Where’s the Write Spot?

Every second week I gather up my pencils and notebooks after breakfast and set out to find somewhere to write for the day. Preferably somewhere I’ve never been before.

“No one is immune to the impressions that impinge on the senses from the outside.” Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Could be a park, a café or terrasse, an art gallery or museum, a mall, a greenhouse…

I find working somewhere different helps spark off fresh, unexpected ideas.

The new chairs and benches on the Montreal streets this summer are attractive options too! I love the replacement of sidewalk flowers along McGill College Avenue with parsley and other herbs.

summer chairs along ave McGill College, Montreal

Sometimes I look up places I’ve heard about in advance, but usually I just set out and see what I come across. Montreal is a great place for that!

When I saw Continue reading

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Opening the Door to Backstory

Backstories are always fascinating to a fiction writer. How can you know the characters in your story if you don’t know what’s happened in their past and how that’s affected them?

Is that why I feel so sad when I see yet another of Montreal’s beautiful old mansions bite the dust? Because when we’ve lost Montreal’s old buildings, we won’t know Montreal?

I couldn’t help but wonder what the story was of this building Continue reading

If Only This Were My Secret Door To Writing

near Beaver Lake, Mount Royal, Montreal

Just looking at these quirky little lopsided buildings in the trees to one side of Beaver Lake on “the mountain” (Montreal’s Mount Royal) makes me want to sit down and write.

I’m sure I’d finish my next story collection so much faster if I had one of these as my private writing nook.

Unfortunately that little sticker says Continue reading

Free Modifiers, Dependent Clauses and a Good Night’s Sleep

bedroom in apartment in Gaudi's La Pedrera (Casa Milà), Barcelona

Towards the end of my appointment with the sleep doctor, after he’d told me exactly what time I should go to bed every night and what time – exactly – I should wake, he suggested I put my iPod under my pillow, ready for the hours when I lie awake.

On the iPod, he said, should be something like ‘The History of the World.’

Goodness, I said. That’ll send me to sleep.

That’s the whole idea, he pointed out gently.

I hadn’t got around to doing that but I remembered it as a long-time writer buddy and I were exchanging emails about grammatical Continue reading

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

In Search Of A Writer-Friendly Computer Chair

I often feel like Goldilocks when I sit down. I so rarely find a comfortable chair! The seat of this one is too deep and sinks too far back where the chair back meets the seat. That one’s too high and has no support for my back. And that other one’s too low and the headrest forces my head forward.

Where’s my ‘just right’ chair?

When I gave up my dance life and chose a sit-and-write life, I tried any number of chairs to use at my laptop. I’d get one thing right (for example, position of the keyboard) and everything else would be wrong (my feet didn’t touch the floor; I had to look down at the screen).

“Get a desk chair,” my husband said.

Nah! They were too expensive and so very ugly.

But I needed to find something I could sit on that would be at least not too uncomfortable for fairly long stretches of time.

Exercise balls? No. Kneeling stool? Nope. Australian saddle seat? My dentist swore by it. Maybe I would have too, if Continue reading

Snow Rage: Writing Lesson From A Snowy Sidewalk

I’m clumping along on my ‘grippers’ – grampons attached to boots for icy sidewalks – to the pharmacy. Only a narrow strip of sidewalk has been cleared between the two banks of high snow.

Inevitably I’m going to come face to face with someone heading in the opposite direction. Who will be the one to step aside, into the snow, and wait for the other to pass? Me? Or the other person? Continue reading