Writing process – part 2

I am a major fan of Luanne Castle, a blogger extraordinaire and soon to be a published poet, who asked me to join in this “writing process thingy” wherein she tags three bloggers/writers to describe how they do what they do.

Luanne found me back in August 2012 when we were both writing about adoption, something we have in common, and she introduced me to the genre of creative non-fiction. Her blog, “Writer Site”, looks at the memoir form, and she posts book reviews on memoirs she’s read and commentaries on writing process.

A thoughtful, kind, and welcoming blogger who has valuable insights into writers and writing, I encourage you to visit her site.

Here are the questions she asked me to answer. Continue reading

Process, pie, and prose

When the tough get going, I retreat. This is why I do not make pie. Oh sure, I can make a cheesecake to stop your heart and give you shivers of creamy desire. I can make a cake whether I know you’re coming or not and you wouldn’t leave until you’d eaten every last crumb. And my Christmas shortbread jam-dot cookies? Honey, you eat one of those and your thighs will beg to be fat just to keep on eating. Continue reading


It was a grand, covered porch with a slick high gloss painted surface. The approach to it was on wide, welcoming steps. Twelve, for God’s sake. It felt like climbing a mountain. The rise was high, coming to my four-year old self’s mid-shin, and I could barely reach the railing to pull myself up. A left turn at the top was the front door, and to the right of it a top to bottom checkerboard French glass window. Of the 11 houses we lived in, this was my favourite.

Old fashioned pebble-dash stucco, steep pitched roofs, a porch for riding my tricycle on rainy days, an inside staircase perfect for tobogganing down on an old board game, a pantry, a den, and a laundry room – it was a mansion! I think it was my favourite because, from the perspective of a four-year old, life seemed normal. Continue reading

The colon chronicles

Trigger warning: This post contains graphic details about intimate bodily functions and may result in revulsion and possibly convulsion.

Shit happens. You know? Like when you eat too much ice cream or indulge in a bowl of cream of mushroom soup or a plate of Fettucine Alfredo or load just one cracker too heavily with brie or camembert.

Bowel blaster

Bowel blaster

You crawl into bed, pull up the duvet nice and tight to your chin, close your eyes and settle in for a good snooze and then it starts. The Vesuvian rumblings zigzagging across your abdomen like summer lightening; the belly flesh shivering involuntarily as the internal tornado works its way south. Actually, it’s more like a glacier, scraping the walls of a canyon, pushing debris ahead of it. Unstoppable. Relentless. Inevitable. Continue reading

Ready, aye, ready.

GardenFrogTwo small stones mark the graves. Each was chosen with great care to commemorate the tiny souls beneath them. A beautiful piece of pink granite tops one, and a smooth round grey orb graces the other where lie Bagel the hamster and Sunset the goldfish, beloved pets of our middle daughter. Continue reading

Owed to a man

The underwear lay on the bedroom floor where he dropped them. He was going home for Christmas and I was staying behind in snowy St. John’s, in a frigid basement apartment with a bedroom as cold as a meat locker.  The bedroom had an antechamber which is where my dresser was along with a single bed fit for a monk. The apartment was advertised as two bedrooms on the strength of this absurd cell. It was fit more for a prisoner in a drunk-tank or maybe solitary confinement. Mostly it served as a place for me to drop clothes and kick off shoes en route to the bedroom after a night dancing, or drinking at my new favourite spot, The Ship, a folkie hangout. It was his favourite place and, since we were in love, I decided I liked it, too.

My platform shoes, sparkly tops and tight pants that showed off my dance moves did not fit in with the folk at “The Ship”. His John Lennon wire-rimmed glasses, baggy pants, and Onitsuka sneakers were more in keeping with the peace, love, and understanding crowd except he wasn’t a radical leftie. He was a card-carrying capital C conservative, before they were progressive. I was a “Stop Kamchatka” protester, a pro-abortion feminist.

We fought. A lot. The frigid bedroom got steamed up and then frosted over on the inside. One morning after a brutal argument I woke up to a heart carved into the ice on the window saying “I love you.”  I scraped it off. I held on to anger like a heating pad on a sore back.

Back to the underwear. They were Stanfields, white – well, dingy white because he didn’t separate white laundry from dark and so they were a miserable grey. Lying there on the floor, they became a test of wills. I refused to pick them up and so did he. Only he didn’t know it was a test. As I have discovered these 35 years later, he didn’t even notice them. It’s the same now except I pick them up so you could say he won, except he didn’t. He just doesn’t see stuff like that. They sit on the bathroom counter (I don’t know why and I don’t want to know why), on my jewelry box, on the bathroom floor, on the floor outside the closet door where the laundry hamper is, where every night with a loud and exasperated sigh I pick them up, slide the door open and drop them into the stinky hamper.

He hasn’t changed one bit. I’ve given up trying but not in a bad way. It’s acceptance.

Back in that cold apartment I eventually told my boyfriend I loved him and then I advised him to not let it go to his head. He ignored my advice. When I asked him to marry me I knew what he’d say. He said “Yes, but I want to ask you, too.”  So he did, and much to my surprise, I said yes.

Funny how things work out.