Aug 09, 2017
At the first intermission of the opera, I run, leaping down the stairs as fast as I can in my fancy shoes. There are already fifteen people ahead of me in the washroom lineup.             I reach the head of the line, dart into a cubicle, do a quick asse… Read More

Haunting the Stacks

Apr 10, 2017
Many writers I most love were avid readers as children or became so at some point in their lives. For me as a child, reading was my central refuge and bliss. It remains so. At a certain point after tasting the salt and tang of poetry and story on my tongu… Read More

Femmes Fatales and the Female Muse: John Keats and the Feminine

Jan 04, 2017
  I first discovered the poetry of the Romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821) in high school when a teacher read us several of the poet’s great odes—“Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and “Ode to Autumn.” I didn’t know exactly what Keats meant… Read More

Ms. and Mr. (file this under ‘Words Matter’)

Dec 07, 2016
I'm in this world, okay, and the people identify each other by sex.  All the time.  It's like 'Female Person Smith' and 'Male Person Brown' or 'Person-with-Uterus Smith' and 'Person-with-Penis Brown' – I don't know the exact translation.  But sex-identity… Read More

Are We There Yet?

Nov 17, 2016
Women have always been the essential foundation of every aspect of our lives, but they have consistently been deprived of their rights, and their talents and achievements have often gone unrecognized while those of men are routinely praised. Charlotte Br… Read More

Living in the Mystery: Keats, Negative Capability, and the Ecozoic Age

Oct 24, 2016
The earliest surviving portrait of John Keats, charcoal drawing by Joseph Severn, 1816: This summer I have been revisiting the life and works of the English Romantic poet John Keats (1795-1821… Read More

A Man Shaken by a Bomb

Sep 15, 2016
        I picked up a sci-fi novel the other day at a used bookstore.  The jacket said it was set after a nuclear war and written by someone who'd rubbed shoulders with a lot of military people.  Well, I figure… Read More

Editing My Own Poetry

Jul 22, 2016
The last word may be the editor’s but the first editing belongs to the poet. From the moment of inspiration, through the act of writing the poem, to the final draft is more than putting words on paper in poetic form. It requires dedication to the fi… Read More

On Writing: Q & A

Jul 18, 2016
What’s the best thing about being a writer? I don’t know that there is only one best thing. For me, there are many best things. Writing is both intellectually and emotionally creative and challenging. While working, the writer is completely focussed on… Read More

Boy Books

Jul 12, 2016
           Boy books.  You're thinking The Boys' Book of Trains and The Hardy Boys, right?  I'm thinking most of the books I took in high school English.       &nbs… Read More

Women's Fiction

Jun 06, 2016
              I finished a novel by J. D. Robb the other day and also happened to read the back inside cover blurb: “Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than o… Read More


May 20, 2016
Splendid! . . . Words don’t even come close to sufficiently describing the performance I saw/heard on Saturday of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at HD Opera at the Movies. Anthony Minghella’s production comes as close to perfection as one wi… Read More

Helen Weinzweig and Magic Realism

Apr 05, 2016
My most important problem was destroyingthe lines of demarcation that separates whatseems real from what seems fantastic.Gabriel García Márquez I.  "What Would Helen Say?" (Inanna, January 6, 2016) II. "From Pain to Prose" (Inanna, March 23, 2016) III … Read More

Humanities and the Arts

Mar 27, 2016
A recent New York Times article (February 23, 2016) comments on the decline in the study of the humanities at universities. It's true. When I ask kids lately, "What are you studying at university?" they always reply, "Business" or "Technology." Yet the a… Read More

Helen Weinzweig: From Pain to Prose

Mar 21, 2016
I. “What Would Helen Say?” (Inanna, January 6, 2016) II.”From Pain to Prose’” (Inanna, March 23, 2016) Helen Weinzweig is the author of the novels Passing Ceremony and Basic Black with Pearls, winner of the Toronto Book Award. Her short story collection… Read More

Perhaps Women Should Take Over! (March 8th, 2016)

Mar 08, 2016
“Woman, who dares to avow her horror of war, her pity for the victims, for all victims.”  (A passage from Marcelle Capy; 1916) A hundred years ago was the sham and charade of our planet seen in WWI.  Since then, equally barbarous co… Read More

