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|This story was originally titled "Queue Jumping" in the November 2013 issue.|
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Toronto-based poet and author Dionne Brand is known for her critically acclaimed novels and books of poetry. A professor at the University of Guelph, she talks about handwriting, her advice for authors and her ultimate book list.
On handwriting her manuscripts
"I'm kind of old school. That's how I learned to write, so that's how I write. Then, I find someone who understands my writing to type it up. It's a dead art.
On her mantra
"In Pablo Neruda's Nobel speech, there's a line that I sometimes put in my email signature: 'There is no insurmountable solitude.' We are connected as human beings. No life is particularly cut off."
On her favourite destination
"A few years ago, I went to the Atacama Desert in northern Chile with two friends. We landed in Calama and took a taxi to San Pedro de Atacama. What struck me about that road was the silence; utter silence is not something we know about, so, as a poet, I really liked the sound of that."
On advice to writers
"Read widely. So much has been written, and there are so many wonderful writers. What is the library you're working with, and what do you have to add? Then, step out of the boxes of conformity that have been laid down for you."
"The young people who take to the streets saying, 'Black Lives Matter' or 'Idle No More' are in the fight for the world we all want to inhabit—one without racism, without sexism, without homophobia. I look at them and think, Wow, you go."
On her next project
"I'm working on an ars poetica, a work on writing. It takes the form of an argument between someone called the author and someone called the clerk who keeps all of the author's discarded notes. It's this three-headed thing—a hybrid of prose, poetry and essay."
On dealing with race and gender inequality
"The weight these issues bring to bear on people's lives is heavy, but thinking them through isn't heavy. In fact, it lightens them. If we can think our way into a different and better world, isn't that a marvellous thing?"
Her book list
- Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
- The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich
- Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo
- Jazz by Toni Morrison
- Explosion in a Cathedral by Alejo Carpentier
Cherry Icebox Cookies
Any of these traditional cookies are sure to be a hit at your cookie exchange.
These red and green-speckled cookies are the perfect way to spread the festive spirit.
Get the recipe: Cherry Icebox Cookies
Everyone loves chewy toffee and melted chocolate. Mixing the two into a net little shortbread cup is a brilliant way to unite these two decadent treats.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cups
Canada, meet your new favourite cookie.
Get the recipe: Maple Shortbread
Eggnog is a rich indulgence, and these cookies live up to the name.
Get the recipe: Iced Eggnog Cookies
The holidays wouldn't be complete without sweet, buttery shortbread, so we've perfected a classic.
Get the recipe: The Ultimate Shortbread Cookies
Buttery shortbread gets a warm hug from spiced gingerbread dough in this mash-up of two favourite holiday cookies.
Get the recipe: Two-Tone gingerbread and shortbread cookies
Tested Till Perfect.
Get the recipe: Gingerbread Cookies
Rich dark chocolate and fragrant orange zest make these cookies ultra-sophisticated.
Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate, Orange and Cardamon Icebox cookies
Sweet chocolate chips and crunchy toffee bits give these buttery cookies a festive touch.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Toffee Icebox Cookies
Easy to make and undeniably popular, thumbprint cookies are the perfect no-fuss holiday sweet.
Get the recipe: Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
These cookies may look intricate, but they couldn't be simpler to make.
Get the recipe: Mint Chocolate Chip Icebox Cookies
Cinnamon and sugar make these cookies smell like everyone's favourite holiday breakfast.
Get the recipe: Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Use this classic ginger cookie dough to create four deliciously different ginger cookies.
Get the recipe: Basic Ginger Cookie Dough
Coarse sugar coats these delightful cookies, giving them an icy glow.
Get the recipe: Chewy Ginger Sparkles
Similar to French shortbread cookies called sables, these treats have a slightly sandy texture and rich flavour.
Get the recipe: Double Chocolate Icebox Cookies
A new study from the CDC has found that cat-scratch disease, a potentially serious bacterial infection, is more common that previously thought.
Did you know? That cuddle session with Cleo could be making you sick. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that when left untreated, more people are suffering serious complications from cat-scratch disease. Here's what you need to know.
What is cat scratch disease (CSD)?
Cat-scratch disease (or fever) is a bacterial infection that can affect humans following a scratch or bite from an infected domestic or feral cat. It can also spread when an infected cat licks a person’s open wound. The bacterial infection is passed between cats by fleas and can spread to humans, making them ill.
How can you get cat-scratch disease?
Humans risk contracting the disease when they’re bitten, scratched—and even from nuzzling a cat. According to the CDC, most cat scratches do not result in cat-scratch disease, but though the disease is rare, the study found that the number of people who are infected and become seriously ill is on the rise.
What are the symptoms? Can there be more serious complications?
According to the CDC, the symptoms of cat-scratch fever include fever; enlarged, tender lymph nodes that develop one to three weeks after the initial scratch; and the infected area may appear swollen and red with round, raised lesion that can have pus. You may also have a headache, poor appetite and exhaustion.
How do you avoid CSD? How is it treated?
The CDC recommends washing your hands after playing with a cat—even if you haven’t been bitten. If you do get scratched, immediately clean the area with soap and water and watch for any symptoms. If these do develop, see your doctor immediately. In serious cases, treatment with antibiotics may be prescribed.