Friday, March 4, 2011


I remain a woman of my word. I have spent all my writing time since submitting my essay last week working on an article entitled Miscarriage Resources on the Web. I was happy to spend every second on it, and am excited to have put it out there. I hoped to produce one or two additional articles, but this one ended up being more time consuming than I expected. I didn't want to simply list a number of links. I wanted to do each website I referred to justice by describing it well; my goal is to drive traffic to the sites other women have worked so hard on as a labour of love. The goal of everyone doing this work is to help other women, and I want to do that as well as I can.

The research I did for this article has given me some ideas for future hubpages. Particularly, there are several women I would love to interview for upcoming articles. After writing this blog, I plan to contact at least three ladies whose stories, work and websites are particularly impressive and inspiring. I believe articles honouring these women will more or less write themselves.

In terms of process, I found this week that my mind turned to future essays that are asking to be written. They started making themselves known as I did boring activities, like wash dishes. While I was originally planning to submit another miscarriage-related essay to the Event creative non-fiction contest, a completely different essay from my days in international development work began to nudge me.

I used to work in an office with the mandate of administering international development projects. I travelled to three Southeast Asian countries for work on one of these projects, funded by the Canadian government, in 2005. The essay that wants to get written the most this week has let me know over a particularly demanding dirty plate that it should take the form of collage-like impressions, through the image of one symbolic body part.

I had been thinking for a long time - for the last several years following my trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos - about a recurring image of the people and places in Cambodia. I even attempted to write a (bad) poem about that image that I haven't yet rescued, years after my return. But now this image is turning around in my mind again with new possibility, asking for a chance to appear in essay form. It is interesting the way the mind works, and leads you, gently and patiently, in different directions when you are an artist in the midst of a gathering period.

Now there are three essays competing for my attention, asking to be submitted to contests: the miscarriage essay, the international development essay and an essay about life on the ground as a bisexual mom of two young kids in a strange Canadian suburb. I'm not sure yet which one will win the race. They all, I hope, will make it to the finish line eventually. Likely, it will come down to pre-writing all three, and seeing which one wants to cross over first. Discovering, through sitting down at the blank page (or screen), which one has the most fire.

Speaking of fire, I received an email from the Burnaby Writer's Society last week with word on their topic for this year's writing contest. Fire is going to be challenging. It has been used so often, I believe all my effort will go to trying to write away from cliché, as much as writing towards something great. I will submit an entry regardless by the deadline of May 31. My options are a short poem, prose poem  or story, with a one page maximum length.

Again, this week, I feel satisfied that my writing life is moving at the swiftest possible pace. Everything, I believe, is leading to something...

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