Get Fearless. Go Public.

October 18, 2016

Originally published August 2016 on Writescape’s Top Drawer blog.

Years ago, I was a committed aquafit attendee. Underwater lunges, leg lifts by the jets, jogging through chlorinated pools—it all turned my crank. I went twice a week with my best friend, Linda. We had a blast, challenging each other to push harder, harder. We churned up big waves with our enthusiasm and built up some wonderful stamina and energy. Aquafit helped keep me healthier and decidedly thinner. […]

Midlife Crisis

April 6, 2016

A remarkable, bold, unnerving, sad and, ultimately triumphant story of survival in the one place we should feel safest: our home; children tucked into bed; a shared glass of wine after an ordinary day. Extraordinary post. Difficult to read and impossible not to finish. […]

The Case for Reading: Why everyone should read more (even CEO’s, business people and anyone who wants to communicate anything)

February 20, 2016

My goodness. So great to read this (pun intended.) Making time in your life for reading for pleasure enriches all other aspects of your life. As someone who teaches writing workshops to bureaucrats and office staff, I can generally tell who reads and who doesn’t. Well done Alice Soon. […]

My Country is Disappearing

April 6, 2015

Warning: I am about to get political. I don’t get political on my website but frankly, I want my Canada back. No, scratch that. I demand my Canada back. […]

The Colonial Hotel: So Much Wonderful in Such a Slim Volume

February 21, 2015

I really like ancient mythology and how echoes appear so often in contemporary work. But it is not always successful and can be downright clumsy.  Happily, Jonathan Bennett has managed it quite well. […]

Critique or Feedback: What Do Writers Really Need?

February 5, 2015

Every two weeks, I head to my local branch of the Whitby Public Library to meet with 9 other writers. We have the same goal for our meeting: to give/receive in-depth critiques.

We call our group Critical Ms (CMs)– the Ms stands for Manuscripts. It’s not for the faint of heart – if you need to only hear lovely things about your writing, CMs (or any similarly intense group) is not for you. […]

A Town Legacy: Haunts in Savannah, Georgia

October 31, 2014

In the spirit of All Hallow’s Eve, I give you a ghost story. About a decade ago, this tale won a ghost story competition at Trent University and was published in the Peterborough newspaper. Inspired by a tour of Owens-Thomas House, an antebellum mansion in Savannah, Georgia, the story refers to “Haint Blue” which is a blue colour, said to keep out ghosts (or haunts – haints). […]

Lucky For You: You Can Read This

July 5, 2014

My Marathon: No sweat!
On July 11, I hunker down with 39 other marathoners to raise money for a great cause. And no, I don’t need to invest in elite running gear. Heck, I probably won’t even need sunscreen. I understand I will need a hat and a cape but only for inspiration. Oh yeah, I also need to bring my laptop. […]

Farley Mowat: A Glimpse

May 7, 2014

Back in the early 70s, I worked at McClelland & Steward Limited. It was a glorious time at M & S. Jack McClelland was at the helm. He could boast a list of iconic authors: Alice Munro. Margaret Laurence. Robertson Davies. W. O. Mitchell. Pierre Berton. Mordecai Richler. Margaret Atwood. And many, many other great Canadian writers called M & S their publishing home. And that included Farley Mowat, a supreme storyteller and author of more than 40 books in his lifetime including People of the Deer; The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float; The Dog that Wouldn’t Be, And No Birds Sang, Lost in the Barrens and Never Cry Wolf. […]

More than Money: The value of conferences, workshop and networking

April 18, 2014

When I ask colleague writers if they plan to attend an upcoming writers’ workshop or conference, I’m sometimes surprised by the answers.

“I don’t have time.”

“I don’t have the money.”

“I don’t read the kind of stuff those guys write.” […]

On Visiting Book Clubs

November 11, 2013

I recently read a Facebook post by an author I quite like about being told at a book club that her main character was “stupid.” She also noted that it is probably a good reason for not writing autobiographical fiction. There were a lot of supportive comments posted in response and some general good cheer sent her way […]

Film Festivals and the Heidi Effect

Sep 7, 2013

I have seen the paparazzi and heard the screams of fans.

