Years later, Maria took on the daunting task of sorting through Mona's mountain of papers to create an archive for the University of Toronto's Fisher Rare Book Library. The chaotic state of the boxes reflected Mona's flamboyant and demanding personality, yet they also drew an important picture of the life of a Canadian freelancer in the twentieth century. Mona had begun publishing poetry and features in newspapers in the 1920s and published three books of poetry in the 1940s. In the 1950s, at a time when many women were retreating from the public sphere, she had a successful radio career. Her later journals and letters recount, in agonizing detail, a downward spiral into self-doubt, poverty, and addiction. Maria soon discovered that the truth of Mona's life was even more fascinating than her stories. Outside the Box brings to life a thinly documented era in Canadian letters through the story of one passionate and conflicted woman. It also charts the journey of an unwilling archivist, coming to terms with family secrets, forgotten history, and the stories that are never told.
Maria Meindl writes about health care and the arts and has created series for CBC Radio's Ideas. She lives in Toronto and this is her first book.
"Encompassing literary, social, and women's history, personal memoir, and media studies, Outside the Box is honest, revealing, and original." Elaine Kalman Naves, author of Shoshanna's Story
"Not content merely to provide an account of Gould's life and times, Maria Meindl probes the complexities of her own relationship with this remarkable woman. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found it rewarding on multiple levels." Susan Olding, author of Pathologies: A Life in Essays