a letter to alice munro #1

dear alice, we’ve never met but i sometimes think that i know you through your stories. not all the time, of course, because some of your stories are distant. take, for instance, “Friend of my Youth”. i know it’s complete and the wall is symbolic but i can’t connect. is it because it’s set in … Read more


one day, i doubt and the next day, i believe. it’s been an unusual week.


i enjoy freefall writing–that’s where you react to a writing prompt and just write, no pause, no edits, no erasing.  until someone tells you to stop.  it’s fascinating what happens when you free your mind, the skips and jumps that occur.  i use it to ease back into a writing schedule. today’s prompt was:  a … Read more

our stewardess swims over the sea

an excerpt from Mark Anthony Jarman’s story “Our Stewardess Swims over the Sea” from his collection MY WHITE PLANET: We are jammed in the sky like rodents and I have seen it all, I know everything about you. I know about your doe-eyed 4H calf from another lifetime, the Mars bar you stole from Nancy … Read more

dialogue i wish i’d written

He said, “What am I going to do about these fucking shoes, man?” “Whatever you stole,” I said, “I guess you already ate it all, right?” “Listen to how they squish,” he said, walking around carefully on his heels. (page 58) from the short story “Emergency” by Dennis Johnson.  one of the best short stories … Read more


paddy doyle  says you can learn the most about characters through dialogue. it’s the way people speak that defines them.  but writing good dialogue takes a lot of practice and where it all starts is in eavesdropping. that’s right, eavesdropping. when you listen, really listen, to what people say and write it down, verbatim, you … Read more


i inhaled a beautiful book called THE VANISHING OF ESME LENNOX by Maggie O’Farrell.  set in the 1930s, it’s a story about a young woman who’s caught wearing her mother’s negligee and institutionalized.  the negligee, of course, is the last straw for a lifetime of being different.  of wandering away from her desk at school. … Read more

fast eddy

i’m happy to say that one of my favourite characters, Fast Eddy, has made it into print.  check out GRAIN Magazine (39.4) for my story “The Suitable Dress”.  it’s a story about a woman with vertigo.  here’s an excerpt: Sarah watches Fast Eddy sleep.  Fatigue pools under his eyes like smog.  She wonders how he … Read more