life rattle radio program summaries

Stories you won't hear anywhere else!


Life Rattle No. 1384 is the second of two podcasts featuring the writing of new Life Rattle writer Susanna Man.

Two stories tell of the early struggles of two recent immigrants from Romania as they look for a place to live and jobs in their new country, and then struggle to care for their two young babies in a high-rise apartment.

Hosted by Guy Allen.

Life Rattle No. 1383 is the first of two podcasts featuring the writing of new Life Rattle writer Susanna Man.

"The Magicians" tells of a trip by a troupe of puppeteers to to a small isolated Romanian town where they receive a surprising reception. In Man's hilariously surreal second story, "Rat," also set in Romania, an eccentric roommate spoils the privacy ardent lovers crave in a college dorm room.

Hosted by Guy Allen.


Life Rattle No. 1382 features four stories from new writer Nick West.

High school friends from the suburbs face issues of racism and violence both near home and in the longed for big city as they struggle to find their places as adult men in a grim looking world.

Hosted by John Dunford.


Life Rattle No. 1381 features three more stories by new writer:

Jessica Gelar.

These stories follow our young narrator and her family as they fly to Canada from the Philippines and face the challenges - large and small - of building a new life in a new land.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


Life Rattle No. 1380 features a three-part story by new writer:

Jessica Gelar.

"Rudy," an almost mystical three-part story set in 1989, introduces us to a technicolour cast of characters in the small town of Alegre, Philippines.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1379 features three young writers who share their stories about early employment situations:

Julie Mirkovic, Natasha Wong and Paul Goldwater.

From difficult customers, to a dead manager, to a drug bust—it’s all here for your listening pleasure.
Tune in and think back to your first time (workwise).

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.


Life Rattle No. 1378 is the second of two shows featuring class stories by Kitty Molefe.

In this month’s story, Molefe returns to South Africa after 15 years away, to be part of family rituals to mark the death of her mother. Rituals that are important, necessary and of course, difficult.

Tune in to learn another way to feel the sorrow of letting go.

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.


Life Rattle No. 1377 features two classic stories from Kitty Molefe.

Kitty Molefe was and still is a fighter for freedom who commenced her anti-apartheid activism the early 1980s, enduring unimaginable physical and emotional pain.

Her stories highlight the suffering that comes from doing what you know you must do, and what is right, despite the inevitable cost. Her words are inspiring, tragic and hopeful.

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1376 features two stories by new writer Faiza Tariq.

Set in Pakistan, these stories—one about a left-handed girl faced with an English teacher who decrees that the left hand is fit only for the work of the devil and the second featuring a quirky grandmother determined to satisfy her sweet tooth—engage us with their unexpected dashes of humour and quirky characters.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1375 celebrates Mother's Day with two special stories.

Alison Colvin presents two distinct, yet equally moving portraits of mothers: one trying to keep up with the lives of her two young-adult daughters while suffering through hot flashes, and the second, not quite settled into her new residence in a nursing home, whose failing memory proves to be a blessing.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1374 features a classic story from Life Rattle writer:

Victoria Martinez.

This final triumphant "classic" entry by Martinez presents a spirited, adult daughter still living in her father’s house. She survives the mumps, only to face the greater emotional pain of betrayal.

Heavy stuff…yes. Great writing…always.

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1373 features two stories from new Life Rattle writer:

Peter Ham.

Isolated at school, a young boy, new to Canada, still longs for his life in South Korea...and the grandfather who could teach him how to fight back against his tormentors. Without him, he must learn on his own.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1372 is a special Earth Day show featuring two stories from:

Victoria Farrell.

Victoria Farrell teaches us a few facts about wild salmon and introduces us to those dedicated to their preservation in the Credit River of Mississauga, Ontario.

Hosted by John Currie.

Life Rattle No. 1371, features three stories by new Life Rattle writer

Kristen Ladas.

The writing of Kristen Ladas allows us to find ourselves in her characters...whether a child caught in the final stages of her family's breakdown, a girl on her first day of highschool, or a university student who loses a dear friend to a sudden illness.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This month's classic show, Life Rattle No. 1370, is another treat from:

Victoria Martinez.

You will be treated to the fun that ensues for a four year old girl after a hurricane in Manila. There is flooding, destruction, a poisonous water snake, and a giant lizard that gets stewed.

Spoiler alert: it tastes like chicken.

Tune in and enjoy a very wet good time.

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1369 features three stories by new Life Rattle writer
Alexander Melynk.

Alexander Melnyk creates an irresistible intimacy between the reader and the main characters in these compelling tales of a boy who struggles with body issues, and the best friend who stands behind him all the way.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1368, is the first of two classic shows with two stories each by Life Rattle writer Victoria Martinez.

Over many years, Martinez has graced Life Rattle with her support, hard work as a programmer, and especially—with seven of her amazing stories.

Victoria Martinez writes stories of her life in the Philippines. Her narrators—whether a feisty, bright young girl who risks her father’s temper when she sneaks into the attic to feed her reading habit, or a mature woman cherishing her early memories of her mother—reveal shrewd, complex and unsentimental observations to present a varied and full picture of family life in the Philippines in the 1950s and 60s.

This is what Life Rattle does best. This is why you tune in.

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1367 features an incredible family-themed story by new Life Rattle writer Feroza Farzande.

Feroza Farzande writes with a depth that silently creeps up on you in this story of a brave woman who chooses to bestow forgiveness on her spouse, despite an attempted infidelity.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

In celebration of Valentine's Day, Life Rattle No. 1366 features two stories from new Life Rattle writer Heather Cosentino.

Heather Cosentino combines the boldness of youth with incredibly mature observations and courageous self awareness in two stories that deliver authentic revelations in the realm of romantic relationships.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1365, brings you another great story from Denny Hunte.

Hunte brings us a riveting memoir, a reflection in detail, about his leaving Barbados for Canada when he was only twelve years old. We are made aware of his regrets, fears and excitement during the emigration experience. Something that almost half of our country has experienced, and the other half should know about.

Listen in and learn.

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1364, features new Life Rattle writer Kirsten Armstrong.

Three powerful stories of two young sisters in the dismal aftermath of their parents' separation where their adult caretakers are at worst vicious and at best struggling themselves to maintain a margin of equilibrium.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


Life Rattle No. 1363, brings you two new stories from Life Rattle writer Gabriel Miceli.

Tales of romantic woe with a universal perspective that makes us feel as if we have walked in the narrator's shoes.

Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


Radio program Update: january 8, 2016

This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1362, brings you another great story from Denny Hunte.

In “The Tamarind Tree”, you will learn a little bit about cricket, but a lot more about male puberty. Hunte captures the impatient curiosity of youth that lurks behind the leisurely, unhurried, warm quality of a Caribbean day.

Get ready to laugh, cringe and sigh as our protagonist navigates these new waters.

Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1361, features three new stories by new Life Rattle writer Ivana Sarmiento.

On this Christmas Eve show, Ivana Sarmiento uplifts us with three stories that show family in a wonderful light. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


Life Rattle No. 1360, brings you one terrific story by Denny Hunte.

On this month’s Classic show, Denny Hunte takes us on a home visit to complete an application for social assistance. This routine, bureaucratic process is never routine, because it involves real people in difficult situations. With brilliant pacing, description and dialogue, Hunte will break and warm you heart. A perfect Holiday story!
Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1359, brings you two stories by two new Life Rattle Writers:

Aaron Jervis    &    Fatima Zermina.

Both featured stories take us up onto a rooftop, but the similarity ends there. Jervis gives us a blow-by-blow account of the life of a student working as a roofer for the summer under a contractor who considers his employees disposable. Fatima Zermina wipes out volumes of preconceptions when she introduces us to a pair of cousins reminiscing about their life experiences in Canada and Pakistan, in the solitude of a Karachi rooftop.
Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1358, this month's Classic Show, brings you a six story series by Rattle Writer:

Ingrid Sevels

On this month’s Classic show, Sevels takes her daughter on a trip to Latvia to see the “Homeland.” Sevels’ parents had escaped communist Latvia, and now our narrator visits the post-communist version in 2001.
Less oppression, but the same corruption.
Boy we have it easy here in Canada eh?
Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1357 introduces new Life Rattle Writer:

Amina Abdelwahab

In these three stories set in Egypt, Amina Abdelwahab writes prose that cuts through the repression that smothers the women depicted. The narrator’s determination and strength fiercely opposes the expected and established position of a woman as powerless at the ends of a man—in the form of husband, father or assaulter. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1356, brings you three stories from new Life Rattle Writer:

Carmen Trapez

Carmen Trapez creates finely nuanced portrayals of situations from the darkest to the simply awkward in these three stories that include observations of destitute young prostitutes outside a hill station in India, a mother's chilling method of blocking out her husband's violent abuse of their children, and a lighter tale of a high school graduate who finds herself on the unexpected end of a foreseen heartbreak.   Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1355, brings you the last three stories from a series by Life Rattle writer:

Raj Pabla

Raj Pabla continues her six-week family visit to India where her parents were born. Our narrator observes, from a position of privilege, the diversity and inequality of the “homeland” with humour and compassion. Then, back to Canada and a Mc-Job that brings her smack back to harsh realities here at home. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1354 brings you three stories from new Life Rattle writer:

Emily Mak

Emily Mak writes like an old soul from a youthful perspective in these stories that run the gamut from the comfort that can come from faking ill and staying home from school, to the lament of an old woman with regrets over her choice of husband, to two young women at a busy Hong Kong train station, contemplating life and randomness. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1353 brings you three stories from new Life Rattle writer:

Erica May Farazi

The easy flow of Erica's writing can lull you, and then you realize that, pow, you have been struck by a fully fleshed-out story. Tonight's stories — ranging from a young girl's unexpected abuse of her prescription puffer, to her courageous response to her Bengali father's dare to take a bite of a bright red chili pepper, to her valiant attempt to leave an impression before graduating from her Catholic high school — will resurface time and again, causing you to reflect on their many facets. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1352, brings you two stories from new Life Rattle writer:

