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A woman building a ballet slipper business, who caught the attention of American Idol's Randy Jackson. A senior with an astonishingly large collection of moose figurines. A musician creating a ministry of music for those who are dying and the people who love them.

Goodbye Good Friend

In Mexico, where we were when we received the news of my brother-in-law Doug’s  tragic and incredibly premature passing, there are underground systems of tunnels that include deep pools of green water called cenotes.

Burger King and Writers

There will be no more professional writers in the future. That was the headline for a Globe and Mail story last week, mainly about how free content, e-books and self-publishing are making it almost impossible for authors to make a living. You can read it here.

Slaughter’s Controversial Article

I finally had the opportunity, and took the chunk of time required, to read Anne Marie Slaughter's controversial article Why Women Still Can't Have it All, published in Atlantic Magazine (July/Aug).

The power of not knowing

The other day I interviewed Reg Bibby, one of Canada's leading sociologists. It was for a story on why youth leave the Church and why they sometimes stay. What made the interview so remarkable to me wasn't what Bibby knew, which was a lot,  but what he didn't know, which was only a little.

A funny thing happened

A funny thing happened to me on the way to this website. When I left for my assignment in South Sudan, this site was well on its way to being complete. When I returned, after six days of touring refugee camps and interviewing the people whose lives have been torn apart by a conflict they didn't make or choose, I lost the ability to write pithy descriptions of the work I do as a writer.

My Big Writing Challenge

This week, I am off on a writing assignment like I have never had before. I have accepted an invitation to travel to two refugee camps in South Sudan with Samaritan's Purse, a charity probably best known for encouraging ordinary Canadians to fill shoe-boxes at Christmas for children in need around the world.

The Crying Interview

I'm certain that it is unprofessional to break down and start crying during an interview for a magazine story — especially when you're the one doing the interviewing. But that's what I did near the end of a gruelling hour-and a-half long conversation with Katarina MacLeod.

The Mess on my Desk

Recently, an Indigo flyer caught my eye, and then my scissors. It came for Mother's Day and was an advertisement for the books Mom would love. But what I loved was its collection of quotes about books and writers. Quotes that I cut out and taped around my writing desk, to make things just that much messier — and that much more inspiring.

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