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Dan Yashinsky (CA)

I Am Full: Stories for Jacob

I Am Full: Stories for Jacob

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Dan Yashinsky's son Jacob died tragically in a car accident at the age of 26. Dan, Jacob and Jacob's best friend Effie were driving back to Toronto after a magical trip to Montreal when Dan fell asleep at the wheel and crashed. Dan and Effie survived, but Jacob did not. When the unimaginable happens--a parent is still somehow here but their child is gone--all that's left are stories. In the process of grieving his son, Dan realized that he was now Jacob's storykeeper, and I Am Full is Jacob's story.

Jacob's death is the least interesting thing about him. How he lived, the kind of man he became, is what matters most. All his life, Jacob had struggled with Prader-Willi Syndrome, but rather than let it defeat him, he became an advocate for people suffering from PWS as well as people coping with various other disabilities. He was a jewelry-maker, a photographer, a songwriter, a TPS crossing guard, and an avid fisherman. Six months after Jacob's death, Dan began to gather and create the texts that make up this chronicle, all the while guided by Jacob's imagined voice. The events in I Am Full are drawn from many periods of Jacob's life. Much of it--poems, sayings, speeches, letters, notes--are in Jacob's own words and the rest is told in his imagined voice narrating things that Dan saw him do or hear him talk about. Jacob's voice has been captured and carried in this unique book, which goes beyond the terrible grief of losing a child to preserving and sharing his story.

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Dan Yashinsky is a storyteller and writer from Toronto. He is the author of I Am Full, Golden Apples, Swimming With Chaucer, Suddenly They Heard Footsteps (winner of the Ann Izard Storytellers' Choice Award), and Tales for an Unknown City and the editor of four acclaimed collections of Canadian storytelling: Ghostwise, At the Edge, Next Teller, and Tales for an Unknown City. Dan co-founded both the Toronto Storytelling Festival and the Storytellers School of Toronto and began the 1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling in 1978, a weekly open evening of oral stories in Toronto that continues to this day. He has been a storyteller-in-residence at Queen's University, Toronto Public Library, The Stop Community Food Centre, Storytelling Toronto, UNICEF Canada and Baycrest Health Services, working in psychiatry, palliative care, and in the dementia program. Dan has performed at festivals in Israel, Sweden, Norway, Holland, England, Wales, Germany, Brazil, Austria, France, the U.S., Singapore, and Ireland, as well as all across Canada.

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