Some thoughts on hope

Last week I headed to Banff to attend a “Hope Decoded Summit” at The Banff Centre. The summit coincided with my children being gone for spring break, and also with the 27th anniversary of my dad’s death (an event which initiated my own exile from that innocence in which hope — one’s own relationship to […]

Hope

I’m heading to The Banff Centre to attend a Hope Summit next weekend, and am really looking forward to being in the room with more than 150 delegates–from government, community organizations, arts, media, non-profits–all of whom want to talk about hope. The organizers have asked participants to say something about why they think tackling hopelessness […]

“Papa is gone, not Wolinski”

“After his death, his daughter said, ‘Papa is gone, not Wolinski’” (from “The Pen vs. The Gun,” by Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker, Jan 8). Gourevitch’s piece could do with less hagiography, and I don’t think he sat with the gun/pen question long enough to resolve it with true insight. But: this daughter’s voice. We […]

“I haven’t got the words”…

Free Expression Matters. Here’s this, with which I begin every writing class I teach, and applicable to any art: “When we say ‘I haven’t got the words,’ the lack is not in the language nor in our emotional state, it is in the breakdown between the two. The poet heals that breakdown and not only […]

What I want and what I fear

Happy 80th, Joan Didion. Thank you for making things worth celebrating, even decades after you made them. “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear” (from “Why I Write,” 1976). I wish more of us would […]

YEGwords

Excited like a kid to be one of the writers for round two of Jason Lee Norman‘s very cool coffee sleeve project for ‪#‎yegwords‬. This guy knows how to put the life back in the literary. If you’re crazy enough to be out today, stop by Elm Cafe or Transcend Mercer and pick up a […]

Burnaby mountain

Talking to my kids this morning about Burnaby mountain, civil disobedience, justice, and peace. I kind of love it that until this morning my three-year-old had a concept for “anemone” but not “an enemy.” A good way to stop demoralization in its tracks is to have an earnest conversation about a serious issue with two […]

Who Knows

This will be my last post for a while. I began this blog, when my children were not-quite-7 months old and 3 1/2 years old, out of a desire to catch some of what I wanted to think and write about in those days that would otherwise pass through me and leave […]

P.S.

Today is the last work day of the summer months for me. It’s been a strange, amazing, unexpected, inimitable summer. Rough and exquisite. I’m ending it with Seamus Heaney at my favourite public workplace with a great cup of coffee. The last poem in Heaney’s 1996 collection The Spirit Level is called “Postscript.” I ordered […]

On listening to pain

I have been thinking, for years, about pain. Trying to tell myself a story about it. Writing a novel about it. Every poem, every essay, every walk along the river, is a part of the conversation I’ve been having with it. I have known the wrenching pain of grief for loved ones, the positive but […]