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Autobiography Challenge: weekly round-up

Autobiography Challenge : Your submissions

A round-up of all the submissions we received last week for our Autobiography Challenge.

«Take the Canada Writes Autobiography Challenge!

"You Ate WHAT?!" by: Donald B. Campbell

Traumatized by his childhood of mashed potatoes and oatmeal porridge, a young man sets off for some gutsy gastronomic globetrotting.  Turtle soup.  Snake soup.  Dog soup.  Anything but ****bell's soup.  He samples fish eyes and roasted larvae.  Even gooey fermented squid innards.  "And that's NOT a good thing." - Martha Stewart

Donald B. Campbell
Saskatoon, SK

"Homeless at fifteen" by: Stacy Harvey

I was a feral child, raised by wolves as one of their own.
The wolves were useless at living off the land, but they did have a natural instinct for the basics of accounting. So that's why I ended up doing payroll instead of killing sheep with my teeth.

Stacy Harvey
Toronto, ON

"The Extordinary Ordinary Love Story" by: Nicole Korstanje

As a child she spent her days envisioning her future self. The image always the same. She would be married to a rich business man, living in a penthouse and a successful business woman.
At thirty she finds herself alone, living with her mother and considering the nunnery.

Nicole Korstanje
Beamsville, ON

Ech! by: Carolyn Dawson

Originally shared with four Facebook friends, Carolyn Dawson's heartbreaking memoir elicited a unanimous response. Dawson stoically recaps the tragic story of her life in 1984, having endured the yuppie-subculture, Scott Baio, glam rock, and fruit striped gum - and how she survived their devastating effects.

Carolyn Dawson
Windsor, ON

"I'm Winging It" by: Pat Lee

Little did I realize that a technical malfunction requiring me to ad-lib my lines for over five minutes while on stage, alone, in front of a packed school auditorium would empower me to dance my way out of sticky situations later in life.

Pat Lee
Elliot Lake, ON

A Genuine Tourist by: John Bridgman
After purchasing a sailing yacht in the Philippines, a Chinese syndicate expected me to collect $280 million of pure heroin in Hong Kong, and deliver it to the drug 'Kingpin' of Australia.
The moment I fulfilled my contract, everyone involved was reportedly captured, though I moved on to Thailand.

John Bridgman
Burlington, ON

Only Children by: Pat Buckna

All five of us were raised as only children. Gerry died of ALS.  I saw Bobby only once, on holidays, the day Dad screamed at him for changing his name. In a hotel that afternoon I met Sharon.  No-one mentioned Christine, the family secret, until the day Mom died.

Pat Buckna
Powell River, BC

True Story by Fiction Writer by: Lee Kvern

Writer drops English 30 in High School. "Excessive novel reading, too much Shakespeare," says Lee Kvern. Does four years Remedial English in college. "She writes a helluva cover letter," quips former professor. Later pens short story, which wins 2007 CBC Award. Headline in local newspaper: Writer Wins National Literacy Award.

Lee Kvern
Okotoks, AB

Locomotive Life by: Trevor Graumann

Trevor Graumann moves like a train: on rails, powered by steam. This magnificent tale recounts his promising early years in the special education program, his triumphant 1.5 GPA, and his career successes as a hair weaver, suppository tester, and head of the CBC. Is it a bird? A plane? Locomotive.

Trevor Graumann
Winnipeg, MB

The Man Who Wouldn't Die by: Jim Maher

Dead father.
Dead brother.
The Man Who Wouldn't Die follows the trials, but not the tribulations, of Jim Maher, a man whose only dream is to stray from the family path and not die.  Oh, and he fights a bear, a zombie, and Hitler by Chapter 3.

Jim Maher
Nanaimo, BC

To Scale a Rocky Chore by: Barbara Baker

Her short stories offer hot flash heat, the intrusiveness of pelvic exams, or the nonsensicality of new-age vacuum cleaners. Barbara Baker conjures up domestic chronicles as she scrambles peaks of her beloved Rockies, camera bag thumping off her hip, stubby pencil and notepad in her bag. Guess what? She's back.

