Today is the day after Thanksgiving here in Canada. Thanksgiving is complicated. Many cultures have traditional harvest festivals, a time of plenty, a time of abundance. Thanksgiving in Canada is not as simple as a time to give thanks and revel in the fruits of your labour, it is tainted with the horror of colonialism. Say the word genocide. It feels so terrible in my mouth. Yet I have started to understand it as Canada’s history. I don’t know a lot about my ancestors first encounter with people when they arrived in Canada, but I’m sure I have benefited from their actions towards Indigenous Canadians, and they are not actions I am proud of. Yes, it’s complicated. I can’t change what has happened, I can’t change the systematic racism that Indigenous peoples face daily, I don’t have enough money to do anything significant and sometimes I feel helpless. One voice. One puny white voice, who really has no right to speak. There is one thing I know how to do, however, and that is write. When I see the craftsRead more “Complicated Complicity”
I have moved 4000 km from my home and I am attempting to make my way in a new community. I am over sixty, overweight, overzealous and overwhelmed. But I am writing. I am writing and that is my salvation. Even if the writing is just like this, for no one to see, it is my way of probing the soul, doing a health check on my well being. Hello, in there. Are you okay? Are you lonesome? This pandemic has taught me that I am well and truly an extrovert, soaking up energy from others. But the introverted part of me, the quiet, mulling-over-meaning, deconstructing and considering conversations part of me — even brief encounters in the single grocery store — allows me to write. I’m just figuring out this website, how it works, what it means, but, for now, while my extroverted heart longs for company, I can be still and look inside. And be very grateful for my writing practice.
Were off to our Pembina cabin where birch abound for a week and then off to Ont via BC!
Off we go.
Imagine my delight learning my apprentice Kevin Holowick, apprenticing with me in 2018, received an offer to have his first novel published by Newest Press! This is the second mentor I have worked with who has realized publication following the hard work of one-on-one edits of a lengthy manuscript and I find it difficult to describe how deeply satisfying this is to me as a mentor. Shari Narine, another Edmonton based author had not one by two offers to publish after we completed our partnership in 2013. My methodology depends on the manuscript in question. After careful reading I determine where the writing needs strengthening and bring this to the attention of the student, asking them to re-write short paragraphs or sections of the manuscript in a different way. Authorial intrusion, not grounding the action in the concrete, not moving the story forward and a failure to revel internal dialogue are the most common elements that slow down plot. Telling too much is also deadly for fiction, where themes and motifs must be revealed not overtly exposed. InRead more “Congratulations to a Former Apprentice”
Dear friends all over, but particularly my beautiful Edmonton peeps: I am sorry to tell you that my partner Mark and I have decided to relocate to central Canada after 28 years in this extraordinary creative community. We want to be closer to two of our three adult children and Mark’s sibs. Because of the pandemic, there are many of you I will not see but I want you to know how much you have enriched and supported me over the years. What a ride: Other Voices, Canadian Authors Association (7 years!), Writers Guild of Alberta, TWUC, book launches, block parties (count em, 17) music jams, Holy Trinity ArtSpirit, Litfest, Story Slam, ravine walks, hiking groups, book club, the support of the AFA and Edmonton Arts Council, poetry readings, table sessions, band parties, dances, expressive arts circles, …I could go on and on. This is the meaning of true community, and it is you who make it so difficult to leave. Thank you for making my years in Edmonton so meaningful. I can only tellRead more “A New Start”
Thank you, Lesley Anne Evan, for featuring a poem of mine on her website, Buddy Breathing. I especially enjoyed the interview that followed.