Authors In Our Midst: The Cabin


I thought the first post of Balloon-Juice writers was successful enough to do another. I think after taking suggestions, a weekly or twice monthly post will be manageable and fun. I’ll only post one or two authors in each post. If you’d like to be featured, please email me and I’ll post on a first come basis.

Just to avoid any complications, I’ll only post at the author’s request.

So hit comments, ask questions, share favorite reads and if you’re an author share your work, talk about your publishing adventures, share any tips or advice, answer questions.

The week’s submission is from Munira – The Cabin, by Judith Munira

Building the cabin Photo by Hédi Mizouni

Building the cabin
Photo by Hédi Mizouni

When Judith Avinger drove out of Bellingham, Washington, in her white Honda, on her way to a new life in Quebec, Canada, she knew, of course, that she was going to a different country, and to a province with a different language, but she also felt she was looking for something else, something elusive, something she couldn’t define. What she found was a new family, a spiritual path, a new name (Munira) and the vision of a cabin in the forest, a cabin she eventually built in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

The Cabin is the story of how she dreamed that cabin into existence. But it’s also the story of her deep connection to the people and places she left behind and her trips back and forth between the east and the west coasts. She began writing this memoir the day she left Bellingham, recording each day’s adventures in her journal. Nearly 20 years later, it is finally finished.

To see the original authors in the first authors in our midst post, click here. Also check out the comments are there were quite a few author links there, too.


29 replies
  1. 1

    Wait, seriously? Because I missed the first one, and I’m an indie author. In fact, one of my books is free today. Happen to like science fiction? Fantasy? Both, mixed together, with a bit of profanity to spice things up?

    No? Well, like I said, free:

    The novel’s called THE SANCTUM OF THE SPHERE. Enjoy.

  2. 2

    (Sees no comments, posts a book link, gets flung into moderation, screams into the void)

    Let’s talk about something that isn’t me, then: I’m trying for 75% of my books this year to be by women and PoC, and I’m focusing on finding new authors. If you’ve not read Helen Oyeyemi, Nnedi Okorafor or Nalo Hopkinson, I’d strongly suggest checking them out.

  3. 3
    Baud says:

    Oh cool. It’s a memoir. I need to remember to keep notes for mine. For posterity.

  4. 4

    Just sent in my contribution. I hope it is worthy.

  5. 5
    jo6pac says:

    Yes, these are very heart felt;)

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne, Annoying Scoundrel says:

    The Cabin looks like a wonderful read. I’ll be ordering that!

  7. 7

    @Mustang Bobby: Do me a favor and send it again, and include that you are Mustang so I know I received it. Also let me know if I should just use your author name or link it to your B-J name, too.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    I wonder if Munira went to the Sky River Rock Festival and Lighter than Air Fair in Sultan. WA in the summer of 68?

  9. 9
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Is this the story about John Cole kidnapping the deer?

  10. 10
    muddy says:

    @Baud: I have a daily email exchange with my sister filled with the petty (indeed often pettiest) details of life. We both basically get a journal out of it.

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @raven: Don’t we all?

    @muddy: That’s really great to have that sort of connection with someone.

  12. 12
    jl says:

    Congratulations to Munira. I’m not into memoirs particularly, but the reviews make a good case for an interesting book.

  13. 13
    jl says:


    ” Oh cool. It’s a memoir. I need to remember to keep notes for mine. For posterity. ”

    There are always the chronicles as recorded in the BJ comments. Will be ‘interesting’ to compare the two versions of ‘I, Baud, the Heroic Saga’.

    But I always took Baud for the ‘you wan sumpin’ for posterity, then shove id up ya ass’ kind of guy. But, life is full of surprises.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    @Baud: No one else here was there at the first multi-day. multi-band rock festival held a year before Woodstock.

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    @raven: Were you there? I’d actually be little surprised to learn that no Juicer was at that thing. ( I hadn’t heard of it before, but it sounds like it was a big thing.).

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Baud says:

    Via LGF

    Tonight we have dueling town hall meetings; CNN is hosting the Republican clown car, while MSNBC is hosting the slightly less clownish Democratic town hall with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

    We were too busy arguing about the primary to notice.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @raven: Awesome.

  19. 19

    Congratulations Judith, both on the life transformation and the book. There was a time when I read a lot of woman-on-her-own type books and found them very inspirational. Robin Davidson’s walking across Australia with a camel (not technically alone, then, but ya know) and Alice Koller’s An Unknown Woman, along for a year on Nantucket.

    Judith if you’re reading this I wonder what books (or other things, but books in particular) inspired you?

    Also, you may have answered this in your book, but what inspired you to move to the region that you moved to?

    Darn, I’m convincing myself to check out the book! :-) Oh well, the pile is always the same size with a Kindle.

  20. 20

    @Luther M. Siler: To make up for FYWP, I’ll feature your book in another post. Stay tuned.

  21. 21
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I just want to note that Mustang Bobby writes delightful plays; purchase some! One will be in this year’s Inge Festival (which you may have read in an earlier thread; I knew it had been submitted but had not followed up).

