Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Washing Away

I'm currently on a real vacation, somewhere else.

Here's a picture of the surf I left behind. It's ramping up for autumn storms.


I hope to spend time at a different beach while I'm gone. If I can't--they've had some storms of their own--that's OK too. I'll still have completely new experiences to refresh my outlook. 

It's been an eventful spring and summer, so the timing of this break is perfect.

Happy approaching autumn, everyone!
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Writing is Gathering

With a book coming out this fall (!!) and an almost-finished novel (meaning, maybe I'm almost finished with it!), I'm noodling with new work. 

So far, it's been the writing version of what I do nearly every day: go to the beach and pick up things. Sometimes glass, sometimes other stuff I think is interesting. I bring it back to the house, take a picture, put it into a jar, look at it, think about it, take it out, look at it some more.







Will this noodling turn into anything? In a few months, will I have anything other than a jar full of driftglass, another of interesting rocks, another of broken pottery? 

Who knows. But for now, for me, writing is gathering.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Summer of Baking

Last week, I hinted that 2019 was the Summer of Baking.

The main thing I learned about baking this summer is that many things are cake.

Blueberry buckle? Cake in a square pan (when you make it in one).

Johnnycake? Also cake in a square pan. (This one shouldn't have surprised me. It's right there in the name.)

Banana bread? Cake in a long pan. Also applies to anything with "loaf" in the name.

Muffins? Cake portions in a cup = cupcakes = cake.

Blueberry cobbler? Arguably cake but also arguably breakfast (scones and fruit = breakfast).

Blueberry pie? Not cake but really good. Something about the salty crust makes the blueberries taste sweeter.

So there you have it--one thing I learned in the summer of baking: most things are cake (cake is sneaky that way).

And here is where I sit on mornings when I am trying my darndest to pretend that summer isn't yet over.


When the sun got higher in the sky, the chair started steaming from the heat. I love this place.

I also enjoy baking. Something else to ponder as the seasons change and as I'm off to find a form of cake for breakfast.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Popping in to Suggest a Read

Hi. I'm revising and waiting for feedback and attempting to prepare to launch a book. And fitting vacation in. Apparently 2019 is the Summer of Baking.

Recently, I re-read this Guardian article by George Saunders, about what writers do. You should read it too. In case the link gets stale, it's from March 4, 2017. As usual, he says things so well.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

More Revisions

See? Here's what my most recent set of revisions looks like.




















I'm currently revising the manuscript of my essay collection, Reverberations, coming this October from Winnipeg publisher Signature Editions.

Yes! A book!

I'll share more details about it later. I've got manuscripts to take apart! Which means I may not post much in August.

Happy rest of summer, everyone.
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Welcome Delivery

Because not every "dry well" is a metaphor.


Especially in this warm stretch of July. Especially with family visiting. We expect the well to get low--and although we'd hoped to eke it out until the family was gone, we have a solution. Water. Energy.

Which is also handy in several of the metaphorical senses of "dry well," too.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Revision Fatigue

"Revision" sounds like "decision," and in fact consists of a lot of decisions. Which explains why I'm sort of punchy at the moment.

Also why periodically I pick up our loppers and head into a clump of trees to open up a trail. Or take sandpaper to old wood and, later, fill a brush with paint and swipe back and forth on the sanded, wiped surface.

Here's what the revisions look like.













Note that we are still at the "duct tape" stage. In fact, the "layers of duct tape" stage. "Layers of duct tape in what may yet become complementary patterns" stage. I think the colour combination is already working, but that may be just me.

That's what later stages of revision are FOR: making a coherent whole from disparate parts.

Which means lots of decisions, mostly answering forms of the question, "how well is this working?"

I do find answers--and eventual peace in making decisions--in trimming branches blocking a path or rhythmically painting staircase railings. Tomorrow, I'm confident I'll complete a good day's worth of revisions, because I'm spending most of the day washing dishes. Lots of time for mental play there.

If nothing else, dishes/painting/path-clearing can be defined as projects of finite duration, which helps me resume projects without firm endings yet.

Revisions: not for the decision-averse. And now, I'm off to fold sheets.