Mon­treal-based writer head­ing to Labrador West

Li­cia Can­ton tells a per­sonal story of heal­ing through writ­ing

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - Front Page - BY DANETTE DOOLEY danette@nl.rogers.com

Amelia Earhart once said, “Courage is the price that life ex­acts for grant­ing peace.”

It took Mon­treal-based writer Li­cia Can­ton a tremen­dous amount of courage to move for­ward with her life fol­low­ing a dev­as­tat­ing ac­ci­dent in 2012.

The ac­ci­dent left Can­ton with se­verely crushed legs, bedrid­den for months and un­able to write for even longer.

“I’m self-em­ployed as an ed­i­tor and a writer so, in terms of my pro­fes­sional ca­reer, I had lost all my stamina and my sense of pur­pose. I just couldn’t do it any­more... I moved on but I never dealt with the trauma,” Can­ton said of the heal­ing she needed to do not only phys­i­cally but, more so, men­tally.

An in­sur­ance agent sug­gested she seek coun­selling to help her deal with the trauma.

Six of the tales in Can­ton’s newly re­leased col­lec­tion “The Pink House and Other Sto­ries” (2018) are linked sto­ries stem­ming from her ther­apy ses­sions and from the ac­ci­dent that hap­pened fol­low­ing a Leonard Co­hen con­cert at the Bell Cen­tre in Mon­treal.

“I was wait­ing for my daugh­ter to come out of the con­cert with her friends. I went to the back of the car to move a box from the back seat and put in my trunk. This gentle­man came up be­hind me and parked his ve­hi­cle.”

The driver struck Can­ton, pin­ning her be­tween both ve­hi­cles, crush­ing her legs.

One of the sto­ries in her new book is about the driver who struck her, she said, and how his ride home with his wife may have played out.

“Christ­mas was com­ing up. How was that Christ­mas for him? The char­ac­ter that he hit, I know how that Christ­mas was for her. It was a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence, a fam­ily in cri­sis,” she said.

An­other story is told from the per­spec­tive of the young girl who was with the woman who got hit, Can­ton said.

“You go to a con­cert ex­pect­ing to come out smil­ing and happy but, some­times, you might not get home that night.”

The main story ti­tled “Be­cause of Leonard Co­hen” is about a writer who can­not write.

“It took me a lot of months and a lot of cry­ing to write that story. I dreaded hav­ing to read it even to (the ther­a­pist”).

Read­ing the story in was even more dif­fi­cult.

“I was too em­bar­rassed and too scared to read it to a Mon­treal au­di­ence who might know me. So I went to the short story con­fer­ence in Vi­enna.”

Labrador West Read­ings Read­ings and con­ver­sa­tion with Can­ton will take place at the Wabush Li­brary on Aug. 28 at 3 pm and at the Col­lege of the North At­lantic at 7 pm. The As­so­ci­a­tion for New Cana­di­ans is spon­sor­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion at the Col­lege. Dur­ing that read­ing Can­ton will talk about chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with im­mi­gra­tion.

Can­ton will also give a read­ing on Aug. 29 at 10:30 am at the Labrador City Li­brary.

The events are free and are made pos­si­ble through fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the Canada Coun­cil for the Arts through the Writ­ers’ Union of Canada.

NL Public Li­braries has also part­nered to make the trip pos­si­ble, Can­ton said.

Al­though most peo­ple have public

not lived the trauma Can­ton en­dured, many have faced chal­lenges in their lives and will re­late to what it feels like to try to get through such strug­gles and how it feels when you, fi­nally, over­come ad­ver­sity.

“The sto­ries are about hope and re­silience and per­sis­tence,” she said

“The Pink House and Other Sto­ries” can be pur­chased on­line at www.long­bridge­books.com or through book­stores.

Read­ers can also fol­low Can­ton on Face­book (Li­cia Can­ton).

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF DOMENIC CUSMANO

Li­cia Can­ton.

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