Barbara Baker
Calgary, AB

First One Out by: Vanessa Sparks

Dear Mom,
Hopefully you aren't too upset by this book. Know that the confidence to write about being the healthy twin, the unexpected sex worker, all of it, came largely from you. Maybe skip the chapter about our Spanish pilgrimage; the diarrhea incident was too good to exclude.

Vanessa Sparks
Ottawa, ON


Glen Sexsmith had the unfortunate occupation as a cartographer. Unfortunate, because of his dyslexia. He became known as The Dyslexic Cartographer. A world traveller, continually, frustratingly, going the wrong direction. He'd crafted beautiful, artistic yet meaningless, pieces of misdirection. Always somewhere but never at the intended place.

Glen Sexsmith
Lakefield, ON

'On The Run' by: Bonnie Marder

Miss Marder spent her young childhood years, wakened hurriedly, always middle of the night, grabbing up stuff, rolling only what she could carry in her bedsheets. Another midnight move, along with her family, moving, living on the run from her fathers debtors was very hard on a tiny sick child.

Bonnie Marder
Toronto, ON

"If I Had a Clawhammer" by: Christine Lovelace

At the age of 40, when things started to sag and indigestion was a daily trial, Christine Lovelace decided that learning to play banjo would finally make her the hep kid she'd always wanted to be. Follow her on a topsy-turvy ride through the world of bum-ditty.

Christine Lovelace
Ottawa, ON

Self-Constrained Underwhelming Breeder Acrobatics by: Eric Rumble

People who can make babies do not necessarily know how. Drawing on years of lame courtship and futile attraction, Rumble explores the grey side of dating, revealing how to sidestep that special someone. Sometimes he tries too hard. Sometimes he tries foolishly. Sometimes he gets duped. Always he tries again.

Eric Rumble
Montreal, QC

Adventures of a Recovering Wallflower by: Karen Gilmore

Inside her, the prudent wallflower battled the fun-loving free spirit. Sure, she'd travelled, even skydived, but in life's bigger matters - her career, her willingness to put herself "out there" with people - she'd played it safe. So she quit her steady job and started searching, not knowing what she'd find!

Karen Gilmore
Ottawa, ON

The Reality of Television by: Dina Del Bucchia

How does a beach enthusiast juggle over twenty hours of quality television viewing per week, all while maintaining a social life and eating chips? With pure love. This heartwarming memoir explores one woman's intensely intimate and satisfying relationship with television. Their love will transform how you feel about love.

Dina Del Bucchia
Vancouver, BC

Facts or Imagination by: Handan Kurunc

Once upon a time, not the loudest wind, but a genie woke Handan up with a question in a rusty tone: endless possessions or one love, white wine or the red, believing or questioning? Without blinking, "The latter choices, please," she replied smiling.

Handan Kurunc
Thornhill, ON

Feeling Dizzy by: Valerie Hogan

Wandering through life without direction but with a nagging sense of Deja Vu, it is only when Valerie finds she is a student again at the age of 46 that she wonders if her life is a spiritual journey or a remake of Groundhog Day.

Valerie Hogan
Carleton Place, ON

Twenty-Five to Life by: Hollis Sinker

In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, and turning more into her mother each day, Hollis Sinker seeks solace in hindsight's lessons and boxed wine. Take heed and read; you just might learn why the answer to, "wanna see something neat?" should always be "no." And that's only the introduction!

Hollis Sinker
Toronto, ON

Pit Mair In. by: Stuart Mark

Stuart Mark dwelled on a diet of deep-fried intention and ketchup, until he was driven out of Scotland for hating football and using passive verbs. Head down into the Chinook wind, Stuart collided with the Rockies and woke as a Canadian, but he is still arrogantly garbled by his homeland.

Stuart Mark
Okotoks, AB

The Biography of an Unknown by: Reinaldo Boada

While on vacation I got the bright idea to talk to anyone who was near to me, the goal was to find out how much truth there is in the first words spoken between strangers. Comedy and tragedy of a person unknown at all in the city of Caracas, Venezuela.

Reinaldo Boada
Oakville, ON

"I : A Novel" by: Paul Marlowe

In any reasonable country, Paul Marlowe would be declared a national treasure. Not, perhaps, along the lines of the crown jewels, of course. More the sort of treasure that grandmother appreciated: something nicely sparkly, but considered in rather bad taste now. Definitely something that should be locked up securely, though.

