Conservancy and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health and our effort was much appreciated as we gained credibility as an organization and were given voice with our choice of content. The exhibit won an Award of Merit in the Media Category at the 31st Annual Heritage Toronto Awards. The award citation partially states the "exhibit also explored the patients' perspective of mental institutions through hand-written documents and artwork."

At this time we are avidly looking for more storage space and look forward to the support of interested consumer/survivors and general public. - Mel Starkman

PSAT (Psychiatric Survivor Archives of Toronto)
Open to researchers by appointment only: call 416-760-4780 or contact

Office @ Sound Times Support Services, 280 Parliament St., Toronto

Storage and Study Room: Gerstein Crisis Centre, 100 Charles St. E., Toronto

Book Review- "The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want" by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D.

Hardcover, Penguin Press, New York, 2008, <> . Available in bookstores, and as a Penguin Audiobook.

This book is the very best summary I have come across of the most recent findings in positive psychology, and especially on how these findings can be used in practice to improve one's quality of life. This is basically a self-help book, designed to be used by the lay reader without help from mental health professionals. The author is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, who has made a career out of researching what makes people happy.

According to the author, "Studies show that 50% of individual differences in happiness are determined by genes, 10% by life circumstances [eg. rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, married or divorced], and 40% by our intentional activities." (pp. 20-22). In "The How of Happiness," Dr. Lyubomirsky lists and explains many "intentional activities" which the reader can use to increase happiness.

The book focuses on a number of different general areas through which you can increase your level of happiness (eg. practicing gratitude and positive thinking, living in the present, managing stress, hardship, and trauma), and then subdivides these into a variety of techniques (such as writing letters of gratitude, cultivating optimism, developing strategies for coping) which you can use. Each technique receives plenty of explanation, and the author also summarizes the research underlying the technique and includes examples of the technique in use.

The author admits in the foreword to the book that on the surface, techniques to increase happiness can seem on the surface "hokey....trivial at best and corny at worst." However, on reading the author's extensive, systematic explanation on the techniques studied by happiness research, one has to admit that this book definitely has substance.

Most helpful is a questionnaire which helps you to determine which happiness-increasing techniques best fit your style and would thus work best for you. There is a cross-index which suggests other techniques you might find would work for you if you have success with a particular technique. Additionally, there is another questionnaire which you can fill out periodically to observe if the methods you are using are actually having an effect on your level of happiness.

How does positive psychology help people who have depression? Dr. Lyubomirsky provides a lengthy postscript to her book which defines depression, describes the most effective treatments for it, and explains how techniques for increasing happiness can help (as well as explaining their limits). She notes that there are even some formal types of psychotherapy, such as well-being therapy, hope therapy, and personal growth therapy, which "aim to increase well-being rather than only to relieve symptoms."

Finally, I see an important connection between the study of happiness, and the mental health recovery concept. Some people manage to do better than "just" recovering from their mental health issues - they enter a state of "thriving." This state may be described as, after a mental health setback such as a period of disability due to of depression, not just returning to the previous state but actually attaining a state which surpasses the person's state prior to the setback. Techniques designed specifically to increase one's subjective well-being may be the recipe needed to thrive. In that regard, this book can help. G. D.

One of our readers suggested that we pass along the link to this online full-text article, from the British Medical Journal, which may be of interest to other readers. The title of the article is "Involving users in the delivery and evaluation of mental health services: systematic review"

How to Subscribe to the Wellness and Recovery Newsletter

The Wellness and Recovery Newsletter is available by Canada Post and by email. To subscribe, contact the C/S Info Centre by phone at 416 595-2882 or by email at The Newsletter is published quarterly, ie. four times a year. Subscriptions are free.

This Newsletter is a joint effort by the Consumer/Survivor Information Resource Centre of Toronto and the Health Promotion Program of Community Resource Connections of Toronto (CRCT). The C/S Info Centre has for many years published its Bulletin which twice a month brings information of interest to consumers and stakeholders in the mental health system. CRCT works to encourage wellness and recovery of consumers through its Health Promotion Program, Community Support Program, Hostel Outreach Program, COPE Program, and Mental Health Court Support Program. Visit CRCT's web site at <> for information about its programs as well as current information about mental health-related resources, news and events.

Current and past issues of the Wellness and Recovery Newsletter, as well as a Cumulative Table of Contents, are available on CRCT's web site: <> . Just enter 'Wellness and Recovery Newsletter' (without the quotes) in the site-wide search box at the top of any page on CRCT's web site. Feel free to photocopy, post and otherwise distribute copies of the Wellness and Recovery Newsletter. Usually it is alright to further reproduce individual articles from the newsletter for nonprofit purposes, but please be sure to include the acknowledgement for the original source of the article.

The Wellness and Recovery Newsletter Contact Information:

Editor: Circulation and Subscriptions:

Glen Dewar, CRCT Helen Hook & Debora McDonagh

Community Resource Connections Consumer/ Survivor Information

of Toronto Resource Centre of Toronto

366 Adelaide Street East Suite 230 c/o CAMH, 250 College Street

Toronto ON M5A 3X9 Toronto ON M5T 1R8

416 482-4103 ext. 229 416 595-2882

Glen Dewar is a member of the Health Promotion Program staff at CRCT, and the web site content manager for CRCT's web site <> .

