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August 2011 Archives

Canadian Identity Crisis By Sylvia Olson

Sylvia was born by the Black Forest in Germany where she was raised on Grimm Fairy Tales. She moved from the country of uniformity to the land of diversity. Now...

Suspension With Pay By Leo McKay

A birth forty years early for reality TV.  Talents too meagre for conventional achievement.  Leo McKay reached middle age and began to re-evaluate everything, including career goals.  Unwilling to coast...

Lust, Lies, and Lobbying By Geoff Stewart

Geoff Stewart is a young man chasing a feeling. Serial-dater turned womanizer, rambling grad student turned mercenary lobbyist - see how he finds his edge and the path of turmoil...

Autobiography Challenge: Lorna Crozier, death merchants and more!

What mode of public transit is poet Lorna Crozier's life sorely lacking? What CBC Bookie Award winner has a popcorn addiction? Read all the sordid details in the latest slew...

A Series Of Awkward Goodbyes By Adrian Budhram

Whether a sweaty handshake or a clumsy embrace, preparing for an awkward goodbye is daunting. Adrian Budhram lives in that moment of trepidation; from kindergarten expulsion triggered by macaroni art...

Interview With A Shallow Puddle By Susan Krupp

Somewhere between here and there I made up my mind to sit tight and abstain from drinking vodka in my coffee. Time sober was profoundly succinct. With hesitation I understood...

"Phil and the Phoenix" By Gordon Lambie

In the midst of tensions brought on by divorce, displacement, and unrequited love, fourteen year-old Gordon reinvents himself online in the form of Phil, the Burning Guy. Phil, perpetually aflame,...

Mark Kingwell: "Good editors save you from yourself"

In today's installment of our "Writers/Editors" series: writer and philosopher Mark Kingwell on the editors who've set him up, paid him well, paid him terribly, and gifted him with better writing....

More from: Writers on Editors

The Extraordinary Ordinary Love Story By Nicole Korstanje

As a child she spent her days envisioning her future self. The image always the same. She would be married to a rich business man, living in a penthouse and...

True Story by Fiction Writer By Lee Kvern

Writer drops English 30 in High School. "Excessive novel reading, too much Shakespeare," says Lee Kvern. Does four years Remedial English in college. "She writes a helluva cover letter," quips...

"You Ate WHAT?!" By Donald B. Campbell

Traumatized by his childhood of mashed potatoes and oatmeal porridge, a young man sets off for some gutsy gastronomic globetrotting.  Turtle soup.  Snake soup.  Dog soup.  Anything but ****bell's soup. ...

Autobiography Challenge : Your submissions

A round-up of all the submissions we received last week for our Autobiography Challenge.«Take the Canada Writes Autobiography Challenge!...

Autobiography Challenge: Meet your judge!

Kirstie McLellan Day knows a thing or two about writing autobiographies. She's penned bestselling memoirs with a slew of famous Canadians, including hockey greats Bob Probert and Theo Fleury -...

'I Probably Don't Like You' by Stewart Reynolds

Raised by Scottish parents, Stewart Reynolds fought ridicule and battled to overcome the language barrier to become the delightfully uncelebrated artist he is today. Read this heartwarming and open autobiography...

"If I Had a Clawhammer" by Christine Lovelace

At the age of 40, when things started to sag and indigestion was a daily trial, Christine Lovelace decided that learning to play banjo would finally make her the hip...

"Self-Constrained Underwhelming Breeder Acrobatics" by Eric Rumble

People who can make babies do not necessarily know how. Drawing on years of lame courtship and futile attraction, Rumble explores the grey side of dating, revealing how to sidestep...

I: A Novel by Paul Marlowe

In any reasonable country, Paul Marlowe would be declared a national treasure. Not, perhaps, along the lines of the crown jewels, of course. More the sort of treasure that grandmother...

"They All Fall Down" by Mary E. McIntyre

In a freak storm, a centuries-old elm smashes her grandmother's cottage on Lake Scugog, killing a child. The fallout as told by ten-year old McIntyre relives the tragedy of 1957,...

"The Dyslexic Cartographer" by Joseph Sexsmith

Glen Sexsmith had the unfortunate occupation as a cartographer. Unfortunate, because of his dyslexia. He became known as The Dyslexic Cartographer. A world traveller, continually, frustratingly, going the wrong direction....

"To Scale a Rocky Chore" by Barbara Baker

Her short stories offer hot flash heat, the intrusiveness of pelvic exams, or the nonsensicality of new-age vacuum cleaners. Barbara Baker conjures up domestic chronicles as she scrambles peaks of...

"Twenty-Five to Life" by Hollis Sinker

In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, and turning more into her mother each day, Hollis Sinker seeks solace in hindsight's lessons and boxed wine. Take heed and read; you...

"Pit Mair In." By Stuart Mark

Stuart Mark dwelled on a diet of deep-fried intention and ketchup, until he was driven out of Scotland for hating football and using passive verbs. Head down into the Chinook...

Feist's writing tip: write for yourself

Her upcoming album, Metals, is already drawing comparisons to Carole King and Leonard Cohen.  Who better, then, than singer-songwriter Leslie Feist to give us some words of writing wisdom? ...

More from: Writing Tips

From Di Brandt:

Rhythm and light  The most important things in poetry are rhythm and light. Read your poems-in-progress aloud to yourself. Pace them out. Breathe them. If there's a snag in the...

