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Cento by A. Garnett Weiss featured by Silver Birch Press

Silver Birch Press has honoured Garnett Weiss by publishing “Had a window” on September 4 in its series of found, free verse poems, based on an interview with a celebrity.

The source from which Weiss extracted words and phrases for the four-stanza piece was Richard Ouzounian’s “The Big Interview: Ryan Reynolds,” which appeared in the Toronto Star on August 23, 2014.

As Weiss explains, “I read the source material, extract phrases or words of interest, then live with them until a sequence emerges and then the poem clicks. I am delighted that “Had a window” has gained a place in the series which this imaginative press is posting through the whole month of September.

Here’s the link to the poem and the series: http://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com

 

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Silver Birch Press Blog features “In the third person”

Silver Birch Press’s focus in August is on self-portrature.  A. Garnett Weiss’s “In the third person” appears on August 9 at: http://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/in-the-third-person-poem-by-a-garnett-weiss-self-portrait-poetry-series/

“It’s grand that Silver Birch Press published this piece, which uses the syllable count and form of the tanka, ” Garnett Weiss notes.  “The poem examines how the brain is central to our individual human-ness and what vulnerability in the brain brings home to a person.

“The Editor chose an arresting image that complements the poem so well,” Weiss added. Artist Sandra Silberzweig created “The Truth is Reflected.” “Based on this experience, I wish I could involve Silberzweig in creating visuals that would complement my whole poetry collection. ”

The Silver Birch Press series feature two poets/poems per day by contributors from Canada, Australia, Austria, Colombia, India, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

 

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Why JC uses a pseudonym

“Why not?” JC suggests. “So many writers have adopted a pseudonym when they explore a different genre from the one by which they are best known. Most recently, J.K. Rowling took on a nom de plume for her first book since the Harry Potter juggernaut. That novel didn’t attract much interest until her lawyer’s firm somehow managed to leak that she had written it. And then… Well, I’m not exactly sure what that shows, since she is the most successful woman writer of our time. However, for the mystery novel which followed that first effort,  she used her own name,  and that book turned out to be a success.

“When I began to write, I was still working  full-time and wanted to differentiate my working life from my writing life. That’s when I began to sign my articles in the media and my poems and books for children as JC Sulzenko.

“What I noticed, though, was that my profile became dominated by the work I do with young, emerging poets and writers. While being typecast as a children’s writer is fine in itself, I wondered if such typecasting might influence how my poems for an adult audience would be received.  It’s at that point I began to use A. Garnett Weiss as my pseudonym for poetry for a general readership.

Poems by Garnett have won a few prizes and appeared in a number of chapbooks and of on-line journals. Recently, one of the poems was shortlisted for Arc’s Poem of the Year 2014.

“I enjoy the double identity,” JC affirms. “Garnett is a daring poet, and I am happy to follow her lead wherever she takes me.”

 

 

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Discussion guide for “What my grandma means to say

Now updated and available FREE (Download the PDF now…)

This website now makes available the updated Discussion Guide for teachers, health care professionals and service providers, and volunteers who work with families in which someone is living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. JC offers the Guide free to not-for-profit organizations and individuals to encourage open discussion with children about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Find out more here…

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Open Book Toronto Posts a Fine Review of “What My Grandma Means to Say”

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Here are quotes from another great review of JC’s book for children about Alzheimer’s and the link to the site:
http://www.openbooktoronto.com/news/read_me_what_my_grandma_means_say_jc_sulzenko

“Read To Me, a new series on Open Book, showcases those magical children’s books that kids will ask you to read multiple times, and that you’ll love reading…

THE BOOK: This book, perfect for children in grades 3 and 4, is comprised of characters who share the feelings and questions families face when dealing with the challenges of supporting a loved-one with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

WHY KIDS WILL LOVE IT: The relationship between the boy and his grandma is one many children can relate to. The abundance of anecdotes and descriptive narrative provide ongoing reassurance for young readers. The main character, Jake, uses a conversational tone, creating a connection with the reader and a safe place for information and discussion about a sensitive topic. Children can relate to Jake, which builds trust and the strength to talk about what they’re feeling. The illustrations and the dialogue bring Jake to life, as well as his mother and grandmother, enabling children to reflect on their own experiences and family situations while reading the story.

