Canadian Magazine Industry News
28 September 2009,     TORONTO
Ryerson magazine prof pens powerful memoir for The Walrus
Lynn Cunningham, well known to generations of magazine editors and writers as a professor at Ryerson University's magazine school, has written a heart-wrenching memoir about living with fetal alcohol syndrome in the October issue of The Walrus.

Cunningham's step-grandson Andrew was born with the condition and she has raised him since he was 16 months old. This December he'll graduate from high school. The intervening years read like a journey through hell, with episodes including violence, divorce, alcoholism, death, and thoughts of suicide. Here's an excerpt:

One night… I found myself barricaded in the bedroom while a thirteen-year-old Andrew stood outside, gouging holes in the door with his skateboard and calling me a fucking bitch. Apparently, my efforts to improve his gross motor skills had paid off; mine were failing me as I fumbled for my cell to call the police. Another night, he backed me into a corner in the kitchen as he menaced me with one of the biggest kitchen knives. He shrieked abuse; I sobbed. Often, in the later evening, I would sob some more to an anonymous voice at the end of a distress line, fortified by yet another glass of cabernet.
 
Cunningham points to the lack of resources for people affected by FAS and notes that FAS diagnosis guidelines were published only four years ago in the CMA Journal.

Spoiler alert: The article ends on a hopeful note, with "my kid" looking forward to college ("…in FAS terms completing high school is like other students getting a Ph.D") and finding purpose as a guitarist in a young rock band. Cunningham, too, beats her drinking problem.

The Walrus's October issue is currently on newsstands.

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Anonymous says:
lol sadness...
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