Why the Library Matters to Me


I left graduate school when I realized I wouldn’t make a notable contribution to the world of ideas.

Word Garbage

Here's my piece published in the Free Paper being handed out around Toronto this weekend.

There is garbage everywhere. It’s at the curb, on the side of the highway, overflowing from bins, captured in video clips of stinking bulldozed mountains. What about word garbage? Is anyone trying to figure out if we can send our spam to Michigan? our e-mails (210 billion a day) to Wawa? our word-junk into space?

Listing Obsessions

One of the exercises we are given at the Star Island writing retreat is to document our obsessions on index cards. Joyce Maynard makes the request the first day for examination later in the week. Strangely, off the top of my head, I can come up with only two - my body and food.

Star Island - lessons in retreating

The day before I leave for Star Island my kids’ dad tells me a hurricane is on its way up from Haiti and will hit the coast off New Hampshire in the next day or two. I’m not sure what he expects me to do with the information so I do what I usually do and panic.

A Peek Inside - What's hard wired?

Things I’ve always wanted to be:
• A writer
• Easygoing
• Good-natured
• Self-sufficient
• Notably smart
• Focused
• Risk-taker – as in seize the day and follow your dreams!
• Patient
• Recognized
• Organized
• Careful and considered
• Neat freak(ish)
• Independent
• Undemanding
• 5’5”
• Able to say no when I don’t want to do something
• Thin (very un-feminist)
• Engaged (not to be married)

More thoughts on too little time or Tic, tic, tic…

I’m having a hard time with time these days, or just a hard time period, with no time to sort it out.

I’ve felt out of sorts since the school year ended and the kids went off to their various camps - a whole new set of drop off and pick up locations, start times, end times, supplies and belongings to misplace or lose, likes and dislikes to air.

Chasing the dream

I’ve been talking about writing since I was in my late teens. But I was one of those people who needed trauma or remarkable events as inspiration. Break-ups, crazy journeys, extraordinary people catapulted me into producing any number of pages, after which I’d sputter, slow, and come to a halt. Like millions of others I have folders of poems, the odd short story, and chunks of novels written over the course of 30 years. I rarely spoke about my desire to write for fear of being one of those people that goes on and on about wanting to be a writer and does nothing about it.

Whose voice is this anyway?

At a Toronto International Film Festival screening years ago when they weren’t yet calling it TIFF and were still using musty, rundown rep theatres with faint glimmers of past elegance - I showed up to a screening and grabbed my favourite spot on the left aisle about ten from the front, guaranteed to ensure a view regardless of height, hair or hat. Few people took this seat by choice, unless nothing else was left. But I always went straight to it.