Irene PyleTri- County Community Support Services, Founder - The Pdot Book Club
Irene's Story :
My name is Irene Pyle, I have three beautiful adult children, two daughters and a handsome son who has Down Syndrome. I have experienced great happiness and great sadness in my
life but the one aspect that has grounded me and made me whole is the presence of my uniquely different son, he has brought into my life an abundance of hope, joy and a great sense
of empathy and understanding for the world around me. He has gifted me more than I could ever give him and he is the reason I am employed with Tri-County Community Support Services
in Peterborough, where I work with a team of caring individuals that support and advocate for adults with developmental disabilities. It is here where for a minuscule fraction of each day I
pause and reflect on how blessed I am. I am also involved with the Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough since arriving from Toronto in 2002 and thoroughly enjoy assisting in their fundraising efforts for supports and services for the special needs individuals in our community. My aspiration is to create a caring community similar to that of L’Arche which Jean Vanier established in 1964. I have found my purpose in life and embrace all that is coming my way with gratitude and optimism.
Who is your favourite author ?
1. My favourite author has no name as he/she is portrayed in an abundance of brilliant and beautiful words permeating off the pages of many incredible books. In the last few years I
have discovered many old yet new to me authors such as Eudora Welty, an American short story writer. Her every singular word flows effortlessly into a sentence then into a paragraph
which becomes a work of art. I find myself rereading her short stories and every time I discover something new. One of my favourite stories is "No Place For You My Love" written
in 1952. In the story she provocatively describes the New Orleans countryside to the point where the setting nearly functions as the story’s main character, she paints a couple’s drive south of New Orleans in a beautiful, dark light – almost mystical and supernatural. The vividness of the setting is itself spectacular, but it also serves as the story’s crucial conflict.
The man and woman seek escape from the constraints of the city and their respective lives, and the rural Louisiana they adventure through provides such a getaway. They just don’t understand how to communicate in this setting or with the setting. The couple is incapable of truly appreciating the foreign setting, or linking this experience with their normal existence.
As a result, you come away from the story thinking less about the couple and the difficult nature of communicated emotions and more about the mysterious sadness shrouding the story’s setting.
1. I truly believe this is the hardest question to answer for any and all book lovers. The three I have chosen are:
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (1970)
Why: Because of my great love of epistolary love, long distance letters combined with books and that feeling of great anticipation, and the intimacy of the unknown. For twenty years an American New York author corresponds with a British London antiquarian book dealer , never to meet in person yet shared so much by simply writing to each other.
The Boy In The Moon by Ian Brown (2012)
Why: Because of my new found love and understanding in the world of the disabled. Never had I read a book so raw and honest and especially from a mans, fathers, prospective. I truly fell in love with the author and with every parent that has a disabled child. This book revealed within me feelings I had not yet uncovered. I believe it resonated so much so that it is now developed and featured as a play. Its playing this fall at the Thousand Island Playhouse in Gananoque. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty (1980) Why: Because her stories read like a great novel. You can open the
book at any page and will find yourself immediately drawn to her interesting choice of words, language, descriptions and prose. The imagery in her stories remains with you for a long time even years after you have read them. This wonderful description is from her story: A Memory. “The water shone like steel, motionless except for the feathery curl behind a distant swimmer. From my position I was looking through a rectangle brightly lit, actually glaring at me with sun, sand, water, a little pavilion, a few solitary people in fixed attitudes, and around it all a border of dark rounded oak trees,
like that engraved thunderclouds surrounding illustrations in the bible”.
If your life was a novel, which one would it resemble ?
2. If my life were a novel it would be a combination of The Glass Castle by Janette Wells andMiddlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides only mine would be set in Toronto’s Greek Community where I grew up and a Greek Island where I spent my teenage years. It would be filled with serene imagery amongst beautiful chaos.
If you could be any character in a novel who would you be ?
3. If I could be any character in a novel I think I would like to be a secondary character and not the heroine. The unassuming one that reveals her strength of courage, her wisdom, love and kindness in between the lines of a inconspicuous novel that only a few discover.
What inspires you ?
4. I have always been inspired by multiple facets in my life, mostly by the sea, the lake, by the colours of nature, by both the waking and violet hours when our body and mind is in a somewhat lulled state, by the serendipitous connections we make unexpectedly in our lives. By music, by a painting, by a passage of words intertwined in tender prose, by simplicity and by minuscule acts of kindness.
What advice can you give to young women going into a new decade ?
5. My advice to young girls would be to trust your instincts, to be true to yourself and others, to embrace sadness and joy with respect. To stand strong in what your heart believes in and
above all to not allow anyone or anything to make you feel inferior. Love every inch of your being, laugh and cry with the people in your life that make you feel like “home”. Throughout
your life new discoveries will be made and learning will never stop so embrace it all, the good and the bad, the boring and the exciting, the tedious and the mundane and always remember to buy yourself flowers !