The Leadership Project and the International Network Toward Alternatives and Recovery presents

International RECOVERY Perspectives:

Action on Alternatives

Critical and creative exploration of leading edge approaches in Mental Health Recovery

Hart House - University of Toronto - Toronto, Ontario

Thursday, June 5 and Friday, June 6, 2008

Cost $ 300.00

The conference will include these workshops:

® First Admission: Treatment or Trauma?

® Psychotherapy and Extreme States of Distress

® Subjective Experiences of Psychosis

® Diversity and Mental Health: Margins to Mainstream

® Critical Psychiatry - Promoting/Developing Alternatives

® Trialogue Experience: Consequences for Daily Practice

® Creating Public-Funded Peer-Run Alternatives

® The Icarus Project

® Family and Community Roles in Alternatives

® Peers in the Workplace: Realizing the Potential

® Peer Leadership and Ownership of Research

® Indigenous Healing as a Self-Recovery Method

® Soteria - A Model for Recovery Communities

® Tuning Into and Making Meaning out of Madness

® How Do We Work Together for Mutual Recovery

® Natural Teams

® Surviving, Thriving, Giving Back!

® Alternatives and Recovery Beyond Psychiatry

® The Alternative Potential of Non-Psychiatric Services

® Harm Reduction Guide: Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs

® Gaining Autonomy with Medication (GAM)

and others ...

The following international speakers will present:

Paddy McGowan (Ireland)

Dr. Philip Thomas (UK)

Peter Lehmann (GER)

Dr. Johan Cullberg (SWE)

Dan Taylor (Ghana)

Bhargavi Davar (India)

Salma Yasmeen (UK)

Dr. Peter Stastny (USA)

Norma Friedman (USA)

David Cameron PhD (Ireland)

Jim Gottstein LLB (USA)

Celia Brown (USA)

Will Hall (USA)

Jasna Russo (GER)

Oryx Cohen (USA)

Ron Bassman PhD (USA)

Thomas Bock PhD (GER)

Ron Unger (USA)

Jan Wallcraft PhD (UK)

Anne Marie DiGiacomo (USA)

and others

Community Resource Connections of Toronto, Alternatives and the Family Outreach and Response Program are sponsoring this conference.

The PSY'COZY'UM, a free Consumer/Survivor only Pre-Conference Day on the 4th of June 2008 at the May Robinson Auditorium, for more information


For more information and a full Registration Package contact: Brian McKinnon at <> or 416 285 7996 extension 227

Fwd: FW: Pivot forwards complaint to United Nations

Pivot forwards complaint to United Nations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Vancouver, April 15, 2008

Pivot Legal Society, together with the Carnegie Community Action Project and the Impact of the Olympics on Community Coalition launched a complaint to the United Nations this week on the living conditions faced by residents in Vancouver's Single Room Occupancy buildings.

"We're concerned about the 4,000 people living in privately owned residential hotels and rooming houses in Vancouver," said David Eby of Pivot Legal Society. "They are being illegally evicted, they live in terrible conditions, and they are afraid to speak up because they need that housing."

The complaint was the brainchild of a University of British Columbia professor named Michael Byers, who was guiding a group of students through a project about Vancouver's low-income housing situation. The students then partnered with Pivot Legal Society and the other NGOs and the complaint moved forward at a rapid pace.

"The complaint process takes two years," said Eby, "Our hope was that it would be in its final stages of resolution at about the time of the 2010 Olympics. We want real international pressure on our governments to respect the human rights of those who live in the Downtown Eastside."

The complaint sets out eight grounds of particular concern about the residents of the Downtown Eastside rooming houses and SROs, alleging that Canada has breached their requirements under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to ensure that everyone has adequate housing.

The complaint allegations are that Canada, which includes the provincial and municipal government levels, has among other things: failed to ensure minimum levels of health and safety in low-income rental housing; failed to enforce protections to prevent conversions of low-income housing to other uses; failed to provide police protection to illegally evicted tenants; failed to ensure social assistance rates permit rental of adequate accommodation; and failed to involve the inner city community in the redevelopment of the DTES.

The complaint itself is available on the website:

David Eby, Pivot Legal Society – 778-865-7997


About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot's mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such as opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to the Pivot Newswire, just send a note with that subject line to

Friday, 11 April 2008

Smoking: Habit or Addiction by Susan J. Katz

Smoking: Habit or Addiction?

by Susan J. Katz

from Visions Journal vol. 3 no. 4 (Spring 2007)

I crouched, face to the floor, my eyes burning badly, straining to breathe. I was six years old and following the procedure for avoiding smoke inhalation that I had learned in elementary school—except this was not an accidental fire emergency. We were cruising home with our car windows rolled up tight because it was winter and too cold to open them, and my parents were both smoking. I hated inhaling the cigarette smoke. But, I accepted smoking as a normal part of what the adults around me did. What else could I do at six?