Paul Marlowe
Sackville, NB

So What if I Waddle? By: Brianne Morgan

Speaking out for the first time about the trials and tribulations of being raised by penguins, Brianne Morgan delivers a heart-wrenchingly sarcastic account of the stereotypes and misconceptions that contemporary society has against the tuxedo-wearing waddlers of Antarctica.

Brianne Morgan
Fonthill, ON

Anne ain't here by: Lisa Bulman Taylor

On an Island nostalgic for Green Gables, Lisa grew up wondering why life was not idyllic. Anne never tackled struggles of abuse, addiction and mental illness on her island. Digging through the dirt of a thousand silences, this author finds her way out of the past and into her own.

Lisa Bulman Taylor
Charlottetown, PE

No More Expectations, Just life. by: Annie Dulong

She wanted to explore the world and write epic poems. But, she became her mother's daughter, and lead an unremarkable life. It was only at the exact moment she stopped searching for mountains to climb that her real story began. And it was everything but ordinary.

Annie Dulong
Montreal, QC

Makhdoom: the Autobiogrepic. by: Mustapha Makhdoom

1988: In the beginning...
The hour is midnight. Aliens are everywhere. Heavy losses, they've taken the placenta. There's really no choice left. Slash and burn, destroy everything. These bastards forced our world into destruction. Retreat is temporary, it's time to bring havoc. So it begins.

Mustapha Makhdoom
Lethbridge, AB

Down to Earth Fly Girl by: Joanne Underwood

Lusting, lying, laughing, living--JU does it all in this tea table tome filled with fistfuls of photographs and puddles of prose promising passion, politeness (she IS Canadian) and unparalleled procrastination, a book offering glimpses of gumption and an ending which might just leave you hanging...(see procrastination reference above).

Joanne Underwood
Calgary, AB

Where's the @#$% honey? by: Kyla Hanington

Clawing her way up the landslide of life, Kyla Hanington takes us on the humorous journey of raising two children - and herself - while having the attention span of a bee on crack. Kyla crashes from one adventure to another with an overabundance of both enthusiasm and swearing.

Kyla Hanington
Nanaimo, BC

The Househusband by: Tom Bauer

He was a lousy husband, but he did good staying home with the kids. Was he thinking about gender reparation? Maybe penance. Then he opens a Montessori daycare. What was that about? Money? Freedom? Love? One man, a parade of women, and all he's getting is more dirty diapers.

Tom Bauer
Montreal, QC

"Running with Scissors" by: Alice Moran

It was like a sprinkler.  Although only four years old, this was not the most blood I had ever seen. Blood and cruse words spilled out of my dad and onto my mother.
"Happy Mother's Day!" I beamed.
This was life in the Moran family home.

Alice Moran
Oakville, ON

They All Fall Down by: Mary E. McIntyre

In a freak storm, a centuries-old elm smashes her grandmother's cottage on Lake Scugog, killing a child. The fallout as told by ten-year old McIntyre relives the tragedy of 1957, and chronicles the stoicism of an extended British immigrant family. On Washburn Island, unfamiliar grief replaces child-like innocence.

Mary E. McIntyre
Stouffville, ON

Not Older, Different by: Michael Hall

Time; It's difficult, when you don't believe something, to express yourself in terms of it.  I can see things change, but I am not things.  Although I am a collection of things, is imagination?
The mind is limitless, time is a distraction; is this what it's like to live forever?

Michael Hall
Ottawa, ON

Me So Far by: Ted McInnis

Blessed with a fine wife, great children, and darling grandchildren. Deep Nova Scotian roots and relatives. More laughter than tears. Many victories, many defeats - none at anyone else's expense.

Ted McInnis
St Margaret's Bay, NS

Cuddle with a Coffee Cup by Vanessa Gallant

From amongst random cultural and educational experiences, comes this accidental journalist. Follow her journey from "the weird girl who likes horses and books" to an aspiring lawyer, to a lost undergraduate, and finally a renewed undergraduate who pursues a career in publishing despite parental skepticism and the invasion of e-books.