Come Into Animal Presence: Grieving the Loss of Our Animal Companions

Feb 26, 2016
  “What is this Joy? That no animal falters, but knows what it must do?” - from “Come into animal presence,” Denise Levertov (Poems: 1960-1967) On Dec. 27, 2015 our five-year old mini-Australian shepherd Penny was brutally and instantly killed by a tr… Read More

The Holy Mango

Feb 12, 2016
One day when I walked past Spadina Avenue in Toronto, piled mangos in yellow and orange on a fruit stand caught my eye. A memory of a sacred mango from almost half a century earlier came flooding back to me. It was in 1968, two years after the Cultural R… Read More

Writing Effective Dialogue

Feb 08, 2016
These are basic tips for writing dialogue that I've learned over the years from workshops with major Canadian writers. Dialogue for scripts and stories requires different approaches. With a script, the actor's tone will deliver the message. With a story,… Read More

Where Are They?

Jan 15, 2016
When I first came to Canada, I settled in Ottawa.  For the first few months I was busy finding a place for us to live, getting my son into school, and then researching about what I wanted to do and what kind of skills I would need to begin my new lif… Read More

What would Helen Say?

Jan 08, 2016
If I tell you, how will you know? The above quote, taken from Zen Buddhism, is just one of the many wise maxims passed down to me by Governor General’s Award Winning author Helen Weinzweig (Basic Black with Pearls; Passing Ceremony). I met Helen in the… Read More

I Don’t Want To Do It

Nov 10, 2015
Well, kiddo, you’re not going to die happy if you don’t at least take a run at it. An early morning thought. I’d been avoiding writing a novel version of the short story “In the Land of Two-Legged Women,” which had been criti… Read More


Sep 08, 2015
I recently had another birthday. Let’s just say that I am old enough to remember when as kids we got a quarter for an allowance, which was considered liberal, and when a pair of nylons for young girls and women came as a set of two with a seam down the … Read More

Suffragette – the Film and the History

Aug 25, 2015
On October 23, a film will appear that I’m excited about seeing – in contrast to the wretched cinema of the superhero that spews out of Hollywood these days.  The film is “Suffragette,” a British production directed by Sarah G… Read More

Women and Sports

Jul 13, 2015
I congratulate Team USA on their victory in the FIFA women’s World Cup of soccer.  In front of 53,000 fans, the American side defeated the team from Japan with a final score of 5-2.  Fans clearly took great interest in the tournament.  According to the Gl… Read More

And There Was Morning, And There Was Evening; Another Year

Jul 07, 2015
                              Toward Dusk                                                                    Sunset              I am not well versed in poetry (pun intended), but I do know when a poem sings to me. T.S. Eliot’s The Lovesong of J. Alfre… Read More

Midwives: good for women or good for men? -> Meet Nara

Jun 25, 2015
Midwifery.  No one really seems to knows the origin of midwifery.  There are plenty of articles, scholarly papers, and heck, even a Wikipedia posting on the history of midwives; however, no matter the amount of study, no one really seems to know… Read More

My, how times have changed -> Meet Sun-hi

Jun 02, 2015
The Joseon era (1392 to 1897) could be considered the dark ages of Korean history in terms of its strict isolationism and the treatment of women. Around this time, Koreans not only adopted Confucianism from its original Chinese form, but shaped it into a … Read More

Is one word enough? -> Meet Min-joo

May 18, 2015
Outside the Japanese Embassy, in Jungbuhakdong-gil, Seoul South Korea, there is a protest held every Wednesday at noon by the last living “Comfort Women” and their supporters.  Who are the ‘Comfort Women”?  Comfort Women … Read More

Independent Bookstore Day: Renaissance Bookstore

May 04, 2015
Since I was a little girl, I had always wanted to read anything I could get my hands on.  Where I was born there was no real encouragement for girls to read, but when I could I would find books and go read in a corner somewhere.  In my youth my … Read More

Off My Feed

Apr 28, 2015
Fiction is like food. I usually gobble it up. But I haven’t been writing it, and am often bored with reading it—been here, read this. Sometimes I wonder why The New Big novel got published. I know this is heresy. How can a reader and writer of… Read More

The Good Bad Book

Apr 24, 2015
“A type of book which we hardly seem to produce in these days... is what Chesterton called ‘the good bad book’: that is, the kind of book that has no literary pretentions but which remains readable when more serious productions have peri… Read More

Are Our Young Mothers Protected? What About Our Hardworking Citizens?

