Just a brief note to say that Impact: Women Writing After Concussion is slated to be an audiobook. So much gratitude for this collaboration between CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) and BPAA (Book Publishers Association of Alberta)! The audiobook version will increase accessibility and hopefully reach more of the people who most need to read the book. Expected release in spring 2022.
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As I write, two anniversaries approach. International Women’s Day, March 8, is a day to celebrate women’s many achievements and to advocate for women’s rights. March 5 marks one year since the first presumptive COVID-19 case was identified here in Alberta. How are these connected? The pandemic is disproportionally costing women mentally, financially, and emotionally. This inequality extends to people with disabilities, Indigenous populations, lower-income households, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, the elderly, and more.
It’s been a challenging year. Where I live, we continue to stay close to home, wear masks, and limit our exposure to public places and people. We use Zoom, Skype, and Instagram to stay connected, but the connection is so much LESS. I miss going to book launches and readings. I miss sharing meals with family and friends. And I worry about so many people around me. Pandemic life feels unnatural. It wears me down daily. It’s a strange way for communal creatures to co-exist.
One bright light during this pandemic year has been working with Jane Cawthorne on Impact, our new book about women writing about their lives after concussion. Because Jane and I live on opposite sides of the country, the pandemic hasn’t changed the way we work all that much. But the book has kept us connected at a time when we can’t visit. And having both had concussions, we’ve also noticed some similarities between post-concussion life and pandemic life. The brain fog, the requirement for isolation. How will we reconnect when this is over? What's on the other side? Maybe this book is a bridge.
This International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the ways we work together as women. Let's reforge our connections.
A swimmer who collects trash. A childhood bicycle ride through Toronto. A recipe for beef and cucumbers. A harrowing security check in the Seattle airport. In Impact: Women Writing After Concussion, my latest collection with Jane Cawthorne, twenty-one writers weave together story and truth as they contemplate the aftermath of concussion.
Like our last book, Impact is a literary work. It does not offer scientific or medical expertise. And yet, we know these new works will add to the understanding of concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI.) We know that research still focusses on men, and specifically men in sport. We also know that, when men’s bodies and experiences are considered normative, women are invisible and their needs are not met.
All of the women writing in Impact have struggled to get appropriate care. And so, in this volume, many of the writers contemplate what recovery means when “getting back to normal” is no longer an option. Sharing their most vulnerable selves, the writers in this volume take up a wide range of topics—including return to physical activity, caregiving for family members with concussion, confrontations with ableism, struggles with mental health, and what it means to create and write with a hobbled brain.
E. D. Morin and Jane Cawthorne, editors
University of Alberta Press
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