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Basia J Wolf

Writer

Shoe Story

This is an article on a subject I wrote some years ago following a long period of trying desperately to find the right words to do it justice. After many years of struggling, and failing, inspiration came in a most peculiar and unexpected way, as it often does. I was propelled into action by a piece of throwaway hate I read online. The article was seen by award-winning author Maggie Anton who said it was one of the most powerful pieces she had ever read.

This story contains a cliche. Cliches, while being annoying, tired and often trite are rooted in the truth, which is probably why humankind simultaneously uses and sneers at them because, unpalatable truths are, well, unpalatable.

So, here’s the bones of it. I once read a piece of improbable hate in a Youtube comment. As heinous and cowardly as it was, I will get it out of the way now. It read: You fucking piece of Jew scum. You oven-dodger.

At this point I would like to add that this is not a story about irrational hate, but rather about turning that hate into a love story.

I once saw this shoe. In a museum. It lay nestled amongst a lot of other pairs of shoes, a little brown suede, wedge-heeled shoe with a pale green trim. And I fell in love with it. I imagined its owner to have been a stylish young woman who loved life; she had an infectious laugh that made everyone who heard it at least break out in an involuntary smile  as she skipped through life in her beautiful brown suede wedge heeled shoes, dashing from cafe to cafe, chatting with friends. The shoe looked to have been my size, so I’m guessing she was a petite woman, prone to mischief and flirting. She could have been me.

This shoe that I fell in love with lay in a pile of hundreds of thousands of other shoes. But amidst a pile of decaying, broken shoes – black shoes, brown shoes, grey shoes; red, white and blue shoes – I saw just this one shoe. And her. Yet I know nothing about the owner of this shoe, everything I have said about her comes from my own imagination.

It’s been years since I was at Auschwitz, but she’s still there. You don’t have to go too far to walk in someone else’s shoes, as most human experiences are shared. But oven-dodging is not one of them. And for some reason, it hurts me to know that she didn’t.

 

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my ticket complete with departure time
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Music to write crime fiction by (part 1)

I can’t write without music. Well, I can, it’s just more inspirational to do it with music. Depending which character is in the scene, what they’re doing, where they are, all of this has an effect on what I listen to. I created a Karen Yellowtail OST on Spotify where it’s easy to jump from track to track. Are we in the casino? Let’s put on Lightningcloud’s Casino Money, even if they do misuse the term clip when they meant magazine (thanks for that Ben Sobieck). Finding music for antagonists and the bad shit they do is easy, as they say, the devil has all the good tunes. The well is always full to overflowing with Mark Lanegan, Betty X, Nick Cave, Wolf Alice, Mas Ysa, Mourning Ritual and Blues Saraceno to name but a few.

Writing for the protagonist is a different ball game. She’s complicated with a whole mess of problems in her life and all she wants is peace and quiet. But working with her has allowed me to delve deep into the abundant overflowing wellspring of Native and First Nations talent. It all kicked off with Tyler Peyron’s haunting urban poetry of Melodic Soul featuring In The Woods, and A Tribe Called Red’s blow your head off remix of Northern Cree’s Redskin Girl which lead me down an incredible road of creativity to Frank Waln, Leonard Sumner, Fawn Wood, Tanya Tagaq, Blue Flamez, Black Lodge Singers, Kevin Yazzie & Cheevers Toppah, IsKwé and Four Nations. If you’re on Spotify or Soundcloud, look them all up. There is also a special place for Robbie Robertson and his Skinwalker, a track that allows me to go into deserts with protagonists, antagonists, victims and a certain amount of creative inspiration.

There is only room, currently, on my soundtrack playlist for one U2 track (Hawkmoon 269) although another of their tracks, One Step Closer, hit me up with some inspiration – U2 lyrics: “I’m on an island at a busy intersection, can’t go forward, I can’t turn back; can’t see the future it’s getting away from me. I just watch the tail lights glowing.”

Here’s what it gave me: “But as you know, when the big moments come, the ones that hit you hard and rip your feet out from under you, you’re still gonna get T-boned at that intersection, island or no island. Grief comes in little pieces, jagged chips of bloody pain. Karen had begged the universe for more time, even just a few more months, but the appeal was returned stamped application denied.”

iskwe
IsKwé

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth Is A Lie

The truth. Everybody demands it, nobody knows what it is. It’s just perception. There are truths that grasp you by the nape of the neck and shake you up hard until you think your brain will explode with the pressure. And it won’t let go of its hold on you, no matter how much you struggle. These are truths that you won’t – you cannot – admit to anyone and least of all to yourself. And then there are the lies, the lies you tell yourself to hold the truth in check, to stop it from spilling out of the prison in which you’ve held it captive. If the truth escapes, the whole carefully constructed charade you’ve built up and called a life, will crumble to dust.

