Thank you for the thank yous

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In January I gave a presentation on memoir writing to some students at Chris Akkerman School. I wondered how the kids would find writing their life stories and worried if they would find it boring. That wasn’t the case. They had lots to share and many anecdotes to tell me from their relatively short lives so far. A few weeks … Read More

A crisp spring

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It’s supposed to be spring right now but it’s not. Definitely not. Winter is hugging us tight and is not going to let us go. Usually during chilly February evenings I like to warm up with a bowl full of apple crisp. Right out of the oven. It’s a great way to sweeten dark winter nights and with the snow … Read More

Show, don’t tell

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I’ve been teaching a memoir writing workshop and for one class we talked about emotional writing and how to convey sentiment without using words like angry or happy. These words tell – not show – how you feel. The best way to express feelings in writing is to actually describe how the emotions make you feel and what they are … Read More

Don’t underestimate the athlete

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The Olympics may be over but the best is yet to come – the Paralympics. The Paralympics are by far the better show of athletic skill and heart. Despite this, these games are not well attended and there are hardly any Paralympic sports broadcast on Canadian TV. In 2010 I was posted in Whistler, B.C. as a Nordic sport writer … Read More

Never too young

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“You don’t have to be famous or old to write a memoir. We all have life stories to share at any age.” This is what I told Grade 5 students in Calgary last Wednesday.  I was giving a memoir presentation to five Grade 5 classes thanks to the 2014 Writers In Schools Program (WISP). It’s an initiative by the Canadian … Read More

First snow

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When the snow starts flying in fall, it’s the most beautiful. The light outside turns silver. Not that thin autumn sunshine or grey-tinged gloominess. The air surrounding Calgary turns moist for a few hours and chases the dryness away. Everything becomes quiet. People scurry inside to get away from the snowflakes falling from the sky. Pets aren’t walked. Vehicles are … Read More

Anchorage House ghost

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Anchorage House is a beautiful old mansion sitting like a grand gentleman on the Mount Allison University campus. The old man has a white beard, white hair, wears a black top hat on and is rather stout. He looks distinguished in the daylight, inviting enough to come in for a cup of coffee or a snifter of brandy. But looks … Read More

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

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“You can’t change the weather,” says one of my aunts, “so why bother complaining about it?” Yet I really feel like raging about all the thunder and lightning and rain that Calgary’s been treated to this spring and summer. I usually enjoy storms. Being cozy and safe inside while the elements boom, thrash and splash outside. But enough is enough. … Read More

Memoir as poem

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Memoirs aren’t strictly a written record of events. You can use poetry instead of prose. Both are expressions of creativity but poetry gives the writer, and reader, licence to use words in different ways. Robert Frost, a renowned U.S. poet, used verse to remember certain moments in his life. His work, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, is one … Read More

Summer, summertime

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It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime! ~Kenny Chesney Memoirs don’t always have to be short stories or masterpieces. They can be a simple list of things you jot down in a notebook or compile on a blog.  Here are my top 10 memories of summer. What are yours? 1. Butterflies in the … Read More