This is My City

Forming Voices Out of the Noise

There’s nothing quiet about the room where the writers are writing – quietly. The art studio at the Drop-In Centre is filled with artists’ bright creations and artists themselves. A man stands in the corner painting and we hear his brush strokes on the canvas. Another man plays an electronic piano at the other end of the small, cramped room. He wears headphones so the music is muted. Although we hear his fingers banging on the keyboard. Other men sift through papers and cardboard looking for a canvas. Some mutter to themselves about finding the perfect piece. Nursing students from the University of Calgary come in and out of the studio. They walk softly, as not to disturb anything.

When I first started my memoir writing workshops at the centre, one of the participants told me to always expect interruptions. Before the Drop-In my teaching spaces have been calm and absent of any intrusion. Writers have quiet and room to muse about their pasts, to wonder about their futures. The writers at the centre have to build walls to keep the sounds and delays from cutting into their memories and puncturing their tomorrows.

But no matter what they’re presented with they keep going. They keep writing. Other classes might have complained about the noise and the clatter and the chatter. These guys don’t and I’m in awe of the stories that break through the din to claim their own voice.



Story by Lea Storry, Family Lines

Artist Mentor

Write YOUR Story Workshop, Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre



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