The Breast Blog: A Historic Event

Last night, I sat listening to CBC Radio's glorious account of Canadian writer and historian Pierre Burton's life's work and style. Mr. Burton had died on November 30 at 84 years of age.

Clearly a man in love with his country, he was repeatedly credited with making Canadian history wildly interesting, thus helping us Canuck's grasp our own uniqueness. Described as sophisticated, a rugged wilderness enthusiast and boldly outspoken, I found myself attracted to the idea that those traits were held by one person.

On my coffee table lay a newly opened gift from the widower of a woman who had died of breast cancer in 2001. According to the attached note, following her mastectomy, Terry had created a clay version of her cancerous breast. Carefully painted, glazed and fired, this perfect rendition was now mine. Her widower had bequeathed it to me out of a need to move on, create space for himself yet leave this meaningful piece of art in good hands.

I never met Terry. But since meeting her husband several times over the last two year's, I've learned much about the woman. Mostly I simply listened to his stories. It seemed they needed to be repeate more than captured. But I remember being told that during the later stages of her very painful illness, Terry fashioned a tee-shirt that simply read..."It's the narcotics." Her directness and black humour struck a cord with me. Posthumously, Terry became my friend too.

Pierre Burton once said to writer Russell Smith, " Writers think and read."

I'm a writer. Thanks to my work I think and read about breasts.

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