A long time ago, in another town, another province, I attended a United Church regularly, on a Sunday morning. One of the banners I would see hanging near the altar was hand-stitched, perhaps by the United Church Women, and read: BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED.

I didn’t really like the phrase as I thought we should choose our place on the earth rather than be planted somewhere. In fact, in later years, I realized there are particular places on the earth that remember us, where we feel at home, and come alive.

At the time though, having been moved by grandparents, mother, husband, it was pretty good advice: making the best of a not completely desirable situation.

I started writing for the local newspaper and became interested in the history of the Bowmanville, Ontario area. The Toronto Star published my regular column called Durham’s Yesterdays (the name of the region.)

That was in the early seventies and now, in 2013, I’m blooming on Vancouver Island, specifically Nanaimo, B.C., where my partner, Sarah and I, live. It was her brilliant idea to leave Ontario and move west. As I had loved my previous experience in B.C., I said let’s do it.

That was eight years ago following the reading of Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s book The Dance: Moving to the Rhythms of Your True Self (HarperCollins, 2001) which I had given Sarah to read.


In her chapter, “Dancing on the Earth,” Oriah writes: “Home is, of course, not simply a physical place. It is a sense of belonging, of remembering and being remembered, put back together again when our journeys into the world have fractured and fragmented our sense of self. . . . I do not know why, but I do believe that for each of us there is at least one place on the earth where our hearts and our bodies are mended and renewed. We need to find and go to these places if we are to learn how to dance.”

Since moving to Nanaimo I continued to work on a writing program I created called Writing Home: A Whole Life Practice. I have also continued my poetry practice and have published three chapbooks since moving here. My first full-length book of poetry, Fishing for Mermaids, will be published by Leaf Press in April 2014. (Mermaids have a special significance for me as I named the women’s writing circles I started in Toronto: Flying Mermaids. Now those mermaids have flown west. After all, mermaids can’t be landlocked.)

I plan to share to share poems with you in this blog as well. Inspiration comes from this particular place as well as memories, all of which make up who I am here.

I also intend to let you know of literary events in Nanaimo and area including the women’s writing circles I offer and the poetry circles that will take place monthly. I am grateful for the inspiration and support of an amazing community of poets and writers and I look forward to telling you about those I meet along the way.

As I learn about Nanaimo, its history, its favourite writing haunts, its writers, past and present, I’ll share that too. I’m looking forward to sharing my jottings with a wider community.

Now, I name the trees:

Arbutus, Constant,
Stillness, Serendipity,
elders to apprenticeship

 at this table full of familiar goddesses
and things to write me home –
All I am is here . . .

                   – from “Arriving”