Archive | Contemplations

Stone Stories

Life has been busy since we got home from Scotland. We’re finishing renovations that won’t get done during the school year (we, as in J. and some hired help), I’m working a lot at the library and we’re squeezing in trips on the weekends. This past weekend a friend who lives on Rocky Lake invited […]

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Walking the Glen

In Glen Affric, at the end of our third day on the trail, we stopped to camp beside the Allt Coire Ghaidhe waterfall. Since that morning, when we’d woken up in a lovely campsite overlooking Loch Beinn a’Mheadhoin (which translates to loch of hill of the middle), we’d hiked about 15 kilometres, pausing at gorgeous Dog […]

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Entering the Land

I’ve been printing maps lately. Screen grabs of the UK’s ordinance survey to help chart our way around Struy, near Inverness, site of the Clan Chisholm’s burial ground. Originally, we’d planned to visit this area and then find our way to Loch Ness and start our hike at the marked trailhead. Then, our plans changed […]

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Craving Kin

It took about two minutes of talking to a few writer friends at the Canadian Writers’ Summit last weekend before I began realizing what might be wrong with my novel. I felt like a sponge, soaking up thoughts, ideas, writerly conversations while wandering between tents and event rooms at a muggy Harbourfront Centre in downtown […]

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Jennifer Manuel: Out of a Jar (on Writing with Honesty)

I’ve been on a reading blitz lately about residential schools. I’ve read a couple novels that address this atrocious time in Canadian history, and I’m deep into volume one of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, a text that every Canadian should read, and which many will read, thanks to […]

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Catching Fire

I can tell when the writers I’m coaching are starting to catch fire. It’s when they write to me, bubbling over with the work they’re doing, whether that’s revising or writing hundreds of words a day when before they were sluggish, not wanting to start. There’s an energy in their emails that wasn’t there in […]

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Retreat

Last weekend, J. and I hauled our shabby little tent-trailer, purchased two summers ago from a guy in Thunder Bay with hardly any teeth, to Bakers Narrows Provincial Park near Flin Flon. We camped on the Canadian Shield. J. wanted to find the path in to One Portage Lake, which, rumour has it, is stuffed full […]

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Denting the Armour

On the orange wall of my office, in black marker, I’ve scrawled the words: Don’t be careful! I got this idea from Sarah Selecky and when I first wrote it, I believed it to be about the writing, an instruction I could glance at, reminding me to go deeper, to not let that internal ever-cautious […]

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Happy Knitiversary

I passed my one-year knitiversary rather quietly. Facebook spat up a reminder, showing me the blog post that I wrote about beginning to learn, after I started taking classes in Calgary last spring while living there on a residency. It was very strange to click back and see the image of that first cowl that […]

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Photo on 2016-04-02 at 6.08 PM

Finishing

There’s a moment that often comes back to me. Early autumn of 2010, at a bed-and-breakfast in Ontario’s Muskokas. I was there on a solitary writing retreat and in the afternoon, at the desk, after a few days of hard work, I typed the last words and finished Swarm. I stood up, walked outside, and […]

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