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Entries in writing (39)


Finding balance in the year that was and into the future

It’s easy to write off 2016 as a crummy year. Sure, lots of unsettling things happened in the world-at-large that challenged our values. Almost in response, many people’s personal circumstances also took a beating this year — including my own. But here I am at the end of 2016, still breathing like you, reflecting on the delights this year also contained. Yes, it was messy, amusing, frustrating, exciting, worrisome, joyful, painful, exciting, grievous, beautiful and creative. Some highlights:

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There's a long road ahead for this writer — and that's ok

I had an uncomfortable moment yesterday in the writing class I’m taking. I realized I am, at best, an intermediate writer. This is not false modesty. Yes, I know some things about writing. I’m published. I make a small income through my writing and people tell me they enjoy it or it makes them think. Those rewards are fantastic but they may have fooled me into thinking I know more than I actually do. There is WAY more yet to learn, and so much practice ahead.

And guess what? That’s ok.

I also know as an educator that you need to have those uncomfortable or “transformative” moments that challenge your assumptions

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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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