Not Cancelled by Heather Down and Catherine Kenwell – Let’s face it, since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out this past March, practically the whole world and everyday life shut down to a sudden halt.
Whether it be work, play, school, eating out or shopping, our way of life went through a radical change in order to stay and healthy, while the number of cases and deaths as a result of COVID-19 went nowhere but up. As well, a cancellation culture prevailed upon us, as annual events, celebrations and festivals were either cancelled outright or postponed to the following year.
But somehow, through all this sudden transformation to a different sense of normalcy and those unending cancellations, life’s simple pleasures and positive values never fell under the ax of this “Big C”.
And here in Canada, from one coast to the other, this refusal to cancel the good things in life helped us see our way through this tumultuous time in our history. And when Canadian author Heather Down read a Facebook post from fellow author Catherine Kenwell entitled “Laughter is Not Cancelled”, she was struck by an inspiration and asked if she would join her to put together a book filled with nothing but positive stories during the pandemic from across Canada.
The end result is the delightful, heartwarming anthology Not Cancelled.
The book is a collection of 50 stories from contributors who live across the country that boldly display that simple human ideas, and humanity in general, have not been cancelled in the face of COVID-19.
And with a Chicken Soup for the Soul feeling to it, every story in this book gives the reader a sense of hope (and a kind of warm fuzzy feeling) of how the forces of good can conquer all during a difficult time. Each story focuses on a human quality that has stood the test of survival and the spectre of cancellation, such as laughter, kindness, peace, paying it forward, and solidarity, to name a few.
The people who are the focus of these stories show how compassion and caring were the key not only to their own survival, but also the survival of others. For example, there’s Mary Janet MacDonald from Cape Breton, who became a social media star thanks to her Down home baking video series “Tunes and Wooden Spoons”, which introduced her growing viewing audience to her homemade baked goods (including her famous cinnamon rolls, in which the recipe is featured in the story); or Robbie Griffiths from Paradise, Newfoundland, who donned a Spider-Man costume and regularly entertained the children of his neighbourhood in the wake of a massive blizzard that practically buried the town; or Jenni Wuttunee, the director of sales and marketing for a Holiday Inn Express in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, who offered free meals and snacks to truck drivers who couldn’t find an open truck stop along their routes, as well as opening all their rooms on the first floor of the hotel to truckers who want to take a shower and a nap … free of charge.
Not Cancelled is a book that is to be enjoyed and savoured. Through times of crisis, readers can take heart that their fellow Canadians know how to selflessly give back to other people without expectation of any payback. It shows that there are goodness and kindness in people, and that there is indeed hope in today’s crazy world.