Ten true things about writing my novel

The dots are easy. Connecting them is hard.

Writing a great sentence feels better than anything else, even if you have to delete it later.

There’s a reason they call deleting the great stuff, “killing your darlings.”

It is so, so easy to find other things to do when you know you should be writing.

I am scared to finish because what if it actually sucks?

I write with only three people in mind, and one of those people is me.

The things I’m writing about scare the shit out of me.

I already feel like a failure.

I absolutely want acclaim, but it is more important for my soul that the acclaim be critical and not commercial, which is in direct opposition of how the writing business (and my bank account) works.

I think that social media is the worst thing that has ever happened to writers, writing, and publishing, but that is a post for another day.

Bonus thing: I'm almost done. This gives me serious anxiety.



Staying involved and informed about your child’s education thanks to the Ontario College of Teachers

One of the reasons we left Toronto for The Cornfield was so that I could work less and be more involved in my children’s daily life, including within their school community. Four years later, both of my children are in school and thriving, and I have made good on my promise to be involved. I have been School Council Chair for three years, and am about to wrap up my two-year term as the Co-Chair of the Parent Involvement Committee for our board. I have had the opportunity to get to know our students and teachers in a lovely, organic, small-town way – in the halls of the school and on the streets around town.But in my dual roles as parent and parent-liaison, I remain keenly aware of the fact that most of us release our children into the hands of the unknown, and so I do my best to not only reassure other parents, but to encourage them to be as involved as possible in their children’s school community. For some, that could mean attending meetings or volunteering their time, but all of us can empower ourselves and our children by gaining knowledge about our children’s teachers, and the standards that guide their daily practice.

The Ontario College of Teachers exists to regulate the profession of teaching in Ontario, and to set the very highest professional and ethical standards for public school teachers. The College also approves teacher training programs at faculties of education and accredits professional development courses. This means our teachers possess a distinct set of knowledge and skills that equip them for the classroom, have opportunities for continued training, and adhere to clear principles of conduct and practice.

Knowing that our public school teachers are qualified professionals, certified by the College, should offer parents peace of mind that the right people are teaching our children. But if broad strokes only go so far to allay anxieties, and your child only gives you single-syllable answers to questions about their classroom, there are ways to learn more:

Sign up for the free College newsletter, The Standard and get up-to-date information on changes in education legislation, reports on trends in education, and more, or for a closer look at a specific teacher, utilize the College’s Find a Teacher database. Search the public register for certification years, education, any disciplinary history, and status within the College.  

Our kids are in school for many hours a day, for many years of their early life.
We can’t all volunteer for lunch duty or be at the doors when they swing open every day at three o’clock. But we can be involved and empowered by understanding the regulations our teachers must adhere to and, indeed, uphold every day as they help our kids grow, develop and succeed.

We do everything we can to prepare our kids for their day – isn’t it good to know that The Ontario College of Teachers does everything they can to prepare the people we hand our children off to?

The views in this post are my own, and I have received fair compensation for them. 


The Middle Distance

We always flew to see my dad. Flights were reasonable; we only had one child. Every six months, emerging from the monorail tunnel of the terminal into bright Florida light, an immediate sense of anticipation. The swampy grounds, always looking for an alligator, never seeing one. The palm trees, so perfect they seemed false, transplanted, eyes and mind still adjusting, leaving Carolinian sensibilities of what a forest is behind, accepting tropical before believing that you are actually there. The airport, a direct link to my father. We made the journey so many times we no longer had to search signs for the exit, the car rental, the turnpike. We’re here, we said to the bags and each other; You’re here, the airport answered.


Grief is like motherhood. After a while, it just becomes a part of who you are. After a while nobody wants to talk about it; its tinny, all-encompassing vibration dulls. The middle distance of both grief and motherhood is un-noteworthy. It is no longer a thing to be explored, looked at in detail, talked about endlessly. It no longer defines every mood, experience, or relationship you find yourself in, yet you haven’t been immersed in it long enough to regard, or be regarded as, one with wisdom to offer beyond the most accessible horizon. Tell me what motherhood is when your babies have grown. Tell me what grief is when you have.


Do you believe that your father is still with you, a friend recently asked. I believe his love for me is imprinted on my very cells, I answered, but he is in Florida, which is why I still go to him.


We drive to Florida now. Like motherhood, like grief, the transition from where you began to where you will be is slower. I need the ground to pass beneath me, the temperature to creep up slowly by degrees. I need to see the landscape change, to mark my journey in hours and miles. I need to feel my breathing deepen, to step out of the car in northern Georgia and lift my head to the sky, eyes closed, ready to shed jackets and worry. I need to pass the halfway mark and feel gratitude for the sun and my life. Before I can get all the way there, I need to bask in the middle distance.