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Entries in writing (37)


For now, forget grades and focus on learning

An open letter to my post-secondary students

Dear learners,

It’s finally arrived. The ‘real’ new year, when you head back to campus and trade summer jobs and weekends at the beach for classrooms and trips to the library.

Am I killing your buzz? (#SorryNotSorry) I love summer too and filled up this one with copious amounts of my favourite things: travel, outside play, art and culture, books, food and drink.

But I am now ready for fall. I look forward to getting back to class mainly because I love learning. And when I’m teaching I’m learning as much or more than my students.

That’s why I’m challenging you to tweak your thinking about back to school.

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Seeking Halifax's Best Writerly Cafés

"Writing, at its best, is a lonely life," said Ernest Hemmingway.

But must it be so? I despair writing at home day after day. It makes me feel isolated, sad and thus blocked. Thankfully the portability of my laptop and many local Wi-Fi-enabled cafés make it possible for me to get out and write amongst the energy of other people.

Last week was my university's reading week, so with no teaching obligations I made a plan to visit a different Halifax café each day where I would drink delicious beverages and chip away at a fiction manuscript I started in January.

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Authors Talk of Writing Fiercely: Creative Nonfiction

Author Gerard Collins (photo: top left) described writing as "an act of rebellion" at a panel event on creative nonfiction that happened at Mount Saint Vincent University last night.

When people feel they've been denied a voice, Collins said, and later encouraged to speak, "It's a wonderful thing."

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The year that was: 2013

Here we are again friends, at the end of another year. A look back before a look ahead is in order. I didn't realize last January 2 when I published 10 goals for 2013 here on my blog how omnipresent they would be in my daily life. It's apparently true that writing down goals and in particular sharing them publicly keeps them in your sight.

1. Run 1,000 kilometres.
I planned to run 20 km a week which sounded manageable. Some runs, like a 13 km through Central Park, were fantastic. But there were weeks when I was sick, the weather was rotten, or when deadlines and personal issues consumed too much time and energy.

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Shameless idealism displayed at We Day Atlantic

Show, don't tell.

It's an oft-repeated phrase that editors and teachers use to try to draw examples, details, and anecdotes out of writers. It challenges writers to provide evidence; to give readers stories that will resonate with them and remain in their memories. It's an apt metaphor for life, too. Showing provides proof. It's impactful — and perhaps We Day Atlantic's biggest achievement.

We can tell our kids "Be the change," or "Knowledge is power," but such phrases risk becoming cliché and losing meaning. However, if you put a man in front of them who has no legs and climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro using his hands, as We Day speaker Spencer West did, what better way is there to demonstrate what can be overcome with determination?

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