...In the end, everyone is aware of this:
nobody keeps any of what [s]he has,
and life is only a borrowing of bones.
This poem fragment describes my realization of, and gratitude for, the fact that everything I am and have builds on what is given and available to me. I recognize myself as interdependent, as interconnected. And bones — such an earthy, almost spectral image! But there’s something wonderful about bones. Set within us, so many of them, and varied, yet each one vital. Making the shape of us.
This blog will probably take me in all kinds of directions — who knows? — exploring and borrowing the bones of my heritage, my environment, my responsibilities. The bones of books, articles, poems — writing, that is, whether mine or others’. The tone may be reflective at times, or informing, probably opinionated on occasion, and (I’m hoping) humorous now and then. I happened to grow up Mennonite, which informs my comment and curiosity, though I prefer the label Anabaptist for the faith piece of it.
Dora Dueck is an award-winning writer, former editor, avid reader, and lay historian. She is the author of four books of fiction, as well as articles, essays, and short stories in a variety of journals, and, most recently, a book of non-fiction, Return Stroke: essays & memoir (CMU Press, 2022). Her novel This Hidden Thing won Manitoba Book of the Year prize in 2011 and her short story collection What You Get at Home won the 2013 High Plains Award for short fiction. Her novella “Mask” was the winner of The Malahat Review’s 2014 novella contest. (Please see more about her writing at the relevant pages.) She and her late husband Helmut have three adult children and ten grandchildren. She grew up in Alberta, lived many years in Winnipeg, and now resides in Tsawwassen, B.C., grateful to spend these years on the beautiful traditional territories of the Tsawwassen and Musqueam and other Coast Salish Peoples.
Welcome here! — Dora Dueck
NOTE: All rights reserved: all posts/pages on this blog, except for links to other sites or attributed material and comments by others, are the sole and copyrighted property of Dora Dueck and may not be reprinted without permission, except for standard web linking formats. To use in other formats, or to contact:
dueckdrd (at) gmail.com.
Beautiful blog. I really like the name “borrowing bones” and the quotation — so true! We will check back often to see what you’re working on.
Welcome to the blogosphere Dora!
A kindred spirit 🙂
You sound like someone I’d love to have a coffee with…Keep writing. I like how you think.
All the best,
Hi Dora, Sarah K. told me about your blog. Glad to have a look at it!
Thanks all, Dayna, Ryan, Colleen — coffee in cyberspace, reading one another’s blogs — and Sally.
Very nice site and great thoughts. Blessings on you as you work this new and dynamic medium. I’ll be reading 🙂
Dora, I too love your blog title and design. Thanks for leaving a comment about my blog on Colleen Friesen’s. I hope to stay in touch with your posts, and I’d love to have you as a regular reader also. I’m sure I could keep educating myself about Mennonite Brethren and writing by doing so. Peace and joy.
How glad I am that Pa Conrad gave me your web address and I can at my leisure explore your writings. What fun. I am saving the stories….for a good block of time.
MaryAnn! Good to hear from you. I saw you at MAP when I first signed up — also intending on “a good block of time” to explore further which hasn’t arrived yet — I like your self-portrait (I’m assuming) there.
Do keep me posted Dora. The blog is inspiring and reveals a competent word-smith.
Dear Dora, I’m all caught up in family geneology and, of course, the origins of the MB church which all of my relatives in the 18-20 century belonged.
After reading heaps of on and off line stuff, I’m convinced that the MB church, like most evangelicals today, is simply a bunch of Christians who actually believe what the Bible says. Today, in the 21st century, the only issues that separate say, Baptists from MB or other evangelicals is the MB historical emphasis on peace.
What do you think? As for me, living here in Australia for the past 38 years, I have no contact at all with Mennonites but I simply can’t shake the ID inherent in my family’s history. cheers Harold Schmor Cairns Qld Australia
Hello Harold. In asking about identity, you’ve asked the million dollar question, I think, but I suspect you’re right, there’s not a lot of difference! Thanks for stopping by!
I am not responding to this blog- not yet- but I love that Neruda fragment. I will definitely be making visits here soon.
Today, I just want to thank you for that lovely obituary of your aunt, Margaret Harder, which appeared in this morning’s Globe and Mail. Bill found it first and shared it with me and my siater Clara and via her, with my mom). Very moving and beautifully written. I had always just known who she was, and it was wonderful to learn more of who she REALLY was.
Thanks for this, Marlene.
I have followed your comment on Shirley Showalter’s website now to your own. Your accomplishments as a writer are impressive, and I love the fresh ways you present familiar and unfamiliar things. Cliff and I have always loved visiting Canada. We have wonderful memories of Banff and Victoria.
Thanks so much, Marian, and I noticed you too, on Shirley’s site! Isn’t it interesting how the internet can bring people together.
Your dear friend and my dear cousin Eunice told me about your blog. I have been enjoying reading through it. Your exploration of the death of JFK reminded me that I was standing on the stage in the Linden school supervising noon hour activities. My brother Les came rushing in to tell me the unbelievable news. I remember feeling temporarily paralyzed. Having been your grade nine Language/Literature/Social Studies teacher at the time,I don’t remember how we handled this in the classroom. Thanks for sharing your story.
Secondly, the comments about bones and the Neruda quote, reminded me of another related quote – author unknown:
“It ain’t no sin to jump out or your skin
and dance around in your bones.”
Wonderful to hear from you, John, though habit wants me saying “Mr Loewen”. I can’t remember either what happened in the classroom though I do know that we went and watched on the school television in the stage area of the gym, so you must have dismissed us. My brother Al reminds me that we didn’t have a TV yet at that time. Most of my sense of the event came from print media and the radio. — Well, one could reminisce at length, but wishing you all the best, and thanks for the “dance around in your bones” quote!
I just finished reading Mask and I must say It is the best thing I have ever read in a literary magazine. I do read a lot of them. I write for an online magazine http://www.citadelmagazine.com I would love to interview you for an article.
dustan j. hlady
Hello Dora. I just read Mask for the third time! I had read it last summer, and now re-discovered and re-read it twice. It is a beautiful, unforgettable piece of writing. Your imagery, sensitivity and strong character development are all a model for others to follow. I have made many notes! I will be reading your other work and following your newsletter. Congratulations on your mastery of the art of words. You have inspired me.
Thank you Lise for encouraging me today. Writers do enjoy hearing from readers! I see from your website/blog that you write as well. I want to wish you the very best with your projects. Bringing the past to light via stories is something I resonate with as well and warmly affirm.
Hi Dora–great to get reacquainted with you again. Karla Braun was so kind as to send me your contact info. I admire your spunk in going public with a blog. Do readers just come, like moths to the flame? Do you have a reader community, who have followed you over the years? Or do you somehow market your offerings? I enjoyed the blogs I read about your new life in B.C.
Yes, and welcome to my blog, Ken. Moths to a flame might over-estimate the appeal of these posts, now less frequent than when I started, for various reasons, but I do have some committed readers and appreciate them very much! Those who sign on as followers get a notice of new posts. Would be pleased to have you among them!