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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > December 2018 > PERSONAL ESSAY True stories


Mixing memoir, fantasy, and non-fiction was a way to engage in a conversation with a deceased brother, writes

My older brother Clifford wanted to be a scientist. He never got the chance: on a road just outside Prince Arthur, Saskatchewan, he was killed by a drunk driver. In Aboriginal culture, it is common to honour a person with a song. I am not a songwriter, so when I decided to honour my brother, I chose to tell a story instead. Pure memoir – a repetition of the events that made up his life, or a telling of his deeds – was not enough. He was more than what he had said and what he had done. His life had been cut short, and any retelling would miss the important part: his potential. In honouring Clifford, I wanted to emphasize his brilliance, his philosophy, and his refusal to accept dogma.

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