Other things besides cigarette smoke inhalation were a threat for me as a child. I had to accept life in an exceptionally chaotic and abusive family in order to survive. One effect of my traumatic childhood, besides recurrent depression, has been a pervasive feeling of never ‘fitting in’ with others. As a typical teenager, this included the need for peer acceptance and I became a ‘social smoker,’ having the occasional cigarette with friends and trying cigars and a pipe in my bedroom with an adventurous girlfriend.

My smoking increased in university; study breaks, social drinking and role models who smoked were added inducements.

Living in Alaska was the final boost that got me hooked to the habit. I was 19 and worked on commercial salmon boats. I loved the fresh air, romance and challenge of my adventure—and I already spoke the universal language of smokers. “I need a smoke.” “Want a cigarette?” “Which smokes do you want me to get?”

Smoking helped me gain acceptance by the rough, independent fishermen despite the fact that I was a single, young, Jewish, female university student from California working in what I’ve been told is the most dangerous of livelihoods—commercial fishing.

I got up to one-and-a-half packs a day. I bought them by the carton and stashed them under the pillow of my ship’s bunk, thinking that I could handle anything as long as that carton lasted. I managed to handle the stress of watching helplessly as a companion’s boat and crew were swept into the sea and drowned. I had to protect myself from threatening approaches by some rough and often jealous men. One boat lost its propeller into the deep, and the engine of another one burned out from too much strain, both in isolated areas of open water. If we hit a big run of salmon, we worked non-stop hauling in fish for two or three days at a time. The peace, space and companionship I gained by taking smoke breaks helped me get through all this.

I returned to university with a hard-core tobacco habit that persisted for about three years. But over the last six months of that time, I gradually quit.

What was the secret to quitting? I had moved into a new location and had begun graduate school. I now found myself surrounded by people who did not smoke. I don’t recall any of my fellow students, professors or friends as being smokers. As a young woman already insecure about fitting in socially, however, breaking into the traditionally male domain of the mammalogists (biologists who study mammals) was particularly challenging and stressful. But, without the former social inducements to smoke, turning to cigarettes was no longer attractive for me.

I developed new ways to find relief from stress: I took up jogging, which was popular with the other students; for a study break I had a coffee or other low-calorie drink; and I joined a western swing dance club and made new friends and had fun.

After about six months of new activities and associates, I had tapered down to one or two cigarettes a day. The final kicker was that I preferred spending time with my new non-smoking boyfriend than with a cigarette—I met him at the western swing dance club, and have now been married to for almost 27 years. Then, I just stopped buying cigarettes one day.

There were times I really missed the fresh sea spray mixed with the smell and taste of that first drag. But, hey, realistically, I was no longer at sea!

A few years later, in a moment of wanting relief from stress, I longingly recalled the sense of fulfillment offered by that first drag and tried a smoke. It was nauseating. I recalled the early memories of choking on smoke on the floor of my parents’ car and wondered how I could ever have smoked as much as I did.

I recently chatted with a relative over dinner about a major research project he is managing for a large pharmaceutical company. The goal of the project is to develop a drug that prevents nicotine in a smoker’s blood from stimulating the pleasure sensations in the brain that reinforce nicotine’s addictive aspects. This sounds promising—a ‘vaccine’ that will stop people from smoking. It also raises concerns, such as what side-effects this vaccine may have. And it raises this question: what benefit would a vaccine that targets nicotine addiction have for me, or for others who, like me, smoke for complex behavioural reasons?

Physical addiction is a real and serious problem for many smokers. But looking for simple solutions, such as ‘magic bullet’ vaccines or pills that can be aimed at some physiological ‘target’ is not a realistic approach, either. An injection won’t eliminate the other incentives I had for smoking, such as attracting companionship or preventing boredom.

Stress is a normal and inevitable part of life, and particularly so for someone with my compromised sense of self-assurance. But, by finding fulfillment with healthier stress reducers such as exercise and refreshing drinks or snacks, by having relationships with people who didn’t smoke and by making productive lifestyle choices, I was able to quit.

Susan is a writer and former mental health services consumer. She lives in Vancouver.

Poetry Book launch for Shauna Paull

Dear Friends,
Please join me to celebrate the launch of my new book of poems roughened in undercurrent. I will be reading as part of the Community Poetry Bash in honour of Poetry Month at the Shadbolt Centre. I look foreward to sharing with so many of you who have supported and contributed to the poems.

Hope to see you there.

Shauna Paull

26 April 2008 7:30 onwards
at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts
6450 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby, B.C.

Information: Leaf Press
Image: Donna Hagerman

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Fwd: Book News Vol. 3 No. 23


Extraordinary Canadians
The Vancouver International Writers Festival and Penguin Books Canada present a special event with award winner David Adams Richards, historian and author Charlotte Gray, and acclaimed novelist Lewis DeSoto on Thursday, April 17 at 7:30pm. This event is part of the launch of Penguin Canada's new Extraordinary Canadians commissioned set of biographies of great Canadians by leading Canadian writers. For more information, visit

The Globe & Mail reviews Nellie McClung by Charlotte Gray, Emily Carr by Lewis DeSoto, and Lord Beaverbrook by David Adams Richards.

