Living the Questions

Have you noticed that Mary Oliver includes a lot of questions in her poems? Not in every poem, but in several. For instance this question: “Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” (“Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?” in West Wind: Poems and Prose Poems.) The question gives one pause, […]

The Gifts of Downtime

In the New Moon Circle recently as well as in the Writing Life Circle, we had a look at the different emotional and mental phases a writer goes through. I had read Laraine Herring’s On Being Stuck: Tapping into the Creative Power of Writer’s Block in which she describes her own stages as a continuum that “applies both to […]

Advice for a Poet

If you’ve ever written on a theme or following a prompt for ten minutes or so you may have realized that your internal editor doesn’t have a chance to jump in. You just go for it as you don’t have much time to ponder and critique as you tap into your own wisdom. And perhaps there are guides who […]

In the Pink

We’ve had a beautiful painting hanging in our front hall for a few months now. My friend Birdie visited from Ontario in October and her gift to us was one of her encaustic paintings called “In the Pink.” I’m always pleased to have another piece of art from Birdie and the title of this new piece was perfect. I […]

The Now of This Season

I’ve been looking at an excerpt from Letters to a Young Poet that my friend Birdie sent. Rainer Maria Rilke talks of sadness and I have been feeling sadness as part of a listlessness, a sort of ho-hum state, all through the fall.

Having a visit from my friend Birdie in October lifted my spirits and thinking about writing circles […]

Writing in the World

I haven’t sent much of my writing out in the last year or so, except for this blog and some book reviews – oh, and an entry to that poetry chapbook contest – but I was still very interested to see Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents recently published by New World Library. (I do have […]

Gifts from the Journey


“We are searching for the core of our lives; our culture intuits that writing, that ancient activity, might be a pathway.” And indeed, Natalie Goldberg’s many students have found it be so – as we have in the Writing Life women’s writing circles.

The theme of one of the two six-week writing circles I offered in the fall was Gifts […]

The Wisdom of the Circle

“There is nothing so wise as a circle,” Rainer Maria Rilke said and I have found that to be true of people gathering in a circle, facing one another. (My partner Sarah finds wisdom in drawing and painting sacred circles as mandalas.)

In the circle, we learn to listen. We learn to be heard. We put our dreams into words […]

Dropping the Struggle

My word for this year has been “WANDER” and while I haven’t been physically wandering as I did last year at this time, I have let my mind wander. I let it wander through books by Olivia Laing including To the River: A Journey Beneath the Surface and her latest, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being […]

Hello Moon

The full moon was glowing brightly over Gabriola Island when Sarah and I were on the ferry headed home to Nanaimo from Vancouver. We had been to see to see Dr. Mark Hill, the plastic surgeon, who , in January moved some muscle in my left shin and did a skin graft. He’s been keeping an eye on it […]