Vanessa Gallant
Wolfville, NS


I caught fireflies in Trinidad.
I drew my first horse in Thunder Bay.
I watched whales frolic in Gaspé.
I rappelled down a cliff in Mallorca.
I rode an Arabian in Algeria.
I almost rode my scooter into a cow in the Dominican Republic.
I write about it in Ontario.

Sandra Turnsek
Newmarket. ON

Looking for Life by: Travis Livingston

As a young child, Travis Livingston become experienced in African traditions. He somehow managed to speak English among the eleven other dialects. He since migrated to the rainy streets of Southern England and the snow capped peaks of Canada. Spending his life in new friendships and confrontations.

Travis Livingston
Debert, NS

Tea and Scrabble Anyone? by: Iris Nixon

She appreciates a formidable game of Scrabble.  The mother of three lovely daughters she is proficient in Fairy tales and pony tails. A partially completed New York Times crossword lingers her pocket.  To her, happiness is a piping hot cup of tea and a freshly baked gingersnap cookie.

Iris Nixon
Nanaimo, BC

The Top of the Bottom by: Jason Murray

A face for radio, Jason Murray is driven by desire to add to, participate in, and challenge the conversation. His curiosity led him to over 20 countries in search of the mysteries behind his own creativity. An avid writer, artist, and musician he remains unemployable despite journalism and education degrees.

Jason Murray
Riverview, NB


In this side-splitting autobiography Salt Spring writer Evelyn C. White details her expulsion from the Brownies on the first day the troop met. The event triggers a revenge plot in which the author, then age 7, devises a plan to commit the perfect murder. Tupperware is involved.

Evelyn White
Salt Spring Island, BC


What makes Frank tick? A clock? Nope! The watch on his arm? Nope! You betcha, the drumstick. between his teeth, and the pair dancing tween his hands. This guy aint no turkey wanna be meatball! He be one out of this world drummer.

Andrew Westcott
Loretto, ON

Northern Irregular by: Lev Bratishenko

Pressganged into the Soviet National Hockey team at age 6, Lev Bratishenko defected to Canada at the first opportunity and wired his parents enough money to join him. So begins a tale of international weirdness and scandal that the Pope called "Unspeakable! I'll burn it as soon as I'm done."

Lev Bratishenko
Montreal, QC

Hips, Whips, and Battleships by: Danielle McTaggart

Soon after my husband's enlistment I knew that tending home fires wouldn't be enough. My search for definition beyond "dependent" would bring me to the fringes of society's tapestry. But can Lusty B. Fearsome the belly-dancing roller derby diva still find acceptance in the conservative world of officer's wives?

Danielle McTaggart
Kingston, ON

Afgincan by: Avista Homayun

Born in Kabul, raised in Delhi, living in Gatineau, Avista Homayun has managed to annoy people in three countries. People who know her describe her as "that girl". Though passionate about writing since the age of five, this Afgincan's works are often the product of great efforts at procrastination.

Avista Homayun
Gatineau, QC

Shehrazade 2.0 by: Elen Ghulam

From the land of Arabian Night, comes a story teller of a different kind. Elen Ghulam is the author of 'Don't Shoot! ... I have another story to tell you". She is a passionate blogger at www.ihath.com

Elen Ghulam
Vancouver, BC

A Happy Dysfunctional Family by: Carole Gagné

Most outsiders think we are from another planet. Maybe I am, therefore my children must be part alien. A series of disjunctions has brought me here, I kept our dysfunctional family traditions alive. And through struggles and determination, I brought one unexpected feeling into the mix, "happiness".

Carole Gagné
Morin-Heights, QC

Patricia The Great by: Patricia Tabascio

When Patricia enters a room, she is met with an applause fit for the greatest king. To some she is a renaissance woman. To others she is the living embodiment of the most graceful, wise, and powerful Greek goddess. She is the woman that is none of these things.

Patricia Tabascio
Toronto, ON

Imagining a Life Mundane by: Shawn Holland

Living in a camper, a life touched by alcoholism, prescription drug use, Christian fundamentalism, poverty, and a bratty little brother, all I could do from age four was lose myself in my imagination.  But how can you imagine a normal life when what surrounds you is anything but.

Shawn Holland
Courtenay, BC

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set count down final date: 11/01/2014
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