Losing and Winning and Sunnyside Eggs

I’ve just come back from a celebratory brunch at the lovely Sunnyside Cafe in my new neighbourhood of Esquimalt, British Columbia. They have the best egg dishes. Their hollandaise is gloriously decadent. I usually go for something with smoked salmon, but today I had their house special with chorizo sausage. It was divine. Almost as divine as how I was feeling.

With a little preamble, I will tell you why. Continue reading

Where Are You From?

“Where are you from?”

I’ve seen quite a few articles, videos, and personal posts that indicate this question is racist or is an example of profiling; making the questioned feel as if they don’t belong or are seen as outsiders.

Listening to these responses, I’m struck by the fact that I ask almost everyone I meet where they’re from. Continue reading

Why We Retreat

We’ve been to Costa Rica, Italy, and of course, Canada offering luxurious days of guided writing practice and gentle yoga. Until now, these exotic extended retreats have been organized by me and facilitated by Sue Reynolds and Esana Lotfy.

Although I’ve been leading evening and day-long writing workshops for several years and hosting body awareness and emotional release retreats with Esana since 1998, this October in Greece will be the first extended retreat in which I lead the writing component.

Nine days of it! Nine days for participants to dive deep, work intensely on an existing project, begin a new one, or create a series of short works. Nine days to be inspired and inspiring in a supportive environment without the demands of everyday life to disrupt the flow.  Continue reading

Things You Bury

Maybe blogs are passe. It’s all about Instagram now. And Snapchat. The blink of an eye. A snapshot, a twenty-second video, a phrase rather than a sentence… Bite-sized pieces.

Still… we writers go on writing, encouraging other writers to do the same. To tell their story. To put pen to paper.

Continue reading

Winlaw, another long-armed poem

A while back I posted a poem that was generated from a prompt Ellen Bass gave at a workshop. She used Frank Gaspar’s poem, Late Rapturous, as an example of what she coined as a “long-armed poem.” In that workshop I wrote a poem about, among other things, my meeting with Leonard Cohen in 1976, which was included in an issue of Room Magazine. Later, in one of my workshops, I offered the same prompt and wrote: Rajneeshpuram, Hiraeth, and the long-armed poem

I love the prompt’s confines and its endless possibilites, so in a day-long workshop recently, I offered it again for participants to work on in the afternoon’s free time.

Here is the list of things to try to include: Continue reading

Initiative, Instagram & Interview

It’s been nearly a year since I moved from Sebright, Ontario to Victoria, British Columbia. Many have asked me why I chose to move and invariably my answer is, “For love.”

Three years ago, on our first date, Brian told me his intention was to move back to Victoria, so I knew that were we to stay together a move was a definite possibility. We travelled to Victoria the following July to investigate rental possibilities and found nothing that could remotely meet our needs either financially or spacially. A large part of me put the notion out of mind.

But then… a year or so later an email arrived from his friends who lived in a house where Brian had once housesat. They were moving to Cortes Island and their lovely little house would soon be for rent.

Five months later, we opened the door to our new home. Continue reading

Virtual Help

A short while ago I was invited to a virtual writing workshop with Amherst Artists and Writers (AWA) Executive Director, Maureen Buchanan Jones. It was a wonderful experience writing with people from Paris, Seattle, Toronto, Amherst, Victoria all in the same virtual room. These were all AWA trained facilitators, so there was a sweet common bond and a natural ease with the process despite there having been few prior connections. The writing was superb and the feedback insightful.

Immediately afterward there was a flood of emails full of gratitude from each of the nine participants. Continue reading

Morning Song

Morning begins somewhere between the dream and the cup, the wide-coloured sky of unnameable blue and impossible clouds. These and the clear definition of tree and branch and houses echoed in the cool flat of the water. I don’t know the names of all the morning birds here, but I recognize their protests and warnings.

The bones holding muscle and tendon have begun to ache. Continue reading

I Dream of Lenny

Thank you, Leonard, for showing up last night.

His house is big, tiered, with a wide front door. It’s remote, at the end of a long winding drive.

He’d left notes, a letter, pictures, that were also mine. Perhaps he was sorry.

His young lover lets me read the letter. She didn’t understand the salutation: Dear Strawberry, (or Rosebud, or something red.)

Later, when he arrives, he laughs when I ask about it. “Oh, it’s a reference to that game we played.” Continue reading

Composting the Facts

Donna Morrissey once said in a workshop something along the lines of: one only needs to mine the stories of one’s life in order to create fiction. This statement has been ringing like a bell lately. I’ve finished writing my last novel and while I’m waiting for it to come back from the editor, I’ve been looking at my first novel with fresh eyes.

I began to write The Cost of Weather while the crisis that inspired it was very much alive. My ex-husband coming for a visit when he got out of jail. Then. Continue reading

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