New Home!

Dear Readers,

I’ve decided to give Writer in Progress its very own home at

You will be able to subscribe to the new website via RSS or choose to have blog posts emailed to you.

Please join me at my new home!


I want it to feel…

Danielle LaPorte has launched The Burning Question series over on her blog and she is inviting others to answer the question – “How do you want it all to feel?” Here is my response:

I want my writing to flow softly from my pen like a black velvet ribbon that wraps itself gently around the reader.

I want my mind to feel like a calm lake.

I want my ideas to feel like that burst you get from biting into a Starburst candy.

I want my friendships to feel like a mug of hot cocoa.

I want my love to feel like the purr of my cat.

How do you want it to feel?

Ode to the Independent Book Store

This video has been taking the interwebs by storm and you’ve probably already seen it, but I absolutely adore it. It was filmed in one of Toronto’s finest independent bookstores, Type Books on Queen West. A team of volunteers spent many sleepless nights moving, stacking and animating the books. A few weeks ago, I shared this lovely video shot in the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, so it was nice to come across a video shot in my home town.

I’m as guilty as most of us in shopping in the big chain bookstores, mostly because their loyalty programs make it easy to save money. Since I buy a lot of books, this is important to me. But I shop at the big chain bookstore when I know exactly what I want, it isn’t the place I go to explore or discover new authors or new books. The big bookstore chains are designed to sell books and book-themed trinkets, they are not designed for book lovers.

But independent bookstores are designed for book lovers. Browsing in a store like Type Books or Nicholas Hoare is more like looking through the shelves of book lover’s library. Here the books are curated based on literary merit, not on saleability. I love shopping in an independent bookstore because I can count on discovering new books, new authors, or at least books and authors new to me. I love the sense of discovery. So, while I like to save money, I still splurge in an independent book store because I value the sense of discovery just as much as being able to take home a book (or three).

* I also adore this animated video based on the Charles Bukowski poem “The Blue Bird” (found via Brain Pickings).

11.11.11 – Remembrance Day

In Flanders Fields by Col. John McCrae, carved in marble in the Peace Tower, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa.

There is all kinds of hoopla all over the Web today about 11.11.11, mostly because the numbers line up. The real importance of this date, at least here in Canada and in other British Commonwealth countries, is that this is the day we pause to remember those who served and sacrificed their lives in the South African War, WWI, WWII, Korean War, various Peacekeeping Missions and Afghanistan. On the eleventh month, on the eleventh day, on the eleventh hour, the armistice that ended the WWI was declared.

Lest we forget.

My thoughts on 9/11

It is hard to believe it has been ten years. Back then, my career was just starting, I had an unsatisfying job duing business writing and research, but had been rewarded with a bonus that covered the airfare to the Netherlands. My mother is Dutch and I had dreamt of going to her home country for as I long as I could remember.

Mom and I flew over on September 5, 2011 and stayed with Anneke, my mother’s cousin in the village of Valkenburg, near Leiden, South Holland. A few days later, Oma (grandmother) joined us too. It was a little bit of a reunion of the Dutch and Canadian branches of the family and an adventure in a new country for me.

Our first week in the Netherlands had been rainy and cool. We had visited relatives and travelled in to Amsterdam to cruise the canals and visit several museums.

The morning of Tuesday, September 11 was sunny and even a little warm. Mom and I decided that it would be a good day to take a walking tour of the ancient university city of Leiden, also the artist Rembrandt’s home town.

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