Could Vancouver Become a UNESCO World City of Literature?
A movement is underway to have Vancouver named a UNESCO City of Literature, joining the City of Edinburgh, which received the first-ever UN designation in 2004. Does Vancouver have what it takes? Alma Lee, the founding artistic director of the Vancouver International Writers & Readers Festival, and Margaret Reynolds, executive director of the Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia, will chair a public consultation on April 23 that will explore the opportunities associated with becoming a UNESCO World City of Literature. Please join us to learn more and to give your input on the project.

Wednesday, April 23, 4:00-6:00 pm
Alma van Dusen Room
Vancouver Public Library at Library Square
350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
For more information:

Norman Mailer's family pay tribute to the novelist and family man at a memorial held at Carnegie Hall this past Wednesday.

The National Post is spending the next seven weeks getting reacquainted with the seven deadly sins. This week they look at how envy manifests among first time novelists.


The nominations for the Griffin Poetry Prize have been announced. Both the Canadian and International short lists are available here:

Junot Diaz has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his debut novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Prizewinners in other categories are listed here:
Slate Magazine has republished an interview with Diaz in which he talks about his approach to writing fiction.
And here is a piece about Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry Robert Hass's collection Time and Materials.

The 2008 Guggenheim Fellows have been announced and Canadian poet, novelist, and memoirist Tim Bowling is among them. Bowling received the fellowship to work on a collection of poems about salmon fishing and the Fraser River.

And finally, here are the shortlists for the 2008 Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Awards.


Quill & Quire calls the anthology Me Sexy: An Exploration of Native Sex and Sexuality "a provocative act of native self-love, figuratively and literally."
Lee Maracle, one of the contributors to the anthology, is profiled this week in the Georgia Straight.

John Burns and Kevin Chong profile Vancouver's lovable and talented Steven Galloway in Vancouver Magazine and the Georgia Straight.

The Toronto Star talks with Anthony De Sa about his literary debut, Barnacle Love, which is "steeped in the sights and sounds, as well as the smells and tastes, of the Portuguese-Canadian experience."

The Globe and Mail reviews Padma Viswanathan's first novel, The Toss of a Lemon, which follows a Brahmin family through sixty years of social and political change.

Michiko Kakutani takes issue with Martin Amis's collection of essays The Second Plane, which she calls a "weak, risible and often objectionable volume."

The LA Times looks at the life and work of Richard Yates.,1,3055106.story

A feeling of commitment to the lower classes has fuelled each of Russell Banks's 11 novels. Read a profile here:

In this interview with the Guardian, Salman Rushdie talks about writing his latest novel The Enchantress of Florence in the wake of his 2007 divorce.,,2271293,00.html

James Wood, writing for The New Yorker, echoes the recent praise for Richard Price's latest novel Lush Life, in particular for Price's dialogue. In this article Wood takes an in depth look at Price's prose.


B.C. born author reads Gillian Wigmore selected poems from her book Soft Geography. Also reading is Canadian poet Susan McCaslin. Thursday, April 10 at 6:30pm, free. UBC Bookstore Robson Square (Plaza Level, 800 Robson Street).

Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House invites input from residents, community, education, business and government leaders towards the development of a Community Literacy Plan (CLP). Thursday, April 10 at 6:30pm. Free but pre-registration is required. Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (800 W. Broadway). More information at

Reading by the author of The Blue Flames that Keep Us Warm. Thursday, April 10 at 7:00pm. Free but pre-register by phoning 604.299.8955. Burnaby Public Library McGill Branch (4595 Albert St.). Info:

Canadian author Joy Kogawa reads from her latest book, Naomi's Tree. Thursday, April 10 at 7:00pm. Tickets: $5. Kidsbooks (3083 W Broadway). More information at

Thousands of books on sale each day. April 10-13. Alice MacKay room, lower level, Central Library (350 W. Georgia St.). Complete info:

An evening of bookish drag and burlesque performances, fashion installation by Paperbird Clothing and storytime with comedian Sara Bynoe. All proceeds to fund multi-disciplinary quarterly, Memewar Magazine. Friday, April 11 at 10:00pm. Tickets: $10. The LICK Club (455 Abbott). More information at

The CBC Radio Studio One Book Club is springing back into action on Monday, April 14 with the debut novel of one of the 2008 New Faces of Fiction, Padma Viswanathan. The Toss of a Lemon is based on family stories her grandmother told her. It's an evocative tale of a young Brahmin bride widowed with two children at the age of 18, with the private turmoil of family immersed in the upheaval of India's intense social and political transformation. Join the conversation with Sheryl MacKay, special co-host Jen Sookfong Lee and Padma Viswanathan! To enter to win tickets, go to

Milos Jones
is going to provide a context for her contemporary art practice. Monday, April 14 at 7:30pm, free. Peter Kaye Room, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street.

