What Did I Discover From My Year of Blurt Writing?

So what did I discover from my 2016 blog resolution to blurt out a quick story or poem once a week?

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

1. It was a great brain zapper! The main idea of Blurting had been to energize my brain as I edited a collection of stories which I’d been working on for quite a while. It worked! Forcing Continue reading

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Need A Creative Boost? Wild Write!

This year I set out to write a ‘Blurt’ – what I now think of as a ‘Wild Write’ – every week. I wasn’t very precise about what I intended, just that I wanted to make the most of a few spare minutes by writing something new (most likely fiction) that I would commit to posting on my blog.

Why?

I was looking for a creative boost.

I needed to find a way to look afresh at my collection of stories and novella. I’d been working on them for quite a while and they had become just too familiar. I was hungry to get into new stories but wasn’t prepared to commit a lot of time to new material as my priority was to finish the collection.

I was nervous! Would I be able to write something quickly that could be made public? Was I crazy to go against the advice of people far more experienced than myself?

“Don’t waste time on a blog,” I’d read. “Focus on your ‘real’ writing.”

“Don’t post stories on your blog as they will then be considered published and no journal will accept them,” was another piece of advice.

But I decided to go ahead all the same.

With just over Continue reading

See The Future In An Apple Peel

1.

Marnie leans forward and gazes into the translucent sphere. A sky blue thread and a wisp of gold drift through the crystal ball.

“What do you see?” she whispers.

“A handsome young man with golden hair, piercing blue eyes and…”

Marnie leaps to her feet, sending the chair toppling backwards. Jeremy? No! It cannot be! Never!

2.

The cards are worn and creased. They are not easy to shuffle. A couple fall out of the pack. Marnie picks them up, shuffles again.

“Focus,” says the young woman with the long shining hair, tapping the ash off her cigarette on to the floor.

Marnie focuses…his wavy dark hair, the tattoo on his left…

She places Continue reading

The Way We Walk: Writing Lesson From a Tight Skirt

The road was closed for infrastructure repairs. Although the sidewalk was open, a huge machine at one end of the road was sending clouds of dust and grit into the air.

To get away from the dust, I turned left into an alley. As I squeezed past the big truck blocking the alley, a large shiny SUV swung in at the other end.

The SUV paused halfway along the alley, clearly waiting for the truck to move out of the way. The truck driver’s door hung open and there was no sign of him. In any case the road was blocked, so there was no way the SUV would be able to get through.

The SUV horn blared Continue reading

Seeing Strange: The Horse With No Eyes

Notre Dame Cathedral, Vieux Port, Montreal

Notre Dame Cathedral, Vieux Port, Montreal

I’m waiting for a friend in Place d’Armes, the plaza in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal’s Vieux Port.

A great place to wait! So much to enjoy!

Narrow cobbled streets, the imposing cathedral, the surrounding historic buildings (which include Montreal’s oldest building: Saint Sulpice Seminary dating from 1687), a guitarist and singer performing under a shady tree, tourists…and of course, the calèches – the horse-drawn carriages festooned with flowers or feathers.

calèche opposite Saint Sulpice Seminary, Vieux Port, Montreal

Three young kids break away from their parents as they catch sight of the queue of calèches, shrieking with delight. They run across the plaza towards the horses, eyes shining, arms open.

Halfway across, the smallest, a boy, freezes, a terrified look on his face. Continue reading

Creating Better Misunderstandings in Dialogue!

Enough of black, I decided. It’s spring – time to jazz up my workout gear.

Off I sallied to my workout feeling upbeat and energized – and more than a little conspicuous – in a fun new bright (very bright) pink and blue top.

“Oh, wow, is that ever bright!” exclaimed a woman in the class, poking a forefinger into my ribs. “My goodness.”

After the class, I stayed to chat with a couple of people. She joined us. “Have you seen what she’s wearing?” she asked the others – as though it was possible for them not to have seen! She jerked her thumb at me and raised her eyebrows. “Isn’t it…” She laughed. “I mean…” Continue reading

2014 Quebec Writing Competition Shortlist

I’m thrilled to have my story “Taking Them There” on the shortlist for the 2014 Quebec Writing Competition.

I started this short story in Nancy Zafris’ workshop at the Kenyon Writer’s Summer School in 2012. Just as well I don’t write novels – imagine how long that would take!

You can read all ten shortlisted stories online Continue reading