Anne M. Smith-Nochasak:
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This is Anne's first blog of 2023, the one about ice widows and windows, hopes, dreams, and happy endings.
The Ice Widow is a story about incompatible youthful love that finds a new and surprising fulfillment in maturity.
The Ice Widow began as a typo: A good friend texted me about the ice window he set in his snow house wall. Only he wrote “widow.” The images raised by “putting an ice widow in a snow house wall” evolved. That fall, while waiting in a hotel room in St. John’s, I picked up my Tablet and Anna’s prologue began to take shape.
The story hangs on one word: “wi’dow.” To Joshua, it is window, a simple structure that brings light and joy to the occupants of a snow house. To Anna, it is widow, a metaphor for her life: Rigid and unbending, she has carried love “like a dead coal, never allowing its light or its heat.”
This is really Anna’s story, but I want the reader to know too the integrity and honour of Joshua, the wisdom of Deborah and Reah, the humility of Leah, the compassion of Terrence. Above all, I want people to hope as Mattie hopes. Until they rise, as Anna rises.
I witnessed both great pain and remarkable beauty during my teaching journey, and the incidents of Anna’s career are shaped from my impressions and memories. In Mattie, for example, I grieve for every tragic moment, but I also include her triumph, for I have met many heroes in my career.
Medical escort duty can be humbling. I wanted to honour those who are dying and those who support them. As the dying one stumbles through Hell, in all their bewilderment, pain, and anger, the escort is charged to walk with them, affirming their nobility and dignity. I wanted a story about this, too.
A Canoer of Shorelines is the story of my heart; The Ice Widow is the story of my soul. It is, most of all, a love story with a joyful ending – for I believe all the characters deserve the riches of joy.