Steven Galloway
(The Cellist of Sarajevo) and Padma Viswanathan (The Toss of a Lemon) read from their respective works. Wednesday, April 16 at 7:00pm. Free but must register by phoning 604.980.9032. The Silk Purse (1570 Argyle Ave., West Vancouver). More information: 604.925.7292.

Author of Jade Peony talks about writing his new novel, Not Yet, and takes questions on the craft of writing. Wednesday, April 16 at 7:00pm. Free but pre-registration is required. Burnaby Public Library McGill Branch (4595 Albert St.). Info:

The author reads from his compelling collection of poetry, The Splintered Face: Tsunami Poems. Wednesday, April 16 at 7:30pm, free. Alma VanDusen & Peter Kaye Rooms, Lower Level, Central Library, 350 West Georgia Street. For more information please contact Vancouver Public Library at 604-331-3603.

Two readings by Ryan Arnold (The Coward Files) and Jordan Scott (Silt). Thursday, April 17, free. First reading: 12:00pm at Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (1961 East Mall, UBC). Second reading: 7:00pm at UBC Bookstore Robson Square (Plaza Level, 800 Robson Street). Info:


Back for its ninth spectacular year, 2008's North Shore Writers Festival will bring some of Canada's brightest literary stars to our local libraries, including William Deverell (Kill All the Judges) and Sandra Gulland (Mistress of the Sun). The Festival runs April 19-26 at the North Vancouver District Public Library, North Vancouver City Library, and the West Vancouver Memorial Library. From humour to French history to medical thrillers to great non-fiction, there is truly something for everyone at this fabulous Festival. Info:

Aboriginal author Lee Maracle, Vancouver poet laureate George McWhirter, and Giller Prize- and Governor General's Award-nominee David Chariandy are among the literary stars lined up to mark the 8th Annual BC Book & Magazine Week, April 19-26. Complete details:

The City of Vancouver invites publishers and authors to submit entries for the 20th annual City of Vancouver Book Award. Books of any genre that demonstrate excellence and contribute to an appreciation and understanding of Vancouver's history, unique character, or residents are eligible to apply for the $2,000 award. Complete information can be found here:

Please email if you would like to unsubscribe from this email list.

Produced by the Book News Collective: Hal Wake, Clea Young, Brenda Berck, Ann McDonell, and Sandra Millard.

Hal Wake
Artistic Director
* * * * * * * * * * *
2008 Festival - 21-26 October inclusive
Vancouver International Writers Festival
Suite 202, 1398 Cartwright Street
Vancouver, BC V6H 3R8
p: 604 681 6330 x102
f: 604 681 8400

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Standing up for Homelessness


Province -Wide STAND for Housing

Saturday, May 3, 1:00-2:00 pm

Will you STAND WITH US in your community?

Homelessness - a crisis in our province:

* More than 10,000 homeless people in our province.
* Affordable rental housing disappears while land prices soar and land speculation increases in every community in BC.
* No federal social housing program since 1993.
* Welfare rates do not meet basic needs: single rental accommodation for $375 is non-existent in Vancouver.
* Minimum wage does not pay rent.

It is shameful that thousands in our province are homeless and dying in our streets, parks and alleys and that many more are one step away from homelessness. The problem affects more people than those with mental health and addiction issues. The lack of affordable housing impacts seniors, youth and low-income workers. Immediate action is needed.

What is needed?

Instead of continuing to depend on "market forces" to solve housing concerns, all levels of government must take action to build housing.

We need:

· A permanent, national social housing program.

· A comprehensive, provincial housing program that works with municipalities and communities to build affordable housing for people at all income levels.

· Public land for non-market housing - no sale of public land to private interests.

· Improved access to social assistance, increased welfare rates and a higher minimum wage.

Both the federal and provincial governments have budget surpluses. Construction of homes for all can start now. There is no excuse for delay.


For STAND materials contact :

For STAND locations:

Monday, 7 April 2008

Substance Use and Related Harm in BC: Free Public Seminar May 6, 2008

The Centre for Addictions Research of BC and the BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Network invite you to attend:

Up to Date: Substance Use and Related Harm in BC
Tuesday May 6, 2008
8:30 am to 12:30 pm
SFU at Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC

This free public seminar will present the latest data from the BC Alcohol and Other Drug Monitoring System, a multi-site and multi-component collaborative project which reports patterns of substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs) and related harms across BC. Following a successful pilot in 2007, full implementation is underway with new data available from high risk population surveys, emergency departments, police drug seizures, alcohol sales, and drug-related deaths. For more information about the event, including a list of presenters, please click here.

To register, please go to We hope to see you there! A limited number of travel bursaries are available for individuals who wish to attend from outside of the lower mainland. Any inquiries may be directed to Lorissa Martens at or (250) 472-5934.

Jane Hood, Ph.D.
Network Coordinator
BC Mental Health and Addictions
Research Network

Tel (604) 707-6393 | Fax (604) 707-6399

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Kidney donor needed!

The following is a letter from Persimmon Blackbridge, author of Prozac Highway and Sunnybrook: a true story with lies.


I don’t know how to write this. I don’t like group emails, especially not ones going to everyone from my best friends to people I barely know. I don’t like asking for big big giant humongous outrageous favours, and this is just about the biggest.

