THE QUIET ROOM ROARS
Anthology of clients’ creative writing published by Casey House
Now in its third year, the creative writing program at Casey House is funded by our generous donors as well as by grants from the Toronto Arts Council. An additional project grant from the Toronto Arts Council has made possible the publication of an anthology of our clients’ creative writing. Named after the space in Casey House where much of the writing took place, The Quiet Room Roars was launched at Casey House’s Voices of Hope concert on World AIDS Day, 2011.
She held my hope when I could not. I have the power to look inside that room at the pain Venture in that room where fear has been evicted. Like a tulip I keep unfolding, Layer upon delicate layer.
-From “Uncertainty,” by Cindy
“When we came to the third year of the program, we decided it was time to pull together the writings that have emerged over the years,” explains Casey House Writer in Residence Michelle Tocher. “We asked the writers to make contributions and I’ve helped them to select the material that best reflects their unique voices, perspectives and experiences. It has been an indescribable privilege to foster the writings of people with HIV/ AIDS who, on a daily basis, face extreme challenges to their bodies, minds and spirits. What they have to say about the power of love and compassion in the midst of pain, sadness, judgment and isolation has many times brought me to tears.”
Clients hone their poetry and prose skills with Tocher in group workshops as well as through one-on-one sessions. The book will not be sold for a dollar value: instead, the client writers have generously directed that pay-what-you-can donations go to supporting care at Casey House.
“Before, I never saw myself as a writer,” says Cindy, a client at Casey House. “Now, I call myself a reluctant poet. The writing helps me gain insight into myself. I sometimes write poems if I have a particular decision I have to make, or if I’m feeling low. Whatever’s going on, even if it’s too hard to think about clearly, I know can write through it. Today, I write all the time. I do it for me. Writing saved me.”