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“But also, it implicitly tells us something about hope, because we can always collectively sculpt these words into more urgent meanings.”

With support from the Edmonton Arts Council, she was all set to start collecting. But then, as with most stories these days, entered that certain ubiquitous shadow of an unwanted plague, which gave her pause soliciting words.

“I was tentative,” she admits, thinking with the pandemic and all, “I didn’t want to bother people. I thought maybe it would be intrusive.”

But a number of peers encouraged her, noting, “‘If we’re upset, we can share it. We’re all striving for new meditations on hope.’ So I thought, OK.

“I’m a pretty reclusive person,” she laughs, “but let’s try this extroversion and social media because maybe we can have a collective conversation — that’s really the idealism this is based in.”

All of the words we’ll see are thus affected by the pandemic. Having said that, what isn’t these days?

She explains why she chose the word “foster,” which she says “is beautiful. It first had to do with plants, then ideas, and then — to borrow a phrase from The Big Lebowski — ‘in the parlance of our times,’ people use the word foster to mean you can have a relationship with someone who’s not in your direct bloodline.

“The revelation for me in COVID — we knew this before but, now it hurts so we can’t ignore it — we realized the lateral interconnectivity: That something that happened in China could be dispersed everywhere. The thought of realizing the attachment beyond our immediate clans is so important.”

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