Haunted-By-Ghosts-Of-The-Past

Caution: Direwolf Alert

Leyton J Cougar, aka The Wolf Daddy, is a person who has devoted his life to the care of animals – domestic ones and wild ones. Perhaps you may have heard of him through the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, or through his love of wolves, as he tours the country rescuing hybrids, wild animals and educating the public with his team of Arctic wolves, who are loved by the Game of Thrones author, George RR Martin. Whichever way you know him, you know he deserves the very best success with his latest venture, a book all about the right stuff to feed the direwolf in your own home.

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Leyton J Cougar, aka The Wolf Daddy, with one of his kids

If, on the other hand, you haven’t heard of Leyton J Cougar, or seen his pack of amazing animals which includes foxes, coyotes, timber wolves, arctic wolves, hybrids and of course, domesticated dogs, get ready to be inspired:

Over the last 20 years, Leyton has rescued over 400 wolves and exotic canids and has raised over 20 rescued wolf pups from birth. He is passionate, selfless and driven in his life’s work, to protect these amazing animals and to educate people like us. One of the ways we can play our own small part and the canines in our world, is to ensure we feed them correctly.

Hungry Like A Wolf comes from all those years of love and care. It is full of sound nutritional advice in astonishingly easy recipes you can create to keep your pet (and yourself) in tip top healthy shine.

If you think cooking dinner for your dog is going to be a challenge, it’s not. How about some gluten free cornbread muffins stuffed with greens, cheddar and bacon? You’d eat those yourself. Or fancy some cornbread and sausage? Sweet potato fries (not deep fried in that canola gunk, that’s not good for you either), healthy meat loaf, a meaty stew with bacon and veggies? Well, that’s good enough for your dog too.

The Wolf Daddy’s book, Hungry Like A Wolf, is available from his website: https://wolfdaddy.dog/

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This animal is so full of health that Leyton could eat it…

Deepfall

“I once read in a book, or was it some chick singing on the radio, well I don’t exactly recall, but it was something like the heart wants what the heart wants even though, and this is the killer part, even though we know it’s gonna kill us to have it. Suppose an upright, or is that uptight, moralistic good person like yourself would never give in to something like that, eh, wouldya? But you know something? When desire gets into your guts and twists itself into a chain, ain’t nothing and nobody can stop it. And you’ll fight it all the way, but I know, I’m gonna be the death of you.”

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First Nations Woman Rising

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Photo of Ashley Callingbull from Chatelaine

You may or may not know who this woman is, but she’s the reason I am writing the Karen Yellowtail novels. If you want to change the world, you have to be brave. The truth is no place for cowards.

The moment I saw Ashley Callingbull and heard her story, she became a shining light to me. She IS a shining light to girls and women around the world, especially Native women, and she is true grace and strength in adversity. When I’m stuck writing a scene for Karen, I’m always thinking what would Ashley do? And having been lucky to talk with her on social media, I know that Ashley would be honored to have the role of Karen Yellowtail (and really, there’s no one else I would ever accept if it ever came down to it).

On International Women’s Day, this woman, this Enoch Cree woman, is the epitome of what it means to come up out of the darkness and succeed. She is true First Nations power. She walks in beauty. Thank you, Ashley Callingbull

Babygirl

Babygirl died. She died with the birthday sparkles still in her hair and a pink glittery now you are 10 button, a special birthday card gift from the famous Hollywood actor, pinned to her sunshine yellow party dress. Whoever killed her had lured her somehow from her birthday party, took her out down the road near all the hoopla and trailers and killed her and rolled her over in a murky ditch to hide her pretty face; to hide what they’d done in a pathetic act of stabbing remorse. Remorse for what? Whoever had killed her had thrown stones at her lifeless ten year old body and had poked her, hard, with sticks, just to make sure. Yes, she was really dead, so they had turned her face away and left her out there in the cold.

As homicide detective Karen Yellowtail would discover, this was no ordinary murder and it would have repercussions that would rattle and throb the heart of the community for a very long time. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a child for a child?

Excerpt from Babygirl by Basia J Wolf.

Shapeshifting

Change, by its nature, is almost always final; rarely does it give you the luxury of returning to any part of the past save down the winding lane of memories and remembrances. Sometimes this entity, this so-called metamorphosis, cuts a wide, sweeping swathe, churning up the neat paths and manicured borders you’d carefully constructed and called a life.

Other times it grabs your life by the nape of the neck and shakes it up good, for better or worse. But after change waltzes, leering, through your door, nothing is ever quite the same again.

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by Stephanie Lostimolo

From the place of the turquoise sky

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Original artwork copyright of Carleton McCambridge © May not be reproduced or copied without artist’s consent.

When I saw this Osage beauty by the supremely gifted artist Carleton McCambridge, she evoked the spirit of Karen Yellowtail. Strength, serenity, spirit, Native Pride. In these uncertain days, we need to remember this:

Universe Father, Earth Mother, with Humility I Pray and Sing.
From the Place of the Sacred Data and Knowledge I am.
From the Place of Darkness, from the Place of Turquoise Sky,
From the Place of the Universe, I am.
From the Place of Golden Warmth,
from the Place of a New Dawn, I am (words by Philmer Bluehouse)

Thanks to Carleton and Liz McCambridge

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