I’m looking for a kidney. Blood type O.

Two years ago, a false positive on a diabetes test led to the discovery that my kidneys were failing – not from diabetes but from a hyperactive parathyroid gland flooding my system with calcium for the past 10 years or more. It was a lucky accident that it was discovered, but it had already damaged my kidneys to the point of no return, and I will need dialysis or a kidney transplant in the next year or so.

My brother and sister both stepped forward immediately, and it was a huge disappointment to learn that they are both the wrong blood type.

Now a couple of friends are beginning the testing process to see if they might be potential donors. The transplant social worker advised me to find more potential donors if I can, as most people turn out to be incompatible or are eliminated for health reasons. So now I’m asking you and everyone I’ve ever known if this is something you would be willing to look into.

It’s a big decision; it’s not right for everyone. I don’t expect an answer and I’m never going to ask you again.

All I ask now is that you think about it for a minute. Is this something you might do?

Obviously you would have questions or concerns about how being a donor would affect your health or lifestyle or finances. There are many places you can ask questions and get real, accurate information. There are websites by and for living donors ( is one). There is a nurse at the transplant hospital who works only with prospective donors – her job is to look out for the interests of potential donors, and she keeps strict patient confidentiality. If this is something you might look into, I’ll give you her phone number.

The bottom line is: screening for donors is very thorough. If you have any health problems, they will find them. If donating poses any health risk, you will be turned down. If you pass the health tests, there are still tissue compatibility tests that could eliminate you as a donor. I know people who have had ten potential donors step up for them, only to have them all eliminated. That’s why I have to ask everyone. That’s why I’m asking you.

Right now I have only one kidney left, and it’s quite damaged, operating at 20-25% of normal function, down from 30-35% last year (whereas one healthy kidney provides 80% of the function of two). When I hit 10-15%, I’ll need a transplant or dialysis to stay alive. At that point, if I don’t have a compatible live donor, I’ll go on dialysis and be put on the waiting list for a deceased donor transplant. In BC, there is an average wait of 5-10 years on the deceased donor list. People like me with type O blood usually wait approx. 10 years. Many people die waiting for a transplant.

Dialysis is no walk in the park and I‘m not talking about the needles, the travel restrictions, the time spent tethered to a machine. Dialysis doesn’t cure kidney failure, it’s just life support. Over time, it brings a host of life-threatening medical complications. People who get a transplant instead live an average of twice as long after their own kidneys fail.

Being on dialysis, even for a year, also increases the chance of organ rejection when you do get a transplant. If I can find a compatible living donor before my kidney completely fails, I may be able to have a transplant without ever going on dialysis. This would be by far the best scenario for me.

At best, dialysis can provide only 10-15% of normal kidney function. What 10-15% means in terms of day-to-day symptoms differs from person to person. For me, even now at 20-25% normal function, I have frequent periods of extreme fatigue when I can’t write or do artwork or much of anything else. So it’s unlikely that dialysis will let me continue working as an artist or writer. Those of you who know me well can probably imagine what that would mean to me.

Ok, that’s a lot of complaining. I’m not wanting to pressure you. Donation is not something everyone can or would want to do. You may have medical or personal considerations that I know nothing about, or you might just not want to. It’s your call. I’m only hoping you might consider it. If it’s not right for you, do you know someone else who might be up for this adventure? If you do, please forward them this email. People decide to donate for all kinds of reasons, and for some people with kidney failure, it’s a total stranger who comes through for them in the end.

I’d be happy to answer any questions or help you find more information.

Thanks for reading this,

Persimmon Blackbridge

Pandora's Collective News

Wow this is the first day it has felt like spring even though the cherry blossoms and daffodils have been out for a while. Our thanks to everyone who sent us suggestions for locations for Word Whips. We will be checking them out in the next week. Well it is supposed to rain so hope you find something here that interests you to do although this is Vancouver….when did a bit of rain ever stop us. Bonnie

Pandora's Events

Tuesday April 8, 2008

Pandora's Collective Presents


Take the challenge. We provide the writing prompts and the opportunity for sharing. Ten - fifteen minutes to write to each prompt. See what you can whip up. Hosted by Fran Bourassa and Suzy Malcolm

Time: 7:00 - 10:00pm

Location: 32 BOOKS

3185 Edgemont Blvd , North Vancouver

32 Books is located in beautiful, easy-to-get-to, Edgemont Village (One bus from the seabus straight to the door.) Special thanks to owner/writer Deb McVittie.

Pandora's Collective invites you to enter Kisses and Popsicles, our Spring Poetry Contest. All entries must be postmarked by May 15, 2008. The winners will be announced on June 1, 2008. Please follow the guidelines at

Other Events











The Klute has been a member of 4 National Poetry Slam teams from Mesa, AZ, has performed for the president of the American Communist Party, and been introduced from the dais to a crowd of Republicans in the same breath as "the Honorable John Shadegg (Republican congressman from Arizona's 3rd District)".

