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.

It’s beautiful here. People are friendly, welcoming, inclusive.

But after building a bodywork practice for nearly three decades, starting fresh is a bit daunting, to say the least. And to integrate into a new literary community after a decade of building solid relationships in Ontario also has its challenges.

I needed to plant seeds, and also bulbs, in hopes of growing a lush and fertile garden in both the figurative and literal senses. In the literal sense, it’s been frustrating as well, since after cleaning out the overgrown gardens here and adding compost and mulch and fresh soil, I planted hundreds of tulip, daffodil, hyacinth, crocus, etc. bulbs, only to have squirrels then industriously dig them out to plant elsewhere.

I’ve had to think outside the proverbial box to try to figure out how to make myself visible, accessible, and of value to the well-established writing world here. This is a list of some of the things I’ve done to create connections:

  • Joined the Federation of BC Writers
  • Created weekly “MeetUp” writing workshops (and hosted four free mini demo workshops)
  • Joined Victoria Creative Writers
  • Joined “Good”  — a wonderful writing community hub
  • Attended two authors’ festivals in Victoria and nearby Sydney
  • Attended various readings, book launches, and workshops
  • Had coffee with John Gould (You must read kilter:55 fictions–these brilliant stories will take away your breath)
  • Volunteered to be a first-tier judge for the Malahat Review 
  • Created a “Google Hangout” virtual writing workshop

Recently, I read that Instagram is the hot platform for business now. I considered how I might be able to use Instagram for what I do. I thought, why not do short video prompts with verbal suggestions? I searched many sites with writing-related hashtags and couldn’t find any that used videos–mostly just written or typed memes or snapshots.

I’ve been out and about having fun shooting 14 to 20-second videos of all sorts of things–from rumpled beds to bridges to running water–and offering a way in to begin the writing. Each morning I post one to Instagram. My hope is that these nuggets will generate interest to get the virtual 2-hour workshops underway. Build it, they say…

In other news… a couple of bolstering things have happened while I’m not holding my breath waiting to hear from the agency about my novel…

My short story, “Misconception” won The Writing District’s monthly contest and was published online. Last month, they contacted me to request an interview. I loved the questions and found that writing my answers lifted my spirits considerably. You can read it here.

And then, my copy of Azure arrived looking so pretty and sleek. The first chapter of my novel, What the Living Do is the final piece in the anthology. Having a last name that starts with a W has put me often at the end of the line. No matter! It’s a beautiful book and I’m proud as punch.

Although it never seems like enough, writing this all down has helped me realize that I have planted many seeds (and bulbs). Hopefully, the virtual ones will come to a fruition that the actual ones may not be fortunate enough to realize.