The Writing Menopause literary anthology is a diverse and robust collection about menopause: a highly charged and often undervalued transformation. It includes over fifty works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, interviews and cross-genre pieces from contributors across Canada and the United States that break new ground in portraying menopause in literature. The collection includes literary work from award-winning writers such as Roberta Rees, Margaret Macpherson, Lisa Couturier and Rona Altrows. Emerging voices such as Rea Tarvydas, Leanna McLennan, Steve Passey and Gemma Meharchand, and an original interview with trans educator and pioneering filmmaker Buck Angel, are also featured. This anthology fills a sizable gap, finding the ground between punchline and pathology, between saccharine inspiration and existential gloom. The authors neither celebrate nor demonize menopause. These are diverse depictions, sometimes lighthearted, but just as often dark and scary. Some voices embrace the prospect of change, others dread it.Together, this unique offering reflects the varied experience of menopause and shatters common stereotypes.
“We live it but we don’t often talk about it publicly. Reading this book is like joining a hot conversation of distinct voices, each with a unique approach to storytelling. Their stories are clever, funny, and sometimes, bloody embarrassing. They talk about living with symptoms that keep you awake, melt your skin and your patience, and make you loud, cranky, and tearful. Their stories tell us how menopause shifted their thinking about their bodies, aging, fertility, sexuality and gender identity. When I finished the last page I felt as free as I did getting to the other side of menopause.”
—Diana L. Gustafson, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John’s, and co-author of Reproducing Women: Family and Health Work Across Three Generations
“Strong women. Sexy women. Funny, proud, and beautiful women, living life to the full and in charge of their own destiny. Sometimes hot and sweaty, but never afraid. This anthology of poetry and prose provides an inspirational insight into the complexity of women’s experience of menopause. There may be lows, but these are far outweighed by the highs. Reading this book made me both laugh and cry, and feel glad to be a woman at mid-life. I recommend it highly.”
—Jane M. Ussher, author of The Madness of Women: Myth and Experience, and The Psychology of the Female Body
“This volume breaks the silence surrounding menopause through women’s stories of their own experiences of this important life transition. It should be essential reading for health practitioners, women’s health researchers, and women living through, or anticipating, this phase of their lives. As the accounts in this book demonstrate, it can often be the best phase.”
—Janette Perz, Director of the Centre for Health Research, Western Sydney University
"Remember the not-so-distant past, when women didn’t speak about menopause—except in tones that expressed diminishing dread, as if a women’s worth was connected to fertility and birth. This collection will help to evolve arcane perceptions. As every woman’s experience with menopause is unique, so is every piece in this collection. The more we listen and the more we speak, the more our wisdom surges. The more we learn about our woman-beings, the more we reframe the myths that have isolated us from true nature—from the wild we have in our spirits."
—Sheri-D Wilson, Poet
Jane Cawthorne's work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, literary journals, on CBC and in academic journals. In 2011, she was a finalist for the Alberta Writers Guild, Howard O’Hagan Short Fiction Award for her story "Weight." Her play, The Abortion Monologues, has been produced many times in the United States and Canada. Jane has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Solstice Program at Pine Manor College in Boston and lives in Toronto.
E. D. Morin’s fiction, poetry, interviews, book reviews and essays have appeared in such publications as Fiction Southeast, The Antigonish Review, Alberta Views, Wascana Review and Alternatives Journal, and her work has been produced for broadcast on CBC Radio. Winner of the 2007 Brenda Strathern Late Bloomers Writing Prize, Elaine co-directs the annual Calgary reading series Writing in the Works.
Anthology explores the underreported topic of menopause: Inside Jane Cawthorne and E.D. Morin's Writing Menopause
reviewed by This Magazine - March 17, 2017
Writing Menopause is a revolutionary collection of work passionately and bravely confronting menopause, a topic society tends to avoid. Featuring several types of writing, editors Jane Cawthorne and E.D. Morin expertly assemble a meaningful collection written from a diverse cross-section of North Americans. Though the styles and the writers are so varied, the book flows seamlessly from one piece to the next. The writers explore every aspect of this phase in life, from perimenopause to hot flashes, and the feeling of loss to the stigma menopause has on a person’s mental state. The anthology sets the stage for future public conversations about the end of menstruation.
THE CHRISSIE HYNDE STORIES
by Rea Tarvydas
I drove the pilot pickup truck and Chrissie Hynde rode shotgun: forty
kilometres an hour across the flatlands.….
“What happened with your husband?” she asked.
“I just need to be alone for a while.” I needed time to figure myself out.
“Listen, I’ve been on my own for a long while. I didn’t exactly plan on
it happening. It just happened. But I believe in love.”
And I told her how I didn’t know what I believed. About a lot of things:
writing, love, marriage. How living with a middle-aged man preoccupied
with his aging body was hard work. How I couldn’t talk to him. How I
couldn’t to talk to strangers anymore.
“We’re all strangers, aren’t we?” she blasted through the megaphone.
I winced. “Do you have to use the megaphone?”
“You bet. I’ve got shit to say. Why in the hell are you moving your
“Geographical adventure. Dangerous impulses beneath the stucco.”
“The wiring’s hot?”
I nodded and fiddled with the radio knob. Reception was intermittent
on that one stretch of road.
“Yeah, that’s menopause for you. Listen, you gotta have fun. I had an
affair with a younger man a few years ago,” she blurted out the window
through the megaphone. A chain of birds startled off the telephone wires
that underlined the prairie sky.
“What was that like?”
“It was a doomed relationship, but the sex was fantastic. You’re on hiatus
from your marriage. You should give it a try.”
I considered sex with a younger man. Twenty-five years since I’d disrobed
in front of a man other than my husband. I considered the dangers
of vigorous sex when lubrication was an issue. Cystitis at a minimum. “I
don’t think I’m ready for that.”
“Do it anyway,” said Chrissie Hynde.