Week 96

Every night for the last week Dan had promised himself before sitting down to dinner that he would tell Tina his news, but every night he had eaten quickly then bolted from the table with the words still locked in his chest.

Random Exercise #32

Use these three words in a short story: chopstick, banjo, whirlwind.

Week 95

Carrie had never been able to read a map but she was going to have to learn fast.

Writing Adventure # 10

Take a walk around your neighbourhood. Pay attention to the litter. Yeah, I know this exercise is heavy on glamour, but it teaches you that everything has a story. If you find something interesting have a closer look - you don't have to touch it! I personally can't resist anything with handwriting on it, whether it is a shopping list, a torn bit of homework or, my favourite find, a letter! But it doesn't matter if all you come across is cigarette butts and used condoms (though I sincerely hope you live in a better neighbourhood than that!) Consider where this piece of trash came from. Who dropped? Did they do it deliberately, or by accident? What frame of mind were they in when they dropped/lost it? Where are they now? Write about it.

Week 94

Leo looked up at the sky wearily, as the first few drops of rain started to fall.

Book Review

I read a great book recently. It is called, "A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self-Expression and Spiritual Practice For Those Who Have Time for Neither." Isn't that a fabulous title? I mean who doesn't want a big new free happy unusual life? It was written by Nina Wise and I hope she writes another book, that's all I can say.

It is a book about bringing creativity and spirituality into your ho-hum, busy, ordinary life. But why I really love it is, it teaches you that your life is actually a pretty extraordinary, fabulous, blessed place filled with wonder just as it is. Which means Nina Wise and I are on the same page, so to speak. You really don't need oodles of time, or to change yourself from top to bottom to be creative or to experience more joy and happiness in your life. It is all there just waiting for you to discover it, or rediscover it, actually.

This book is divided into chapters, each one focusing on a different way to express yourself creatively. There is a chapter on writing, but also one on singing, on dancing, on making art, on collaboration, even one on love-making! And scattered throughout the book are exercises. I have to say sky-gazing, which is a type of Buddhist meditation I had never heard of before, is my favourite.

It is an inspiring, interesting, thought-provoking, wise, funny book that I am already looking forward to rereading.

Confessions from the Desk

Remember that short story I was having difficulty with and switched from third person to first person on? And remember how happy I was with the switch? Well...(and you just know where this is going, don't you?) After a two week vacation I came back to my desk, reread the story (both versions) and decided they were both crap. That was on Monday. For the rest of the week I have been working on novel #2 and ignoring my short story. It is bobbing around in the back of my mind where I am sure it will emerge one day and command me to grab my pen. So much of the writing process is about patience and trust, I find.

(*An interesting thought just occurred to me. I always used to write my first drafts in longhand, even for my first novel, but lately I have been working directly on my laptop. Maybe I should try drafting that short story in longhand and see what emerges? Hmmmm.)


This is from a Paris Review interview with John Cheever.


What is your definition of a good editor?

John Cheever

My definition of a good editor is a man I think charming, who sends me large checks, praises my work, my physical beauty and my sexual prowess, and who has a stranglehold on the publisher and the bank.

Week 93

Joni crawled around the room trying to find the source of the smell.

Musings from the Desk

Sometimes I get asked why I write. It is one of those questions that simultaneously has no answer and a thousand answers. In the beginning I just wrote. It was that simple. I reached for a pen and words poured out of me. I didn't think about it much. But eventually even I began to wonder why I was spending so much time and effort on this odd, frustrating, wonderful, rewarding, exhausting, exhilarating thing called writing.

I decided my one tiny little life is simply not enough for me. I am greedy. I want to experience so many things: I want to be young, old, a woman, a man, an labourer, a socialite, a hermit, a movie star, an astronaut, a deep sea diver, a king, a queen and the court jester. And alone with just my pen and a pad of paper I can be all these things and more.


"If you don't change the direction in which you are going, you will end up where you are headed."

~ Confucius

Week 92

Detective Farrow had been on the force for thirty-three years and thought he had lost the ability to be shocked, but now stared in near disbelief at the gangly girl in front of him, before loudly clearing his throat and asking her to repeat what she had just told him.