What helps

1) A long morning walk with my dog, remembering what a cool breeze feels like. 2) Reading the paper at my parents’ kitchen table. Opening my laptop to write. 3) The familiar sounds of my childhood home – the fridge humming, the kitchen floor creaking, an upstairs door closing as a wind blows through. 4) Standing at the back door looking at the grey clouds, smelling the air for rain. 5) Returning to my work, finally feeling this story give up and release.  

In Calgary, 2009.

Walking home along the frozen river. I had thought I would be cold in my skirt, thick tights and legwarmers but I was fine. Snow was falling down lazily and sticking to my wool coat, my eyelashes and the tips of my hair. Someone was cross-country skiing on the river. I kept pace with her and watched her, noticing her movements. My mother used to cross-country ski in Finland. I thought I would like to try it. At one point the skiier stopped and touched something… (READ MORE)

we the animals of prey

Today I went to the library to write, a new library, which I like much better than my local one. This new one has many staircases and little nooks with desks and comfortable chairs, and windows with trees and light on the other side, and a fireplace. And it was quiet. I wrote so well. I’m working on a story that has a teenage boy as the protagonist and I love him so much, I love the story so much. When I came home I… (READ MORE)

nine hours of sunlight

White wine on a sun-setting balcony as the humidity fades. They talk about Europe, about where they’re going and where they’ve been. I don’t say much. Instead, I slurp my wine and daydream about Germany, though my time there was too short and the things seen were too few. I daydream about Finland and Estonia and Slovenia and I daydream about Europe in general. The buildings, the people, the languages, the food. I go home on the streetcar, on the subway, smelling like wine and… (READ MORE)

slow progress

slow progress

After an hour and a half of reading my novel draft, making notes, and doing research, my eyes look like that. I take breaks to look out of the window of the coffee place, noticing how many people seem to mutter to themselves on their way to the subway. I try not to audibly exclaim over how good my chai latte is. Sometimes I feel weird about things like writing “chai latte” on my blog, but you know. Life. I’ve been scribbling corrections and notes… (READ MORE)

good morning other world

If I can’t sleep, one thing I like to do is to look at webcams of cities where it has just turned morning. Sometimes nobody is out of bed and sometimes people are already having long chats outside in the dark. Sometimes the spaces look so eerie without people. I always feel like I should preface this by saying “I’m not some weirdo,” but can it be weird to watch the world wake up in public spaces? Anyway. Here are my favourites from last night/this… (READ MORE)

in praise of vintage books

I finished this book on the way back from Montreal. It was the first time I’d ever read it (I know, I know). It was found in a laundromat by a family friend and given to my mother. Look at the gorgeous cover! Old book design is unmatched, in my opinion. Old books are great, especially when they’ve been used by a student in a mixture of relevant class notes and future invention ideas. I almost didn’t want to give this back to my mother… (READ MORE)