Sue Bracken

Sue Bracken tackles the themes of loss, finding the courage to open your heart again, people who nurture the healing process and one person who casually makes his living from those still grieving. Hosted by Laurie Kallis

This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1351, brings you the first 2 stories from a series by:

Raj Pabla

Pabla takes us along on a six-week family visit to India where the narrator’s parents were born. Through her direct presentation, effective use of sensual detail and subtle humour Pabla paints a vivid portrait of a strange yet compelling and beautiful place, and the different perceptions of parents and children to the setting. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1350, features four stories from new Life Rattler writer:

Karina Cotran

Four stories that provide extraordinary insight into the world of the hearing impaired, a world where you cannot count on sound being consistent, a world where you rely on a cochlear implant to hear (more importantly rely on the batteries that power it), where you protect that implant that gives the gift of sound, and learn to cope with sudden silence when things go wrong. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1349, features three stories from new Life Rattler writer:

Beshmaier Hamde

With spare, elegant prose, Beshmaier brings us into the worlds of a child taking her first plunge into a beautiful, blue pool, a university student taking her first plunge into university level calculus (and a particular dashing young man) and into a world awash with deep love and the deep sense of responsibility two women (mother and daughter themselves) feel for their respective mothers. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This month, your Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1348, features three stories from the first year's of Life Rattle Radio, that we pulled off archived cassette tape, all written by:

Suzanne Ponikowski

Ponikowski has written a short series about life in the “Thrasher” counter culture in the 80’s. The first story, “LTD,” appeared in the collection No More Masterpieces.

If you are into leather (and who isn’t), and your body still aches from diving off the stage (hoping your friends would catch you) and head banging, then listen in to Ponikowski’s sharp, observant prose about very wild, very fun times. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1347 features three stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Janine Carter

An exploration of different forms of love, through friendship, a resisted romance and a close mother-daughter relationship that withstand family discord and the termination of a pregnancy. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


Life Rattle No. 1346 features three stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Larissa Fleurette

Larissa writes with great candour and courage of her struggle with mental illness. With quiet composure she recounts experiences so unnerving it can be difficult to listen. Yet, her intelligence, her faith and ultimately her optimism, leads us forward, along with her sixteen-year-old self, through some very dark places. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1345, brings you the second, and last story from Life Rattle writer:

Annie Ng

Our Classic entry this month is a short essay on the communal stress and individual pressure to attain good grades.
Ng describes in fine detail the environment and process of the exam, from the drab tables, crowded room and cold hard instructor’s commands. Yet, in the middle of all this formality, a personal human desire to achieve.
If you are finished your education, tune in to remind yourself why it is good to be on the other side of this equation.

If you are still in school…sorry. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

A Father's Day special, Life Rattle No. 1344, brings you three stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Caroline Wade

Against a backdrop of loss and the wealth and excess of Los Angeles, a young woman loses herself in a narcotic tailspin in the face of her father’s illness and subsequent death. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1343, features a classic story by Life Rattle writer:

Annie Ng

Our Classic entry this month brings us a wry, telling of culture clash between first and second generation Canadians. With some humour, a little anger and a lot of honesty, Ng describes, through her own family experience, the difference between east and west when approaching marriage. As always in these issues there is no right or wrong. But there is always a very good story.

Listen in, and pick a side. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.


Radio program Update: May 21, 2015

Life Rattle No. 1342, features two stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Aubrey Keay

Early in the morning, still under the covers, a young woman has a bottle of her husband's sperm tucked against her body—to keep it warm. And there we have it—all the necessary ingredients for parenthood.

Follow that up with an intimate story addressed to a child on the day of his birth and we present a perfect finale to our 2015 Mother's Day series. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


Life Rattle No. 1341, features an atypical Mother's Day story written by:

Larissa Crawley

The action around this Mother's Day brunch table will elicit a laugh, but it is the type of laugh that is followed by a gasp, and an "Oh, my God" expression of disbelief as you listen, horrified, to the vicious unveiling of family secret.

This story is not about chocolates and flowers. But it is brilliant, and honest. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1340, features the final stories in a series about a family's experiences with adoption, written by:

Jillian McKelvey

McKelvey’s challenges now turn to daily life, where insensitivity, discrimination and tough choices must sometimes be faced.
Jillian McKelvey gets through it all with calm, grace and sincerity.
She gets it right every time. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1339, the second program of a two-part Earth Day series hosted by John Currie, features new writers:

Brandon Kimmel and Shane Driver

In their stories of a grandma in rural China giving her grandson a tour of the family farm via Skype, and a young man supervising a high school student cleaning up trash to fulfil her community hours requirment, both of these writers fascinate us as much with the people in their stories as the settings in which we find them.

Life Rattle No. 1338, the first program of a two-part Earth Day series hosted by John Currie, features new writers:

Natasha Hartono & Nicholas Zahra

With subtlety and superb detail, Natasha and Nicholas gently remind us of our deep bond with the planet in their stories of a joyous thunderstorm celebration and the cruel reality of "easy" lawn care.


On this month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1337, we bring you more stories by Life Rattle writer:

Jillian McKelvey

These are the first two in a series of stories that McKelvey wrote about her family’s experience with adoption. McKelvey’s writing makes the experience of adoption accessible to those who have only looked on. She uses short vignettes’ to help us understand the breath holding, damp tissue squeezing, tongue biting, and steadfast commitment of purpose that a couple must bring to the process. All this to satisfy a desire to love a little person they have never met.

Tune in to this week’s and next month’s Classic Show to get your education in strength, courage and uninhibited love. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

This weeks show, Life Rattle No. 1336, features Life Rattle writer

Zili Wang

These four stories of the experiences of a student—barely surviving life in residence, questioning a new-found religious belief or realizing Mom and Dad are more than parents—leave us with the feeling that we are all in the same boat, making our way through life as best we can, a richness that extends the breadth of Zili Wang’s writing far beyond the surface theme of university life. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This week's show, Life Rattle No. 1335, features Life Rattle writer

Kinsey Yangxue Zhang

Whether writing about a secret infatuation, a quirky summer job in Northern Ontario or the deep pain of seeing your grandfather slipping away, Kinsey Yangxue Zhang posesses a gift to precisely capture unexpected moments of profound truth. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This week's show, Life Rattle No. 1334, features Life Rattle writer

Tian Tian Wu

After her mother emmigrates from China to Canada, to build a better future for the family, a young girl witnesses the breakdown of her parent's marriage, and loses her sense of home as she travels back and forth across the earth between family members. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1333, features Life Rattle writer

Jillian McKelvey

who takes us from sweet to salty, with three stories that showcase the progression of young womanhood. Central to our protagonist’s development is her father, who tries with all his will and might to protect his daughter from the onslaught of the dreaded penis. Will healthy sexual development prevail? Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Our Valentine's Day special, Life Rattle No. 1332, features love-themed stories by Life Rattle writers

Caleb Davis   &   Jayson San Miguel

Nothing in life is quite as complicated as affairs of the heart. Love can bring us both the greatest highs and the greatest lows. Tonight's stories, of a teenage highschool student facing parenthood and a love struck university student granting wishes, will show us a little of both. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.

Life Rattle No. 1331, features two classic stories by Life Rattle writer

Adam Giles

This month's Classic show is what Arnie Achtman called a “Mini Heartbreak Series.”

Tune in to Life Rattle Radio this week to hear the train wreck of a young man’s dreams of romance.

We don’t want drippy, predictable, lovey-dovey crap for Valentine’s day…now do we? Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1330 features new Life Rattle writer William Vrbensky.

William's story brings us to the heart of what many consider a central component of our Canadian identity—the game of hockey. His brilliant depiction of a boy’s passion and dedication to the sport will arouse a sense of national pride, even in those who don’t follow the game. Hosted by Laurie Kallis.


Life Rattle No. 1329 features three stories from new Life Rattle writer:

Kau Makuei

Set in Kenya, Kau Makuei's stories perfectly capture the conflicted feelings of a young man, whether it is those first awkward attempts at making a romantic connection with a girl, or a family member sliding of control. Hosted by John Dunford.


This month's Classic Show, Life Rattle No. 1328 features three stories from:

Adam Giles

The Life Rattle style is often about what is “left out”…that part of the story and scene that is not fed to us, or interpreted for us, but rather, inspired by what we are told. Giles’ writing is a prime example of the beauty of this style. We get all we need to know, with strong sparse dialogue and visuals that keep us in the scene without dominating our perception.

Tune in to hear Adam Giles show us how it’s done. Hosted by Virginia Ashberry.

Life Rattle No. 1327 features stories by two new Life Rattle writers:

Nathaniel Voll and Kyra Weichert

Two stories offering us a unique peek at Christmas. In the first, a young man remembers a past Christmas as he visits his grandmother in a hospice. In the second, two sisters find that family traditions do not fall simply into place when they return home for their first Christmas vacation after moving away to attend school.

Life Rattle No. 1326 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Jayson San Miguel

These stories of an adolescent's first nervously anticipated game of spin-the-bottle, and two friends competing in their first triathalon share a tremendously general spirit that captures the positive aspects of human nature.

Life Rattle No. 1325 features one classic story by Life Rattle writer:

Janice Newton

Janice Newton has bravely shared this one story with Life Rattle listeners. It is an important and inspiring story, and one recommended to anyone who is supporting a friend with a terminal illness. Newton illuminates with clarity and sensitivity the fact that we all live, and want to connect with others, every day untill we die.

Life Rattle No. 1324 features three stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Andrew Lobo

Andrew Lobo combines a quirky light touch with breathtaking gravity. From a father's anger with his sons who accidentally knock over his puzzle, to contradicting confessions over a vandalized school desk and the sombre effects of depression, the heart of Andrew's stories often lies in what is left unsaid.

