Monday, February 15, 2010

Introducing Cathi-Lyn Dyck

Pascal, Burke and Nietzsche came by mail to keep me company today. Blaise, in the original, is clean and clear; Friedrich has made his introduction far too humourously for his passing reputation, and I recognize his voice; I've heard it echoed elsewhere. I did not pass the time with Edmund, for I stepped outside to see the frosty kiss of a warming, fading winter on prairie trees.

My name is Cathi-Lyn Dyck. I'm a Canadian of English descent, though I hear there are some Irish Guinns a-way back when. My grandparents came from the bombed-out wreck of World War II England to Winnipeg in 1955. They'd heard that if one wanted to become rich, one went to America. If one wanted a good life, one went to Canada.

On my father's side, I am related one way or another, at a respectable distance, to almost every old family name in my little prairie town. On my mother's, I am a global citizen, with relatives who took up residence around the world from Cyprus to South Africa, to Australia and New Zealand. Although I've never travelled off the continent, the world is not so unfamiliar. Rather, it's familial.

This afternoon is scheduled for building the children's snow fort into a rough-and-tumble igloo. My Mennonite husband is adept with his hands, like quicksilver in his spontaneous bursts of engineering strategy. The four we homeschool could use that challenge. It's been a cold and housebound winter. As they wait for their Dad to come home from town, they discuss the strange inversion of population and land mass ratios between here and the United States.

Their chatter makes my head ache. Why am I trying to write again in the midst of the noise and bustle? I may have racked out my ability to tune it all out over the last month, polishing a manuscript. I'm an ACFW member, and I'll go to Indianapolis this year. I'll work with the market I have, but my heart was raised on older voices from countries with deeper roots.

One paragraph in, I have fallen in love with Pascal's expression of the Aristotelian first cause: “la fin,” the prime motivator, the source, but said as the finality, the ending. Sometimes what seems backwards is perfect. It is an injustice that people attach themselves to me, what though they do so with pleasure and voluntarily. I would deceive those in whom I would birth such a desire, for I am not the first cause of any man, and I have nothing with which to satisfy them.

Ne suis-je pas pret a mourir?

Do I not stand at death's door?

But also: Am I not ready to die?

The grass fades, the flower withers. The word of our God stands forever. And Nietzsche complains that Truth is a woman who has never allowed herself to be won. No, rather, He is a Man who walked among us in a country far away from here, where snow in Jerusalem is an auspicious sign to His peculiar people.

The way, the Truth, the life. The weather is warming, and winter's breath hangs foggy on the naked poplar branches. In silence, the eaves drip liquid into heaped banks along the house. We cannot hear or see it yet, but life is coming back.

I'll go to Indianapolis this fall, not so much for the manuscript as the souls who navigate the established corridors of the industry. People are the only thing I can take with me to heaven. So: not for sales, not for craft, not for following, which are only eventualities along a path; but in service to the heart. Here in the dregs of time, words wither and fade like a daylily's blooms in the summer afternoon heat. Another bloom springs forth tomorrow, and yesterday's is forgotten.

It would be an injustice if people attached themselves to me; I would be culpable of creating belief in a falsity. For it is necessary that they pass their lives and their cares in the attraction, the pleasure, of God; or in that search.


A freelance writer and editor with an interest in the evolving indie press realm, C.L. Dyck blogs at Her primary interests are literary and speculative fiction, particularly with international or ethnic flavour.


  1. "And Nietzsche complains that Truth is a woman who has never allowed herself to be won. No, rather, He is a Man who walked among us in a country far away from here, where snow in Jerusalem is an auspicious sign to His peculiar people."

    What a piercing thought, CD. You're always good for at least one, which is to say, I understand the non-attachment thing and the good heart toward relationships, but keep writing as well. Your writing is simply that good...

  2. I know only too well the effort it takes to write with children around who need our attention. Thought provoking post - and thank you to Grace for having you guest blog!

  3. Thank you for the encouragement, Marc and Mary, both!

  4. OK, that went through. I was having a duh moment with the comment form, here.

    Marc: Thanks, man, and likewise. I don't think I could quit writing now if I wanted to...which I don't.

    Mary: Yes, I just narrowly avoided stabbery by plastic sword in the last ten seconds, without even having to leave my desk. Writing really is an adventure fraught with action peril, it turns out...

  5. Cathi-Lyn, insightful post! Thanks for guest blogging with us :-)

  6. Thanks, Narelle! I love the various perspectives and life stories that are coming together on this blog.