My brain has been a free-wheeling swirl of colour and ideas lately. Not sure why. Seems, though, like I’m constantly jotting ideas into my notebook – for visual art, fabric art (I’m learning how to crochet while also playing with needle-felting…), stories, projects to try to get up and running, new classes to launch….

Maybe it’s something about not having a whole lot of time to myself, when I used to range freely between poetry, article ideas, whatever novel I had on the go, and knitting, of course. Now, I’ve got precious little time to write, and I’m using it (it helps to have a deadline for the Dalnavert Museum project…more on that in a moment).

It helps, too, that I got all fired up after a weekend listening to visiting writer Helen Humphreys talk about her new book, Machine Without Horses, and some creative lessons she says she’s finally accepted (which I feel like I keep learning, too…). In brief: if something’s hard and too much of a struggle, she said she’s finally accepted that this means it simply isn’t working. If it flows, and she’s having fun, then the writing’s good. I appreciate so much how not-precious she is about her work. “I throw a lot away,” she said. She also said: Trust your instincts.


We talked about some of this during the night at Dalnavert House. In the sense that we had a good, long conversation about how to know when a project is dead and what ‘dead’ means in terms of a novel. Monsters came up too, as did ideas, and where they come from. It was a terrific chat and you can listen in on us here, on Jonathan Ball’s podcast, Writing the Wrong Way.

Other than that ~ a few things:

If you’ve been submitting your work to literary journals (or thinking about it), my friend, writer colleague and former student Lori Twining interviewed me for Rachel Thompson’s online course, Lit Mag Love (which I keep hearing is terrific) about my own experience submitting to literary journals over the years. Read that here.

I hope you can join me on Hallowe’en at Dalnavert House for The New Fantasmagoriana (Part II). We’ll be launching the stories we wrote, inspired by our night in the attic. I composed a rough draft, in the room where I took that creepy video the next morning, and have been refining it over the last few weeks. It’s a weird little story about an unexpected ghost, haunted by what she experienced during her life (aren’t we all…).

There’s still room in the Wild Writing in the Boreal workshop I’m teaching with Donna Besel at Falcon Trails Resort from November 9th to the 11th with group sessions and the option for one-on-one feedback on work sent to me in advance (check out the details). Also, I’ll be driving from Winnipeg, if anyone needs a lift, and bring your bathing suit (hot tub!!)

And… I’m thinking of teaching another online course, aimed at providing use-able daily exercises/inspiration to help other people with limited writing time stay focused and motivated.

It’d go for about a month and include daily emails, a forum for reporting progress or even sharing work (on Slack, a free alternative to Facebook that leaves out the addiction-programming, distractions, and data-mining) and a weekly Saturday or Sunday afternoon video-conferencing session to chat about writing and even spend some time writing together.

Before I pull it all together, though, I’d like to know if the interest is there. If you’re intrigued and/or interested, shoot me a note or comment on this post. The price would be somewhere around $200, I’m thinking, and – as some of you know – I pour my heart into my teaching so you’d definitely get your money’s worth 🙂