(I’m in the passenger seat, Dad’s driving, Mom’s in the back)

Mom: Turn on Thickson
Dad: Dickson??
Mom: Thickson!
Dad: Erickson?
Mom: Boy, yah nah hear meh?
Dad: Where do I turn?!
Mom: Eh, nah, man, is deh same name deh bois call deh sexy gyrls back home!
Dad: Thick? Oh, Thickson!

And that, friends, is how my parents give each other driving directions

The Best Start to 2018

Photo credit @cipriann |

Reuniting a lost pup with their owner is the best kind of start to the new year—especially as 2018 has begun with a sharp -30, plus wind chill.

Here’s to hot chocolate, warm paws, and snuggles between people and those with puppy noses.

It’s all about the equipment

Photo credit: Greg Rakozy | @grakozy | Unsplash

This winter, Edmonton has experienced an unseasonable amount of balmy temperatures. So much so, the dog park has a thin ice warning at its entrance. Plus, dog walkers are walking with icers (spikes) on their feet as the combination of temperatures and wind makes for an ice rink rather than a snowy trail.

As I watch some of the walkers slip, slid, and shiver their way down the main path, I’m reminded of how important the proper equipment can be. Snow boots, mitts, thermals, etc. It’s amazing how the proper coat can turn dog walking from a chore into an activity you don’t want to end.

Writing, I feel, is the same way. The successful writer knows whether they best work with pen and paper, as opposed to keyboard and screen, whether they enjoy plotting via apps or index cards. No matter what the physical equipment, I can’t help but think that the mental equipment is what’s *really* necessary.

For me, it’s patience, understanding the industry will be difficult and heartbreaking (so don’t take it too hard when it’s difficult and heartbreaking), persistence, and a band of brothers—writers/friends/family who uplift me when the going gets tough and cheer me on when it’s a smooth ride.

No matter if you’re a panster or a plotter, a write-by-hand or a write-by-screen, make sure you give your metaphorical closet a good look, and ensure you have the right equipment inside.

A day well spent

Photo credit Alexandru Rotariu (@rotalex) |Unsplash

Too often, for my taste, I find myself consumed by the business of life: work, career, deadlines, bills. It’s an effort to stay mindful and aware of the world around me, but it’s all too easy to judge myself according to a weird standard no one can ever match.

Last week, however, I got a good reminder on the difference between living and having a life. I was running a little late for a meeting, beating myself up over the lack of punctuality, when who should I see coming up my driveway when but the neighbour’s dog, a giant teddy-bear of a fur-ball. Aware that my neighbour sometimes allows him to walk to the car by himself, and hoping the short delay wouldn’t make me too late, I took him by the collar and led him back to the house.

Where I found the front door cracked open.

I called and called, but no one answered. After securing the pup in the house, I had a choice. Walk away and assume all was well, or take a moment to sort it through.

I have a five-year rule for myself, as in, will this matter five years from now? It’s an easy ruler to hold my decisions to–in five years, it won’t matter that I was a little late, in five years the person I was meeting would understand why I texted I would be late, in five years, I’d never get over walking away and then finding out something had happened to my neighbour.

I phoned her, visions of heart attack/illness clouding the sound of the phone on the other end. She was horrified—he was *not* supposed to be out. We sorted through it all, (the new weather stripping was the culprit as it wouldn’t allow the door to close properly), ensured the big-little man was safe and secure, and I left for my appointment.

Because of the delays and the unexpected moment to step in for my neighbour and her dog, I got little else accomplished that day. No writing, no administration, emails unanswered, but I was satsisfied with the day.

Whenever I start fretting over my career or the deadlines or the host of things that crowd my brain, I remind myself that there are bigger and smaller moments in life, and it’s okay to take a breath, step back, and step in for someone who may need me, even if it means a delay in my work.

*Twiddles Thumbs*

I just finished my latest manuscript, YA Contemporary, and it’s with my crit group. So far, it seems to be passing the read test, which is grand because it’s a different book than what I usually write…

But now I’m left at odds and ends. I’ve got some research for kids’ book, edits for a middle-grade, another middle-grade that needs drafting. It’s a full plate of work on my desk, and that doesn’t even take into account the administration side of it…common sense says to take today to do so
mething less writerly before diving into a new story. To take a breath and step away, or else I’ll drag the tone/voice of the YA into whatever I’m doing…Decouple, just like the train cars…

BUT I have all this energy for *writing,* so now I don’t know what to do…I don’t want to twiddle my thumbs, but I also don’t want to waste my energy…which probably means I’m going to have to clean out my closet. Literally. That always seems to sort through the muddling in my brain, and shows me the path to take…

Wow, wow, and more wow

Lark Holds the Key & Across the Floor are starred selections with the CCBC Spring Edition, and Gatekeeper hit #3 on the YEG bestsellers. And to think of all the times—all the times—when I was one breath away from giving up because it seemed hopeless and useless, and that I was kidding myself. I am so grateful, so incredibly grateful to all those people who came into my life and encouraged me to keep going. These accolades are theirs, as much as they are mine.

And then I wonder…

…if I’m the only one that wants the cape from Dr. Strange, the carpet from Aladdin, and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, not for any reason other than I think they’d be super cool to hang out with…