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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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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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Thoughts on La Loche

On Sunday evening, in the pitch black, we were driving home along the dirt road that’s a short-cut between The Pas and Hudson Bay (the town in Saskatchewan). Unreserved, the CBC radio show, played through our satellite system, and into the deep darkness came this song (hit the link to listen). Called Kakina Pasekok, it’s a mix […]

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Firelight Interview Series: Laurie D. Graham

Laurie D. Graham is a reader, a writer, and a deep thinker who always gave appreciated and thoughtful commentary on the work on the table during our shared fiction and poetry workshops in the University of Guelph’s MFA program. A transplanted westerner, she now lives in London, Ontario (while I’ve gone in the opposite direction). […]

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Island Clearances: Behind the Poem

Last spring, I had the great privilege of being mentored by the poet Jan Zwicky at the Sage Hill Writing Experience, along with seven other extraordinary writers. For those two weeks, I sifted through a manuscript-in-process about my great-great-grandparents’ 19th-century migration from present-day St. Catharines, up the Niagara escarpment, to Manitoulin Island. Along the way, […]

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An Ode to Farley Mowat

Yesterday, Farley Mowat died. He was 92, so he had a good long go, and wrote a lot of books, and never hesitated to boom out his thoughts about the terrible mess we humans are making of things on the earth, but I fear that the world will forget him. My generation grew up with […]

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The Land That’s In Our Blood

My husband remembers his grandmother telling him that when she moved east to northern Ontario from the wide, bald prairie, she would climb trees. I know why now. Born and raised on a farmstead in Saskatchewan, she mustn’t have seen many. Located south of Regina, this is the landscape that Anne Lazurko writes about in […]

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Wild, Wild West

I heard the wolves this morning. At 5 a.m., the sky studded with quartz flakes of stars, the snow creaking into the cold night. I’d just come in from letting Mowat out and heard them when I climbed back into bed. An eerie far-off howling that accentuated the silence. It seemed fitting. I’ve been thinking […]

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