Ex­plor­ing our world through strong sto­ry­telling


Writ­ers have the most in­ter­est­ing jobs. Good writ­ers are ex­cel­lent re­porters and ex­plore seem­ingly in­nocu­ous de­tails to il­lu­mi­nate some­thing larger about a per­son’s life. They are cu­ri­ous and have the ca­pac­ity and lib­erty to en­ter a per­son’s life and have deep con­ver­sa­tions about feel­ings that wouldn’t oth­er­wise be shared.

It can be soul-bar­ing for both writer and in­ter­vie­wee. Good writ­ing should ex­pose del­i­ca­cies and in­ti­ma­cies that read­ers wouldn’t oth­er­wise ac­cess.

This is­sue of Grand, the first of 2019, is marked by writ­ing that makes us feel and think.

The fea­ture sto­ries in this is­sue are about peo­ple who are lead­ers, small ‘l’ in their field and com­mu­ni­ties. They are peo­ple who were torn by in­ner con­flict and felt they didn’t fit in. Or they are peo­ple who had long plans to travel one road, but jour­neyed down an­other to find it for­ever changed their life and the lives of those around them. They bat­tled and found ways to give back.

We bring you these sto­ries be­cause they are authen­tic peo­ple who are ex­am­ples to be fol­lowed in our com­mu­nity. Our writ­ers spent hours in con­ver­sa­tion, in­ter­view­ing and prob­ing and suss­ing out de­tails and life lessons.

Cecile Monique is a gothic-rock-sym­phonic-heavy metal singer who de­scribes her­self as a rebel. Among her sources of in­spi­ra­tion is her Catholic up­bring­ing.

“When you feel you are the most authen­tic ver­sion of your­self, then it kind of com­mands re­spect and peo­ple will get it or not. There’s some­thing em­pow­er­ing in that,” she says.

Drum­mer Adam Bowman de­scribes how he is able to re­late to at-risk youth strug­gling to find their iden­tity be­cause with­out mu­sic he would have been one of them. Grow­ing up in Elmira, he didn’t feel like he fit in. “I was a mu­si­cian grow­ing up in a hockey town.”

There’s more: Kitch­ener visual artist Meghan Sims dis­cusses her own chal­lenges and how she used to hide from her true self. We are who we are and have to stop think­ing about lim­i­ta­tions that seem­ingly de­fine us.

Solid writ­ing is con­tem­po­rary and helps ex­plain the world around us.

Al Wigood’s 30 years of vol­un­teer­ing is a fas­ci­nat­ing story of mak­ing a dif­fer­ence – here and in Cen­tral Amer­ica, where he feels equally at home. His story also gives us in­sight into the cur­rent mi­gra­tion out of Cen­tral Amer­ica. He leads vol­un­teer mis­sions in an area where many peo­ple have left in or­der to seek refuge in North Amer­ica.

All com­bined, this is­sue ties to­gether pow­er­ful themes about per­sonal chal­lenges, achieve­ment and giv­ing back. It’s who we are and what the peo­ple in this Grand com­mu­nity do best.

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