life rattle show no. 1375

Presented on sunday, may 8, 2016


hosted by laurie kallis


"Hot Flash"
"The Party"
by Alison Colvin

tonight's Show

celebrates Mother's Day with two stories from new writer Alison Colvin.

The same year the Soviet Union launched Sputnik (1957), Alison Colvin was born on a sticky June day in Ottawa to a scientist father and librarian mother, both of Scottish descent. The second of two daughters, she used to watch her father manage his petri dishes at the National Research Council. Alison knew she would never pursue his profession, because his lab smelled bad. At age twelve, she spent one year with her family in Quebec City learning French, and now dearly wishes she had kept a diary. At university, she studied history and French and then librarianship.

In Toronto, she worked as a law librarian while raising two boys with her lawyer husband. Alison Colvin enjoys politics, film, writing, singing opera choruses and Bach cantatas, and is working on her half wheel in yoga.

Mother—the word invokes such intense emotions, and today, in North America at least, is the day we celebrate those who delivered us into the world. Rather than the sacharrine Mother’s Day sentiments that our lives have been saturated with these past few weeks, Alison Colvin’s stories offer two distinct yet equally moving portraits of mothers of adult children. Alison vitalizes her prose with the revealing dialogue that she bestows on her characters, and her ability to capture the unexpected, details that make a story ring true.

"Hot Flash" introduces us to a middle-aged mother, her steadfast husband and their two young-adult daughters. Bombarded with news reports of a sexual assault scandal involving a respected celebrity and a growing list of young woman, and tormented by flashes of rising body temperature, this mom tries to hold onto her cool while she struggles to keep up with the fluctuating landscapes of her daughters’ lives.

"The Party" brings us into the mind of a sharp-witted senior who has not quite settled into her residence in a nursing home. When her daughter visits, we learn that Mom’s failing memory—irksome and challenging as it may be—is perhaps a blessing.