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Introducing… the Pandemic Response Reading Series

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 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

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

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

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

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

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...

You Write

You Write

"How do I write?" people sometimes ask me. And it's clear that this is a big question, one they've been carrying around for a long time. A yearning, really. "You write," I say, as gently as I can. Then I suggest: start with 10 minutes a day, begin anywhere. Begin - as...

Chaos (Again)

Chaos (Again)

These days, I'm working on the fourth draft of a strange, new novel. It is largely plot-driven so sometimes I wake in the night with an aggravating case of "what ifs." What if this happened... Could it? Do I dare? Yes, I do! I get up, stumble to the spare room, and...

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