His poetry is politically and pop-culturally centered with a punk rock sensibility and an occasional reference to demonology thrown in for just a touch of pretension (as if the "punk rock sensibility" bit isn't pretentious enough). He's in Vancouver as part of his "One Foot in the Grave" tour

making his first appearance in Canada at Café Duex Soleils.












For more info contact or 604 215 9230



Story Slam…

at Our Town Cafe 245 E. Broadway, Vancouver

every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month @ 8.30pm.

Ten storytellers competing for prizes and a place in

the finals. First come, first served. Sign up from

7.30pm. Hosted by Ivan Penaluna.

For more info visit

"Poetry Around the World"

Dear Poets, Artists and Poetry Lovers:

You are kindly invited to an unforgettable evening of

poetry and spoken word at Indigo Park Royal, on

Wednesday, April 9th at 6:30 pm.

We have two special guests from Abbotsford and a book

launch, followed by open mic.

Our distinguished poets are:

Ruth-Ann and Rudy Braun (Abbotsford)

BOOK LAUNCH: Ibrahim Honjo (Yugoslavia)

Several poets will be reading from Ibrahim's new book.

Refreshments will be served.

Poetically yours,

Lucia Gorea

Founder of "Poetry Around the World"

"lucia gorea"

Creative Buzz Spoken Word Productions


Awake, Arise, Refresh Yourselves with the spiritual light in your eyes

and you will remember who you are, where you came from,

and why you set out so long ago.

Understanding the power of meditation.

A Spiritual Journey told through a series of Dynamic Poems

by Brian Michael Nelson

Yes, we face an uncertain future and daunting large-scale challenge

in the unfolding wake of climate change and global warming.

But nature seeks balance and harmony.

Along with this unprecedented looming disaster there is a great spiritual counter taking place. Like never before. If you are here, at least know about it.

You are invited to:

The greatest story never told. Why? Because it is just beginning to unfold. The Gods are returning, Gods? Yes, as soul upon soul, fills with the one and same light. The One God manifesting in the many faces of His lovers. It has started, and this Light shall turn the tide.

The Flight of the Soul Event Listing

($10.00 suggested donation at the door)

April 9th VPL, 350 W Georgia. Alma Rm. 12:00 - 1:30, 2:00 – 3:30

April 10th St. Mark's Church 1805 Larch St, Vancouver. 7:00 – 8:30

April 12th Robson Square 800 Robson St, Vancouver. 7:00 – 8:30

April 20th St. James Community Sq. 3214 W. 10th Ave, .7:00 – 8:30

April 26th Kits House 2307 W. 7th Ave, Vancouver. 7:00 – 8:30

"57 Varieties"

Tuesday, April 15th, 8 'til 10 pm
"57 Varieties" unplugged open stage / variety show
at Spartacus Books (upstairs, 319 W. Hastings @ Cambie)

This anarchic open stage series urges performers, artists and other such creative types to come out and workshop the extraordinary -- or merely unusual -- as demonstrated by host Rowan Lipkovits on his unruly accordion. Anything and everything can happen here, the more unlikely the better, from music and poetry through to dance, short plays, juggling, puppetry, and, yea, even (once) the conducting of a cellphone orchestra. Turn over rocks and revel in the wriggling of the weirdness beneath! This month celebrating the series' 4th anniversary!thanks!

Thundering Word

Just getting a jump on things here. We have a great feature coming up this Sunday, April 6th--- The one and only Daniel Packard. Hes' a comedian, yes, but he's so much more. He really connects with the audience and actually thru' comedy and the use of his other skills opens up new channels of thought, especially in women. You just have to see this guy.

And on the 20th of this month we have the terrific Hannah Georgas. She's one of our favorite singer/songwriters and she is not only a very talented performer, she has a ton of original music with killer lyrics. Plus, she can go from serious to hilarious in the blink of an eye. A super good entertainer. This will be a very special night. Wanda found this lady and has Wanda ever been wrong? Nope, not yet.!!

All this and Vancouver's Finest Open Mic ..... What more can you ask on a Sunday night?

Sign up is at 7:30-Show starts at 8pm sharp!!

See you all there. Bill Mc.

"Bill McNamara" <>

World Poetry

Proudly Presents April 28, 08

At the Vancouver Public Library, 7:30 pm

Alma Van Dusen Room

**No musician for this month.

National Poetry Month.

With your hosts Ariadne Sawyer and Alejandro Mujica-Olea.

Featured poets:

Godwin H. Barton, First Nations, is originally from Kincolith, a community in Northwestern B.C. He is employed by the Vancouver School Board as a First Nations School Support Worker. A writer of poetry and prose, Godwin has published inspirational stories in the much acclaimed "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. Godwin's blog

Jean Kay – Vice-President of the Canadian Authors Association, she is an inspirational poet who has written a poem every morning for the past ten years. Her book is titled MORNING LIGHT. Jean writes poems on request.

Warren Stevenson, with degrees from three different universities, he is enjoying his UBC emeritus afterglow at White Rock. Of four books of poetry and seven of scholarships, his most recent work is "Shakespeare's Authorship of the Additions to Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy 1602"

"Da Poet" (Bertha Clark) was born in San Francisco but has lived in Canada for many years. Well known for her powerful poetry and amazing style, Bertha will be sharing a selection of poems from her collection.