It was my annual TIFF treat with my friend Heidi. Years ago, she introduced me to the delights of the Toronto International Film Festival and while I can ever only manage to join her for one movie each year, it has always been a true experience. I’ve laughed. Cried. Puzzled. And generally been immersed in the fabulous result of artists from around the world collaborating in their craft. It always leaves me with so much to think about […]

On Duck Patrol

May 27, 2013

Background: The worst flooding in over a century hit the Haliburton Highlands where our cottage is located on the Drag River. In late April and early May, the Drag was a raging torrent and up 5 feet above normal height. Fortunately, all we lost was an old dock which, compared to people whose basements became quagmires and could only canoe down their streets, that is pretty minor […]

Lights, Camera, Action…The Making of a Book Trailer

April 2, 2013When my novel was heading for a second printing, I was excited and nervous. Excited to know that sales had been good enough to warrant another run 3 months after the book’s debut, yet nervous: what if the first run was the limit of sales?  Just before Living Underground was published, my editor George Down […]

Seeing the World — and Socks — with Fresh Eyes

March 15, 2013

I am at my keyboard but something is missing. My eyeglasses. I’ve worn them ever since my Grade 3 teacher noticed me squinting and my mom took me to get my eyes tested. All through the years — at least 50 of them — I’ve continued to wear glasses. Vanity rarely kept them from my […]

The Next Big Thing

December 30, 2012

Thanks Michael Bryson for tagging me on this chain. To be honest, I have been tagged by other wonderful writerly types but wasn’t in the right space to participate. I am now, so apologies Phil Dwyer, Deepam Wadds and others who might have asked me to do this before […]

The Art and Craft of Listening

November 11, 2012

Late September and the campfire was crackling at the cabin. Our wee haven in Haliburton is glorious: nestled between two little rivers, surrounded by fir, spruce and pine, it is two hours from home and a million miles from what keeps me from listening otherwise. Our world is noisy and often noisome in the disagreeable […]

Strolling and the Magic of Being Receptive

September 9, 2012

At a recent meeting of The Writers’ Community of Durham Region, I listened to author Alissa York talk about receptivity. She took us through some of the characters and plot developments in her acclaimed novel, “Fauna” and shared how being receptive helped her find and then refine those characters and the story line. Receptivity. Being […]

Two Poems Revisited

September 4, 2012

Ruth E. Walker

This old dog comes to life
just south of the French River
every coarse black hair on guard
nose low and searching
ready for anything to snap.

The trail mirrors the river almost
twist and turn for twist and turn
we leap over desperate roots
rocks that rise and fall
to trace a glacier’s path.

Some bear here before us
left scat under the tree that sets
canine teeth on edge and eyes
scanning for large dark shadows
moss and lichen upended, drying.

Smell it first then hear it
the rush of water squeezed in a fall
a place of portage and accident
where the river steps down
explodes, eddies and drifts.

Up there, a hawk plays thermal tag
eyes sharp for small quick shadows-
in the surface calm before the rapids
a loon cruises, dives and comes up
but not where we can see him.

(Winner of the 2005 Dan Sullivan Memorial Poetry Competition)

– – – – –

Ruth E. Walker

A grey-black sky puts our commute in startled relief-
against the promise of electricity
high winds tremble on the lip of a cloud;
here, in the silence of anticipation
we race the length of a storm front
despite our speed, escape is unlikely
the deluge, palpable.

Nostrils wide in ionized air;
out there, leaves shift and turn their silver backs
crows and wrens roost in restless trees.

This train gathers momentum
everything pulled in its wake
the rails vibrate a racing song


it’s coming like we knew it would
time slips away
and the elements thunder
their arrival.

(First published in CV2 Contemporary Verse 2, Winter 2005 Volume 28 issue 3)

ALSO READ: Ruth’s poem “Lucy’s Bones From Afar”, published in Issue Four 2009 of The Science Creative Quarterly.

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