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60 000 words and counting

From the moment a fellow student tapped me on my shoulder at the welcome barbecue to tell me I had my shirt on backward, I knew I was in over my head.  Nevertheless, this week I graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Non-Fiction from the University of King’s College. Two years and …

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My friend, the Artist

It’s been a few times now that I’ve witnessed my friend Patty create beautiful art rather quickly, and unexpectedly, and in front of a room full of people. And every single time there is a moment I have to turn away because I think she is wrecking her own creation. There she is, set up in the …

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Writing home

I was a little girl in glasses who would walk home after school without ever looking up. I knew exactly where I was going. My feet knew the way. I wasn’t sad or lost, I was just thinking, worrying about the rocks that I kicked along the way because I had moved them from what …

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To read is to write is to read is to write

I have a great friend who has been writing a science fiction novel for years, plotting and plodding, like writers do, especially those involved in such a big work. He was visiting recently with his family and I asked him, like fellow writers always do, how his project was coming along. He told me (it’s going well); and then …

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There’s no point being shy

Last night I mustered all my courage and stood in a line of other people who had mustered all their courage, at a wine and cheese at HarperCollins in downtown Toronto. We were lining up to speak to one of several very kind editors giving two hours of their time to students in the University …

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The beauty of collaboration

The other night I witnessed a lovely collaboration play out at a church in downtown Ottawa. Steve Bell, Canadian Christian music icon, sat on stage with his good friend Malcolm Guite, a poet, priest and singer-songwriter from Cambridge. It was Steve who introduced me first to the work of Guite, and I’m very thankful. I …

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Full voice

Because sometimes one does things backward and higgledy piggledy, I wrote chapter one of my Master of Fine Arts writing project sixth in line. This made sense to me because I wasn’t sure how to launch this baby properly, and I may not have actually figured that out yet. But I did have a sense …

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Leftovers

I just finished — for now — a  chapter for my MFA, this one on forgiveness. I usually begin a chapter throwing a whole bunch of stuff into a fresh, clean word document. All my stories that I think will fit, my research, great quotes from experts that I think will spruce things up at …

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The story behind The Walrus story

I was in New York City in January, for my week long residency of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction that I’m completing through the University of King’s College in Halifax. So was an editor from The Walrus. There were five blank spots on a sign-up page to meet with her one-on-one to pitch …

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The man on the plane

I flew home from Winnipeg recently, and sat beside an older gentleman who was making careful notes in a red spiral notebook. It’s the same kind of notebook I had in my knapsack at that very moment, where I keep notes for the MFA chapter I’m working on. Because I’m nosey, and I thought maybe …

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My longest running friendship is turning 50

I have friends who are older, but I don’t have a friend I have held so close to my heart for so long.  Crackly home movie footage shows me, six months older, trying to give Janet a good swat from my carriage, parked next to hers. Our mothers were sisters, but we would have found each other …

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Speak to me like you are Barry White. Please.

If you’re going to ask me about all we’ve got going on this week and next, speak to me like you are Barry White. This week, I’ve had to ask loved ones to stop talking to me like this: “OH NO!! ARE YOU OKAY???” and “HOW ARE YOU GETTING THROUGH THIS??I’D BE FREAKING OUT!! I’D …

Speak to me like you are Barry White. Please. Read More »

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