oregon or bust

My mother’s brother, my uncle Clive, is a writer. As a kid I knew him as Unc, the gregarious, adventure-loving uncle who’d come sweeping in from the south, from his life as an American. He was accompanied by his wife, Linda, who speaks with a charming and delicate Southern accent and our cousins, Caitlin and […]

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fiction friday

This is Jill, Mr. Brody said, smiling. He lowered his arm to his side. She’s come from Toronto. Please make her feel welcome. And he looked at me. I don’t know why he looked at me. Sarah and Jessica were whispering in the back row, their heads together, their syllables snapping like tacks tossed on the floor. […]

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one man’s junk – vince’s, actually

One of my first major publications was a piece for the Globe and Mail’s Facts and Arguments section. It was an essay about diving dumpsters – specifically the one behind the supermarket near my house. We were finding food, all kinds of it: loaf after loaf of delicatessan-style bread, pounds of butter, lots of veggies, and even, one day, a mushroom lasagna. Dumpster […]

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goodbye, ms. callwood

I wish I’d known June Callwood better. In the late ’90s, early ’00s, I crossed paths with the acclaimed writer and social activist when I worked at TERLA (The Electronic Rights Licencing Agency, sadly defunct). She was chair of the board. Every now and then she’d pop in on business or just because she was nearby.  She wasn’t like anyone else. […]

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introducing fiction fridays

This is where I come from. Outside the world shifts from an explosion of colour to nothing, a landscape void of anything but blue, grey, white and a kind of half-dead brown. The lake slowly slips into hiding, its riotous self tucked under a blanket of ice. You don’t hear it moving, not like the […]

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the importance of poetry

It may be the cruelest month, but it’s also National Poetry Month. Readings echo across the continent (make sure you go to that link above to find out where they are in Canada) and people who live and breathe the written word blog about the importance of poetry and why it matters. To American poet Robert Peake, poetry is […]

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green christmas, white easter…

…that’s just wrong.   Snow squall warnings. An inch or so of the white stuff. Will it never end? As a merry Easter and a joyous Long Weekend to all who celebrate this particular holiday, a sign of hope from my friend Julie:     The earliest, odd-looking beginning of rhubarb in her backyard garden. Soon enough, […]

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not-so-sweet deal

Buying honey is a no-brainer. See the word Canada on the label, put it in your shopping cart, and feel good about supporting, if not a nearby farmer, at least one from the same country. Right? Not necessarily. Last year, a story I wrote for Simcoe Life about local beekeepers introduced me to a whole mess of complexities around the […]

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under the veil

The MacLaren Art Centre, a gallery in Barrie, is hosting a fantastic exhibit that J. and I saw today. Called Enduring Women: Veils of Secrecy it came to being when southwestern Ontario artists Gerald Pedros and Sylvia Curtis-Norcross “challenged one another to examine and respond to the issue of violence against women – not in […]

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signs of peace

Saturday was an inspiring day for people who oppose war.   Among the many, many rallies and demonstrations protesting the war, activists in the Humanist Movement hosted living peace signs around the world to denounce the continuing occupation in Iraq, the ongoing battles in Afghanistan and, simply, the idea that war and violence ever really answers any human need. Here in […]

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