life rattle show no. 1364

Presented on THURSDAY, january 28, 2016


hosted by laurie kallis


by Kirsten Armstrong

tonight's Show

features three stories by new Life Rattle writer Kirsten Armstrong.

Kirsten Armstrong was born in 1996 under the scattered stars of a small town nestled in southeastern Ontario. When she was four, the separation of her mother and father, both of British descent, began her journey spanning eleven houses and three stepparents. Through divorce, bankruptcy, and family feuds, Kirsten grew up resilient. Now, she uses her past to explore the creative boundaries of writing, music, and art.

Tonight’s featured stories centre around a girl struggling to grow up in a unstable family where the adult caretakers are at worst vicious or at best struggling themselves to maintain a margin of equilibrium. Although the narrator in each story is young, these narratives are presented with intelligence and insight.

Kirsten Armstrong’s prose is fantastically well constructed. Each line packs enormous power.

"Flames" introduces us to two young sisters at Christmas time, and though we come in shortly after fact, we quickly grow to understand that the recent separation of their parents has left the family terribly shaken.

"Broken" takes place a few years later when Mom has a new boyfriend, Jim—the girls’ new stepdad. The occasion is April Fool’s Day. The volatile Jim turns a routine, weekday morning into a tightrope act for our eight-year-old narrator who must carefully navigate herself and her younger sister to the safety of school.

"Shatter" fastforwards more then ten years to find our narrator, now in her late teens, still struggling to protect her younger sister (published in The Totally Unknown Writers Festival 2015: Stories).

Please Note: Tonight's story contains disturbing situations and language that some listeners may find offensive. Listener discretion is advised.