More from: Writing Tips

"Where's the @#$% honey?" by Kyla Hanington

Clawing her way up the landslide of life, Kyla Hanington takes us on the humorous journey of raising two children - and herself - while having the attention span of...

"Anne ain't here" by Lisa Bulman Taylor

On an Island nostalgic for Green Gables, Lisa grew up wondering why life was not idyllic. Anne never tackled struggles of abuse, addiction and mental illness on her island. Digging...

Ken Sparling: The "X" Factor, part 2

About the Writers/Editors series: Our new 16-part series, "Writers/Editors," looks into the symbiotic relationship between writers and their editors. Twice a week for the next two months, we'll be running...

More from: Writers on Editors

"Not Older, Different" by Michael Hall

Time; It's difficult, when you don't believe something, to express yourself in terms of it.  I can see things change, but I am not things.  Although I am a collection...

"The Househusband" by Tom Bauer

He was a lousy husband, but he did good staying home with the kids. Was he thinking about gender reparation? Maybe penance. Then he opens a Montessori daycare. What was...

"Tea and Scrabble Anyone?" by Iris Nixon

She appreciates a formidable game of Scrabble.  The mother of three lovely daughters she is proficient in Fairy tales and pony tails. A partially completed New York Times crossword lingers...

Autobiography Challenge: Sean Cullen, Shakespeare, jellyfish and more

We asked Ian Ferguson, Trevor Cole, Katie Malloch and Sean Cullen to try their hands at the Canada Writes Autobiography Challenge. It warms our cockles to see that the old adage...

Northern Irregular by Lev Bratishenko

Pressganged into the Soviet National Hockey team at age 6, Lev Bratishenko defected to Canada at the first opportunity and wired his parents enough money to join him. So begins...

Banned from the Brownies By Evelyn White

In this side-splitting autobiography Salt Spring writer Evelyn C. White details her expulsion from the Brownies on the first day the troop met. The event triggers a revenge plot in...

Hips, Whips, and Battleships By Danielle McTaggart

Soon after my husband's enlistment I knew that tending home fires wouldn't be enough. My search for definition beyond "dependent" would bring me to the fringes of society's tapestry. But...

Jonathan Goldstein on the brutal editing that made him a writer

The host of CBC Radio's WireTap and the author of I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow pays tribute to the editor who saw promise in him when the esteemed publication "Dorkenspiel"...

More from: Writers on Editors

From Lee Maracle:

Subway Stories I am never not making up stories: I watch people on the transit, look at the lines of their faces, see how they sit, check out what they...

More from: Writing Tips

Canada Writes Editor, Jennifer Warren, takes the challenge!

Plain Old Blue Raincoat By Jennifer Warren To the old man across the street, she's an infuriatingly bad weeder. To gazpacho, her queasiness is a tad histrionic. Her texting-enabled cellphone...

Writers' groups: we want to hear from you!

Every month, Canada Writes will be shining the spotlight on a different writers' group from across Canada. Be it regional, national, genre-specific, traditional or nontraditional,  if you belong to writers' group...

Canadian writers: this one's for you

See the blank squares in the collage up there? One of them is for you. As the editor of Canada Writes, I'm thrilled to roll out the welcome mat to...

Autobiopraphy Challenge: Your turn to vote!

Would your autobiography be a heartbreaking work of staggering genius? Would it be about roughing it in the bush, or travels by night? Would it maintain a sense of the...

Stuart McLean: A question of belief

Best-selling author, award-winning journalist and humorist, and host of CBC Radio program The Vinyl Cafe, on the hardest part of writing. ...

More from: Writing Tips

Natural Cause by Gerald Hill

1. Marilyn Monroe, movie starKnocker, knocker. Come in. The minute she entersthe room reads polka-dot white dresstight at the knees, white blonde, darkin one eye, scared in the other,swallowing...

To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Brian Brett

A Suite of Poems by Brian BrettAt the round earth's imagin'd corners, blowYour trumpets, angels, and arise, ariseFrom death, numberless infinitiesOf souls, and to your scattered bodies go.     ...

My Best Friend by Gina Leola Woolsey

He's nine, I'm seven. We're in the schoolyard. He's riding his bike around me in circles. I still can't ride my two-wheel bike. I'm afraid of falling, of getting...

Tortfeasor by Leslie Beckmann

His foot goes through the door like a head through a windshield, and there are beads of blue-green glass clattering at my feet like marbles. He has pushed the...

Cadence Weapon

nfl preseason has me geeked...

Adam Duguay

One of my favorite ads of the year: McDonald's Baby Commercial....

Sandra Slingsby

Just about the time a woman thinks her work is done!...

Snapshots from My Father's Euthanasia Road Trip, or Esau by Meghan Adams

What I always find odd about lying in a bathtub is the sensation of floating......

From David Hayes:

Writing pictures: how to craft a scene Whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, scenes are the backbone of narrative. They are where you provide action and dialogue to show rather...

More from: Writing Tips

From Molly Peacock:

Find Just Twenty Minutes!One thing I hear from writers is that they don't have time to write.  But I give an assignment when I teach a "sonnet studio" workshop where...

More from: Writing Tips

Where are the Literary Awards?

The CBC Literary Awards are becoming three separate competitions, in short story, creative nonfiction and poetry, with three different deadlines during the year. The CBC Short Story Prize is up first,...