Linda Chamberain is one of those people you remember meeting, and someone you never forget. I first met her on a WRAP facilitator course. Now there’s a book so the world can get to know something of her story and her spirit.
The text below is from Today’s Toronto Star – on their website you’ll also find a couple of short videos too. You may not get to meet Linda Chaimberain in person, but you don’t need to: you’ll never forget her.
And she ain’t going – Not Anytime Soon.
Linda Chamberlain’s story of Toronto’s mean streets is inspiring, healing
Catherine Porter Published on Wed May 22 2013
Linda Chamberlain has been a child worker, burlesque dancer, schizophrenic patient, escaped prisoner, homeless person, peer support worker, supportive housing champion, cat rescuer, bongo drum player and life saver.
Oh, and she’s been acquitted of murder.
She really should have written a book a long time ago.
But she was too busy, criss-crossing the city in a pink blur, enroute to part-time jobs, speaking engagements, the apartments of mental health patients to feed their pets so they could rest easy in hospital. Plus, since her mother yanked her out of school at age 8, she didn’t learn how to read or write until she was in her 40s, and recovering after a decade living on Toronto’s mean streets.
A year and a half ago, Chamberlain was diagnosed with bone and liver cancer. Facing her own death, she definitely was too busy to write a book — helping more people, enrolling in clown school.
So, her friends did it for her. They’ve published the amazing story of her life and called it “Not Anytime Soon! The life & times of Linda Chamberlain”
It’s a scrapbook, with photos and hand-written cards and newspaper clippings. There she is, on the cover, dressed head to toe in pink — her signature colour. She is smiling widely.
It covers her decade living on Kingston Road under a hedge, with only her cat Giorgio and the voices in her head for company. It documents her climb back into society, first with some volunteer jobs at Progress Place and then with her very own apartment in supportive housing. And it reveals her remarkable legacy: founding the Dream Team, a group of psychiatric survivors lobbying for more supportive housing, and launching her own charity called People and Pets.
If you are looking for inspiration, get this book. If you are looking for healing, get this book.
It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit in face of mountainous odds. It is a story of hope and love. And it is a call for kindness — something this city desperately needs.
Not Anytime Soon! The life & times of Linda Chamberlain
Print copies from John Stapleton for $10 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org ,
or an on-line version for $5 here http://openpolicyontario.com/pictures
There will be a book launch on June 11.