Writing non-fiction characters

This week Story Board, an online resource for independent journalists, interviewed me about freelance writing. Below is an excerpt. You can read the whole interview here. Q: How do you know if you have a good story idea? Are there elements of an idea that tell you that it’s a winner? There’s a couple of things I look […]

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A story about my mother

The morning was grey and thin as cloth when my mother and I came down to the beach. The surface of the bay lay flat, the colour of aluminum. We sat on a wet cedar log abandoned by the tide. I set the table on a water-worn stump: two teacups, a Thermos full of milky […]

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A Good Father

“When he lifted his dripping face, his son had stopped crying and was sitting, staring at him from across the room. The streetlight outside the window laid yellow light on the floor, cut into trapezoids by bare elm branches. The father sat down on the linoleum. He could see the shape of his son’s face, […]

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Ready for our Baltimore moment

“There is such a sweet spirit in this place. I think it has something to do with Winnipeg,” said Dr. Cornel West, when he took the microphone. “There is a soulfulness in this city that reminds me of Oakland. Soulfulness is the sharing of a soothing sweetness against the backdrop of catastrophe.” A piece I […]

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Sucked Dry

The cheekily named Museum of Canadian Human Rights Violations is housed in a boxy, blue hockey arena on an island in Shoal Lake, 150 kilometres east of Winnipeg. The museum isn’t confined to the hockey arena. It’s a living museum that allows visitors to witness the painful consequences of decades of enforced isolation. Here’s a piece […]

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Sacred collapse

“I needed to go through my own experience of collapse to have what I now see as a sacred experience,” Carmen said. “I needed to become wise to what actually happens when things are collapsing: you can’t see it, and then you can’t believe it, and then you can’t accept it, and then you feel […]

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A coup in Burkina Faso – and a sense of justice

Thomas Sankara, often called Africa’s Che Guevara None of us imagined that Blaise Compaoré could be replaced without another bloody military intervention. But the people of Burkina Faso have spoken. Some are calling it the “Black Spring,” in the spirit of the Arab Spring. It’s heartening to see the citizens of one of the poorest […]

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