A Giving Voice: Short Biography of Deanna Reder

A Giving Voice (n): 

A person who hands themselves over in the service of revealing truth; who gives­ even their voice in making sure the untold is spoken. 

Here in Canada, many still shy away from the basic truth of our colonial history: that European settlers erased the voices of entire populations already living here, stifling the heart of What-We-Could-Have-Been.

Even today reconciliation with this truth sometimes seems little more than a distant hope on the horizon; and yet, there are those who refuse to let such a cause die. Who give even their voices to this truth above all else, and who aren’t afraid to stand up for the many voices which were lost then—voices of healing that we need now more than ever to understand. 

A Giving Voice is Deanna Reder. 

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Still Learning: Confronting Myself on ‘Naming the Unnamed’ Within

Sometimes, when something hurts me, it takes a while for me to feel it. I’m the kind that won’t even realize I’d been so affected until much later, years after, and at random. 

Sometimes, what I’ve suppressed never comes to light at all.

Usually this is because, “I don’t know where to put it.” Slow to process, quick to Proceed Past, I’m always moving onto the next thing before I’ve even finished the first. And if one of these things should get stuck in the “forgetting”, the “suppressing”, it’s rejection will likely bring it back up.

Finally found, it causes a shake—a paling, like I’ve seen a ghost. For some time, casting the world in the glare of its light, it is all that I can see. 

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Clasping Hands with the “Women Who Named the Unnamed”

May I ask you a question, imagined reader?

Who do you think of – who pops into your mind first – when you imagine a woman in your life who has ‘named the unnamed’? Who has stood up in the face of being told to stay quiet only to say simply, I won’t?

When asking myself the same, I feel lucky to find not just one but many such women fill the space—at least, these days I do. Like a breath of fresh air, it’s recently become easier to reach out and find that desperately needed connection with these others—these women who manifest in my mind’s eye as a clasping of many hands (of my hands) outside of space, and time, and memory. 

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Lita

We’d already been going there for weeks.

And we’d learned a few things about that old house, the tall thin one with too many stories it seemed. Like how we all felt safer in one room with all the doors closed, or that it was better to light three candles than one. Or that if me and Lita – but only us – sat in the two chairs by the indoor tree on the third floor with everyone around, noises would begin and we would all giggle and jump up and clap, happy that we’d scared everyone once again before we fell to bed, at least one of us up and watching the ceiling for spiders or rats or whatever anyone else was dreaming of that might come to life there. For everything felt possible, in the swirls of the wood grain, as the distorted faces of creatures leapt from one wall to another.

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Reversal

Slowly, to consciousness, come and find your face crushed on pavement viscous. Dirt falling from eyelashes, blinking it away, gradually bringing your mind around.

On a long-stretch of road, nose full of tar, all movement meagre, your energy’s long fallen from bones. Use your dwindling strength to bring back what happened. Raise hand to forehead and press down on the crumbling wound there.

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