On Writing · Publishing

Being Expandable


I’ve been thinking about how expandable I’ve had to be this past week. How in such short, thin slices of time, life can (and will) change. Expandability is a necessary ‘ability’ in my world. Not just on my waist line either. (I joke.) I need to have the ability to expand my mind, my space, my time, my beliefs in order to fit into this life. A widening of my ‘self’ has to occur in order for me to be able to:

a) roll and move around with any sort of ease within these changes (whether they are self-inflicted or not)

b) stretch my arms, inhale and always breathe into and out of these changes

c) hear the following mantras in my mind amidst all the other cluttery bullshit that’s there:

1) everything will be okay 2) there is enough time 3) there is enough money 4) love is all around (even though it’s NOT all you need – yes, I wrote that. Sorry Beatles…you were close….)

As you can see by the photo, there’s a new member in our family. Her name is Velvet. We’ve ‘expanded’ our world to fit her into it as some healing takes place within our extended family unit. Velvet is a toy/mini poodle with the worst breath ever. She has terrible teeth that will be cleaned and fixed up on the morrow…goodbye stinky breath! Velvet is a Humane Society adoptee. Someone dropped her off in front of the Humane Society. In a box. In the middle of winter. GASP. The great news is that she is saved and welcomed and loved on a humungous scale now.

Last Tuesday I would have never imagined that this pooch would be part of our family at this point in time. Yet, here she is perfectly a part of us now.

Last Tuesady I was working my butt off to finish my Works In Progress (Ontario Arts Council) grant application. Forty pages of writing for a new creative non-fiction YA novel I’d begun. I decided to do the grant application on the previous Sunday…with only 11 pages having been written in the piece. I did it. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and got it mailed out on time.

I got up at 6am and wrote till 8am for several days. I stayed up late and wrote. I ‘expanded’ my working (writing) hours to make this grant application a possibility in my world. I did it because I want to win the grant. I’d love over ten grand in cashola so I can write, write, write and get paid for it. So I can pay myself for the time it takes to finish the novel and try and get it published.

Last Tuesday I really believed that the short story I entered into the CBC Canada Writes Short Story Contest would make the longlist. It didn’t. That was one rejection. I received two others in the mail from two grant applications I’d sent in at the end of last year. My rejection pile ‘expands’ on a weekly basis.

Today’s truth is this:

By expanding my life…by having the ability to expand and adapt AND STILL KEEP WRITING is a testament to all that a WRITER MUST WRITE UNDER ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. And, most utterly importantly – that a writer CAN. But it’s not just the writer that enables this phenomenon to occur – it’s the mother, the producer, the sister, the daughter, the wife, the friend and all the other ‘expanding’ parts of who I am that give me the strength to write.

There are differing schools of thought/belief on the statement ‘Write What You Know’…What I have to say about this is ‘Live So You Can Write’. As life happens and expands so too does my ability to write creatively. To write passionately. To write consistently. To use writing as the anchor in my world that grounds me to my best ‘me’ – in all her facets, under all her hats.

Expansion is grand. Even as it is terrifying and brilliant.

One thought on “Being Expandable

  1. Vanessa, the story that was rejected by CBC Literary, was it Prell? Don’t you let that get you down for one moment! Prell is a brilliant story and it will find publication and success. The universe is lining up even as we speak to guide it to the best market. Clearly, the judges at CBC Literary don’t know superb writing when they see it. Their loss. Any story that can make my husband cry is destined for great things. Mark my words!


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