19 March

The Hope of Spring 2017

Coming home on the bus in the middle of February, deep in the last cold snap of winter, I sat beside an elderly woman who swore she could smell the Athabasca Glacier, all the way from the Columbia Icefields. She could smell it on the west wind, that very day. She had been there once. […]

21 September

Fall Equinox 2016

Enjoy the trees blowing in the wind while reading a book on the couch, my favorite thing. Those were the parting words of the owner who last lived in my condo. I too enjoy the sound of the leaves in the wind. I notice them more in the fall, maybe because the leaves are crisper […]

19 June

Midsummer’s Eve 2016

On my route along 92nd street, past the Mother Teresa School, under the elm clad arches of 104th Avenue, along the wild gardens of Boyle Street plaza, the sunken hidden garden by the courthouse, through the piazza fronting city hall. Past the robin’s urgent mating yodel, the see-sawed whistle of the house finch, the white-throated […]

8 March

If I were a writer in Cuba

Posted in Books, Reflections, Travel

I often pondered this question when I was in Cuba. While there, I was able to attend the 24th International Festival of the Book in Havana, one of the largest book festivals in Latin America, founded in 1982. For ten days, the city diverts buses from their regular commuter routes to transport thousands of Haberneros to the […]

31 January

Brighid’s Wheel: The Perpetual Fire

This past Wednesday I saw my doctor for my annual physical. Last year at this time my blood pressure was 80/60. I had been feeling the fatigue for months and would for many more. This January my blood pressure was back to 104/72, normal for me. I had always had low blood pressure, but never […]

28 July

Letter from Sage Hill

Posted in Books, Food, Reflections

Well, from the Sage Hill Writing Experience actually. As Philip Adams, the Executive Director, likes to joke, the name sounds like something cooked up by a bunch of hippies sitting around a circle smoking their favourite leaf. And may have been, but it is an experience. First there’s the people: the writers who come here […]

1 June

When the Rain Stops Falling

Posted in Books, Reflections

Last weekend I went to see When the Rain Stops Falling, a play by an Australian, Andrew Bovell. It was mounted by the U of A Studio Theatre, whose productions I have always found daring and top-notch. One of the opening scenes sent a shiver through me.  The year is 2039. It’s the middle of a storm, […]

7 May

Middlemarch

Posted in Books, Reflections

I spent my lunch hour today listening to a podcast panel discussion on George Elliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch, first published in 1871. The panel of Elliot scholars, all women, were interviewed by Eleanor Wachtel on CBC Radio months back. I can identify with the young women in Middlemarch who hold a fierce idealism about marriage and family and […]

19 April

Beckett: the Egg and the Stranger

A few years ago,  when I was going through a difficult patch in my  life, during a shoulder season like now, not-winter, not-summer, I was hailed one evening by a voice from behind a small drift, with a shopping cart parked in front. It was close to the end of November, but above zero that day and […]

31 March

Truth and Reconciliation

Posted in News, Reflections

I spent part of my weekend at the Edmonton National Event for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I had heard about the commission but was skeptical about its purpose before I went. After an hour in a sharing circle, I realized I was witnessing a powerful historical event. First, second, and third generation survivors: Cree, […]

8 March

Stay Attached to the Tree

I met Iftikhar in one of my project management courses last year. He’s a policy “wonk,” with an honours degree from York University and a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from a prestigious institute in Sweden. He speaks fluent, even eloquent English, Urdu, Arabic, among other languages, and like so many new Canadians, […]

16 February

New York Valentine

Posted in Books, Reflections

A year ago at this time, I was in New York for seven days. By mid-week I was hunting in earnest for an I HEART NY sticker, suddenly understanding the meaning of all those I HEART stickers from around the world, derived, I realized, from this Mother of all HEART stickers. New York is a […]

12 January

Mystery

Posted in Reflections

 I went for a walk in the river valley this morning. I was thinking about aging and loss and death. I have several elderly friends and relatives in their 80s; most are struggling in some way. One friend wrote me in his most recent letter that “Mr. Alzheimer” is visiting him more often now. Another […]

2 January

The Layers

Posted in Books, Reflections

New Year’s Eve I was at a small party with friends in the neighbourhood. There was food and drink and fire: candles in the snow, candles in the windows, and a bonfire out the back porch. The bonfire was best of all. On small scraps of paper, we wrote down the things we wanted to […]

29 November

Walking Night

Posted in Reflections

I love walking at night this time of year, especially when it’s mild. I can leave my hood down and listen and see and be touched. Maybe there’s laughter or music from a house party at the end of the block. I may run into a snowshoe hare or pass through light pouring out of […]

11 October

To Bind Together

Posted in Reflections

“You aren’t religious are you?” a co-worker asked me after she opened The Glorious Mysteries and saw the title of the first story in my collection, “The Baby Jesus.” “What do you mean by religious?” I asked her. “If you mean a strict follower of a particular religious doctrine, no,” I said. “But if you […]

1 October

Fact or Fiction and the Truth of It

Posted in Reflections

I had the privilege of travelling the province last month reading from The Glorious Mysteries. At Word on the Street, in Lethbridge, I had just finished reading “The Water Witcher,” one of the Alberta stories in my collection. There was an attentive crowd gathered, probably 30 to 35 people. It was an outdoor festival; we were under […]

8 September

London in the Kinnaird Ravine

Posted in Reflections
London in the Kinnaird Ravine

Sometimes a day’s weather reminds me of another time and place. This morning in the Kinnaird Ravine it felt to me like London, England in fall. The mingling of warmth and rain, the fragrance of rotting and growing things. The way the light is muted by the clouds and stands of old, old trees. The path […]

26 August

Word Witcher

Posted in Reflections

I have an artist friend who hasn’t been able to finish her website because of all the little decisions that have to be made: colours, text, logo, fonts, message... I understand. Take the business cards I’m trying to finalize for marketing my next book. A few words, a couple of colours, three weeks later and […]