Archive | Teaching

Changes

Well, here we go: after four and a half years in the beautiful north, we are saying ‘see you later’ to The Pas. Last weekend, in the midst of packing boxes and preparations for our yard sale, J. got a call and, to make a long story short, early this week he was offered a […]

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Return to Writing

Last year, when Liz Howard won the Griffin Poetry Prize, she told the audience that writing saved her life. “[F]or me, poetry made life possible,” she said. I get this. I understand this a lot. Lately, things have not been easy for my family, and I’ve been at my mother’s. Before coming here, I was in […]

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Monday Morning

J. and I have this thing we do. We move through the (sometimes) long months of the school year by breaking them down into days of the week. May and June are Friday. January and February are Wednesday. No doubt, you’ve already figured out what this means but I’ll spell it out anyway: September is […]

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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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New Growth

The world up here is covered in slowly thinning snow; the ice not yet sliding down the river. The sun is warmer, the ravens are talking up a storm, the crows are back, and the magpies are busy building their stick-pod nests. It’s spring, that time when whatever you plant will start to sprout. For […]

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Buenos Dias from San Miguel D’Allende

This morning I sat, watching a little yellow bird with black and white barred wings feed on the hibiscus blossoms. I was preparing the workshop I’m giving on revising creatively this afternoon before we explore the botanical garden up the hill from San Miguel. Already, here for only one full day, this town has absorbed […]

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Night Blooming

Last night, I learned a lesson. Again. Early yesterday morning, I’d sat in the chair in my office, coffee on a nearby coaster, staring at the blank page of my notebook. I was stuck. In particular, on a chapter that seemed contrived, where something happens but I didn’t like how it happened. It was too […]

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Roots

I’ve spent this week in Ontario, saying goodbye to my step-father at his beautiful memorial, and spending time with my family, including my cousin, C., and her kids who came all the way from Oregon. One afternoon, C. and I sat on a dock, our feet glowing golden in the tannic water of the Muskoka […]

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

By the time you read this, I’ll be leaving on a jet plane. Bye, bye, Calgary, forever known to me now – my friend M. said Monday night over a meal of olives, oysters, devilled eggs, pork belly, purple cabbage slaw, strawberry-basil cheesecake, cocktails, and wine – as the city where I learned how to […]

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Beginner’s Mind

I’m learning how to knit. Last weekend, I went to the first of two classes. Sitting on a slouchy sofa, I awkwardly gripped my bamboo needles and attempted to follow along with the instructor. It felt really, really weird. Halfway through, I sighed, leaned back and said, I need a drink. Not really my intention […]

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