Non-fiction

Category: Non-fiction

As a writer of memoir, I’ve experienced the dominoes of fear; fear of starting, fear of failure, fear of telling the whole truth, fear of hurting others. In the big picture of life, I am no stranger to feeling fear and taking action anyhow. I had reached the jumping off point where telling my story felt more important than avoiding my fear of the dark places that could lead.

 

Halloween Blog Post

I wasn’t expecting ghosts. I took the train to Stratford from Toronto to launch my book, The Man with the Black Valise, and everything was lining up nicely. The next day would be the 125th anniversary of the murder of Jessie Keith, a girl who lived north of Stratford in Listowel. Her killer had stood trial at the Perth County Court House, then been hanged at Stratford Jail, both a few blocks from where I was to speak.

A Trail Called Home Blog

A Trail Called Home: Tree Stories from the Golden Horseshoe is a love letter to the land, written by a Gen X hoser who has been observing trees and their habitats for over twenty-five years.

 

I knew I didn’t want to write a field guide to trees. Field guides don’t really inspire, unless you’ve already been bitten by the botany bug. Besides, the best field guide on the trees of southwestern Ontario has already been written by my friend and colleague Gerry Waldron (Trees of the Carolinian Forest).

 

Growing up, I never imagined myself as a writer, but I’ve had a life-long love affair with crafts, particularly appliqué. It started when I was seven years old. My aunt, Kathy, gave me this small wall hanging that she had made with scraps of material and bits of embroidery floss. I’ve always cherished that little cloth picture. Something about its colours and its simplicity, is just so beautiful. And it has emotion. It’s a little work of art.

Nobody goes into a marriage expecting it not to work, but, as we know, about half of marriages unfortunately do end. During the past few years, I went through my own experience of family breakup, which was, like every other such situation, extremely challenging both practically and emotionally. A family split has a profound effect on everyone involved, none more, of course, than the children. What helped me through the most wrenching days — and there were many — was the support of friends, family, and others who had gone through the process.

Wasted Time Blog

I began writing this work upon nearing eleven full years in Federal custody. A good friend, who was also a lawyer from my past, perplexed by my continued incarceration, volunteered to represent me pro bono at a future parole hearing. It had been suggested many times by a few lawyers (including this one) that I write a biography, and since I was currently without finances to reward this offer, I secretly set about putting pen to paper.

 

Deep Water Dream Blog

Having just completed my second book, Deep Water Dream, as well as a second edition of my first book, A Doctor’s Quest, I am reflecting on the process of creating a book. It feels a bit like the Indigenous carvers, who take a piece of wood or soapstone, and listen to it to slowly understand what they are to create. Writing is a craft like that, the ongoing refinement, reordering, restructuring, and adding of sudden new insights that change the shape of what you are writing.

Soar Adam Soar Blog

Adam, my late son, the boy who started life as Rebecca, inspired Soar, Adam, Soar – his fierce yet funny quest to be who he is and love who he loves. Coming out, coming in and coming home to the “boy in the mirror”.

Hearing of my book, a Toronto Star journalist told me, “Writing is brave”.  Indeed!

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