Life Rattle No. 1323 features three stories from new Life Rattle writer:

Rob Redford

With lean prose, Rob Redford deftly tackles both heavy subject matter—a boy who learns about a different kind of illness from his mother who suffers from depression, and a brother and sister meeting the half-sibling they never knew of—and a light-hearted character study of a young man with a wide open spirit that is just too full of life for the stuffiness of the big city—with equal ease.

Life Rattle No. 1322 features four stories from new Life Rattle writer:

Amna Bhutta

Amna Bhutta’s quiet, almost gentle writing belies the weightiness of these poignant stories about her childhood experiences in Kirachi, Pakistan and as a school girl in Canada, and about an extraordinary train journey her Grandmother experienced as a younger woman.


Life Rattle No. 1321 features stories from Arnie Achtman Award recipient:

Shane Driver

Both of tonight's stories come from Shane Driver's, Broken, a collection that provides a sometimes brutal account of a troubled teen, who after facing the harsh consequences of reckless actions and the devastating loss of loved ones, matures into a responsible young man, left to deal with the fallout of his early choices.

Shane Driver’s heart-rending honesty and willingness to show his character’s—and by extension our own—deepest conflicts and vulnerabilities, makes each word ring true.


This month's classic program, Life Rattle No. 1320, comes to us from:

Jessica Marasovic

With her vivid descriptive prowess, Marasovic is going to suck all the fun out of your fantasy of a damn good night on the town.

This morning after account is raw and visceral. A must-listen for under-graduates and anyone else who ever thought that binge drinking is sexy. This story is not preachy. It is simply achingly honest.


Tonight's program, Life Rattle No. 1319 features three stories by two Life Rattle Writers:

Jason Swetnam    &    Phyllis Mak

Although the beginning of each story centers around a workplace setting—a hockey stadium, a group home and a classroom in South Korea—their writers shift themes into the totally different realms of harassment, mental illness and fraught romance.


Tonight's program, Life Rattle No. 1318 features two stories by new writer

Larissa Crawley

First, a Thanksgiving Dinner grinds to a halt when a young member of a white Canadian family, who happens to be dating a black Jamaican man, is quizzed about "matters of the heart," and then we get to meet our narrator's flame in a fun and humour filled romantic tale.

Life Rattle No. 1317 features four stunning stories by new writers:

Waffa Saleem,
Daniel Ignacio,
Zeenat Mohamed
 Kimmy Vu

Come celebrate Eid ul-Adha in Pakistan for the first time, discover the power of an electrical current in the Philippines, attend auctions with Dad in Kenya, and experience the inside of a Canadian police cruiser with Mom, all from the point of view as a child, all on this week's Life Rattle Radio Show.

Life Rattle No. 1316 features two new writers on a special East Coast Program hosted by Tracy Moniz:

Jamie Gillingham   &   Robin Young

With four diverse stories tied together by their East Coast roots, these two talented writers explore family loyalty, romance, school experiences and childhood play. Layers of subtle nuance ride beneath the surface of each of these evocative stories.

Life Rattle No. 1315 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Sadaf Saleem

Whether the focus is a childhood crisis—a girl and her two brothers play unsupervised for the first time, with near fatal results—or an adult trauma—a young woman suffers severe injuries in a car accident, and inadvertently meets the love of her life—Sadaf Saleem’s use of interior dialogue gives us great insight into her character’s behaviour.

Life Rattle No. 1314 features two new stories by Life Rattle writer:

Tyler McLaren

Two stories that will pull you into the world of guy talk, guy thought and guy actions—guts tempered with soul and intelligence and then rounded out with some incredibly funny moments.

Life Rattle No. 1313 features a Life Rattle classic from:

Katherine McQuaid

Our Classic show this week is full of sadness, fear, desperation, frustration and an immense amount of love and devotion. Katherine McQuaid uses one short story to share all these emotions. Her father’s illness is at the centre of the action. But the families’ response is the real story. If you, or anyone you know has ever been touched by stroke, this week’s show is a must.

Life Rattle No. 1312 features two new Life Rattle writers:

Anne Yendell and Bridget Poole

Bridget writes of a middle-school student put on the spot by an imperious teacher who demands compensation for the interruption of his class—in the form of entertainment and an irrational patron who pushes the “the customer is always right” approach to the limit.

Anne writes of an American girl stricken ill as she embarks on a group camping trip in Japan.

Life Rattle No. 1311 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Jean Chung

Two stories chronicle an adolescent girl's first experiences in the workplace, from an employer who displays a discomforting interest in her physical development, to a day of selling flowers door-to-door to help financially support her family.

Life Rattle No. 1310 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer:

Claire Holland

An evening of sensuality and flesh leads to a morning of dissatisfaction, and a college residence reveals itself as anything but unbridled fun and liberation - two stories that will seduce you with their rhythm and lyricism before leaving you with a bit of a chill.

Life Rattle No. 1309 features four Life Rattle classics by:

Jennifer Bechard

In four short stories we see Bechard grow up on a farm in rural Barbados. There is lots of hard work, a mean cousin, and a nasty teacher who wields a vicious strap that has its own, even nastier, personality. But mostly there is family love, pride and support.


Life Rattle No. 1308 features two stories by new Life Rattle Writer:

Canya Selvakumar

Whether depicting a post-divorce family around a game of Scrabble, or a night on the town with the girls, a night that ends with a subtle betrayal, the easy flow of Selvakumar's writing belies the complex subtext in her stories.

Life Rattle No. 1307 features three new stories by Life Rattle Writer:

David Kee

David Kee has written a series of three humorous relationship stories with a gravity that will take listeners by surprise.

Life Rattle No. 1306 features three classic stories by Life Rattle Writer:

Vanessa Mariga

This week Mariga’s stories take us far from the family focus of last month’s classic entries. These stories are about Mariga’s own experiences being young and beautiful, with the power that comes from being just that. Set in a variety of clubs, with an assortment of quirky, funny, coarse and cute friends, lovers, bastards and bouncers, Vanessa Mariga shares more of her honest, direct prose that will make you want to put on something tight and shiny and stay out till three. Tune in and party.

Life Rattle No. 1305 features two stories by new Life Rattle Writer:

Jessica Zurawicki

Fresh, bright prose takes us to a university “sex pub” where we experience that awkward self-conciousness and the doubts that come along with putting yourself out there to connect with a potential romantic partner and, later, to an emotionally charged scene between two lovers in a parking lot.

In honour of Father's Day, Life Rattle No. 1304 features themed stories by two Life Rattle writers:

Nathalie Soulliere and Laura Lush

Nathalie Soulliere draws us into the world of a young girl and her Grand Papa, where make-believe seeps into their lazy Sunday morning routine.

Laura Lush has created a breathtaking tribute to her father, drawn from her collection, Swing Beam: My Father’s Story of Life on the Farm and the Barns He Loved and Lost.


Life Rattle No. 1303 features three classic stories from Life Rattle Writer:

Vanessa Mariga

Mariga has written a series about family and friends from where she grew up in northern Ontario. With a direct and honest style, she keeps us engaged and avoids sticky sentiment. We get to fill in the spaces. That’s my favourite part about good short stories. I’m sure you will find these three entries sweet, but not saccharine.

Life Rattle No. 1302 features three stories from new Life Rattle Writer:

Steven Rahman

Steven Rahman writes with surprising honesty of a university student suspended from school, an employee with a personal interest in learning who the boss suspects of stealing inventory and a young man smitten by his oblivious best friend.

Life Rattle No. 1301, this month's classic program, features three classic stories from Life Rattle Writer:

Tamara Chandon

Chandon has written a book of short stories titled: Freezer Cats, about her experience as a Veterinary Assistant.  What starts as a summer job to stave off boredom, quickly morphs into a constant assault of excrement, urine, cute fluffy cats and dogs, death, and frozen pets.
Sure, there’s a lot of gallows humour, weird co-workers and flippant remarks, but there is also caring, honest sadness and sometimes even a little dignity.

If you live with anything on four legs, tune in this week, (but best to keep this one away from the kiddies).


Life Rattle Program No. 1300, the second in a two part Earth Day series, features three new stories by Life Rattle writers

Alexandra Geddes, Robert Jones and John Currie

Writing with the planet in mind brings a theme of renewal and new perspective in these stories of a zealous father who returns from Florida with a box of contraband artifacts, a young man who experiences a moment of bliss after he smuggles his friends into the family cottage, and a father and son discussing the universe and our place in it beneath the stars.


Life Rattle Program No. 1299, the first in a two part Earth Day series, features two stories by new Life Rattle writer

Claudio Carosi

A deft and subtle piece about an early morning walk with his dog, leaving us plenty of space to consider the human relationship with the more than human, and a whimsical portrait of grandmother and grandson, art supplies, apples, a camera and a tree.


This month's Classic, Life Rattle Program No. 1298 comes to us from:

Beth Jones

Just in case you were planning a summer vacation full of environmental and/or political protesting, you must tune in to the show this week for a primer on how it’s done.

Jones is the real thing, a put-it-where-your-mouth-is kind of activist. She takes us under the bus, then into the jungle, where she feels sore, scared, angry, proud, and even bored…but always committed.

Jones is not preaching to the choir from a comfy armchair. She’s out there doing the hard work for all of us.

Tune in and get inspired. .

Life Rattle Program No. 1297 features a new story by Life Rattle writer

Sarah E. Truman

Tonight's story places us in the driver’s seat of a transport truck, in the heart of a sleet storm, on a dark highway in northern Ontario. And, without releasing us for a moment from the building tension, Sarah E. Truman slips in some sound lessons in driving.


Life Rattle Program No. 1296 features three stories by new writer

David Kee

With a generous spirit, these tales of a young artist, a market in Guatemala City, and an evening spent babysitting an anxious girl speak of human strength and determination, and our capacity for kindness.

Life Rattle Program No. 1295 features three stories by Life Rattle writer

Rahul Sethi

These classics bring us simple events from everyday life in a clear descriptive style that will have you shivering when the door blows off, holding your nose by the shitwater creek, and in the third story, looking for the sweet surprise at the end.

