Last year on this blog, I posted some misleading photos of a gorgeous beach on Mexico's Caribbean coast. While the pics weren't photoshopped, the truth is that the beaches in Mexico only look pristine after workers pile all the debris from the shore into wheelbarrows. Every morning along the stretches of beach developed for tourism, you can see them clearing away seaweed and mounds and mounds of plastic.
Around the same time, I saw an article posted on Facebook: scientists predict that by 2050, there will be more pieces of plastic waste in the world's oceans than f...
Lately, I feel as though my life has gone into overdrive! Despite all the busyness, I've been trying to give myself the chance to slow down, reflect, and focus on the priorities that feel truly important. Here are some of the exciting things I've been up to:
* This fall, I'm teaching Introduction to Creative Writing and mentoring a student on her capstone project at the University of Guelph. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with a group of talented, enthusiastic writers!
* My community arts project, InkWell Workshops, received funding from the Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Ar...
This year started off in a strange way for me. I sublet my place to someone who scammed me out of the rent, so rather than ringing in 2016 in Mexico, as I had planned, I spent it alone in my apartment, calling the cops. I felt violated and scared. A few days later, I got on a plane, still pretty shaken up about the whole thing.
Mahahual is a tiny place on the coast of Mexico, near Belize. It's a cruise port, which means that thousands of tourists flood the town daily before boarding the ship again at night. I arrived on a little bus in the rain. It began to pour. The owner of a local restau...
So many awesome things have been on the go that I haven't had a chance to blog about any of them! Here's my round-up:
My (very) personal essay on rereading Changing Heaven by Jane Urquhart appeared in Issue 93 of Canadian Notes & Queries. It was a huge honour to be asked by Kim Jernigan, the luminary former editor of TheNew Quarterly, to contribute to the issue alongside writers such as Caroline Adderson, Douglas Glover, Susan Olding, and Carrie Snyder. Read Kim's introductory essay here.
InkWell is having a fundraiser. Consider yourself invited.
This Halloween, please join us at The Steady at 1051 Bloor St. W. in Toronto from 7:30 to midnight for readings, costumes, dancing, and prizes. Each of our instructors (including yours truly) will be doing a short reading, and then DJ Chandler Levack will be spinning spooky hip-hop and R&B for the rest of the night.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Hope to see you there!
Phew! Since I last blogged, a long winter finally turned into spring and I taught my first creative writing course in short fiction at the University of Guelph. I can't rave enough about my students; an intelligent, engaged group with diverse ideas and literary interests. And then, while the buds on Toronto's trees were only just beginning to turn into leaves, I escaped the city for Nelson, BC.
When you live in Vancouver — as I did, for six years — you hear a lot about Nelson. You hear that it's beautiful, tucked away in the Selkirk mountains, on the shores of Kootenay lake. You hear that...
It's happening! I'm teaching The Short Story course at the University of Guelph's Open Learning program, and I can't wait to get my students jazzed about the wonderful literary form Canadians are so good at: short fiction.
The course runs Wednesday evenings, 6:30-9:00 p.m. from February 25 to April 15, 2015, at the University of Guelph. Registration is currently open and there are only a few spaces left. The course counts towards the University of Guelph's Creative Writing Certificate. Click here for all the info and to register.
I'm very excited to be teaching a 3-hour workshop at the University of Guelph Library on Thursday, February 19, 2015 called Finding Your Voice: A Fiction Workshop:
As readers, many of us have had the experience of being seduced by the voice of an electrifying writer. But what do we mean when we talk about “voice”? And how can emerging writers find theirs? In this interactive workshop, we will consider how writers adapt their voices to the needs of their story and its characters. Through close readings of selected texts, discussion, and hands-on writing exercises, we will examine the techniques wri...
I’m an impatient person, so the days when writing feels like holding a ketchup bottle upside down are especially difficult. I nap; I snack. It’s excruciating. People will tell you it’s important to write every day; equally important, I think, is knowing when to take a break.
With that in mind, I sublet my apartment and went to Mexico for a month this winter, intending to do a little editing, a lot of relaxing, and absolutely no research or writing. I camped on white-sand beaches and in the middle of the jungle, hitched lifts in cars and in the back of pick-up trucks, watched the sun rise over the C...