    And he is a charming lunch/coffee companion. As is Hungry Joe, who wrote Anyway* (a terrific book), and once worked with Scalzi. he’s undecided on how successful an imitation of Dr. Brown’s Black Cherry Soda the recently introduced Cherry Doctor Pepper will turn out to be. I call it a decent country hack, and enjoy it.

  22. 22

    I write! Check out my ongoing story (now novella length!) I’m serializing the rough draft of!

    The premise is, one day all of the fish disappear. Working title “One Fish Two Fish Blowfish No Fish.” I know, I pimp it all the time, but now it’s actually relevant!

    ETA: teaser
    On Tuesday, just before noon, the last fish was caught. It was a mahi-mahi. It was unceremoniously thrown off the gaffe and onto the deck of the boat, where it was unceremoniously beaten to death with an unremarkable baton and then cleaned with a machete. The fisherman hosed it down afterwards, and the bloody water poured out of the scuppers and into the sea. It was, he would later report, delicious.

    Nobody learned a valuable lesson about overfishing or climate change, because this didn’t have anything to do with overfishing or climate change. Nor did anybody have a sudden epiphany about coral bleaching, or choose to devote their lives to reversing ocean acidification. There were no additional consciousness-raising efforts among schoolchildren to encourage them to grow up and become better stewards of the planet than their teachers had been.

    No, none of this happened, because on Tuesday, every living fish on the planet simply disappeared. Poof. Gone.

    The ecological and cultural devastation would, of course, bring the people of earth to their knees, though if pressed to talk about it pretty much everybody would start with the tsunamis.

  23. 23

    Munira, do you read Louise Penny? She writes mysteries set in a small Quebec town. My brother recommended them to me because the town reminded him of the little town our father was from in Ontario. I wondered if Penny’s books resonated with your spiritual kind of experience.

  24. 24
    Nunca El Jefe says:

    Since someone already mentioned John Scalzi, I think that for this author exposure thing (which I think is terrific), you should go ahead and steal his Big Idea format. That is, keep it to a single author per post and let the author describe the work her- or himself. Links to where the work can be bought are great, too, for those that are interested.

  25. 25
    wonkie says:

    Congratulations on the book and the realization of a dream. When I was in my twenties I read a lot of books about going to the north to live in the woods. I don’ think it would have suited me, really, but I admire you for doing what your heart told you to do.. I also understand what it is like to write a book and hope that there will be people who want to read it.

    Yes, I wrote one , too.

    I hope that whoever reads this will forward it on to TaMara. I would like to be considered for her future blogs on BJ authors, but I cannot follow the link she posted.

    Anyway I wrote a collection of short stories which I submitted to Kirkus Review for an evaluation. To my gratification, I got a starred review, my book was the featured book for the month of February of 2015, and I made their list of 100 best indy publications of 2015. The Kirkus Review is below.

    It’s called The Dog Thief and I published it under a pseudonym because I did actually steal a dog.

    “Decrepit humans rescue desperate canines, cats and the occasional rat in this collection of shaggy but piercing short stories.
    Kearney’s impoverished, misfit, outcast characters live mainly on the fictional Sebequet Peninsula, which features a Native American reservation, ramshackle trailer parks and plywood cabins surrounded by trash and rusting metal. In this zone of squalor and despair, people’s connections with animals are, for many, their only links to life. In the story “Sparrows,” a disabled man and his meth-head sister precariously prop each other up but find a stabilizing influence when they take in a maimed pit bull. In “Beverley and Jim,” a raucous old woman, stricken with multiple sclerosis and alcoholism, lives in a caved-in trailer with a herd of cats. An exasperated neighbor helps her out only to realize her importance in his life too late. In the engrossing title story, members of the Sebequet community—including a pot-dealing commune, an animal-control officer and a busybody city transplant who runs a local resort—work out their mutual responsibilities by helping a household full of abused dogs. The Sebequet-based stories are remarkable for their understated, yet vivid, realism and their pitch-perfect rendering of the hard-bitten poverty and frayed social fabric of rural America. Other stories move beyond this territory: In “Driving While Remembering,” a woman returns to her childhood home in Des Moines, Iowa, and realizes how much she has missed; “Circles” ponders a Wyoming wilderness landscape—gorgeously painted by Kearney—and a woman’s regret at rejecting a stray dog; “The Christmas Rats” elegizes the lingering impact of two short-lived, offbeat pets in a girl’s life. Kearney’s prose is elegant and unfussy, with threads of humor and lyricism. She has an excellent eye for settings and ear for dialogue, and she treats her characters, and their relationships with their pets, with a cleareyed, unsentimental sensitivity and psychological depth. Through their struggles, she shows readers a search for meaning through the humblest acts of caretaking and companionship.
    A superb collection of stories about the most elemental of bonds. “
    The review provides a pretty good summary; most of the stories are about marginal people who find meaning in life through relationships, mostly with animals.

    Again I hope you will pass this along to TaMara for possible inclusion in one of her postings on BJ authors.

    Thank you,

  26. 26
    WaterGirl says:

    @wonkie: wonkie, i just forwarded your comment to TaMara.

  27. 27
  28. 28

    @wonkie: Got it. Also, try this whats4dinnersolutions (at) live (dot) com. If you send me your email I’ll try and give you a heads up when i post it. cheers

  29. 29
    wonkie says:

    @WaterGirl: Thank you!

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