Life Rattle Program No. 1294 features three stories by new writer

Sheridan Martins

With a genuine and true voice of a precocious young girl who can’t resist doing that which she knows she shouldn’t, Sheridan Martins' stories take us to Saudi Arabia, Bombay and a local grocery store.

Life Rattle Program No. 1293 features three stories by new writer

Nicholas Tsangarides

The uncommon enthusiasm Nicholas Tsangarides has for throwing himself whole-heartedly into his passions drives these diverse stories of a skinhead, in the original meaning of the term, a cycling enthusiast and a young man considering a future as a butcher.

Life Rattle Program No. 1292 features two Life Rattle classics by

Damian Mangat

Two very different travel stories: a bit of a romp in a Brighton bedroom, then a quick visit to steamy, monsoon season in India. In her highly visual, tactile and sensual style, Mangat will help you feel the cold wind and rain of the English coastline, then the heat, beauty and emotional isolation in a rural Punjab mansion.

Life Rattle Program No. 1291 features three stories by new writer

Afreen Chowdhury

Afreen Chowdhury creates a wonderful sense of place. Be it another country, a classroom or a hospital emergency department, our narrator takes us with her to learn about some real and some not so real Bengali culture, and the love of a daughter for her ailing mother.

Life Rattle Program No. 1290 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer

Martha Sinclair

With restrained, unsentimental writing, Martha Sinclair delivers two powerful stories centered on the death of a loved one.

Life Rattle No. 1289, our first program of 2014, features a classic story by:

Rosa Veltri.

Veltri has written a series of stories about working for a family owned grocery store that illuminate the suffering of the workers and the excesses of the owners.
Tonight, we hear about the store workers attempt to unionize. This is, unfortunately, in every way, a truly classic story.



Life Rattle No. 1288, a special Christmas program, features stories by

Renate Kellhammer and Andrew Ihamaki.

Kellhammer's story, set in Germany in the dark times of 1944, provides a stark contrast to Ihamaki's magical tale of Christmas Day as seen through the eyes of a child.

Life Rattle Program No. 1287 features stories of a dissappearing boy, a Grandmother who has grown tired of life and a young Muslim man who doesn't effectively hide his contraceptives written by two new writers.

Phoebe Lau    and    Ashika Huq

Both authors write in a deceptively simple manner, using subtle details to develop a bigger picture, and a deeper meaning.



Life Rattle Program No. 1286 features two new stories by Life Rattle writer

Sara Peters

Sara Peters, a master of the character study, imparts each of her characters with the breath of life. In tonight's two stories you will meet a talented university student who has yet to find her raison d’etre and a mother of three young children who has a surprising and complex encounter with her babysitter.

Tonight, on Life Rattle Program No. 1285 we bring you two classic stories by

Juan Alas.

Juan Alas has written a series of stories about the Civil War in El Salvador in the early 1980's. He gives us details of horror and fear, death and dislocation with his personal and emotion filled prose. This is the true human story of conflict, not the politics.

Politics are always the same, whether it is Vietnam, Syria or in this case, El Salvador. What resonates, chills and brings it home, are the individual experiences of fear and loss.

That message is clear in the writing Juan Alas brings us tonight.

Tonight, on Life Rattle Program No. 1284 you will hear two stories by new Life Rattle writer Laura Lush.

Laura, a poet who recently returned to prose—one noun and one verb at a time—brings us two distinct stories: one of young women who find a job at a restaurant with a dangerously wacko chef, and another of a terrifying summer when a son faces a plague of fishflies, and his mother, a diagnosis of cancer.


Tonight, on Life Rattle Program No. 1283 you will hear three classic stories by Bayan Khatib.

Khatib has written a series of heartbreaking stories with the honest voice of a seven-year-old child from Aleppo, Syria. Separated from her parents as a baby, she is reunited to parents she doesn't remember, under less than ideal circumstances.

Life Rattle Program No. 1282 features stories by new writer Vincent Gao.

Whether focused on working at a summer camp or senior's centre, or a highly-charged scene between a father and his angry son, Vincent's short, yet substantive stories feel emotionally spacious.


Life Rattle Program No. 1281 features stories by two new Life Rattle writers: Anna Li and Gabriel Miceli.

The unflinching calm of the young narrator in Anna's story is as chilling as the violence outside of the door.

Gabriel tackles major themes in his depiction of a young man and woman who engage in deep conversation beneath a curtain of falling snow.

Life Rattle Program No. 1280 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer Sara Peters.

Sara's eloquent prose imparts each of her characters with the breath of life. The genius hippie and the gifted young actor we meet in tonight's stories are both so distinct, you would likely recognize them should you meet them on the street.

Life Rattle Program No. 1279 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer Rowan El Shabassy.

Unafraid to explore the tangled, conflicting emotions that make us human, Rowan El Shabassy deftly weaves in and out of facts and feelings in these two stories about relationships, one within a family recently emmigrated from Egypt, and the second involving contrary attractions.

Life Rattle Program No. 1278 features three stories by new Life Rattle writer Lauren Tashiro.

Whether she is writing about the parental pressure a young hockey player faces, leftovers from lunch, or a chilly ocean swim, Lauren's prose feels fresh and honest. The tone in each story maintains a cautious reserve that leaves the reader with the sense that much is going on below the surface.

Life Rattle Program No. 1277 features three stories by new Life Rattle writer Mitchell Pateman.

With waterskiing, life saving, swamp crashing, smoking up for the first time and a few things inbetween, this series of stories could easily be entitled “The Adventures of Mitchell Pateman.”

On Life Rattle Program No. 1276, new writer Christie Rodenburg writes of the frustration of trying to coax a young calf to drink milk from a bucket, the frustration of trying to coax a brother to follow his father's directions, and the frustration of trying to stop your mother and aunt from gleefully embarrassing you.

This week, on Life Rattle Program No. 1275, we bring you another installment from the recent Life Rattle publication Rub Salt: Short Stories by Robert Charles Osborne, Peaches D. Ledwidge, Elizabeth Clark and Hien The Chu.

Tonight's stories, written by Hien The Chu (and read by Arnie Achtman), take us to South Vietnam, shortly after its capture (liberation/reunification) by the North Vietnamese. We follow Hien and a friend through a failed attempt to escape the country that lands them both in jail.

We feel, smell, fear and taste Hien’s horror and desperation as he wills himself to survive in an environment where he knows none of the rules. A mistake can mean death or worse.



On Life Rattle Program No. 1274, new writer Meera Jayarajan entrenches you in the experience of being a medical practitioner, with cool, precise prose and stories both brutal and provocative.

Although tonight's show, Life Rattle Program No. 1273, is a bit shorter than usual, new Life Rattle writer Sebastian Franks delivers a very entertaining story that will leave you questioning the wisdom of drinking and playing board games.

I have recently picked up and read one of the newest Life Rattle publications. Rub Salt, combines breathtaking, gripping, vivid stories by four of our Classic Contributors: Hien The Chu, Peaches D. Ledwidge, Robert Charles Osborne and this week’s writer for our podcast, Elizabeth Clark. The featured story of Life Rattle Program No. 1272 is a very different “back to school” entry. You will hold your breath, chew your knuckles and cross your fingers in hope for a happy ending….but what is a happy ending?

Our next few “Classic” Podcasts will feature writing from this excellent book. I can’t promise you happy, but, as always, you will be very satisfied.


This update introduces two programs:

On Life Rattle Program No.1270, new writer Belinda Grimaudo Grayburn tells her mother's lyrical tale of travelling at night, through the mountains of Sicily, with her father, who is forced to sell food on the black market to keep his family fed during the Second World War. In her second story, Belinda brings an extraordinarily deft touch to her observations in a unique and devastating presentation of the winding down of a human life.

On Life Rattle Program No. 1271, new writer Reade Domazar brings us a story of a beloved bike that goes missing from a store front and a brilliant account of coitus interruptus. Reade's quirky diction and larger-than-life delivery bring a wonderful sense of humour to his street level stories.

Life Rattle Program No.1269 features three stories by new Life Rattle writer Belinda Grimaudo Grayburn. Belinda makes good writing look effortless. Both her stories and her reading have a rare natural fluidity that presents quite a contrast to the earnest nature of the emotionally engaged narrator we will meet in tonights light-hearted tales.

Life Rattle Program No.1268 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer Courtney Olmsted, whose deft writing delivers an unexpectedly broad understanding in her straightforward accounts of a volunteer teacher in a small school in Guatemala, and a young woman visiting her 90-year-old grandmother.

Tonight, on Life Rattle Program No.1267 we bring you a story from the Life Rattle vaults. Our writer is Jenny Qin Chun Zhou. The story you will hear tonight is an excerpt from a series that Zhou is working on representing a composite of women’s experiences she witnessed growing up in Communist Shanghai. This story was read at our 2010 Totally Unknown Writer’s Festival.

Tonight Zhou takes us to Shanghai just before the revolution, to give us two stories in one. First, a young girl’s frustration with the restrictions of a society predicated on male supremac, then the story of her mother’s deep sadness born of her own experience of love and limitations within the same society.



Life Rattle Program No.1266 features two stories by new Life Rattle writer Turbo Stevens. The emotional intensity of these stories stands in stark contrast to the setting, the rough and tough domain of a hockey academy in Oka, Quebec, where physical strength is a priority.

On Life Rattle Program No.1265 new Life Rattle writer Samantha Ashenhurst uses cool, calm prose to present three emotionally charged narratives of a childhood friend's explosive father, a boyfriend's betrayal and the unexpected death of a friend.



On Life Rattle Program No.1264, we present four stories by new Life Rattle writer Rory Bourgeois.

In this series, our narrator grapples with individuality on the brink of adulthood. With writing at once humourous and deadly serious, Rory’s stories examine the different faces of masculinity.

On Life Rattle Program No.1263, Virginia Ashberry presents three classics from the Life Rattle archive by Fuad Ahmed.

