February 2015


some DA doggerel in here…

Originally posted on Open Heart Forgery:

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So, about that being a writer….


So You Want to Be a Writer
By Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

The Sound of Silence

I was at the hospital the other day for physio and overheard a weeping girl telling someone that her father was ill, so sick he was not going to make it.

It broke my heart.

I was pulling out of the parking lot and almost slammed on the brakes and turned back, almost raced back into the hospital and grabbed the girl’s arm and stared in her face and spoke to her.

But I’ve tried to stop doing that since the restraining order. Kidding.

I wanted to tell her, urgently, forcefully, to record her father’s voice.

Because there are always photos to look at, unless you’re like my dad and took all the photos in the family, but their voices slip away once they are gone.

For a while after my mum died, I could hear her exasperated, “now, Darth,”, and sometimes her laugh. I remember my brother hung onto her last phone message for a long long time. My dad’s voice is so long gone, and now that his last brother has passed away, I can’t even catch the echo.

I miss them, the sounds of my youth, their voices around me. I speak like them, I mispronounce scallops and have a quirky blend of Ottawa Valley and Atlantic Canada in my accent. But what I wouldn’t give to hear my dad’s laugh, my mum’s stories, even them saying hello.

So those of you with parents, take the time, record your parents, get them to tell you stories of their youth. You don’t realize how much you’ll miss the sound of them telling you off until they can’t do it any more….

Fallow fields

Tis the winter of my not writing…but for a change, it feels more like a resting field than a concrete parking lot.

I can feel the life under the surface, the worms and bugs and roots and earth, cold now, but resting, not dead. As in winter garden, there are still twigs standing, bits of last years’ life, shrouded with snow now and hoarfrost. They show me where the growth will start in spring, they direct my attention.

My writing field needed a rest. Sometimes personal and physical challenges are too much, and require a retreat from writing. I’ve focused on non-verbal creativity, and it’s been a welcome break. I figure it will be another month or so before the fields start to warm, begin to break into greenery.

The writing isn’t really an option. It will sprout when it needs to, as it always has in my life. I’m not sure about what will sprout this year – I know I’ll want to tend my perennials, but the big thrill is always the surprising plant that has blown in from somewhere, the one that calls the eye, makes the heart race.

I’m already scanning for tendrils….maybe a snowdrop will make an appearance….


Write for BBC Radio


Nice opportunity!

Originally posted on BRIDGET WHELAN writer:

Broadcasting HouseOnce a year a window opens for new writers with no experience of radio to submit a short story  to Opening Lines – BBC Radio 4’s showcase for short stories. And that window opens today, Monday January 5th 2015: it closes on Friday February 13

What you can send:
One story which must be between 1,900 and 2,000 words long to fill a 14 minute time slot. If it is shorter than that, or longer, it won’t be considered.

It should be:
written to be read aloud

It should have:
A strong narrative.
A strong opening.
A strong ending.

It shouldn’t have:
too much dialogue.
too much character description.
A dark, harrowing theme.
Obscene language or unsuitable material likely to cause offence to a wide audience of all ages.
(Reading transcripts of stories which have featured in recent series  should help you get a feel for the kind of…

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15 for 2015: Canadian novels coming your way in the new year


Got a new reading list for the year…And Helen Humphreys has a new one coming out – SUCH JOY!!!!

Originally posted on Ottawa Citizen:

By Sean Wilson


As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley (Doubleday Canada)

Alan Bradley was 69 when he entered the U.K.’s Debut Dagger fiction competition and immediately won a world of fans with the introduction of intrepid 11-year-old chemist/detective Flavia de Luce. These wonderful books set in small town England in the 1950s are great for mystery lovers of all ages. This is the sixth of 10 planned books.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper (Penguin Canada)

Eighty-two-year-old Etta has never seen the ocean. So early one morning she takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 3,232 kilometers from Saskatchewan to Halifax. There’s lots of buzz about the debut novel from Canadian-born, U.K.-based Emma Hooper. In addition to writing, Emma plays viola, violin and vocals as Waitress for the Bees and has her own iPhone app, SingSmash.


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Some people say these are the worst of times…

Ah, Styx…..How I loved them, still do. Was mellowing out to music today while stabbing a felted mushroom (yes, my life is odd) and this came up on iTunes Shuffle.

I loved Styx in the day, though sometimes their heavy musicality, like that of the Alan Parson’s Project, overwhelmed my ears like too much Beethoven’s 9th. All wonderful things, all moving, all sometimes too demanding on a bubble pop day.

But the message of the song seems oddly apt these days of such violence and despair and sorrow. It seems every news item is about people behaving badly or stupidly, about our government in Canada acting like tinpot dictators, about the crazies just below us carrying weaponry when shopping with their toddlers or killing police or innocents in the street.

It is easy to give in to it all and give up. Like the song says, “The best of times, is when I’m alone with you…” – it’s easy to hide inside and mutter in your small groups about the outside, about the dangers. To shut it out with noise, or good books, or activities or each other. I’d love to have someone to spend the best of times with having some sweet cuddles or something to distract me from Mr. Harper for a moment or two. But I digress…;-)

It isn’t enough, is it? The hairy beasts are still outside the increasingly porous gates. Perhaps it’s time to try and recreate the paradise we once had…with each other, within ourselves, in our world.

“as long as we keep alive…The memories of paradise….”

I’m thinking that maybe we can get there again…we are smart enough, rich enough, connected enough that these COULD be the best of times…

Or if nothing else, we can sing madly along with songs of our youth and stab tiny animals out of wool…