Canada Writes '07

Finalists: Ontario


Derek Krismanich


Toronto [AP] - A freelance alphabetologist from Canada has found what he says is a previously undiscovered vowel, located between the letters F and G in the English alphabet. Steve Miller, known for his work in the field of Emoticons, made the discovery last week.

“This is truly an historic moment for our alphabet,” said Hans Strauss, head of the International Alphabet Council. “Not since the letter Y was granted quasi-vowel status in 1948 has the alphabet garnered so much media attention.” Despite the media frenzy, Strauss urged the need for patience: “As with any important discovery, we must not jump to conclusions. The IAC will provide details about the new vowel once we have verified its existence and studied its properties more closely.”

Strauss’ statement eased tempers at Friends of Y, a non-profit group that is pushing for Y to be given full vowel status. While not available for comment, Friends of Y said in a statement that it supports the caution being exercised by Mr. Strauss and the IAC.

While Steve Miller declined an interview, his lawyer said that in addition to the media frenzy over his discovery, Steve has received endorsement offers from various letter-related products, including Scrabble and Alphaghetti.


Head-shot of Derek Krismanich

My name is Derek Krismanich. I’ m 27, and I live in Kitchener, Ontario.

I first discovered that I enjoy writing when I took a creative writing class in high school. In hindsight, I must not have enjoyed it that much at the time, because I didn’ t write anything else for about six years. Nothing. Not one word!

Fast forward to 2004. I began to get the writing itch again, and so I started a blog called “The Daily Derek”. It covered a variety of topics and had a small but loyal following. I posted on that blog semi-regularly for the next couple of years before hanging up my keyboard for a second time.

A couple of weeks ago, someone told me about the Canada Writes contest and recommended that I enter it. And the rest is history.

Outside of writing, I work as an account representative in the wireless industry. I enjoy my job, but lately I’ ve been intrigued by all of the good things I’ ve been hearing about freelance alphabetology.


Ryan Smith


It’s got horses, and guns, and gunplay, and horseplay, and horse gunplay. See, there’s one scene where…I don’t want to give it away. But our hero, Jack, he’s from the ends of the desert. Gritty, cigar-chomping. A loner. But hairy. Clint Eastwood meets Mr. Ed. By the end of it, you’ll be scratching your head—But before that…Picture a window, a maiden, a mournful cowboy maiden, an apparition, a tear. Dropping, dropping. Down down down down down. Then, splash. Into the trough our hero has been led to. Does he drink it? Well, he—and then bang, and bang, and bang, and there’s horses, and bullets, and dust clouds, and neighing. And when Jack stands up, the maiden is gone! Opening credits. Eh? That’s just the opening. Eh? See, there’s one scene where…I don’t want to give it away. Fade in. Jack’s trotting alone into a ghost-town, looking for a ghost. But wait. Why’s he alone? Where’s his master, his rider? Cue narrator: “The year 2187. Global warming has destroyed civilization as we know it. On this scorched Earth, a new dominant species has arisen.” Then there’s a showdown, Jack saves her, and discovers that she’s part human, too.


Ryan writes patents for a living. Originally from Alberta, he worked as an engineer in Taipei for several years before settling down in Guelph. Ryan writes creatively in his spare time to unwind from work, and fantasizes about running away to a cabin somewhere to finally write that novel.

Susan Whelehan


Breathe Deeply

Healing methods you can choose~
Wearing magnets in your shoes,
Reiki, Reflexology,
Tarot, Iridology,
Feldenkrais, Shiatsu,
Past life-Meet the former you!
Castor oil, Epsom bath,
Meditation, Bible, Zen,
Chant your mantra. Chant again.
Diva, Shaman, Guru, Priest,
Fasting or Organic Feast,
Tofu, Wheat-Grass, Dairy-free,
Echinacea, Herbal Tea,
Vinegar, Glucosamine,
Anything from the soybean,
Tincture, Fusion, Remedy,
Sniff Aromatherapy,
Aura, Charka, Yoga, Rolf,
Craniosacral, Twelve-Step, Golf,
Labyrinth, Lourdes, Vision Quest,
Pilgrimage, Findhorn, Ashram, EST,
Candling, Astrology,
Channelling, Mythology,
Try psychoanalysis,
Explore your past, Follow your bliss,
Crystals, Colour-therapy,
Count on Numerology,
Acupuncture-Get the point!
Feng-Shui will clean up the joint,
Garlic pills or garlic chewed,
Imaging can change your mood,
Chi-Kung, Breath Work, Primal Scream,
Before you rise record your dream,
Journal writing—Face your fears,
Flower-essence, Rub your ears,
Biofeedback, Aqua-fit,
Floating in a darkened pit,
Enneagram ~ Find your number,
Buckwheat pillow while you slumber,
St.John’s Wort, Mandala,
Celtic Runes, Novena,
Tai-Chi, Mitzvah, Angel pin,
Ginseng, (Or … just the Gin!)
If you know the problem’s chronic—
Hydrotherapy ~ Colonic,
Run. Jog. Walk. Rest.
Laughter has been called “the best”.
And don’t forget your gingko pill,
Or you may forget you’re ill.


Susan Whelehan lives and writes in Toronto. Included in her published works are picture books, scripts for the award-winning TV show The Big Comfy Couch, poetry for the young and the not so young anymore, book reviews, essays and two collaborations: Meditating Mamas, A Spiritual Resource for New Mothers (Novalis), co-written with Rebecca Cunningham, and most recently she contributed to and co-edited with Anne Laurel Carter the perfect gift for a Bride-to-be (or a Bride—who-was), a book of 26 memoirs by women from across the country titled, My Wedding Dress: True-life Tales of Lace, Laughter, Tears and Tulle (Vintage).

When not writing those works, she has been writing emails and notes to her husband, Francis Corrigan and two sons, Ben and Jesse, as well as lesson plans for the kindergarten children she teaches. Happily, she has overheard a few rave reviews of My Wedding Dress while eavesdropping near the Dress-up Centre.

She hopes to have to write a letter back to Bruce Springsteen someday.

Thanks to the judges!

Clifton Joseph is an award-winning journalist and writer, and a dub poet and founding member of the dubzz poetry movement in Canada.

Tanis Rideout is a poet, blogger and post-blogger, who is currently writing a book about the 1924 Mt. Everest expedition.

How it works!

1. October 1st to October 12th

We have received your submissions in the following categories:

Thank you!

2. Auditions are over. Five finalists have been chosen!

Now they’ll head to Toronto for the taping of Canada Writes with Jian Ghomeshi. They’ll have to compete with each other—and the clock—to impress the three judges.

3. Listen to Canada Writes, the radio show, and visit Canada Writes on-line beginning November 20th...

Writing skills—and nerves—will be put to the test as contestants get one hour to complete each writing challenge. They’ll have to be versatile too. Each challenge is in a different Canada Writes category. But the moment of truth is in the delivery: the contestants will have to impress the judges with their read to stay in the game!

You can take the same timed challenges right here at AND vote for (and win) a People’s Choice Award for on-line entries.

Words At Large