On Writing

Time Records & More!

So, you know how there’s that thing that parents can do: live vicariously through their children? Well, it’s happening! Jett, 14-years-old, made a short film earlier this year and it was accepted in the Windsor Youth Film Festival. A short time after it was screened, Jett was contacted by local filmmaker Mike Stasko, who told Jett that he would love to feature ‘Time Record’ on a local filmmaker showcase called ‘WINDSOR SHORTS’ on CBC television! GULP! DOUBLE GULP!

Jett’s first film not only got accepted into a film festival, but now it will be on television!

Time Recored, a short film by Jett Shields

The third instalment of the short film showcase ‘Windsor Shorts‘ will air on CBC television on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7TH, 2020 AT 8PM. Windsor Shorts is a “compilation of short, scripted films and documentaries from independent producers and student filmmakers from the University of Windsor as well as local filmmakers. Windsor Shorts is a part of CBC’s ‘Absolutely Canadian’ series which highlights the best documentary programs, short dramas and comedies created by independent producers/directors and student filmmakers from the Windsor/Essex region.” The show also features six other shorts created by local filmmakers.

After this broadcast, the films will be available to stream on CBS’s live-streaming service GEM. Can I get an AMAZING up in here?!

We had a blast being part of Jett’s first filmmaking endeavour!

We are thrilled for Jett! And, it sure does feel great to be living his dreams of making films vicariously WITH him! (I will always say yes if asks me to ‘star’ in his films. Hmmm…maybe this is how I’ll finally meet Tom Cruise?!) Since he made ‘Time Record’ Jett has written and filmed another short, and is beginning production on a new film for a school competition. Mighty fine, I say, mighty fine!

November is here. With it has come the run-on-sentence that is the presidential election across the border. There is much to say on this topic, however, what I’d like to offer is simple this: the good will prevail. Love each other. Be kind. The cyclical nature of this unfolding is an evolutionary, historical lesson for each of us. #peace

If you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, the first week is nearly done. By now, you’ve likely felt the following:

  • frustration
  • elation
  • exhaustion

And you’ve likely thought the following:

  • why am I doing this?
  • I can’t do this!
  • I am not a writer!
  • I did it!
  • I can do this!
  • I’m a bad-ass writer!
  • This is the best book ever written!

I’m with you! Meet each day as a fresh start! Whether you’ve prepped your story or not, just.keep.writing. Or not. It doesn’t change what a phenomenal human being you are.


I will be leading a three-hour virtual writing workshop on Saturday, November 21, 2020 in collaboration with the Canadian Authors Association – Niagara Branch. This workshop is for writers of all levels. I will be leading writing prompts that inspire and enhance your creative writing process, dipping into different genres and ways to play with your amazing life story!

This workshop is FREE but you have to REGISTER BEFORE WED. NOV. 18TH, 2020.



Let’s write together!

In publishing news, I am proud to be a published haiku poet! A haiku I wrote is part of the Moonlight Haiku Challenge Anthology, created by the Consulate General of Japan – Toronto. #socool

As well, one of my poems about travel has been accepted into an anthology called ‘The Beauty of Being Elsewhere’ to be published by Hidden Brook Press.

I received my annual rejection letter for my CBC Poetry Prize. I was only upset for about three minutes, (long enough to write an email of complaint to my writer friend Cathrin – thank you for understanding!) before a new writer friend sent a beautiful email about ‘Look At Her’. Sigh. The good. The good is always alive!

Here is the poem.

Narratives For A Dying Seamstress
“Once a story you’ve regarded as true has turned false,
you begin suspecting all stories.” Margaret Atwood

I want her to die too.
I say it out loud into the FaceTime screen on my cell phone.
My mother’s forehead and eyebrows accept my words.
She opens the battered Suitcase Of Caregiving For Nonna.
My grandmother. Her mother.
Unpacking is harder
though less and less of Nonna remains:
         memories in foggy moans
         mamamamamama on her brittle tongue
         coughs – a tightened throat itchy with escaping language
         urine-soaked cotton nightgowns
         movements from bowels chaotic symphonies of loss
         fungus-infected toenails curling toward the light
{She’s not eating.}
I sigh boulders.
Imagine the prison of someone else’s heaven as my own.
Of my choices chained to distorted faiths.
The sifted loss of self. Mortality as death sentence. 
My senses are a beehive – transported.
There is spastic fear, hunting for safety, panic.
I can’t find the queen.
{Keep her hydrated.}
Energy is another story.
A mysteriously mandatory page on which to heave our words.
The cursives. Curly like scar tissue etchings.
The plot line thread of Nonna’s soul legacy we revise like a doctoral thesis.
More boulders.
I’m building the Dolomite mountain range in grief.
(The Dolomites are Nonna’s favourite.)
I witness Nonna’s fading.
Her soul was left on the backyard line –
a tattered dish towel she forgot to bring in.
One link-rusted wooden clothespin holds her,
keeping her here in this demented dimension.
{I call to question what matters now.}
I secretly crumple paradoxes in my fist – an unwanted remnant.
Shove it into my pocket for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is another day.
Nonna’s faulty mantra.
Today was always jealous of tomorrow.
Yesterday, well, that’s an example of what doesn’t matter.
Another’s death is measured by how much we need them to live.
Nonna measured in yards, inches, stitches.
Her land is cotton, polyester blends, lycra, linen lakes,
ikat, tapa, yuzen horizons,
kantha-quilt shelters,
shibori moons,
lotus flower light
she wove into her shoulders.
Other people’s dreams
sewn into pant suits, blouses.
Her best work was her wedding dress.
Silk. Chiffon.
Lace for delicate immigrant dreams;
sacrifice and lies;
Jesus and the pope.
For dry red wine.
I love her festival of fabrics
even as they lacerate.
It is impossible to love her more
but I can and I do.
Suffering, a bowl on the dining room table
with the tall stool chairs tucked around like soldiers.                              
An arroyos constantly flowing.
For the first time in our lives, Nonna says she’s not happy.
This is a declaration of war on our ability to accept the enemy called truth.
We exhale fictions to allow grief a wider space in our muscles,
to move into ligaments, lower into lymph nodes.
She would come up behind me,
kiss the back of my neck.
Plant her love in my skin.
giardiniere dell’amore
She could keep flowers alive on the windowsills.
saintpaulia, impatiens walleriana, spathiphyllum wallisii
Today she doesn’t remember they exist.
I make up reasons why she is still alive,
each a tiny plea that fits in a metal thimble.
I stack them precariously and marvel at
their towering stability.
I ponder the words:    passing away.
Decide I hate them.
They are busted seams.
Gatherings undone.
I am raw edge.
Suspicions of life without her
impel my fingers to the typewriter.
Inflamed with questions,
metacarpals press out her legacy:
sugo con carne        grappa         sarta
I edge-stitch answers to my tongue.
I am a boulder.
A lost honey bee – apis mellifera.
An unworn slip.
{Truth is chalk-lined baste stitching.}

Nope. This poem is not in my forthcoming collection thimbles. Which I’m happy to announce is still on track for a Spring 2021 release!

Also, can you write to me about Love? Our submission call is officially open!


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