The Magic Stash

I closed my eyes and unzipped the container holding my stash and inhaled deeply. Nothing. Well, not quite. A vague aroma of sheep and dust lifted into the air, though it wasn’t the scent I wanted. But I plunged into the Ikea-container stash anyway and found a hank of chunky yarn that would satisfy my sudden craving to knit. I cast on 80 stitches for a toque and let the familiar activity release me from the present.

#

Continue reading

Good Boy

Alfie used to be my personal trainer. While I was unemployed from January 2009 to May 2010, he nudged me out the door twice a day and gave structure to my shapeless life as an unemployed person. I squeezed the job search and resume tailoring between our walks and I arranged interviews so as not to conflict with our regimen. Continue reading

Shoes for Life

In New Orleans I bought purple suede shoes peppered with silver studs across the toes and, not surprisingly, in Nashville, I purchased blue suede pumps. I slid my feet, Cinderella-like, into their cushioned blue interiors, stood, took a few steps and twirled, the full skirt of my dress flaring. The clerk stared, only mildly startled and asked me “Are you an attorney?” Nashville lawyers, I thought, must be more colourful than the pin-striped, double-breasted esquires in Ottawa. In Dolly Parton’s home state, I pictured lawyers sashaying to the bench in untouchable blue suede shoes with matching satin pocket hankies. A spin at the bench seemed plausible. Continue reading

Life is a Beach

“When can we go to the beach? When, Mom?”

We’d just moved to Vancouver Island from our former home in rainy Prince Rupert on the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada. There were no beaches in Prince Rupert, just the docks at Royal Fisheries where my Dad worked. Commercial fishermen berthed and off-loaded their catches at the docks and this was where my friends and I jumped into the frigid fish-gutted water. The temperature was always blue-lip cold. Continue reading

Ahab’s Mate

A cup, a sleeve, a siren song scent, I
pick her up, outbound, spend too much – a tall
extra-hot, double-shot made sufferable
“because we care about our planet”. We
sail on, addicted, believe in her tale,
and culpable, gulp her mythology.
With paper-thin desire, I stare into
green-haloed, star-crowned, green eyes, lips, hair. She
surfs lazy brown, bony, corrugated waves
environmentally aware. We skim
the sky, a flat white winter foams below,
a strawberry frappuccino dawn blooms.
Maybe “Time and tide flow wide” but I fear
this convenient relationship is doomed.

(Posted for Bjorn’s dVerse invitation for Handbook of Forms.  We were invited to write a sonnet.  Here is the link. Poetry Forms – The sonnet )

starbucks sleeve

Bespoke

In 1981, I owned two pairs of corduroy pants, four hand-knit sweaters made by my mother, a pair of Adidas running shoes with a loose heel that slapped my foot as I walked, and two dresses I sewed using material found in remnant bins of fabric stores. That year, I shifted my job hunt from the careers section of the Ottawa Citizen to the classifieds. An English Literature degree had not guaranteed entry into any work I aspired to and I needed a job. I borrowed a jacket, a blouse, and a pair of shoes that blistered my baby toes for interviews. I landed a job as a secretary with the Canadian Construction Association. At 24, my real education began. Continue reading

The Dog Shakes

Nearly three years ago I wrote a flash fiction story about a dog with “issues” and sent it around to a few journals. It was rejected many times. Then in June this year I attended a small press trade show in an Ottawa community centre and found Common Deer Press.  Their submission guidelines for the Short Tail section of their website said this,

We tend to prefer work that might be literary if it weren’t so genre….

and I thought “Hmm. Maybe Nelson would like to live here.”

Without further ado, here it is – The Dog Shakes

edited by Emily Stewart. Thank you, Common Deer Press for giving Nelson a home.

IMG_0306 (2)

Cheers!

 

 

How to be less cranky when turning 60

  • Buy a coffin.
  • Put the coffin in your living room.
  • Fill the coffin with clothes that don’t fit, books you’ll never read, lists of people you don’t talk to anymore, every regret you’ve ever had, all your lost dreams. Add a picture of you at 28.
  • Stop plucking the hairs on your chin. For fun, see how long they’ll grow.
  • Stop gluing down the three hairs on your left eyebrow that poke out like past sins.
  • Burn your 36 DD bras. Fly free.
  • Stop buying self-help books. If you own any, add them to the coffin.
  • Do 10 squats a day so you can get up and down off the toilet when you’re 70.
  • Eat bread and pasta and potatoes and white sugar and milk chocolate if you want.
  • Walk outside, not on a treadmill. The treadmill is a symbol. So is being outside.
  • Give your better angels a voice and tell the bitter bitches who talk over everyone to fuck off. Better yet, throw the bitches in the coffin.
  • Obsess about now.
  • Practice listening to your dog, your cat, your budgie, your goldfish and then go listen to your best friend.
  • Talk to people the way you talk to your pet. Chances are if you say “Who’s a good friend?” they’ll beam with pleasure.
  • Look up at the sky and not your feet. The view is better.
  • Practice what you preach.

 

 

The Walking Dead meet The Apprentice

We climbed. The path was steep and right away my heart rate rose. For ten minutes we plodded uphill along a trail through naked trees. Wind came straight at us throwing an angry crowd of leathery leaves in our faces. I couldn’t look up so I watched my feet and my pink Adidas pick out safe places to tread between loose twigs and scree and rocks.

My legs felt removed from my head and I watched them work their way along the path, wondering how they could function so well without me. Branches rattled in the wind, more leaves tackled each other in a mass disordered scrimmage. A small stream fumbled over boulders, falling over itself to tumble into Meech Lake below, sloshing like a disinhibited drunk stumbling out of a tavern, slurring invitations to passing women. Continue reading