Apr 20, 2015
Another child has died under the “protection” of our system.  And it’s tragic that this isn’t the first time I have heard such disturbing news.  A child who was taken away from her mother died in the hands of foster care;… Read More

The Voice: Reigning Ratings Queen of Singing Competitions

Apr 05, 2015
Admittedly, I am a singing reality show junkie, someone addicted to watching hopeful singers step on to the televised stage in a battle for votes. Week after week, I appraise a cavalcade of vocalists whose voices often blare on indistinguishably one from … Read More

Season of Transitions

Apr 05, 2015
We are not our story! We are not what happened to us.  Yes, it is very important to know our history, to understand what is behind the force that is driving us. It IS, absolutely, important to understand what started our habit of giving our power awa… Read More

Authors for Indies Day - May 2, 2015

Mar 21, 2015
I gladly announce that on May 2, 2015, the Authors for Indies event will take place here in Edmonton, Alberta.  Authors for Indies places writers in independent bookstores where they will meet readers, sign books, and discuss literature they enjoy, o… Read More

What’s So Scary about Words Like “Religion,” “Spirituality” and “Mysticism”?: Some Reflections on Writing Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga

Mar 05, 2015
The word “religion” can generate more hostility than the other words embedded in the title of this piece, and perhaps rightly so. People mistrustful of religion examine history and notice how many of the major religions have been and continue … Read More


Mar 06, 2015
Well over a hundred years ago, garment workers in New York City protested against inhuman and callous working conditions, such as long 10 to 13 hour days, and they demanded better wages, more support, and a less harsh workplace. They rallied and marched … Read More

Why Do We Not Question?

Feb 09, 2015
Why do we not question the people who are governing our day-to-day life?  If we do, is it effective enough?  Perhaps we need to be more united in pursuit of examining offensive decisions or judgments our leaders are making: from our missing wome… Read More

From Spoken Word Artist to Novelist: We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Jan 29, 2015
Publishing a novel was, for me, an epic journey. My first attempt, about ten years ago, began with my posting an innocently optimistic yellow sticky note above my desk, reminding me to: trust the process. Fast-forward one year, and there I was - surrounde… Read More

We Stand on Guard for Thee

Jan 06, 2015
In late December, 2014, I wrote a hasty and huffy email to the editor of the New York Times Book Review. It went something like this: To the Editor: As an American immigrant living in Canada, I was pleased to read Curtis Sittenfeld’s glowing revi… Read More

And We Are Running

Oct 13, 2014
On an achingly perfect, crisp Fall morning in early October, thousands of people joined together to walk, run and be present for the 2014 CIBC Run for the Cure. United, we raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research.  Is there anyone who ha… Read More

Why Jane Austen is Cool

Sep 01, 2014
Few of Jane Austen’s fans can pinpoint the first time they read Pride and Prejudice, but they always remember what a fine novel it was.  With repeated readings, the Bennet sisters come to be old friends, and it’s comical when Austen skewers pompous Revere… Read More

At the Right Time and Place

Aug 13, 2014
After a delectable meal at a Chinese restaurant, most of us welcome the fortune cookies that customarily accompany the bill.  Even though the fortunes are usually universally propitious there is always a moment of hesitation before the first cellopha… Read More

The CRA Audits, The Harper Government, and Fascist Regimes

Aug 11, 2014
On the CBC website of July 22, 2014,[1]one can read how the Canada Revenue Agency is auditing Poets, Essayists, and Novelists Canada.  On July 21, representatives from the CRA walked into the PEN office in Toronto and asked to see a large number of i… Read More

CODA - as written during post partum

Jul 19, 2014
I've heard of writers being depressed for a while after finishing a novel. ‘Depressed’ sounds to me like a low-level downer. ‘Depressed’ sounds lovely compared to this emotional uproar, barely surpressed howling and puddle-on-the-f… Read More

Farley Mowat's Passing

Jul 11, 2014
Along with many other Canadians, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Farley Mowat at the beginning of May, shortly before his 93rd birthday.  I’ve always enjoyed his books, whether he was writing about Arctic wildlife or his traumatic expe… Read More

Who would Jesus discriminate against?: TWU covenant is not about belief, but control, former faculty member says - OpEd piece by Susan McCaslin

Jun 27, 2014
There has been much recent public debate about whether provincial law societies should recognize proposed law degrees issued by Trinity Western University, a private evangelical institution in Langley.The issue revolves around what I see as TWU’s clearly … Read More

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