In these stories we are dropped into three stages of his Fuad's early life. Each story progresses us through innocence into adulthood observed, with all the chipping away of the simplicity at the start, right on to the inevitable sadness of aging decline. Fuad’s prose is honest in its voice and with just a few subtle devices, we are brought completely into the moment he seeks to explore.

On Life Rattle Program No. 1262 we present the work of two new Life Rattle Writers: Morgan Goodwin and Tyler McLaren.

Tonight’s featured writers, both young, both in university, write about finding their way in the adult world of relationships, romantic and platonic. Not surprisingly, they each have written a story about unreturned romantic interest, one from each side of that unpleasant equation.

Life Rattle Program No. 1260 and Program No. 1261 feature four stories by new writer Bobby Popovic.

Bobby’s Popovic’s writing comes across as quiet; he doesn’t, thankfully, go for the over-dramatic, although his stories are serious and could easily lend themselves to exclamation. It’s this refusal to be sentimental, to simply describe, that gives Popovic’s stories such poignancy and makes them so effective.

On Life Rattle Program No.1259, Virginia Ashberry presents two classics from Life Rattle writer Mike Faye's perfectly droll, honest and finely paced set of stories about the summer job experience of a university student.

Half our listeners will have shared this kind of hell, and the other half may be living it right now. Either way, everyone will enjoy a guilty vicarious thrill listening to Mike’s experience.

On Life Rattle Program No.1257 and 1258 we present a series of stories written and read by new Life Rattle writer Bailey Green.

Set in Quebec, these smart, contemporary stories are told from the viewpoint of a student who juggles school, boyfriends and minimum-wage jobs with a great deal of wry wit and sass.



On Life Rattle Program No.1256, we present an incredible story by new Life Rattle writer Bailey Green.

With sharp and exact writing that delivers an excruciating emotional impact, Bailey Green brings us an extremely unsettling account of Rida, a young woman born in Afghanistan in 1990, and the trials her family faced, first at the hands of the Taliban and then, after they fled Afghanistan, the people of Turkey. Worst of all, were the trials Rida faced within her own family.



On Life Rattle Program No.1255, we acknowledge this weekends celebration of Mothers with two classic stories of mothers lost, written by Victoria Martinez and Laurie Kallis.

Rather than creating a “Happy Mother’s Day” program, tonight’s stories focus on the yearning to hold onto the woman who brought us into this world, or to find them and make a connection. They speak of our undeniable need to have our mother’s love and comfort bestowed upon us.

It’s been about 2 years now since Life Rattle started podcasting. Our listeners are enjoying the use of this platform to access stories they want to hear, anywhere and any time they want to listen in.

So we thought, why not make the whole Life Rattle library of classics available to our community?

We will be programming a “Classic” show on the first Thursday of every month till we get the job done. And, with more than 25 years of stories in the can, we may be at this for a very, very long time. Enjoy!

On Life Rattle Program No.1254, we present two classics from Life Rattle writer Mike Faye.

The first of a series of sharply observed, vividly detailed and beautifully paced stories about a university student looking for summer employment and getting another sort of education outside the class room.



On Life Rattle Program No.1253, we present three more stories from new Life Rattle writer Grace Jooyun Lee.

With candid writing and a frank and authentic voice, Grace Jooyun Lee takes us to three different countries: in the United States we go on a road trip with her family and precocious younger brother, in Canada we accompany her on a foray into the East Hastings neighbourhood of Vancouver with her church group, in Korea we are with her on a plane, on her way to a birthday celebration, when she receives a devastating text message from her father.

On Life Rattle Program No.1252, we present three stories from new Life Rattle writer Grace Jooyun Lee.

Grace Jooyun Lee’s writing is guileless and candid, her voice frank and authentic. She is unafraid to show herself, laying bare the innocent, sometimes mischievous, and often funny, thoughts and emotions of a little girl’s world. Tonight’s three stories reflect the culture of Grace’s home country of Korea.

On Life Rattle Program No.1251, we present two stories from new Life Rattle writer Niall Carson.

In beautifully crafted settings, Niall Carson delivers character studies that offer unexpected insights. When a father and son travel to Ireland to attend a family wedding, old family skeletons and long standing tension haunt the occasion, and an incredible landscape, haunting in itself, takes on even greater force when juxtaposed with the characters of the story.



On Life Rattle Program No. 1248, 1249 and 1250, we present a showcase of classics written and read by Virginia Ashberry.

Virginia Ashberry's stories show a shrewd observation of human behaviour and a fine balance of toughness and tenderness. Her writing, sharp-edged, honest and believable, doesn’t pull any punches.

Life Rattle Program No. 1247 features new writer Nikita Pchelin.

Nikita Pchelin’s writing has a strong analytical sensibility. With a critical eye that misses no detail and sharp, precise language, he evaluates the world around him.

Life Rattle Program No. 1246 features new writer Kiranjyot Chattha.

While Kiranjyot Chattha's fresh voice stays true to her narrator’s youthfulness, she manages to present a candid self-awareness that is not always flattering. This honesty and her keen observations give each story a convincing sharpness that rings absolutely true.

Life Rattle Program No. 1244 and Program No. 1245 features the writing of new writer Raj Asimi.

In his writing, especially his stories written from a child’s viewpoint, Raj Asimi delivers exceptionally telling details and then grants the reader space to come to our own understanding of the situation. He trusts us to listen sharply, and to utilize the building blocks he offers to create the full picture..

Life Rattle Program No. 1242 and Program No. 1243 features the writing of Sami Karaman.

Sami is a very, very funny writer. His humour is subtle, rather observational and often situational—almost Seinfeldesque—seemingly about nothing but really about everything, including issues of identity and a young man’s place in the world as he sets out for adulthood.

Last week, on Life Rattle Program No. 1240 and next week on Program No. 1241 we are having a Vaia Barkas travel-story fest—road trips for those of us unable to take a midwinter vacation.

There are no “big events” in Barkas’ narratives, but she manages to make "not much happening" rivetting and entertaining as she captures the open-ended feeling of travelling, Vaia Barkas style.

Her wealth of sensual detail places the listener close to the landscape and lets us watch the scene for ourselves. The characters she encounters on her travels are so sharply drawn and their dialogue so natural that you can almost feel them breathe.

Life Rattle Program No. 1238 and next week on Program No. 1239 we feature five stories from new Life Rattle writer Andrew Ihamaki.

Andrew Ihamaki’s storytelling is subtle. His observations are quiet and almost understated, setting such a reposed mood you can almost hear a pin drop. In his descriptions, he truly shows and rarely tells. Indeed, what he leaves unspoken is often more powerful than what is said.

Life Rattle Program No. 1237 features a new excerpt from The Taste of Water: A Novel, written by Franky Dias. You will meet Grace De Souza, who has learned that her husband, Joachim, has died in a car accident. Slipping between delirium and lucidity, Grace examines her life, questioning the purpose of leading a good life—and even God.

Life Rattle Program No. 1235 features two new stories from Diane Donaghy, who was a sensation at this year's Totally Unknown Writer’s Festival with her hit story “Ron and Helen.” Donaghy’s latest entries take us back again to the hedonistic 70’s and 80’s here in Toronto. This was a time when we all thought nothing could happen to us that couldn’t be cured with penicillin. It was a time of cultural and sexual revolution that Donaghy captures perfectly with an unapologetic style. I remember those times, and Donaghy has nailed it. Listen in for a very different Christmas experience.

Life Rattle Program No. 1233 features a new story by Life Rattle writer Mark Bialy, and a Life Rattle classic by David Penhale.

Both stories are thick with tension. Both are from the viewpoint of a young person who feels the strain between their parents and a grandparent. With reasons left unsaid, we, the listeners, are left in the same position as the narrators who squirm uncomfortably, unsure of why or how things went awry.

Life Rattle Program No. 1231 features an incredible story from new Life Rattle writer Franky Dias's upcoming book The Taste of Water: A Novel.

"A Spectral Sword Fight, the Alvares Spinsters, Dukor Dorju and Silent Salvador" like the book itself, weaves Mangalorean history, folklore, humour and irreverence into a magical tale.

Life Rattle Program No. 1230 features a stunning new story from Life Rattle writer Donna Kakonge's upcoming book How to Talk to Crazy People: Vignettes of Sixteen Breakdowns. A collection that imparts a haunting comprehension of what it means to live with bipolar disorder as we watch a vulnerable young woman struggle in a desperate fight for equilibrium.

Life Rattle Program No. 1228 and Life Rattle Program No. 1229 features new stories from Life Rattle writer Shane Driver, that delve into the profoundly complex tangle of love and loss within a family.

Driver’s heart-rending honesty and his willingness to show each character’s, and by extension our own, deepest conflicts and vulnerabilities, makes each word ring true.

Life Rattle Program No. 1227 features a classic by Laurie Kallis and a sneak peak at the work of new Life Rattle writer, Shane Driver.

These stories lay bare the gut wrenching pain of divorce, the raw emotions experienced by every family member. No one escapes.

With a reserved approach, both writers capture low-key details that build to a climax. You know where things are going, and you don’t really want to hear how things end, but step by step you’re caught up in the events.

We are introducing a new writer and a new program time this week.

First the writer: Zeenat Mohamed will be reading two new stories.

One is about cute little kiddies getting thrown in the deep end...literally.
The second one features a dead guy as the main character...really.

If this doesn’t get you in the mood for the Halloween Season, you’re just not trying. A dead guy……doesn’t get any better than that eh?

And for the program time change: We are changing our show time to Thursday evenings. That way you will have new stories to enjoy over the weekend!

So, tune into the Life Rattle Radio podcast this Thursday Evening, and every Thursday after.



This Sunday and Next, September 30 and October 7, we present stories from new Life Rattle writer Michelle Kathryn Duklas.

Michelle’s collection of stories depicts three generations of a family coping with the failing health of their grandfather (Dziadek in Polish). With a wonderful juxtaposition of youth and old age, humour and sadness, and some ironic twists, these stories are both very touching and frighteningly relevant to all families.

