A handful of years ago, I co-founded a blog called the Canadian Writers’ Collective, which we took to calling the CWC. It was an opportunity for a bunch of writer friends to get together and create while also exploring a wide range of genres.

Some of us moved on as fiction writers, winning awards and publishing novels. Others continued writing and also took on editorial roles at literary publications. It was a valuable period of growth and collaboration.

The blog’s still live, and I’m pleased to see it continues to get a bit of traffic. If you’d like to take a look at some of the posts I wrote, you can find them listed here.

Literacy & art

It’s been a long time coming, but it looks like Stories for Ways & Means (SFWAM) — a colossal collection of works by contemporary artists and musicians — is finally about to drop, as the record moguls say. Proceeds from the book will benefit children’s literacy programs around the world.

The brainchild of Waxploitation Records’ Jeff Antebi, the book is decidedly not meant for children (for an art and literacy resource that is directed at children, try the website Literacyhead).

Tom Waits, one of the SFWAM contributors, posted a link to the video for his story contribution, a collaboration between Waits, illustrator Joe Coleman, and the word jazz vocal artist Ken Nordine. It’s just as weird and wonderful as you might expect!


An artist friend told me the story of a man arrested at a gallery for tampering with a painting as it hung on the wall. The artist had the perfect defense: It was his own work, and he just needed to make some adjustments. Whether or not the story’s true, the writer in me empathizes with the man’s endeavor. I know I could amuse and abuse myself for endless hours fixing and adjusting some of my projects, without ever feeling a sense of completion.

This website is rather a new venture, so I know I’ll be futzing with it for some time to come. Please bear with me: I wrastle, therefore I am.

Hackeschen Höfen

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For me, travelling is about happenstance. I will plan only for a few must-sees, but the aimless wanderings are my greatest pleasure.

In Berlin, I came upon this Hackesche Höfe when I went in search of a cabaret show. I’d seen the impressive Australian circus troupe, Circa, back home earlier in the year, so was thrilled to see they were previewing their new show at a 1920s cabaret venue called Chameleon. This happy coincidence would have been enough for me. However, when I sought out the somewhat hidden box office, I wandered through these beautiful, recently-refurbished courtyards, ripe with complex history, as is the case with most of the city.

What struck me most, though, was how these 300-year-old courtyards had breathed and huffed and heaved through their lifetime, and now, with compromise and thoughtful consideration, are filled with arts venues and greenery and community.

It seems, sometimes, like we’ll never get to a certain peace. Reading the story of the Hackeschen Höfen, the notion of “peaceful” reveals many faces.


IMG_1269A year-and-a-half ago, I was in Tennessee during an ice storm. My first ever experience with one. All the residents assumed that, as a Canadian, I was familiar with such phenomena as iced-over cars and below-20 temperatures. Most didn’t believe me when I said the west coast rarely sees such cold. I was surprised to learn snow in Tennessee isn’t uncommon.

Despite an almost entirely closed-down state, I and my companions had an incredible time. And we learned the best way to get private time at Graceland is to visit in the middle of calamitous weather patterns.


mansleepsWhen I caught this gentleman napping in the Museum of Modern Art courtyard it was, like today, 28 degrees Celsius in June.

There was no other seating; someone must have hauled out this chair for him.

I love that he kept his summer blazer on, defiant against the humidity.