WHY GROWN UPS WILL LOVE IT: This is an intimate story about what children can experience when their grandparent is living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. What My Grandma Means to Say encourages family discussion about the challenges associated with the care of a loved one. This story takes the reader on a journey with Jake through his experiences with his grandmother. This story concludes with a list of frequently asked questions to provide further information and guidance for readers.

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A Play for children from JC Sulzenko

What my grandma means to say, JC’s one-act play, gives elementary school-aged children and their families the chance to learn in a gentle way about how Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can affect a person and what they can do to support someone living such a disease.

The setting provided by the play encourages children to ask questions in a safe-feeling environment, removed from the emotion that attaches when such an illness affects someone close to them.

Read More »

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Great Review of “What My Grandma Means to Say” in Fifty-five Plus Magazine

The current issue of Fifty-Five Plus Magazine at newsstands and on-line features a fine and sensitive review of JC Sulzenko’s book for children and families, “What My Grandma Means to Say.” Here is the link to the article:  http://www.fifty-five-plus.com/intentional_grandparenting_-_grandma_and_dementia.

In their column “Intentional Grandparenting, Peggy Edwards and Mary Jane Sterne agree with JC that when a grandparent or relative has dementia, it’s a family affair.

Here are some extracts from the review:

“Since life expectancy is increasing and advanced age is the number one risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, the number of people who have it will grow significantly in the coming years. This means more and more families will face such challenges. Three and sometimes four generations will be involved. Muma’s children who are all in their 60s are struggling with how best to cope, as are her grown-up grandchildren and their children—Muma’s great-grandchildren. Children, parents and grandparents will all benefit from increased understanding and open conversation about what everyone in the family is experiencing when a loved one has dementia.

“The story is in a style that engages children right away. Jake shares his story as he watches his grandma change from awesome traveler, bird watcher, teacher, friend and brownie-baker to someone who can’t cook anymore and does not remember his name or where he lives. He talks about his feelings and frustrations. Jake says:

‘I have a story to tell you. It’s a story with a lot of truth in it. Once you’ve heard it, you can make up your own mind about whether it leaves you a little happy, hopeful or sad—or a mix of all three. That’s up to you.’

“Anyone who has lived with Alzheimer’s disease will relate to all of these feelings. And that is partly why it is so hard to talk about. JC suggests that we use a realistic and inclusive approach when talking with children. ‘Kids are up to it’, she says. ‘They need to know that the disease is not curable and that there are limitations on what they can do. They also need to know that they are welcome to be a part of what happens.’

“JC is encouraging us to open the door and be brave enough to engage in a meaningful way with the children and grandchildren in our lives who are affected by dementia in the family. The book also provides answers to frequently asked questions and a list of sources for further information to assist families and children in learning about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

“The book –beautifully illustrated by Ottawa’s Gary Frederick and published by General Store Publishing Houseis available at the public library, local bookstores (I bought five from Mother Tongue Books on Bank Street to give to family members) and online at www.chapters.indigo.ca/ and www.amazon.ca/.”

 

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“What My Grandma Means to Say” plays in Thunder Bay

Professional actors took JC’s play into local elementary schools in March through a project for which the Alzheimer Society of Thunder Bay (ASTB) received an $8000 grant from the Thunder Bay Community Foundation.

JC welcomed the new partnership with ASTB and applauded the Society’s initiative to engage elementary school-aged students in learning together about dementia through “What My Grandma Means to Say.”  ASTB donated a copy of the storybook about Jake and his grandma to each school’s library.

The project includes an art dimension by giving each student the opportunity to contribute a square that will be assembled into a memory quilt, one for each school. Here’s a link to media coverage of the program in Thunder Bay. http://www.tbnewswatch.com/entertainment/196736/Living-with-Alzheimer%27s. Shaw media posted its coverage on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_I-HKvPkuE.

