28 August 2014


Today is the last day of my residency. I've packed up all the papers and books, taken down the drawings my children made for my walls, found a safe place to transport the now brittle, but still red, maple leaf that I picked off the ground the first morning I was at the university after my Mother-in-law had died. I still need to wipe down the shelves and the desks, but this is it, this is then end of my time here.

No deer sightings today, but a few eager leaves have already turned and made their way to the ground. It's sunny and warm, but there is a briskness in the air that means autumn, that means school, that means new adventures.

I am incredibly grateful for my time and space here at the Centre. I hope to be back somewhat regularly for their Coffee Talks and afternoon lectures, but I know it won't be the same. Nothing ever is.

Our family is gearing up for the Saanich County Fair this weekend, which mostly means hours waiting in lines for rides, but it's a good time and my kids love to be whipped up and down and round and round. It's become tradition, ending our summer at the fair, despite this uncertain September with the teacher's strike still ongoing. This is the year of the never-ending summer.

One of my first tasks in September will be to come up with a new way to get writing done. Figure out times and spaces, but I'm looking forward to whatever that might look like. I wrote a lot during my residency, and after this break, want to get back at it.

Just for fun, this is what I wrote:
1. edited "What Can't Be Packed Away" essay for The M Word
2. wrote and edited "What I Need Is a Wife" essay for Telling Truths, Storying Motherhood
3. wrote approximately 20 new poems (most were sonnets, strangely enough)
4. wrote first draft of a novel
5. wrote notes and bits and pieces for a longer essay (eventually book length?) on death, grief, and legacy

I'd like to get back to the poetry soon, as I think I might have enough for another manuscript now. It will take a lot of crafting and editing to make it ready, but I think I'm a lot closer to it than I thought I'd be, considering Glossolalia was only published last year.

And of course, the novel. The first draft was fun and fast, but it'll be this next draft that I'll really have to work hard. I want to push up my sleeves and get dirty.

I'm going to close this down now, take my box and bags to the car, wipe down the room, and return my keys. I hope I won't cry until I'm back at the car, but I'll be wearing my sunglasses just in case.

20 August 2014


I have been on the verge of tears all morning. Not for any particular, concrete reason, but more for the cocktail mix of circumstance and conversation.

I'm at the Centre today. I haven't been here much this summer and my residency ends next week. I am one for being nostalgic for times while I'm still living them, and this morning has been infused with missing my time here. Only a few more days I get to spend in this wonderful office with such a lovely view. I've already seen one stag galloping across my view and I hope I see more.

There about half a dozen fellows leaving the Centre at the end of August and this morning I spent chatting with a couple of them. We spoke of Gaza, Ferguson, First Nations rights, death, birth, middle age, and health, all within an hour. Then we went to the Coffee Talk where we talked about the rights and safety of sex workers in Canada along with those who seem to have an interest in them--for good and bad. I teared up during this talk, partly fueled by this morning's nostalgia and conversation, and partly thinking of the girls (yes, mostly girls and not women, sadly) who worked the stroll near my home in Edmonton, as well as Amber Dawn's incredible memoir How Poetry Saved My Life.

There is so much in this world that feels helpless, that feels futile. But there is hope. Sometimes hope is all there is. It doesn't seem like enough. It isn't enough, but if we don't have hope we have nothing.

It's been an exhausting morning, and I haven't really done anything yet, but talk and listen.

I have three full days left in this office, and one of them will be used cleaning it up, getting it ready for the next Artist in Residence. Oh, I'm going to miss this place, this space, these people. But I'm also looking forward to the next chapter in this life adventure. What's next, I wonder?