I am so pleased to be able to announce that my short story "[Title TBA]" will be a part of the 2017 Short Story Advent Calendar!
It's a gorgeous box set with 25 individually wrapped stories, one for each day of the Advent season. If you enjoy short stories, there's nothing better than opening a fresh one to savour each day. Bonus: they're not dated, so you can keep them for future years, too.
The calendar is incredibly popular and sells out ever year, so be sure to get yours soon. It would also make a fantastic gift for the story-phile in your life. Click here to order.
#BecauseSocial, a piece I wrote for The Writer Magazine about stepping back from social media, is now live on their site.
Click here to read
"Hard Sell" a hybrid piece of fiction centred on real events that took place on a single day, has been published at Litro Magazine, a very cool publication distributed free to London UK commuters. Click here to read the story online.
What a blessing and honour it has been to get to know just a few of our best First Nations and Inuit writers, and to learn and read some of their words and stories. Even so, those stories are challenged whenever they're presented, unfairly and with great bias. My privilege will continue to allow me the space and opportunity to move forward, but I know that there are many who will not get the same opportunities as I will.
As such, I would like to make one small adjustment to our country's 150+ celebrations. I am a proud Canadian, and am humbled to be a citizen of this place. But I acknowledge that much of what makes me most free and this country great has come through the abuse and murder and suppression and ignorance of our First Peoples and their foundational contributions to this land. I vow to explain the "+" in Canada150+ whenever and wherever I can.
It won't be enough, of course. We need to do much, much better.
I'm super excited to report that "Hard Sell," a piece of hybrid, based-on-real-stuff fiction, has been picked up by Litro Magazine, a very cool UK literary publication that is distributed free of charge to London commuters! Watch for it this month in the "Alternative Facts" edition.
"Pieces of Echo," a rather dark tale about the seedier side of Kuwaiti oil wealth, has won "Our Darkest Hours" short story contest!
That day you feel like a real writer: when The Writer Magazine awards your story with a "W" and publishes it...
Two pieces of great news to share:
First, "Cut Road," a short story that appeared in Riddle Fence 24, has been recommended by the journal for the Writers' Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize! the JP is Canada's premier short fiction prize, awarded annually for one piece of published short fiction, with a nice purse and wonderful opportunities for its winner.
Second, my short story "Those Days Just a Glimmer" has been picked up by The Fiddlehead, and will appear in the Summer 2017 issue. Props go out to Michael Winter and my 2014-15 UBC fiction class peeps, who workshopped the story in class.
Devin Scullion, a 20-year-old Hamilton man who had the ultra-rare genetic disorder progeria, has died. My research into progeria for Saints, Unexpected frequently brought David's story across my desk, and indeed he was loosely the inspiration for Wu, a character in the novel who has the disorder. The Hamilton connection is a strong one, too, as Devin was one of only 200 people worldwide who suffered from the disorder, attracting worldwide interest from geneticists and physicians who traveled to Hamilton to learn more about him and his case.
RIP, Devin—I hope some of your abundant light will live on in the pages of my work.
Link to the Hamilton Spectator article about Devin's passing.
I posted the note below to Facebook last night, and just before performing the great log out (but not off) from all my devices, I thought I'd share it here, too. I'd like to add how blessed I feel to have such an amazing writing and reading community, and how grateful I am to all of you for helping make 2016 such an amazing lit-year for me. Thank you.
Dear online family,
2016 was an remarkable year of contrasts.
The highs: continuing to enjoy the love of the best partner a guy could imagine; watching my daughters grow and thrive; basking in the support of loved ones as I published stories and launched a debut novel; and continuing to bear witness to an evolving narrative greater and bigger than all of us.
I’ve been blessed. I am loved. And I have faith.
The lows: hatred taking centre stage and claiming incredible victories; loved ones forgetting about love and respect as we all clanged gongs and clashed cymbals; witnessing as scores fell prey to misinformation and a narrative of fear; and seeing friends and family and members of my tribe turn on each other again and again like malnourished sled dogs.
I’ve been right. I am wrong. And I’ve at times stopped listening, sacrificing love, respect, and grace on an altar to myself that I can’t even name.
The lows dig at me, friends.
The other day, as I was hot-glue-gunning popsicle sticks together to make a hanging Christmas ornament with my daughter, I felt a peace I’ve lately been missing. My iPhone was in the other room, my laptop closed, the TV off, and for over an hour I didn’t even think about email or social media or the spinning news cycle. I was working with my hands. Simply doing. And being. Talking. Listening.
It was restorative. And I realized that I need a break from the information firehose I’ve become accustomed to drinking from. It has become my default to check my phone at all hours, pull out my macbook to crawl for news, scan my social media feeds for tidbits and tokens. I miss working with my hands. I miss looking for what needs doing rather than what needs posting online. Picking up a book to just read for a little while without making sure my digital self is always within reach.
And so, in the New Year, I’m logging out. I’m going to focus on my faith, family, writing, home, reading, and the thousand analog, offline things I’ve been neglecting and forgetting.
I don’t know for how long. While I’ll drop in occasionally to share good news, reach out, or follow something that needs following, I’ll largely be digitally silent. I’ll still be reachable by phone, text, PM, and email, but I’ll be checking them less frequently.
I certainly won’t stop thinking about the people most important in my life, including those I’ve been blessed to connect with online. I know how to reach out. I do hope that when my thoughts do turn towards them, that those thoughts will be more intentional, will mean more.
Wish me luck. I wish for you in the new year—and beyond—abundant joy, luck, peace, and love.
Every November, The New Quarterly—the best literary journal in Canada, IMO—puts on Wild Writers a writers' festival in Waterloo, and this year I was privileged to have been a part of it.
From trying to nail down what "Voice" in fiction is with Carrie Snyder, Sharon Bala, Kerry-Lee Powell, and Kirsteen MacLeod, to taking in great readings and panel discussions, to having dinner with such CanLit luminaries as Madeleine Thien and Michael Helm, to rising early and introducing my family via FaceTime to Alissa York in a downtown Waterloo coffee shop, to... I couldn't imagine a writer feeling much more spoiled.
A great festival, put on by fabulous people. Do check it out next year if you can.
Thanks to Pamela Mulloy and Susan Scott for getting me involved, and thanks to everyone else involved.