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My Care Journey features “What My Grandma Means to Say”

For family caregivers, there can be no better site than Bart Mindszenthy’s www.mycarejourney.com.
Bart is one of Canada’s leading caregiver advocates and co-author of the best-selling book, “Parenting Your Parents.” The site is very user-friendly and provides family caregivers with a rich source of information and practical strategies to help them manage the challenges they face in caring for someone dear to them.

JC is very pleased that “What My Grandma Means to Say” is now listed among the resource books on this first-class site at http://www.mycarejourney.com/blog/?page_id=1053.

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Talking with Kids about Alzheimer’s: “What My Grandma Means to Say,” a new video.

Here’s a video that shows how to stage “What My Grandma Means to Say” as a play for elementary school-aged students. Performed last October by actors from Prince Edward Collegiate Institute in Picton, Ontario, for 200 students from C.M.L. Snider School in Wellington, Ontario, the play kick-starts discussions to which kids bring their questions, their own perceptions and their experiences about supporting someone who is living with Alzheimer’s. The production was made possible by a community partnership between the Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward County, Prince Edward Collegiate Institute and JC Sulzenko and by financial support from The Community Foundation of Ottawa and The Organix Foundation, Montreal. The March issue of Canadian Teacher Magazine profiled the video among news items on page  34. http://www.canadianteachermagazine.com/pdf/CTM-MarApr12.pdf

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“A gem of a story” says City Mom about “What My Grandma means to Say”

Do read City Mom’s review today of JC ‘s storybook. Not only does City Mom call the story “amazing” and “a gem,” she says it spoke to her on “such an intimate level.”

Her own history with grandparents who were living with dementia is “almost identical to Jake’s.” she admits. She wishes that “What My Grandma Means to Say” had been in circulation at that time in her life.

Go to www.citymom.ca/2012/01/grandma-means-helping-kids-understand-alzheimers-disease to read the full review.

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Canadian Dementia Knowledge Translation Network: a featured interview with JC

The Canadian Dementia Knowledge Translation Network (CDKTN) interviewed JC about “What My Grandma Means to Say” and just posted extracts from that discussion on its website (www.LifeandMinds.ca).

JC is delighted that CDKTN recommends “What My Grandma Means to Say.” As LifeandMinds.ca states: “it provides another excellent resource for families.”

JC welcomes that endorsement. “I know that sharing information with researchers, caregivers and policy makers in the Network will bring the focus to children, who are often drawn into the role of caregivers when a family is affected by Alzheimer’s or related dementias.”   That reality is at the heart of  the project which includes a 10-minute play, a discussion guide for teachers, the illustrated storybook about Jake and his grandmother and a video project, for which fundraising is underway.

LifeandMinds.ca is the web publication of the CDKTN.  “Established on March 31, 2008 through a 5-year CIHR grant, the CDKTN is a network for knowledge translation (KT) and exchange (KE) of research in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In a nutshell, KT is the adaptation of research findings into effective treatments, services, and products. KE is collaborative information sharing and problem solving between researchers, caregivers, and policy makers.” (As described on the Network’s website.)

 

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“What My Grandma Means to Say:” Get your copy through this website

JC Sulzenko’s 48-page storybook adaptation of her one-act play about  11 year-old Jake and his grandma, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, is now available from this website.  Just send your request to info@jcsulzenko.com, and you will receive instructions on how and where to place your order. (The book is still available in hard copy and  sells for $12.95 plus shipping and handling. The e-book will be re-listed at major sites soon.)

Illustrated in full colour by Gary Frederick, the book lets young readers, ages 8-12, and their families, share Jake’s experience as he watches his grandma change from world traveller, expert birder and best cookie baker to someone who forgets where she lives and cannot remember his name.  Once Grandma moves to a long-term care residence, Jake becomes her regular Saturday visitor. He develops a routine and knows what to expect when he is with her, until an extraordinary conversation makes him think she is cured. Read More »

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JC’s Op Ed Article on talking with Children about Alzheimer’s disease

Please go to this link at the Hamilton Spectator of January 17, 2011, to read JC’s article, which appeared in papers across Canada, from the Montreal Gazette to the Calgary Herald.
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