The Weighing of the Heart by Nicole Eriks
2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist
Nicole Eriks has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for The Weighing of the Heart.
The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 24. The winner will be announced on Oct. 1.
Nicole grew up all over western and northern Canada, from the wide prairie landscape of Saskatchewan to the rugged coasts of Vancouver Island. Though she currently calls Whitehorse home, she misses the tall trees and wild shores of the Pacific Northwest, but she does not miss the rain. As a geologist, she spends the majority of her summers exploring Canada's vast north and licking rocks. In her spare time, you'll find Nicole doing science with youth, mountain biking, trying to catch her two dogs in the woods and being scolded by her wonderful wife to stop licking rocks.
Entry in five-ish words
"The heavy burden of grief."
The story's source of inspiration
"This story was written as a way to ease the substantial feelings of grief and guilt I have over the sudden loss of my best friend from childhood to suicide."
How much does six feet of dirt weigh?
When I was younger, the story of Anubis and his golden scales fascinated me. The Weighing of the Heart. Mythology says the great jackal headed god would weigh the heart against a single ostrich feather. Heavy hearts were swallowed whole, only those with the lightest hearts were allowed a beautiful afterlife. How wonderful a sentiment, to have a heart lighter than a feather.
As I grow older, I realize the scales are rigged. The tipping point lies as close to the heart as it possibly can, buried beneath six feet of dirt. How much does six feet of dirt weigh? Is it as heavy as my heart? Is it as substantial as my grief? Is it the reason the scales tip in favour of some long forgotten god?
The winner of the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.