Member Profile

Heather Menzies

Menzies

There is a connecting thread of sorts through all my rather diverse writings, from the truth and lies of national unity in my first book, The Railroad’s Not Enough (1978) to our transformation as communities, institutions and society through globalization and the internet, in Women and the Chip (1981), Whose Brave New World? (1996) and No Time: Stress and the Crisis of Modern Life. As Ellen Rose wrote about me in The Antigonish Review, I always tell stories. And I can still remember all the people who told me their stories: in 1977, the potato farmer on the north shore of New Brunswick who I approached, in skirt and sandals, across the field he was tilling beside his homestead with “potato house” hand lettered in black on the white-painted boards, because something told me that here was someone who could evoke what being Canadian was in this particular part of the country. In 1981, I drove to Ste. Agathe, Quebec to meet the women who’d worked for generations as local switchboard operators and had suddenly been made redundant by Bell’s automatic switching systems. The company held a farewell lunch for the women, where they were each given a rose, a plastic rose, a 15-cent plastic rose, the women told me. They had priced the company’s esteem of them. Most recently, for what became the award-winning No Time book, there was the overnight trip I took with a long-haul trucker to experience some of the contradictions between the on-screen world of instant action and the complexities of real life where literally the rubber hits the road.
Now, in my late 50s, I’m finally ready to write my own stories. It has taken this long because as Nicole Brossard once observed, in order to write authentically, “you must first belong to yourself.” It’s been a long journey, a long struggle too. But I have finally come home to myself. I’m more anchored in my love for my dear son, Donald, making his way into a career of his own, in web-page creation. I’m more intimately present with friends and family, and members of the church community that has become my spiritual home. I’m also just more alive in my own skin, free, strong and confident enough to plumb the wells of time within me. The first of this new writing was published in Chatelaine Magazine in May, ’07, in a photo essay called “Mum, Alzheimer’s and me.” It’s a prelude to the full-fledged memoir called Enter Mourning: a memoir on death, dementia and coming home, which is in final-draft stage. With luck, it will be published in the Spring of 2008. Stay tuned.

Phone number:

Publications

Who's Brave New World?. Toronto: Between the Lines, 1996.
Fastforward and Out of Control. Toronto: Macmillan Canada, 1989.
Computers on the Job. Toronto: James Lorimer, 1982.
Women and the Chip. Toronto: IRPP, 1981.
The Railroad's Not Enough: Canada Now. Toronto: Clarke-Irwin, 1978.
No Time: Stress and the Crisis of Modern Life. Douglas & McIntyre, 2005

Awards

Goodwin Magazine Award for "Rethinking Abortion", 1991.
Ottawa Book Award for No Time: Stress and the Crisis of Modern Life, 2006
Eligible for National Public Readings Program :
Yes

WITS

Northern OAC WITS:
No
GST:
GST not applicable