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Category: Life

2017 made me sick. Literally.

2017 made me sick. Literally.

  I won’t lie. 2017 was good to me, and it wasn’t good to a lot of my friends and family. Most of that has to do with the fact that I’m in Canada and they’re in the United States. I’m a permanent resident here, working on attaining citizenship. My graduate degrees come from Canadian institutions, and I’m married to a Canadian, my literary agent is Canadian, my most recent novel made it to the final round of Canada Reads,…

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See America by rail: some lessons from 2016

See America by rail: some lessons from 2016

This is the view from the Amtrak Coast Starlight train as it journeys through Oregon, from Seattle to Los Angeles. I took it this summer, after wrapping up a gig with ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination at a publishing event in Vancouver. I’ve wanted to take this particular train trip since first hearing about it, years ago. The part of me that is still a child watching a Betamax copy of North by Northwest taped from TV remains fascinated…

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How I Lost the Weight

How I Lost the Weight

          I used to think that I would open this post with bikini shots. You know the ones: flabby and pale and lumpy on one side, tight and tanned and toned on the other. But that would require someone to photograph me in a bikini, or a bathing suit, or my underwear, or nude, or what have you. And that requires a degree of confidence I’ve rarely possessed. I didn’t lose my sense of self-love after…

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Gifts That Writers Might Actually Need

Gifts That Writers Might Actually Need

Writers tend to get the same presents every year for holidays, birthdays, and other occasions. Those presents include notebooks, pens, lap desks, and coffee mugs. (Anything that’s in the impulse-buy section of a chain bookstore, really.) And those are good things! But you may have already gifted them last year. If you want to avoid repetition, try picking up things that writers (and the people who live with them) might actually need. These are all things that I already have…

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Mammograms are not scary. Everything else is.

Mammograms are not scary. Everything else is.

As a result of my family’s long history of cancer, I’m part of the Ontario Breast Screening Program. That means I’m eligible to receive mammograms and breast MRIs on a regular basis starting at an earlier age than most other women in Canada. It also means I’ve just had my first mammogram at the age of thirty-two. If you’re in your early thirties, and you’re curious about mammograms, I want to tell you that they’re not scary. They don’t even…

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Addicts lie: Rob Ford and the future of Toronto

Addicts lie: Rob Ford and the future of Toronto

“I’m just so sad,” my mom told me, when she learned Toronto Police Services Chief Bill Blair told reporters he had seen video of the mayor smoking crack cocaine. “It’s just…sad.” It is sad. It’s sad that my partner has to wonder about his mayor screaming in his face and shoving him the way he does other journalists, when the mayor bothers to show up for work — though he apparently has no issue showing up drunk at two a.m….

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iD: something from the butcher’s block

iD: something from the butcher’s block

Over the last few days, Twitter has been all, well, a-twitter about diversity in science fiction. Most of that has to do with this piece in The Guardian, which begins thusly: Science fiction loves a good paradox. Here’s one for you: how can a genre that dreams up alien cultures and mythic races in such minute detail seemingly ignore the ethnic, religious, gender and sexual diversity right here on the home planet, here in the real world? In other words,…

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You should really be watching Top of the Lake right now

You should really be watching Top of the Lake right now

Seriously, why aren’t you watching Top of the Lake right now? It’s written by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee and it has Elizabeth Moss and Holly Hunter and Faramir and that guy who plays the really pretty beast from the CW version of Beauty and the Beast, on in this he has a bunch of tattoos and a real script. Top of the Lake is a Sundance Channel production, and it’s available in Canada via the Sony PlayStation Network, and…

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Periods, and how to write them

Periods, and how to write them

No, not the punctuation mark. Yes, the other thing. Periods tend not to show up in fiction, probably for the same reasons that urine and shit don’t show up in fiction. They’re quotidian elements that don’t really add anything to narrative unless they’re indicating sickness or a dramatic turn — pregnancy, miscarriage, sudden reproductive potential, and so on. But the fact is that unless your novel or short story takes place in a span of less than 28 days, your…

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