Bodies at the Pool

The changing room at my local pool is a busy place. Mums scrub toddlers dry with faded, worn towels, the sort we all hesitate to throw away because they come in so handy for times like these. Little girls stand under forced-air hand dryers mounted high enough on the wall to act as hair dryers, their faces scrunched up against the warm rush of air. They remind me of when I was a kid and would wait my turn to do the same after swimming lessons, reaching up when my turn came to push the big, silver button to start the machine. When it stopped, I’d always wonder if I could get away with pushing it one more time before I relinquished my spot to the next kid in line, my head hot but my hair still wet. Teenagers shower quickly in their suits and disappear into the...

Sunday afternoon Twitter talk

I don’t purport to be an expert on social media. But I do pay attention, and I think I’ve learned a few things along the way, one of the fringe benefits of knowing a lot of very smart people. Today, I received twitter spam from an author I’ve never met or heard of, linking to his short story available on Amazon. Like pretty much every writer I know (every person, for that matter), I hate spam. Nothing is better designed to keep me from buying any product than the uninvited attempts of a stranger to sell it to me. But it’s a lazy, sunny Sunday here, and I’m sitting on my patio drinking tea, and it appeared he was an actual human being, so I decided, knowing it was likely unwise, to reply. I said pretty much what I’ve already...

The Weight of Disorganization

Awhile back, I had great intentions of writing a blog post about the weight of disorganization. The irony of the fact that I still haven’t posted it hasn’t escaped me. It was a day when the accumulation of receipts, notes, meeting agendas, tickets to events, and whatever other random detritus had taken up residence on my desk had me overwhelmed, and my goal was to clear it all off, piece by piece, until I had a clean, clear surface to work with. But first, I decided to take a “before” picture to use in this blog post. And IT BROKE MY PHONE. You may think I’m kidding, but no sooner had it taken the picture than it crashed, first to the standard “oops, I’ve crashed” black screen with the white apple, and then to a...

Of Officers and Blogs and Books that Make Me Cry

A few random things for a Monday… I grew up with cops. My mum worked as a public servant for the RCMP for twenty-six years, so her co-worker friends included police officers and other people whose work lives, like hers, involved behind-the-scenes stuff that made police work possible. These were the people by whom I was surrounded, and all of them, every single one I knew, was in it for the right reasons. And now, we have our own friends who are cops, and they, too, go to work every day to try to make the world a little safer, a little better, sometimes at the expense of their own safety. And I know that when one of their number is killed in the line of duty, it’s like losing a family member, whether that person sits next to you at coffee or is a...

Perspective and Inspiration

I’ve been sick this week, with the sort of chesty, sinus-y, feverish bug that knocks you flat and makes simply breathing enough of a challenge that working is out of the question. By yesterday, five days into this thing, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, sick of being housebound and of not being able to write as much as a coherent email. Woe is me. *cue tiny violins* We all have those moments, I know when whatever is holding us back gets us down. But if we’re lucky, before those blues can burrow too deeply into our souls, the universe hands us a little perspective. It did that for me yesterday. First, I read my good friend Laura Bradbury’s excellent blog. It speaks for itself, so go read it. And then, if that wasn’t enough to make me...

Ballads and Love Songs

My current favourite playlist on my iPod is one I’ve labelled “mellow”. It’s a wide-ranging list in terms of styles and genres of music, but all the songs have in common that they are neither loud nor quick-tempoed. Many of them are love songs of one sort and another, though not all. It’s got pop and jazz and folk and standards and ballads by rockers and more. It’s pretty much the antithesis of my “workout” playlist. Because it is my favourite playlist, everything on it is getting a little too familiar and overplayed. I know there are lots of songs out there I’ve forgotten about and many, many more I’ve never heard. So I thought I’d ask about your favourite mellow music to see if I can discover...

Taking Time Out

Last week, a rare opportunity arose for me to get away by myself for a few days. It was perfect timing for a change of scene, so I grabbed it, leaving the city behind for the lovely Gulf Islands, leaving the pile of work on my desk behind with the intention of spending a few days focusing exclusively on writing. I didn’t expect to spend it offline. The place I stayed has wifi, and I assumed I’d be connected as usual. But on the first day, I realized that if I stayed online on email and social media, I may as well have stayed home, because I wouldn’t get the change of mindset I needed to go with the change of location. So I turned it off. Almost. I checked email once and I looked up a couple of research items when I was working. The social media...