This Sunday and Next, September 16 and 23, we present stories from new Life Rattle writer Michael Dzingala.

These sharply-written stories seem simple enough. But within their everydayness—making a personal shield in grade six, heading to a friend’s house to play the latest video game, a trip to a river for a swim, helping an older woman who has taken her husband to the hospital for a test—Dzingala skilfully notes details and observations of people and landscapes that reveal a lot more is going on than may first appear.

This Sunday and Next, September 2 and 7, we present stories from new Life Rattle writer Shaan Gupta.

Through his stories, full of humour and heart—from a child focused on his lack of Pokemon cards to an electronics store clerk robbed by a quick, do-rag wearing customer to a perceptive university student interviewing a ground-breaking scientist and getting the scoop on his new Aston Martin—Gupta shows us the life of a suburban boy maturing into a young man.

This Sunday, Aug 26, we present two stories, a new story from Life Rattle writer Emily Smith and a Life Rattle classic from Elizabeth Clark.

Both “The Fight” and “The Day Dad Died” reveal life in a family out of control—a situation far too common and one usually kept secret, hidden behind a curtain of shame and fear. With courageous, brutally honest prose, Emily Smith and Elizabeth Clark take us behind that curtain.

This Sunday and next, Aug 5 and 12, we have a very special pair of programs featuring Life Rattle writer

Diane Donaghy

Life Rattle first featured Diane (then Diane Tiley) on the fifth Life Rattle show in December of 1988. That was more than 1,200 programs ago! This Sunday, August 5, we will feature Diane’s three stories from the formative days of Life Rattle, along with the original introduction by the late Arnie Achtman, who with Guy Allen founded Life Rattle.
The best part of all is that Diane is still writing. She contacted us recently with a new story that Virginia Ashberry will present next week, August 12, on Life Rattle Program number 1217.

This Sunday and next, July 22 and 29, we feature a collection of stories by new Life Rattle writer

Leah Jones

In her collection, “Small Town Girl vs. The Real World,” Jones delivers a compelling series of stories that convincingly portray the coming of age of a young woman who moves from rural Ontario to attend university in the city. A series of firsts—first bus trip, first pub night, first house party, first car accident, first traffic jam and, almost, a first tattoo—these stories capture the trepidation and frustration of that crazy life transition.

This Sunday and next, July 8 and 15, we feature seven new stories by

Evangeline Torres Sled

Just a little girl when she immigrated to Canada from the Philippines with her family, Sled’s stories span from her toddler to her teenage years, from prosperity to growing up poor in Toronto, and focus on her loving but complicated relationship with her father that sharpens in a poignant way when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sled is unafraid to show herself warts and all and her stories are by turn funny, sad, courageous, heartbreaking, moving, inspiring and, especially, honest.

Specially for Pride Day, this Sunday, July 1st, we feature a new story by

Nicola Holmes

We’re talking PRIDE! here people…
A refreshing coming out story that chronicles the sexual life of a man who is very comfortable in his own skin. We follow his sexual awakening, then experimentation and then on to his joyful embracing of the dynamic Gay community of Toronto in the 1970’s.
So, tune in, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

With crystalline prose, Rana Darwish brings us three tales of the new technology, the timeless search for love (with a twist) and the chaotic schedule that propel the life of a young woman as she makes the transition from student to flight attendant. This Sunday, June 24, 2012.

This week, June 17th, we continue the tale of a Moscow family, newly settled in Canada, as we present three more new stories from Anna Konareva, recent recipient of the Mississauga Art Council's 2012 Marty Award for Emerging Literary Artist.

With a hats off to Father’s Day, the final story, “Konarev,” centres on a long-distance phonecall between a daughter and her father. The bittersweet conversation, full of frustration and pain and love, reveals more of the true nature of father-child relationships than all the Hallmark cards on the drugstore racks.


This Sunday and next, June 10th and 17th, you are in for a literary treat as Life Rattle brings you six stories from the recent recipient of the Mississauga Art Council's 2012 Marty Emerging Literary Arts Award.

Anna Konareva

This week, June 10, in the first three stories Konareva gives us glimpses of a family celebration in Moscow on New Year's Eve 1999, rural Russian holidays with Babyshka, and the shock of being uprooted from familiar culture, landscape and family and moved to Mississauga suburbia, all through the candid observations of a child.

This Sunday, May 20th, we bring you two more new stories by

Sonia Dhaliwal

This Sunday's stories masquerade as tales of defeat and fear, but are actually stories of strength, persistence and hope. Dhaliwal delivers this complexity of emotion with vignettes that are clear, insightful and visually astute.

This Sunday, May 20th, we bring you three new stories by

Sonia Dhaliwal

Sonia Dhaliwal's stories speak of refreshing unabashed youthful choices. Her accomplished delivery and brutal self-honesty will make these tales resonate for any of us who will admit to having been young themselves.

This Sunday and next we will bring you five stories from new writer

Sara Middleton

Sara Middleton writes like an old soul for such a young writer. Her stories, quiet and spare, allow the reader to draw their own conclusions.

This Sunday, May 6, we feature three stories. “Piss, Red, and Kayla” tells of a little girl, humiliated over wetting the bed and then manipulated by a schoolmate who blackmails her. “Luke” and “Greensides Farm” follow a relationship from the sunset glow of a romantic canoe trip, to loneliness and almost unbearable ennui.

Next Sunday’s program, features two stories: “The Lucky Dice,” a tale of two tangled relationships set amidst the characters who frequent a neighbourhood bar, and “Eva Wilkens,” a powerful, moving account of a young German girl whose family opposes Hitler’s reign in Gross-Jestin, Germany, a small town that becomes a frontline between the Russians and the Germans in the final showdown of the Second World War.

This Sunday and next we will bring you three new stories from

Rocco Racco

This Sunday you will hear the first two stories. “Alone” takes us on a solitary, but sensual romp through romantic Rome. “Study Time” is a classic tale of procrastination…on steroids.

Then next Sunday in “Reciting The Times Table” we follow two young boys through a day of high competition as they each seek to prove their worthiness for the same pretty girl. The boys duel it out with math skills, skipping stones, stacking rocks and even urine becomes a tool in their drive for supremacy. Listen in to see who wins.

This Sunday you will hear two new stories from

Monique Nadeau Massabki

and one from a past airing that we were determined to make available on podcast. Massabki’s style is to tell us one simple story with amazing insight, timing and clarity. I am always astounded how, with just a few visual details, Massabki has me sitting right there in the room with her characters. Tonight you will sit beside a grieving husband who can laugh at himself, an elderly woman who cheats at cards and a relationship that ends with a twist.



This Sunday, we ring in the new year with a new story by Life Rattle writer

Donna Kakonge

Kakonge writes masterful prose. This week’s featured story, “Three Quarters,” is no exception. From the narrator’s struggle to place the haunting eyes of the woman who sits across from her on the bus, to the startling recollection of a childhood trauma, you will be spellbound.


This Sunday, we are giving you the best gift we could think of....

Janine Burigana's

"Jesus Christ Kids It's Christmas"

Almost 2 hours of rollicking, suburban family holiday fun. And, so that you can make this event a centrepiece of your celebrations, we will post this podcast on Saturday December 24th at noon.

This is the funniest, droll, disgusting and heart warming story we’ve ever inflicted on our listening public. For more than 15 years, J. C. K. I’s Christmas, has been the most requested Life Rattle offering.

Forget Dylan Thomas, play this one for the kiddies.

This Sunday, Life Rattle presents two new stories by new Life Rattle writers

Fong Hsiung
Tin Ling Chung

The previous three podcasts Life Rattle has posted have brought you the whole Life Rattle library of Kwai Yun Li’s recordings, drawn from the stories you will find in her recently published collection titled The Palm Leaf Fan.

Kwai introduced us to the intricate structure of the minority Hakka community in Kolkata India where she grew up. The background for her early life is this small community perched at the edge of rival national politics.

This Sunday we are introducing two new authors from this very same heritage. Fong Hsiung with her story “Alfie”, takes us to Tangra, where Hakka operate many tanneries. Hsiung paints a metaphor for the striving of the whole community by focussing on one young man’s determination to overcome personal adversity.

Tin Ling Chung transports us to Canada where a young woman comes to truly recognize all the sacrifices of her mother’s life in Kolkata, which have made her own life so rich with the comforts and love that “Three Brush Stokes” communicates.



This Sunday, Life Rattle presents two new stories by Life Rattle writer

Hina Najam

Hina Najam writes convincingly in the voice of a child who quietly observes the world around her.

This Sunday you will hear that voice in two distinct stories - both set in Karachi, Pakistan: one of a little girl who doesn’t realize, until she is in front of her classmates at school, that her beloved grandfather has passed away and she will never see him again; and one of a girl who witnesses the lives of two Sautans, the wives of one man whose joblessness and gambling obliges the women to works as maids in the narrator’s household.

This Sunday, Life Rattle presents a new podcast with stories by

Vic Gaysheyongai and Donna Kakonge

“Buckeroo Bez and the Escape from the City of Lost Cause” and “Superwomon” share more than a reference to the fantastic; they also share hopeful determination. Both writers’ masterful use of subtle detail creates a dull, uncertain “here and nows” full of quiet desperation.

In these bleak settings, we meet central characters who display incredible optimism and humour, and a degree of naive innocence, in their quest for a brighter future, with love and security and an ideal home.


This Sunday, Laurie Kallis will introduce two widely divergent stories by new Life Rattle writer Donna Kakonge.

“Church Sunday” has us tag along with a young girl who learns of charity, compassion and spirit when she escorts her Granny, who is visiting Toronto from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, up Davenport Avenue to a Baptist church where a one-legged woman stands outside the door and the preacher leads a raucous service where more Black people than the girl has ever seen in one place shimmy and shake in the pews.

