Books in Progress
- Truth Landing. When two women discover they’re both in a relationship with the same man, they're forced to wake from the false lives they didn’t know they were living.
- The Mother Act. At a packed theatre opening, Judith Jones-Linnen watches alone. The play: a candid one-woman show about a conflicted mother-daughter relationship. The writer-performer: the mother who left Jude behind. Currently a first draft in progress, with generous funding (thank you!) from the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.
- Where the Sanctity Lives. A collection of personal essays exploring faith, loss of faith, feminism, motherhood, female friendship, sex, and what it is to be a woman in a society that has ideas about what it is to be a woman.
Published Work: Creative Non-Fiction
A Real Woman
Essay in Body & Soul: Stories for Skeptics and Seekers, anthology edited by Susan Scott and published by Caitlin Press in 2019.
“Lit with honesty and insight, these essays show us how our spirit and intellect are intricately connected — and that they are allies, not adversaries. This book is a revelation.”
—Sarah Selecky, author of Radiant Shimmering Light
“… a unique approach to writing about one’s spiritual journey. The contributors share personal stories of their unravelling and re-evaluating, often followed by a revisioning of what is right for them. […] Like a good meal, these stories stay with the reader long after they are finished.” —Mary Ann Moore, Herizons
The words on my screen are shocking, mortifying, incongruous. They are my words, written fifteen years and another self ago. A casual self-Googling has unearthed them, in an essay called “A Real Woman,” published pre-internet in a magazine when I was eighteen years old. Now, unbeknownst to me, the essay has gone viral.
The Shadow Side of Success with Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, Maria Meindl, and Carrie Snyder
Interview in Issue 141 (Winter 2017) of The New Quarterly. A question turned into a conversation turned into a panel at the Canadian Writers' Summit turned into this: an interview in The New Quarterly, where three fine writers and I talk about the unspoken struggles inherent (or are they?) to achieving a creative dream. I am damn proud of this collaboration.
As writers we’re all familiar with aspects of the writing life that come with emotional struggle: the years of unpaid labour with little to show for it, the demoralizing submission process, the repeated rejections. Any of these can and do generate anxiety, depression, discouragement—but also a hope that all will be happier, and way more celebratory, once we finally achieve what it is we’re working toward. Once we have, so to speak, arrived.
Essay in the March 2015 issue of Chatelaine, winner of the Write for Chatelaine personal essay contest.
The rumour, we later learn, is that we're a couple. We move into our five-month house-sit in the highest town in the mountains of West Virginia, my best friend and I--knowing no one, knowing nothing except that we've been offered an adventure and a place to live together--and we confuse the neighbours.
The Post-Maia World
Essay in The M Word: Conversations About Motherhood, anthology edited by Kerry Clare and published by Goose Lane Editions, April 2014. I'm thrilled to be part of this collection alongside such stellar Canadian writers as Alison Pick, Carrie Snyder, Julie Booker and Saleema Nawaz, participating in a vital conversation of women's varied relationships to and experiences of motherhood.
One reviewer, Lesley Kenny of Descant, writes of "The Post-Maia World:" "I found this chapter to be one of the most intimate portraits of motherhood, in its range of feeling and Reimer’s candid expression of agony." Beth-Anne Jones of 4 Mothers 1 Blog writes, "I have re-read Heidi Reimer’s 'The Post-Maia World' several times, each time gleaning more from her intimate narrative. Like Reimer, I am baffled, completely flummoxed by the contradictions that make up motherhood...."
A sampling of the many insightful reviews of the book:
The first person I though of after I gave birth to my second daughter was the woman who gave birth to my first daughter. Still throbbing from two hours' pushing, stupefied at my body's life-producing power, I wobbled to the bathroom on my midwife's arm and realized, My god. So this is what she did to bring Maia into the world.
Where the Sanctity Is
Essay in Stealing Time Magazine, Winter 2013. The story of my journey out of my head and into my body. Download and read the full essay here.
In my twenties my faith unraveled like a sweater snagged on a nail, unspooling bit by bit until it held together only loosely and then not at all. I examined the strictures I’d lived within, discovering in their absence freedom and truth that weren’t written in a book. I began to see myself as my own authority. I began, tentatively, to look for the sacred in the earthy, the physical, the female.
Essay in Literary Mama, 2012. This is story of how I had motherhood thrust upon me.
I’m standing in my parents’ kitchen and I’m crying from a powerful and inexplicable connection to the baby I’ve claimed into my arms. Her name is Maia, her age is three months, and she is my teenage brother’s daughter. Richard and I are visiting my family at the Northern Ontario lake where my parents live. We’ve just flown in from a trip to England and are soon to head out again for summer in New York City. We’re stopping in to meet our new niece.
Essay in Hip Mama, 2012. My self-righteous calling out of a bad mother feels a little different post-parenthood. The incident haunted me until I wrote about it.
I think of the times strangers have intruded into my mothering. The people on the street rushing to rescue my baby every time—every single time—I start tying her onto my back with the mei tai. The elderly ladies who tsk and alert me—me, always me, even if my husband is right there too—to absent hats, unbuckled strollers, a toddler’s overenthusiastic engagement with a dirty sidewalk. The trucker at a gas station at midnight, where I’d stopped during a mishap-laden journey, narrowing his eyes: “Bit late to be out with your baby, isn’t it?” The way that becoming a parent opens personal choices and failings to public judgment and interference.
Published Work: Fiction
Short story in Little Fiction, 2012. I wrote and submitted and rewrote and resubmitted this story over a period of 8 years. The story finally started to work after I studied a whole lot of short fiction, realized I was trying to write a novel, took out the backstory, and let the thing take place on a single day. I think I'm a novelist at my core--I gravitate naturally toward the large-scale and unwieldy--but I've loved the challenge of corralling my proclivities into the short story form.
What are you running from, everyone wanted to know. On my sporadic visits home they flashed grins and winked like they’d been put up to it in a bet; let’s psychoanalyze the remote one, the icy one, the one who can’t stay in one place. As though travel in itself were suspect. As though travel did not broaden the mind, expose the traveller to diverse and vital historical, cultural, sociological, archeological, culinary, and linguistic perspectives and to many big, old buildings.
Strolling Player, with Richard Sheridan Willis. My husband Richard and I created this one-man show together, our first-ever artistic collaboration. Based on his life and inspired by a particularly overwhelming please-account-for-yourself form in our application for his Canadian residency, it's a theatrical and highly personal portrayal of the passions and absurdities of one actor's life. The show ran in the 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival, received a Critic's Pick rating from NOW Magazine, was named on NOW's lists of Outstanding Productions and Outstanding Performances of the festival, and featured in Torontoist's Fringe Festival round-up. We even got the National Post critic out for the subsequent run at the Red Sandcastle Theatre. Strolling Player has also been produced by Taffety Punk in Washington, DC, and by Compass Theatre Productions in Stratford, Kitchener, Brantford and Simcoe. If you're interested in bringing it to your city, please get in touch.