“I had to shed the common and accepted skin
And walk the controversial road to begin.”
Above is an exerpt from “Free Spirit,” by Sandy Harquail, scheduled to appear in The Voice, a yet-to-be-published women’s literary magazine.
The voice behind The Voice is soft-spoken Marida Waters. Soft-spoken, yes, but also exasperated — by the lack of funding from higher-ups for Ottawa’s queer community.
Knowing that many people share her sentiment, Waters has decided to use her literary magazine as a fundraising project.
“We’ve all seen what’s happening with Pride,” she notes. “That’s just one example. It’s just so frustrating to see groups that are relying on the government, they are relying on grants. And their needs aren’t being met. It’s just so sad.”
Waters was born in Ottawa and moved back nine years ago. She began her career as a graphic designer in Toronto and is shouldering the magazine project completely by herself. It feeds her passion for literature and its design, and, for her, it is a way of seeing what she calls full-circle support.
“Artists and writers who don’t have money to give can create something that feeds back into the community, and back into themselves through sponsorship and advertising,” says Waters.
She expects the magazine will be 36 pages in size. So far, there are over a dozen writers in total, coming from Ottawa, British Columbia and New York. Waters hopes the finished work will be available at bookstores around the city and subscriptions will be available, as it will come out four times annually.
Some of the writers are just starting to bloom, while others have already been published.
“This is a great opportunity for both new and seasoned writers,” says Waters. It will be mainly poetry with a couple of short stories. And there is lots of room for more.
My arms my legs my head can all be removed at certain angles …they’re already detached
only my body my breasts my crotch are left
I can’t do anything with them
–“Prosthetic” by Emily Boucher
“It’ll be all over the place,” explains Waters. “A lot of gay issues, a lot of mother-daughter issues as well as grief and dealing with loss.”
The magazine will feature the work of only women, and predominantly lesbian, but not feminist.
pieced diagrams of molecules
tracing paper veins,
filled up my ribcage
with nights full of hours.
–“Inert/Dormant” by Melissa Upfold.
Waters has been mulling over the idea for a long time but it wasn’t until this spring that she saw how useful it could be and what a need there is for charity in the community.
So far, she hasn’t chosen where the proceeds will go. She wants to spread it around to events and festivals, also toward women’s shelters. Waters has to see how much money it will bring in before making any big plans.
“It’s hard to expect anything, but even if it only brings in a few thousand a year it’s still something to give. If it brings in more then that’ll be wonderful. It is a way that we can collectively help ourselves.”
She also wants the community to know that she is putting out a last-minute plea for sponsors and advertisers in the magazine. They can decide where they want their space or money to be donated to. If she doesn’t get more support by the end of August then the project won’t happen.