Hand-me-downs not just about old photos or items, a new book suggests

Hand-me-downs not just about old photos or items, a new book suggests

Chemainus author Gerland delves into the impact of DNA as a generational factor

Chemainus author Robyn Gerland’s latest book Hand-me-downs is under a broad distribution.

“This one is actually right across Canada,” said Gerland during an author reading at the Chemainus library last week.

She sets up the story in the prologue.

“I am Maggie and I am a story teller. Tellers of tales are the collectors of moments and years. They are the custodians of joys and celebrations and of sadness and despair. I am Maggie and these are my stories – perhaps the answers to: Who am I? and Why am I?

“There is some present belief that our DNA, our deoxyribonucleic acid, is also a custodian of joys and celebrations and of sadness and despair. That, if the results were traumatic enough, it might be possible to change my future by something that my grandmother said or did – that hand-me-downs are not just old shirts or shoes or even old photographs, the deep auburn of my hair or the blue of my eyes but also the results of how and where my ancestors lived their lives. It might be called generational nurture.”

Gerland went on to read a few passages and answered questions from those assembled for the reading.

“When I started writing this, I had no idea of the real impact of DNA,” she explained.

“DNA can actually affect your present life by what happened to your ancestors if what happened was traumatic enough.”

Gerland is also the author of All These Long Years Later, a collection of short stories. She’s the past editor of the Kitchener-Waterloo glossy, Hysteria, a frequent contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul and has been a columnist for several magazines and newspapers, including the Courier.

Her short story An Education on the Side Facing Seat was featured by the B.C. Federation of Writers in WordWorks.

Gerland said anyone wanting to purchase a copy of Hand-me-downs would be best to contact her directly at bythebeach@shaw.ca. It’s already receiving rave reviews from those who’ve read it.

“DNA – what we pass along to those who come after us is a relatively new and exciting science,” writes Dawn Morris, a researcher and contributor to publications of the Society of Genealogists and the Genealogical Research Institute.

Gerland already has another novel in the works called Change Is The Face of Time where she looks at three eras on Bowen Island, including time she spent there from personal experience.

“It should be out hopefully by the summertime,” she indicated.

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