Au­thor Hil­larie Tasche fea­tured at Write Out Loud

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBENBERG — mlieben­[email protected]­

Writer and vis­ual artist Hil­larie Tasche is look­ing for­ward to shar­ing her work with the com­mu­nity where her cre­ative life started.

The Win­nipeg res­i­dent is the fea­tured au­thor at the next Write Out Loud in Swift Cur­rent, May 15.

“I wanted to come back to Swift Cur­rent re­ally to thank the peo­ple who got me through high school, who in­spired me to go to univer­sity, who in­spired me to be­gin writ­ing, and to keep writ­ing,” she said.

Her in­ter­est in writ­ing be­gan when she was a student at Swift Cur­rent Com­pre­hen­sive High School, where she re­ceived guid­ance from teach­ers in the English and The­atre de­part­ments.

Her par­ents Cyndi and Stew, who still re­side in Swift Cur­rent, have been a strong artis­tic in­flu­ence.

They edited her col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, We are An­i­mals: Three Dark Fa­bles, which will be the fo­cus of her pre­sen­ta­tion at Write Out Loud.

“Swift Cur­rent is a re­ally spe­cial place, be­cause there is this very in­tense pocket of ar­tis­ti­cally gifted peo­ple,” she said. “And not only are they ar­tis­ti­cally gifted, they work very hard at pass­ing that gift down through gen­er­a­tions and then fol­low­ing up and want­ing to see what our kids do from Swift Cur­rent as they go.”

She re­turns ev­ery fall to Swift Cur­rent to dis­play her art­work at the Fall into Christ­mas fine art and hand­craft mar­ket, which is or­ga­nized by her par­ents.

“Ev­ery year I'm ap­proached by peo­ple just say­ing how ex­cited they are that I'm home and how much they're ex­cited that I'm do­ing cre­ative work,” she said. “So we take care of our peo­ple, even if they're re­ally far away. I'm re­ally ex­cited to come home for that rea­son, just to share what I have with the peo­ple who helped me along the way.”

Her pre­sen­ta­tion at Write Out Loud will serve as a local launch of her short story col­lec­tion. There was a launch event in Win­nipeg in late 2017, but she also wanted to do a launch in her home com­mu­nity.

“This will be one of the first times that this book will be avail­able in the city and def­i­nitely the first time when I'm speak­ing about the book directly and about my ex­pe­ri­ences that lead to the birth of the sto­ries as well,” she said. “I want to make sure peo­ple un­der­stand where the sto­ries are com­ing from, sort of the sto­ries be­hind the sto­ries, be­cause I think that they're just as in­ter­est­ing as the ab­strac­tions and the writ­ing that I've drawn from them.”

The book is a col­lec­tion of three short sto­ries, which at first glance ap­pears to be about the tragic lives of three an­i­mals, but the ti­tle al­ready serves as a cau­tion to read­ers.

We are An­i­mals: Three Dark Fa­bles is ac­tu­ally a re­flec­tion on dif­fer­ent as­pects of the hu­man con­di­tion. The sto­ries have been writ­ten in the tra­di­tion of fa­bles and she drew a lot on her in­ter­est in mag­i­cal re­al­ism.

“They are ex­plor­ing some of the darker sides of hu­man life, but then hope­fully bring­ing the reader through to a more op­ti­mistic or more en­light­ened state af­ter they’ve read the sto­ries,” she said. “What I want the reader to take away from it is that we are re­silient as a species and when we’re faced with chal­lenges we can over­come them, that not ev­ery­one has had a very easy ex­is­tence, and that lit­er­a­ture pro­vides us an op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand more about those who’ve gone through strug­gles that we may not have gone through directly.”

These sto­ries have been in­flu­enced by her work as a crim­i­nal de­fense lawyer for youth.

She is a mem­ber of Man­i­toba’s first Le­gal Aid of­fice that is fo­cus­ing on the prac­tice of youth law, and her clients face chal­lenges such as poverty, gang ac­tiv­ity, and neg­a­tive in­flu­ences from peers.

“A lot of those sub­jects are touched on in the sto­ries,” she said. “For in­stance, the first story is about a young coy­ote who runs away and joins a pack of wolves and women. It’s sort of a cau­tion­ary tale of the per­ils of find­ing fam­ily in a neg­a­tive space. So def­i­nitely my in­flu­ence was drawn from the kids who may not feel a sense of be­long­ing in our own so­ci­ety, be they chil­dren in fam­ily ser­vices care or maybe from poor homes or homes where there is abuse.”

Tasche is able to com­bine the an­a­lyt­i­cal and cre­ative sides of her per­son­al­ity in her writ­ing and in her work as a lawyer.

“The cre­ativ­ity side lends well to the role of a de­fence lawyer, be­cause we have to make sure that our client’s story is told, and then to take that into the cre­ative world,” she said. “There’s so much of hu­man na­ture that you learn in the prac­tise of law that you never re­ally thought ex­isted.”

She be­lieves lit­er­a­ture is an im­por­tant means to cre­ate more em­pa­thy for those who are liv­ing on the mar­gins of so­ci­ety and are fac­ing daily strug­gles that are dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend by those who have a more se­cure ex­is­tence.

“I think one of the best ways for so­ci­ety to be­come more em­pa­thetic and more un­der­stand­ing and more in­clu­sive is through lit­er­a­ture,” she said. “Many peo­ple don't care about kids in care, they may not know it, it may not be on their radar, but they can read a store wherein they're read­ing about a lit­tle animal, but it ac­tu­ally gives them the op­por­tu­nity to em­pathize with marginal­ized com­mu­ni­ties.”

Tasche pre­vi­ously pub­lished a col­lec­tion of po­ems, and she con­sid­ers her poetry and short story writ­ing as a step­ping stone to­wards her goal to be­come a fic­tion writer.

“I have a big sign in my writ­ing stu­dio that says my purpose on this planet, and I've known it for a long time, is to be a fic­tion writer, as mas­ter­ful as I can man­age and as pro­lific as I can man­age,” she said. “I feel I'm on this planet to do this. So these are my early days. This is I hope the be­gin­ning of more work to come, and I'm re­ally proud of these three sto­ries and since I pub­lished this, sto­ries have con­tin­ued to flow. I've got about five more ready to go now of short sto­ries and then a longer project that's well un­der way and that I'm re­ally ex­cited about.”

Write Out Loud with au­thor Hil­larie Tasche takes place at the Lyric The­atre, May 15. Doors open at 6:30 and ad­mis­sion is $8.

The pro­gram will start with mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment by the Billy Bock Quar­tet, fea­tur­ing local mu­si­cians Stew Tasche, Dave Cyca, Ed Doyle, and Gord Nodge.

Photo sub­mit­ted

Hil­larie Tasche is the fea­tured au­thor at Write Out Loud, May 15.

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