Kelley Jo Burke embarks on a wild journey to understand many things, including the part where her grandfather sort of murdered her grandmother. Returning to a house filled with her first memories of childhood, she begins to explore the complex origins of her own anxiety. Along the way, she reflects on alienation and immigration, mental health and generational trauma, and the nature of memory itself. A memoir filled with raw honesty, comedy, tragedy and grace.
Kelley Jo Burke
Kelley Jo Burke is an award-winning Regina playwright, creative nonfiction writer and documentarian, a professor of theatre and creative-writing, and was for many years host of CBC Radio's SoundXchange. The 2017 winner (with composer Jeffery Straker) of Playwright Guild of Canada's national Best New Musical Award for Us, which premiered at the Globe Theatre 2018, and a new musical "The Curst" will premiere at Dancing Sky Theatre, May, 2020. Recent plays include "The Lucky Ones (Dancing Sky Theatre)," The Selkie Wife (Scirocco) and Ducks on the Moon (Hagios). Her published work includes four books, inclusion in four more collections, many periodicals, and her broadcasts include eight creative nonfiction documentaries for CBC's IDEAS. She was the 2009 winner of the Sask. Lieutenant-Governor's Award for Leadership in the Arts, the 2008 Saskatoon and Area Theatre Award for Playwriting, and has received the City of Regina Writing Award three times.
Graham Greene writes that, "There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. " For Kelley Jo Burke that moment comes when, sitting on a rock near her grandparents' cottage, she sees the Nubble, the lighthouse that she 'believes will look after me, and that was as it should be. ' The author is less than two years old then, but she will spend the next decades of her life, a life strafed by the pain of loss and fear, searching for a beacon that will, like the Nubble, mark the dangers hiding along the coastline and lead her to a safe harbour. 'Hope', the last spirit in Pandora's Box , is lost. The shining beacon that will lead her past danger to the place she can call 'home' does not exist on this rocky shore. But just as the author reaches her nadir, she learns the lesson she was meant to learn all along. Read this book. You'll be very grateful you did.
- Gail Bowen, author of the Joanne Kilbourn Shreve Mystery Series
I am sure there has never been a family member who has heard the words, "I'm writing a memoir!" who has cheered, "finally, someone will tell the world about our messed-up family. I'm pre-ordering a hundred copies!" But memoirs are the stories that don't care that they are not wanted; they are needed. Because a good memoir reminds you that family is love except when it is pain and longing for love. And a good memoir reminds you that you are not alone. Like a lighthouse in the fog, Kelley Jo Burke's poignant and powerful novel shines a light in the darkness and leads you safely home.
- Dawn Dumont, author of Glass Beads
Kelley Jo Burke kicks off her book by warning readers that she's a "recovering liar. " Whether her stories are true or truthy, she's also a lovely story-teller, with a wicked sense of humour and plenty of stories worth telling. A Very Anxious Memoir is A Very Entertaining Read.
- Mark Leiren-Young, author of Orcas Everywhere
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