Don’t quote me


They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.
from Love’s Labour’s Lost – Shakespeare

Advice I am ignoring: Read widely.

According to literary pundits, reading widely will make me a better writer. However, if you work full time and have a few kids to raise, and take seriously the other pundit proclamation that to be a good writer you must write – a lot – what’s a body to do? Continue reading


Dear editor,


I was in a hurry. Canada Post threatened strike action so I sent the story to you – with a witty cover letter – by courier without addressing you by name. Afterwards, dear editor, I bought your magazine in the local bookstore and there was your name on the right hand side of page five, at the top of the sidebar. But why, oh why, dear editor, couldn’t I find it on the magazine’s website?

Canada Post didn’t strike,  but now my story sits on your desk in limbo, dear editor. I feel for the poor posties – the whole bread and roses thing – I get it. Everyone wants “…a sharing of life’s glories.” They’re about to become obsolete those door-to-door donkeys with their hip bruising cross-body saddle bags. And what about the inside postal workers – do they even exist anymore? Maybe it’s just a bunch of robotic arms sifting through the small pile of postcards and bills and ad mail, clawed metal fingers passing them by an electronic eye, scanning the postal codes.

But I was in a rush and your website, beautifully garlanded with admirable writers who no doubt know you personally, did not include your name or the names of any of your staff. I bet a robot would have passed you by knowing there was no point in sending it in without your name. I, however, am only human.

Is it too late to ask for my story back? I’ll send you the self-addressed stamped envelope. I’d rather not wait the requisite three to six months for the rejection and, more importantly, I’d rather not waste your time. I wonder, though, is there an artificial intelligence (AI) coming soon to do the job of editor?

I read that an AI program co-produced a novella that made it through the first round of a literary competition. Believable characters were written by a robot, the kind of characters that get under your big toenail like that dot of dirt in the corner that won’t come out. I bet the robot scoured the World Wide Web for contest judge names before sending in its entry, dear editor. So smart.

We are being chased, dear editor, our feet seemingly anchored with lead shot. Behind us runs a shiny silver being, clearly articulated joints pumping, lubricated limbs silently keeping pace, and soon I fear it will pass us both with its flawlessly arced narrative. (When did story become narrative and when did climax become arc and would an AI writer even quibble about this?) AI has no need for bread and roses, does it? Just a drop of WD40 and a speed-of-light microchip with the brains of Margaret Atwood and Albert Einstein and Alan Turing.

Dear editor, I’m embarrassed. A self-addressed stamped envelope is enclosed. Please return my story and let’s forget this happened.



Perfect rose

Fluff, coyotes, and ducklings

pathThe front deck had just been newly coated with water seal this morning, then wouldn’t you know, the spring gods decided to let fly fluffy organic matter from seeding trees. It is the curse of this part of the world that every season generates stuff that floats through the air. The spring fluff is accumulating on the deck and sticking which is more than I can say for my thoughts. Continue reading

Knitting is good for writing


Writing is like scrapbooking. This is what I thought as I began my latest knitting project this morning, a frilly little cardigan garnished with loops that form a fringe on the collar, sleeves, and hem. In between muttering imprecations as I manipulated the yarn around my finger which formed a third needle on which the loop was held, my third eye got going, too, and the mind began to juice up with ideas. That’s the beauty of knitting when your mojo is working. Continue reading

Just because

Digging in the ancient but still functioning bowels of an old (6 years!) laptop, I came across a story I wrote in the spring. Immediately  I thought “I should post this on Wuthering Bites,” not “I should send this out for publication.” Back in the spring I was in a fever, a St. Vitus at the keyboard, having decided that the time had come to peddle my prose beyond the blogosphere. Continue reading