“Elephant Woman,” swirls us up in the dizzying obsession of a university student who, despite her dislike of the colour, cramps her stomach inflating green balloons, cuts her fingers stuffing invitations into green envelopes, blisters her feet hunting for the right shade of green cushions for her bed and runs up her VISA bill on a green bra and panties in a determined effort to win a gold nineteenth birthday prize—Alistar Abego—her current man of choice.


This Sunday night we are extremely proud to introduce a new writer: Kirsti Heitz. Heitz brings us a starkly emotional and honest account of the loss of a loved pet. A theme many of you will relate to. Heitz writes in an emotionally bare and honest style that lets us taste the tears and feel her mad distress.


This Sunday night a bevy of Life Rattle Producers, led by Guy Allen will be proud as piss to strut our stuff for the last time on CKLN! We plan to go out with a bang…Good memories and Great Stories, by and about Life Rattle co-founder Arnie Achtman, all framed by a whole bunch of cuss words.

The CRTC may have taken us off the air, but they can’t take the air out of our tires. Life Rattle will keep on trucking with stories from the pavement, stories that you love to hear because they are real.

Life Rattle will continue to post regular shows on our own web-site at till we find a new station to host the best story show in Canada.

So, tune in to CKLN for the last time this Sunday night for a damn good time!

This Sunday, July 3rd, on our CKLN Live Internet Stream, we will be airing two stories in celebration of Pride Weekend in Toronto.

Norm Reynolds starts us off with a Life Rattle favourite "My Father's Birthday," a story of a son's coming out to his Father.

Then, we bring you a story from new Life Rattle writer Mary Dytyniak. "My First Kiss," an excerpt from her novel, Guys Just Don't Kiss Like That, captures Dytyniak’s first lesbian romance, experienced while studying abroad in Siena, Italy in the summer of 2009.

After the festivities of the weekend calm, come listen to Life Rattle's Pride Weekend offerings this Sunday evening. You won't be disappointed.


This Sunday, May 29th, on our CKLN Live Internet Stream, we will be airing the last two stories in our Mini-Festival of Family Stories.

Erika Bailey starts us off with a stroll past memories of family moments, personal regrets and acceptance, all framed by a frozen pond. Bailey’s use of the metaphoric sensory stimulation of winter will make you want to cuddle under that lap blanket you haven’t put away yet.

Then you should grab an ice tea, throw that blanket on the floor, sit on it, and take in the deluge of family Jessica Outram is about to unleash with her story “Family Picnic Magic”. You’ll get a kick out of seeing all of your own family characters reflected in the Outram clan, as well as a cameo visit from Father Guido Sarducci.


This Sunday, May 22, tune into CKLN Live Internet Stream, to hear the beginning of a mini-festival of family stories.

Erika Bailey will will entertain us with a trip to Grandma’s house, where the kiddies are scullery maids, and I doubt anyone ever, even once, called the matriarch Granny. The story ends with wine glasses topped up and a pseudo-stink… (You’ll have to tune in to get that joke). Erika’s second story is a tipsy love letter to her father. An early Life Rattle Father’s Day salute.


This Sunday, May 15, on the CKLN Live Internet Stream, Life Rattle host Rahul Sethi will feature three stories by Life Rattle Writer:

Mary Bronze

Mary Bronze writes stories with honesty. Through "The Bad Word," "A House and a Home," and "Sober," Mary sits us down, hands us a cup of coffee, and tells us about her life. Nothing is hidden in Mary's writing. She shows us her life through words written in HD. She tells us about her first cuss as a child in "The Bad Word." In "A House and a Home," Mary introduces us to a close frience, and her family. And in "Sober," Mary tells us about a relationship she is afraid is no longer organic, having become reliant on chemicals to feel connected.


This Sunday and next, May 1 & 7, on the CKLN Live Internet Stream, Life Rattle host Guy Allen will feature new stories by Life Rattle Writer:

Penny Verbruggen

A writer who works between the lines, you will find Verbruggen's meaning among the beautiful pattern of details that she presents. These stories are part of the “Andrew Stories” series. When asked to describe them, Verbruggen replied: “I suppose the stories are steps in my post-divorce dating dance. Clumsy. Ill-timed. Sweet.”


This Sunday and next, April 17 and 24 Yanique Bird will introduce new Life Rattle writer:

Rocco Racco

In his three featured stories, Racco deftly tells of a young teenage
boy whose troubled relationship with the girl he loves and tragic end
reflects his dysfunctional home life; a student who returns an hour
after school is let out to right a wrong and apologize deferentially;
and a grandpa who interrupts the daily grind of farm chores with a
fantastical dream of buried treasure and magical garbanzo beans.

The main protagonists in Racco's stories will remain with you long
after the shows are over. Rosario, Ming Lee and Jim and Grandpa will
haunt you, not in a ghostly way, but in how each deals with (or
doesn?t deal with) things both said and unsaid.


This Sunday, April 10, Nadeem Basaria really will introduce writer:

Rachel James

With two new stories from Bare Elements: A Collective Approach to Narrative Nonfiction, a recent Life Rattle Collection.

With heart-rending honesty, tenderness and respect, Rachel James delves into the complexities of caregiving and the need for care.

In “Diamond Heights,” Rachel pauses for a moment and reflects on her own life as her 101-year-old grandmother, coping with the limitations— both physical and mental—of her age, profoundly articulates her frustration; and again in her second piece, “The First Stop,” as she interviews Samantha, a twenty-year-old woman living in a homeless shelter. Samantha earns our admiration as shares her experiences and offers advice for other young women who face the same situation.


This Sunday, April 3rd, host Nadeem Basara will present 3 new stories by:

Yanique Bird

Petura Burrows

Sheila Stewart

Writing through the eyes of a child: Deceptively simple. Extraordinarily difficult to accomplish convincingly.
As if with sleight-of-hand, these three writers roll back the years and take you places you remember well.

Marble Arena   In Antigua, a nine-year-old girl sneaks out of the house to play marbles against the neighbourhood boys. Their pockets bulge with marbles. She has three. Bird’s dialogue, rich with Antiguan rhythm and dialect and her great visual descriptions transport you right into the backyard, on your knees lining up a “steelie,” ready to shoot.

Niche   A Bahamian girl, full of the playfulness and fun of a nine-year-old, burns with embarrassment and shame after an annoyingly precocious cousin shows her up at reading time. With Mother’s approval lost, the sense of physical tension that Burrows creates tightens unbearably. You too will yearn for the fantasized escape through Mother’s garden to the vacant lot next door.

The Stadium   Sheila Stewart writes with a deftness that fools you. Light and easy, yet by the end of this story you feel yourself squirm with the embarrassment—of your family, your body, your gender, your inexperience, your youth—and the painful self-consciousness inherent in being a young teenager in Grade Eight.


Hello Life Rattlers:
This Sunday, March 27, you will be hearing two brand new stories by

Christine Zobniw

You know, we women do like to talk about men…and Christine is no exception. She’s going to tell us about Slim, then Mark (not their real names…and who would name their kid Slim anyway? But I digress…).

Tune in to hear what Christine knows about the homeless man on the corner (Slim), then even more about a gorgeous hunky guy with a shady past (Mark), who can grin and blush while drinking tea.
I want to hear more about Mark…and I want his number.


Hi Life Rattle Friends,
This Sunday and next, Yanique Bird will introduce two new writers for your intellectual and listening pleasure:

Robert Bickford


Norm Reynolds

First, Robert Bickford’s sharp and spot on observations of a mother exchanging needles at an AIDS Resource Network office with her young daughter and Barbie in tow, a foodcourt conversation with Jian-Li, an engineering professor in Beijing who now works as a lunchroom and educational assistant in Canada, and the nervous tension when wedding day preparations go slightly awry will enthrall you. Bickford’s characters vibrate with life and intelligence and laugh out loud dialogue.

Then, Norm Reynolds will make you laugh and then make you cry as he wraps you in the fold of his family, in their love and their pain as Dad learns of his son’s sexual orientation.
His second reading, along with teaching you how to make sausages, will make your muscles ache and leave you feeling really, really happy that you don’t work at Canada Packers!

Check the Life Rattle Radio 2011 page for schedule details.


Dear Life Rattle Listeners,
Tomorrow, your host Victoria Martinez will introduce new Life Rattle writer:

Mervi Maarit Salo

Maarit Salo’s writing will take you to Sápmi (Lapland), the traditional lands of the Sámi people, stretching across arctic and sub-arctic Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia.

From these narratives—a nod to indigenous storytelling as a way to teach younger generations—emerges an alternative history to that found in books. If the Saami are mentioned in books at all that is...


Hello Life Rattle Friends:

Tonight, are happy to continue on the air on CKLN 88.1 FM—as we have for the past 23 years—thanks to The Supreme Court of Canada who granted a stay of the CRTC decision to revoke CKLN’s broadcasting licence.

This is especially good news for those of us who appreciate fine writing, because tonight Guy Allen will be playing the first of a series of stories by new writer:

Penny Verbruggen

In tonight’s stories, Penny brings us to the painful world of childhood torments, a questionable high school teacher and a shopkeeper who tries to exploit a young journalist.

You are in for a treat. Tonight at 9, tune in to CKLN 88.1 FM.

And, Life Rattle has introduced something new — podcasts in the Radio section of the Life Rattle website.

You will find recently broadcast radio programs online, and tonight, you will be able to listen to the first of three special podcasts in recognition of Black History Month. Tonight’s podcast showcases six Life Rattle classics by Selina Africaine and Kitty Molefe.


Dear Life Rattle Listeners:

Tomorrow we have a very special show for you!

To mark Black History Month, Life Rattle co-founder Guy Allen will showcase two new stories, one new writer, and an interview with Kathy Grant, founder of The Legacy Voices Project, a national, not-for-profit organization formed to document, digitize and publish the stories and memories of Canadians and Canadian immigrants.

In “Going Home,” new Life Rattle writer, Penny Verbruggen, writes of an ESL Teacher and a student who carries emotional and physical scars from his past in Rwanda.

