The space between

Dandy-dog

Dandy dog

When I opened the book I ordered on-line, the thing I noticed immediately was neither the beautiful photography and the carefully crafted knitting patterns nor the lyrical language of the stories accompanying the patterns. What I noticed was the lack of white space. Paragraphs bumped into each other like commuters in Toronto and margins were narrower than country roads.  Photos worthy of singular exposure were lost in a visual melange. There was no place for my eyes to linger or rest.

I felt like a Panini pressed between paragraphs. I wanted a moment to breathe and think. I needed space to digest what came before and what was coming next. Continue reading

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Forgiving pink

Fifteen year old me said something like this: “Pink stinks.” I got extra marks in university for brevity from an exhausted professor probably worn down reading 300 term papers replete with rosy language hiding empty thoughts. Pink as a colour struck me this way. Pointless, pathetic fluff. Continue reading

Right, at Last, and Wide Open — Deborah J. Brasket

Deborah J. Brasket, writer and mother, posted thoughts on moving beyond motherhood and aging, words that lifted me out of Mondayness and made me feel good about this “in-between” stage of life.

Leon

 

 

I’m letting my hair grow out. Like a girl again. It’s past my shoulders already, still mostly brown with a few shimmers of light woven through. I don’t feel old. Few of us do, even while seeing the signs. When I was young, I always felt young. Too young. Young in a lost, vulnerable, deer-in-the-headlights […]

via Right, at Last, and Wide Open — Deborah J. Brasket

Zee end

Image result for Becca Courtice Modern brush calligraphy

The brush should be at a 45 degree angle as though bent into a strong wind. You want headway. Your pen takes orders from you, your hand its aegis. Never forget that.

Start at the left and trace your pen along an imaginary line. Keep your brush down and pull it steadily due right. Look straight ahead and don’t stop. Continue reading

Games I don’t play

It is a few evenings before Christmas and we’re in the living room of my brother’s house in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  A low fire winks behind the screen of the small coal burning fireplace and undernotes of coffee mixed with alcohol intermittently finds my nose. Continue reading

Reality check

On the drive to work Thursday darling husband said “I’m going to get a hold of a grade 9 calculus text book.”

“Why?”

“I think I can master it at last.” This he based on his Tuesday experience supply teaching a math class at his old high school. Note: His subject area before retirement was English.

“Wow. Good for you. I’ll stick to trying to master life.”

“I think calculus is probably easier.”

“Smart calculation,” I thought.

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Spring run-off – Rideau River, Ottawa, ON

 

Stripper Girl

How to handle uncertain information when digging in the family archives.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A guest post from Melissa Ballard:

Family history. Why would anyone waste their time with it?

In the summer of 1993, I agreed to do just a bit of ancestral research, at the request of my great-uncle. I was quickly lured into the mysteries of century-old handwriting, sepia-toned photographs, and the personal details in local newspapers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

I began to write essays about my ancestors, who were much more interesting than I’d thought. My publication record for these pieces is scant, but I persist. At first, I had to go to libraries or historical societies and do battle with microfilm machines. Now I can do most of my research online, from my home office.

So when the newspaper database I use added two decades of issues from Muncie, Indiana, I set aside some time to search. I already knew a line of my…

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Cakeology

Cakeology

Chocolate quinoa cake

The first piece of chocolate quinoa cake I ate was at a fancy restaurant where main course portions were the size of Canada’s largest coins – loonies and toonies. Lunch arrived prettily set on a silent white plate with scribbles of coulis of some sort. You know the stuff – pureed parsnip essence or a reduction of Brussels sprout hearts and maybe a shake of smoked paprika. Way off on the northern hemisphere of the plate a single perfect candied walnut emerged from its shell, like a sailor adrift in the arctic ocean, considering his options as the icy sea begins to crush his vessel. Because food tells a story and the chef wants you to listen to what the food has to say. That kind of place. Continue reading

Semi-autobiographical

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When I shared my impressions of childhood living with an alcoholic father with a friend – memories of a five year old – he said that my memories predated a cognitive understanding of my father’s behaviour.  I bristled. It was as though my memories were irrelevant because I lacked dates, context, and the cognitive ability to connect the dots.

Did you do “dot to dot” puzzles as a child? I remember doing them as far back as kindergarten. Teachers used them as a way to teach numbers. The easiest ones were from 1-10 and the resulting pictures were simple. There were no details in the final image, just a big shape, like a ball, or an outline of a cat’s head or a house. But its spare lines still told everything you needed to know. The same way kids know when something is off kilter without understanding why. Continue reading