Ibrahim Honjo is originally from former Yugoslavia, an economist and journalist, organizing poetry events and festivals. Honjo has published nine books and will be launching his latest poetry collection "Roots In The Stone". Honjo is founder and host of the "Poetry Planet" group in Port Moody.

Diego Bastianutti Born in Fiume under Fascism, he emigrated to North America in 1952. He retired to Vancouver after a 30- year university career. Beside his academic publications, he has three volumes of poetry: Il punto caduto, 1994, La barca in secco, 1995, Per un pugno di terra / For a Fistful of Soil, 2006, plus A Major Selection of the Poetry of Giuseppe Ungaretti, Exile Editions, 1997, for which he was awarded the Canadian 1998 John Glassco Prize.


Other Things to Note

Volunteers Needed

Thank you to everyone who has already signed up to help at Van Slam

Semis and Finals nights. Volunteers make the show go. Your generosity

is wonderful and truly appreciated.

I am still looking for a couple more door people for both semi-finals

nights and for door and merch people for finals.

Here are the dates:

Monday April 7 - Semis night 1

Monday April 21 - Semis night 2

Monday May 5 - Finals

Volunteers need to show up by 7:45 on the April nights, and somewhat

earlier to help set up on Finals night.

Please email me if you haven't already, and would like to help.

I do adore you regardless, but I will even more when you say, "YES!"


"Sue McIntyre"

















Dwayne Morgan's career as a spoken word artist began in 1993. The winner of 3 Canadian Urban Music Awards, he has toured across North America, Jamaica, Barbados, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Budapest, Germany, France, and Holland, and has opened for illustrious international artists Alicia Keys, Saul Williams, Christian McBride, Les Nubians, and others. In 1994 he founded Up From The Roots Entertainment to promote the positive artistic contributions of African Canadian and urban-influenced artists. In 1998, he received the African Canadian Achievement Award, and the Harry Jerome Award for Excellence in the Arts. His latest book, The Making of A Man, hit stores in July, 2005. That same year he was the Poet of Honour (along with Sheri-D Wilson) at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Vancouver. His albums include, The Evolution, Soul Searching, A Decade in the Making, and Mellow Mood: The End of the Beginning. In collaboration with Driftwood Studios, Dwayne created Three Knocks, a short film based on his domestic violence poem of the same name, which premiered in Toronto's Reel World Film Festival. His first photo-poem exhibit was hosted at the Small Gallery in downtown Toronto in March, 2008. Dwayne's work has been used by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation's 'See People For Who They Really Are' print and television ad campaigns, as well as educational projects for the 411 Initiative for Change











contact for more info


604 215 9230

From Far and Away

Do you know of any poets?
A message from the Poet Laureate of Toronto....

BMI/Pace Architects and Planners is contracted to redesign the entrance
parkette of Oakwood Collegiate Institute, using ideally, verse written
by students and alumni of the school.

The project advisor for the poetry is Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, Poet Laureate of
The City of Toronto
. The poetry would be inscribed on design furniture and sculpture for permanent viewing.

Mr. Di Cicco invites alumni and students to submit to him poetry for consideration. He can be reached at .

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco
Poet Laureate of Toronto
Curator of The Toronto Museum Project and Global Center for Cities
Principal, Municipal Mind

Poets with Trees Reading on Sunday June 1. Mark your calendar now.
More details later.


Tuesday April 1, 7pm. North Beach Library, 2000 Mason Street San Francisco, CA 94133. Word Painters Reading Series celebrating National Poetry Month. Featured readers are Stephen Kopel, Jeanne Powell, Richard Beban, Rebecca Foust and Clara Hsu.

Monday, April 7, 7:30 pm (B&B special event)
A talk by the author, with music by renowned local conguero Ted Strong.

Ned Sublette author of The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square (Lawrence Hill Books, 2008) And Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums
to the Mambo
(Chicago Review Press, 2004). Bird and Beckett Books, 653 Chenery Street, San Francisco, 94131. Tel: 415-586-3733

Sunday April 13, 2-4pm. Alan Kaufman's memoir and fiction class reading with Cynthia Christian, Lee Collins, Kira Fisher, Rebecca Holtzman and Clara Hsu. Bird and Beckett Books, 653 Chenery Street, San Francisco, 94131. Tel: 415-586-3733

Friday April 18, 7pm. Pacifica Public Library Community Room 104 Hilton Way, Pacifica, CA 94044. Tel: (650) 355-5196. Bill Mercer and Clara Hsu will perform the Mystical Path.

Sunday April 27, 4-7:30p. Poetry Salon with featured poet Kevin Farey at the Gambier House. Potluck dinner, featured reading and a round of poetry from participants. Reservation by e-mail or phone.


Clara Hsu
301 Gambier Street
San Francisco, CA 94134-1341

tel: 415-244-1317

Bonnie Nish

Executive Director

Pandora's Collective