Category Archives: Literature

My Writing in my Writing

Although I never made note of it before, I noticed when I was editing my latest book—The View from Vancouver—that I had slipped in references to my other books. At first I made little of it, and presumed I was … Continue reading

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Nepotism and the Publishing Industry

The writing community industry is small enough in Canada that even someone like me, who is tangentially related to the literary world, can often see names I recognize in literary magazines. I also check which books are published by which … Continue reading

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Teaching Farley Mowat

Farley Mowat occupies a curious position in Canadian letters. He is a kind of Ernest Hemingway of the north, but in the academic world of English study, he is never dressed well enough to be invited to the party. Some … Continue reading

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Excerpt from the second in the Life at Sea series: Landlocked

He tried to recover the salt air, the yelling men in the rigging, and the other piecemeal accoutrements of the nautical life. He rarely imagined himself on a whaler, although Moby Dick had taught him to expect the hardy meals … Continue reading

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Writing as a Logical Series of Steps

The inevitability of plot is one of the easiest aspects of writing. As a storyteller you shove a metal key into your characters, wind them up like a toy, and watch them perform series of proscribed motions. Many of the … Continue reading

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Cultural Codes Case Study – Tom Waits’ “Small Change”

Much of the interpretative work that the reader is asked to do with this short text is in reference to their knowledge of cultural codes. One of the examples I continually return to when it comes to understanding cultural coding … Continue reading

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The Ego in Creative Projects

One of the central problems when dealing with a creative writer is that of their emotional investment in their work. They do not see what they have written as merely product, such as a snail and their shell, but rather … Continue reading

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The Winter Solstice and Trying to Explain the Movement of the Sun

Many years ago I found myself trying to explain the movement of the sun during the winter to a class in Victoria, British Columbia, and ever since I have been struck by how cultural knowledge can be allowed or disallowed … Continue reading

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How Using Academic Research is like being in an Argentinian Argument

Although many academics tacitly accept that research makes a paper stronger, they don’t exactly examine that premise. In fact, if the paper is well argued, and has evidence it has garnered from the primary text(s), other sources are superfluous. They … Continue reading

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Memory

I’ve been thinking about memory lately for the latest project that I am working on and it occurs to me that memory loss leaves very real and recognizable tracks, although they might not be what we expect. I tried to … Continue reading

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