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The Laurence Prize and Lineage

As a young woman living in Peterborough, Ontario, I never would have thought that one day I’d move to Margaret Laurence’s home province of Manitoba. If a fortune teller had also muttered in my ear that I’d win a prize named after her for my second novel, I might have...

Poetry and PPE

I've been writing a lot lately - that's what happens when you commit to pick up the pen pretty much every day, for at least twenty minutes. Some fiction (one of the prompts that I gave in one of my live-streaming sessions through my Write Ramble Facebook group was to...

Introducing… the Pandemic Response Reading Series

This slow morning, the cat gets us up with his insistent meowing to be fed. J. and I take care of the animals, then recline on the couch for coffee. We watch the snow slanting out of a purple-grey sky and talk about narrow-boating in Yorkshire canals (reminiscing over...

One Day At A Time

One of my mantras when I'm working on long-term writing projects is a single word. Patience.  I mutter this to myself often as I'm writing through a first draft and, once that's completed, when I have to type up whole novels written in longhand in notebooks. It's easy...

Writing Through the Pandemic

So... how are you? I mean it. How are you? In my quiet household, where the animals don't seem to be aware that anything's wrong (except for Mowat's amped-up need for evening cuddles as I watch The National), we are muddling along. Talking every day with my mom,...

What Happened When I Tried to Turn My Life into a Novel

I spent over a decade working on my book. "Working" may be the wrong word: I spent over a decade trying to make the book work. I only actually worked on it for the equivalent of a year during that time. The reason for this long, languishing creation period was simple:...

The Magic of the Retreat

I've been lucky to attend lots of retreats. There was a silent, five-day Vipassana meditation retreat back home in Ontario a couple of decades ago, and the memorable Sage Hill Writing Experience in 2014, where I spent two weeks working with an amazing group of women...

Sticky

Once I coached a woman who could not bring herself to write. She spoke of her longing and of abstract story concepts but she didn't jot down a word no matter what I suggested. Then, at the end of a couple of months together, her heart broke. Literally. She disappeared...

Ramble

EDIT (03/16/2020): This group is now wide open to help bring together writers during these COVID-19 times of self-isolation... My creative and working life feels like a bit of a ramble sometimes. I mean, I'm walking a clear path, but I tend to branch off a lot. Grab...

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