In “Martin Luther King Day,” Kathy Grant takes us aboard TTC Bus #32, on Martin Luther King Day. To keep the bus enroute to Eglinton Station, Grant urges an angry driver, and angry passengers, to show some love— in honour of King’s legacy.

Stories you won’t hear anywhere else.

On Life Rattle Radio
CKLN 88.1 FM - Sunday Nights - 9:00 to 9:30


Our apology to all those who tuned in last week to hear Rachel James’ new stories. Technical difficulties at the radio station resulted in Nadeem playing an “emergency backup” program.

The good point being that we had the chance to hear Denny Hunte’s class “Going to the Airport.”


Happy New Year Life Rattlers:
This Sunday, Nadeem Basaria introduces a new writer:

Rachel James

With two new stories, the first of many you will hear in the next few months from Bare Elements: A Collective Approach to Narrative Nonfiction, a recent Life Rattle Collection.

With heart-rending honesty, tenderness and respect, Rachel James delves into the complexities of caregiving and the need for care.

In “Diamond Heights,” Rachel pauses for a moment and reflects on her own life as her 101-year-old grandmother, coping with the limitations— both physical and mental—of her age, profoundly articulates her frustration; and again in her second piece, “The First Stop,” as she interviews Samantha, a twenty-year-old woman living in a homeless shelter. Samantha earns our admiration as shares her experiences and offers advice for other young women who face the same situation.

So tune in this Sunday, to hear stories you won’t hear anywhere else.


To date, The Life Rattle Radio Program has raised $748 !

Thank you Life Rattle supporters....

Hi Life Rattlers:
This Sunday, November 21st, you will be treated to the 2010 edition of:


We’re not asking you to help us…………..We’re BEGGING !!
This is your annual chance to put your money where your ears are.
This Sunday night, between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. call CKLN at:


Pledge what you can. Anything from five dollars to five thousand will be gratefully accepted. We’re not fussy. The fact that you take the time to call in and make any size pledge is an indication that you’re out there, appreciating what we do to bring you damn good stories you won’t hear anywhere else.



Hi Life Rattlers:
This Sunday we have a Life Rattle classic by Nancy Chong followed by the second of two new stories by Maureen McKenna. You heard McKenna read “Pink Steel-Toed Boots” last week.

Tomorrow night you will hear a very different story by McKenna, one about the death of a good friend.

Usually, such events are described as sad, tragic, and painful. To my ear, McKenna brings us those emotions, but also a large measure of hope, dignity and love. That counts for a lot. Please listen in tomorrow night; it will be an important end to your week.

Hi Life Rattle Friends:
This Sunday, Guy Allen will air stories from 2 new Life Rattle Writers.

Phillip Parsons will take you along with him on an anxiety ride that will leave you with a metallic taste in the back of your mouth.


Just when you think it is safe to relax back into your Sunday-night-sofa routine, Maureen McKenna will show you how, when the going gets tough, the tough get PINK.

Listen in for your own personal preview of this year's Totally Unknown Writers Festival.


Hello There Life Rattlers:
You are about to be blessed with TWO NEW WRITERS this week!

With Andrea Perera you will meet one gorgeous, tiny, perfect princess, then off on a trip to Egypt with a bevy of Sri Lankan "Aunties" and lots of baggage from home. (I meant to be cryptic there).


Gary Markle will recall how, at a very tender age, he learned to dive in with both feet (I did it again).

Tune in and find out what I'm being so coy about. You will laugh, maybe cry, and definitely hold your nose.


Hello Life Rattlers:
This Sunday, Life Rattle introduces a new writer:

Fareshta Wardak

Fareshta Wardak and her family, fleeing war and the Taliban, left their home country of Afghanistan to move to London, Ontario, in 2005.

Her stories tell of the challenges of adapting to a new country and offer glimpses of Afghani culture.

We tag along with Wardak and Baba (her father) to a group job interview with a company that manufactures cutlery and food service equipment. While they wait, Baba whispers to her, “I think I deserve the job because I am an Afghan man and a Muslim and people will trust me in their houses when I tell them I sell knives.”

We cringe behind the living room curtain and witness the heartbreak as she tells Baba that she and her sister intend to move out of the family home to attend university out of town.

And finally, we fly to Vancouver, sing and dance, listen to the jingle of a daira—an Afghani frame drum—catch a few chocolates tossed from a be-ribboned basket and celebrate the arranged engagement of her brother, Afghani style.

Join us Sunday night.


Hello Life Rattlers:

We’ve got a brand new writer to introduce this Sunday:

Kathy Grant

You are about to be treated to a full half hour of Ms. Grant's reminiscences that take us from a painfully competitive 4th birthday party, to a deadly competitive corporate challenge.

Kathy Grant says she's new to the writing craft, but you could fool me. Her stories carry me right into then noisy, cake smeared birthday scene, then onto a frenzied push for posthumous profits.

I'm being cryptic here, but just remember...Greed Will Make You Grow and Prosper!

Tune in if you know what's good for you.


Hello Life Rattlers:

We’ve got another new writer to introduce this week:

Jenny (Qin Chun) Zhou

Jenny Zhou is working on her first novel, a series of stories that are a composite of women’s experiences she witnessed while growing up in post liberation Shanghai. The story you will hear this week is an excerpt from that novel. It shows us how a dramatic political revolution in China did little to bring any real change for woman. Kind of a “same thing…only different” scenario.

So ladies, loosen your bra….and men…..I guess the equivalent is, you can undo the top button of your pants, relax and listen to a tale of suffering, determination, hope,  and just a little bit of love.


Hi Life Rattlers:

We’re pleased to present a new writer this week:

Tamara Chandon

Tamara has recorded a slew of stories based on summer work experience at a veterinary hospital. Her “Freezer Cats” series begins this week, and will entertain you with the sights, sounds and, yup…the smells of a tough job that somebody has to do.
If you were listening in last week, you’ll know that Guy Allen has returned to the airways. He is at the helm again this week, bringing his talent and insights to the Life Rattle Radio experience.
Pour something over ice, sit quietly in a darkened room, and give us a listen this Sunday night. You will not be disappointed.


Tonight's show has been pre-empted to allow for coverage of the G-20.

Alternative media will be on the air during our usual time slot with news from this side of the big shiny fence.

See you next week with Life Rattle Episode #1107.


Hi Life Rattle Sons and Daughters:

Tomorrow night I will air two stories with a “Fathers Day” theme.

We will hear: “Father” by Sarah Ward And “Taste of Banana” by Marie Hoy

These stories take us along as two different daughters describe an opportunity they’ve had, to get to know the models of masculinity they call dad.

After you listen to the stories, I’d like you to get out some note paper and jot down a quick letter to your dad. Whether he is alive or dead, missing, or you never met….just write the note. Send it off in the mail if you can, but if you can not…then keep it in a drawer and read it once a year at about this time.

Tonight, Nadeem Basaria will air the last two stories in Hien The Chu’s Vietnamese Refugee series.

The first story, “The Secret of Boat 52 – 110 Mindanao,” is perhaps the most dramatic and frightening in the entire Life Rattle library. You will be exposed to the worst of human evil, in a calm, reasoned, observational style. Chu does not seek to impose anger, disgust, sympathy, or any other personal assessment of a very bad man. He simply tells the story, and in doing so, we glean all we need to make our own judgement.

This is what makes horror useful. We personalize the experience in our own way, then go forward to more fully appreciate all the beauty that surrounds us. This is what Life Rattle is all about.


Hello Life Rattle MOMS and Friends: This Sunday we will celebrate Mother’s Day with the resurrection of a couple of stories by Ruth Schweitzer. These two stories last aired in 1996! We’ve been trying to lift some of these gems from the past, to make sure they survive into the digital age.

Ruth Schweitzer brings us a young daughter’s view of her mothers tragic past, difficult present and uncertain future, while she, a young adolescent tries to fit into what she considers the normal life of the Queen and Spadina community of the mid 1960’s.

If you are old enough to remember the Victory Burlesque, you will especially enjoy closing your eyes to remember “The Bright Lights of Spadina”, Schweitzer’s first story. Sit Mom down in her favourite chair with a wee glass of sweet sherry, rub her feet and tune in to:



Life Rattle Radio will showcase another new writer this Sunday, April 25th.

Erika Bailey will take us on an exquisitely paced, intimate and eloquent journey through a marriage. The narrative drops by the lives of “Yan” and “Ree”, for a quick visit every now and then, exposing a snapshot of brilliantly sparse, but evocative prose….all we need to know as we peek through the curtains of their lives.

So brew up a cuppa, sit still and listen in this Sunday night.


We will be airing a brand new writer on next week's show #1097.
That's Sunday April 18th at 9:00 p.m.
You will hear a series of four short stories from new Life Rattle writer Kyle Chin, who will take us through a difficult time in his young life, dealing with the decline and passing of Gung, his grandfather. These stories will resonate particularly with listeners who are facing decisions that arise from the changing family rolls of elders who are now dependent. The narrator is a young boy, observing the spectre of inevitable decline and trying to make sense of it all.
Keep tuned to Life Rattle.
We have an exciting line up of new writers coming your way.


Hello Life Rattle Friends:
We’ve had a great show of interest lately with UTM and Ryerson instructors referring new writers with terrific stories, so you’ll be hearing them soon. I am also working on moving some stories over to disc from old tapes of original shows. The technical quality is sometimes questionable, but there is no question about the quality of the writing.

This Sunday, I will play a couple of stories originally aired in 1995. They are by Hien Chu. These stories are about the writer’s experiences after the end of the Vietnam War. They will take us with him to jail, then out to sea, and eventually into a refugee camp. This is riveting stuff and well worth putting up with a bit of fuzz on the recording. You will be hearing Arnie Achtman reading Hien Chu’s stories.

It has been five years now since we lost Arnie. I think it is wonderful that he lives on through Life Rattle.

I will send out similar e-mails to announce each new writer before we air their stories.

Tune in, and let your friends know about the best bed-time stories in town.