Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian)
Hazel Jane Plante, Metonymy Press
There may not be one right way to grieve, but reading Hazel Jane Plante’s debut will probably help. In an emotional and authentic love letter, a queer trans woman talks about her grief and unrequited love for her deceased straight trans friend. Authenticity is what makes Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) radiant — authenticity in form and authenticity in Plante’s intimate portrayal of loss. Grief is not neatly wrapped up in simplified feelings of sadness. It’s met with joy and desire, honouring just how complex and seemingly contradictory our feelings can be. Plante plays with form in a way that, on paper, sounds like it shouldn’t work: slicing together reality with encyclopedia entries about a fictional TV show set on a deserted island. But it does! Why? Because when we’re mourning, we find healing and solace in unexpected places. Be it a TV show, butt toys or karaoke. And to expect mourning to look one way is a disservice to ourselves.