A Certain Kind of Freedom

A Certain Kind Of Freedom is a story about loss, letting go, and moving on. 

An express-post card from the Maltese Islands informs a Prince Edward Island mother, Catherine, that her 21 year old son Ryan has suddenly died. Her partner, Charlie, finds Catherine on the floor in their kitchen as her mind recoils against the terrible news. In her agony, Catherine compares Ryan to the World War II Spitfire pilots of Malta. He died on an island that is no stranger to losing young men in the prime of their lives.

Not one to enjoy the parameters of formal schooling, Ryan had sought a free life away from a tied-down existence. When his girlfriend Kate lost her second parent, he had planned an adventure trip to help her heal. It is in the waters of the peaceful agrarian Maltese Island of Gozo that a sudden storm during a kayaking trip whipped up fierce waves, and Ryan’s earthbound life was stolen by a haggard undersea rock.

Realizing he is dead, Ryan at first thinks he’s won the ultimate freedom. He discovers that he can ‘think’ himself anywhere. He laps up his new lack of earthbound bonds. He checks in on his mother and Kate, and then on his old Celtic Pipe Band buddies as they raise beers to his memory and play a beloved Drummers’ Fanfare at his memorial service, which practically rocks the roof off of his old Catholic Church.

A freelance writer, Catherine gets the notion to look up erotica magazines on-line. Surprisingly, it is when she begins to write for a few of the ‘iffy’ publications that she rediscovers herself and that what is important in life is to truly love from the core of your being, and to allow yourself to be loved in return.

Scottish cook Colin keeps an eye out for Kate, encouraging her to exercise her pain away. He is with her the day a Maltese Lieutenant informs her that Ryan’s body has been found. Colin takes Kate to her shoddy one-room apartment surrounded by dead flowers, where she loses herself in memories as Earthbound Spirit Ryan watches agonizingly, helplessly, from a chair in the corner.

Ryan discovers, as time passes, that his ‘people’ are moving along in their lives without him. He meets another spirit, Dave, who helps him on his journey, and who gently encourages Ryan to move beyond the borders of his earthly existence as Ryan begins to realize that this new freedom has earned him nothing but fresh ties and bonds. 

In the end Dave’s gentle support helps Ryan begin to let go. Kate realizes that home is where people who love her await. Catherine learns that to be loved by someone can surpass simple words. With the help of a little heart-shaped rock, Ryan’s little cousin Grace gives them all renewed hope that there is more to this plane of existence than our earthly minds allow us to know. Most importantly, Ryan discovers that true freedom is really that beautiful graceful time that we share, on earth, with the people we love.


A Certain Kind of Freedom was first written as a full novel. The novel has yet to be published but was awarded a finalist position in the 2011 Atlantic Writing Awards. 

“Intelligent, fresh and engaging - writing style is fresh and intelligent - it made me laugh and weep and sigh with pleasure - a very well written novel - characters completely drawn and unique - heart-rending, soulful, contemplative - fresh phrasing is where the author truly shines in this novel. The uses of senses is excellent, sights, sounds, touches, textures...all are used to depend the reader’s enjoyment and understanding - use of simile is outstanding. “Like water-soaked sponges, the handwritten words expanded and filled the deepest recesses of Catherine.” This is page one, and they shine throughout, and are original - there is a rhythmic element to the prose - I hope this is bound for a Publisher.”

- Jurors' Comments


An excerpt of the story was reworked into a short story that was featured on The Writer's Drawer. This excerpt was then printed in the 2013 anthology of the same name. 

You can buy the anthology on amazon.