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Tracking Giants

At the start of June 2018, I started a new writing and exploring project. I’m visiting all 43 Champion trees on the BC Big Tree registry, and writing about them on my blog, Tracking Giants.

The Champion trees are those that been nominated and verified as the largest trees among their species, within provincial boundaries. My blog discusses current issues surrounding land rights and forestry, of course, but also delves into self-doubt, relationships, orthodontics, and all things Amanda Lewis.

This project has already taken me to parks, forests, private residences, logging roads, and the backcountry as I try to find these trees, many of which do not have clear GPS coordinates on the registry. In June and July, I travelled  to Prince Rupert, Terrace, Vanderhoof, and Vancouver Island to track down some of these giants. The wildfires kept me mostly rooted in August, and now that the smoke has mostly cleared I’m heading back into the woods. Follow along on Instagram at @trackinggiants.

Two authors longlisted for Banff Mountain Book Competition

Great news from Banff today: two books I acquired and edited for Penguin Random House Canada are finalists for the Banff Mountain Book Competition. Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris (Knopf Canada) is in the Adventure Travel category, and End of the Rope by Jan Redford (Random House Canada) is in the Mountain Literature (Non-Fiction) category. The shortlists will be announced in October, and the Grand Prize winner on November 1. Congrats, Kate and Jan!

Viaduct Book Ride

“And the cyclist too on his flight claimed the bridge in that blurred movement, alone and illegal. Thunderous applause greeted him at the far end …”

Last Sunday, The Reading Line held its sixth Book Ride, this time celebrating the 100th anniversary of the construction of the Bloor Viaduct in Toronto. Participants rode from Bathurst and Bloor to East Lynn Park on the Danforth. Riders stopped at points of interest along the way to hear from authors Bethlehem Terrefe Gebreyohannes, Carrianne Leung, Chris Bruntlett, Melissa Bruntlett, Ramón K. Pérez, Fabiana Bacchini, and Jay Pitter. We also featured speakers from the cycling and urban planning communities, plus a bike-decorating space and even a band! Full details here.

Books + bouldering = best venue ever

I’m delighted to be moderating this special event at The Hive bouldering gym on April 12, 2018. I edited End of the Rope and Lands of Lost Borders, so I’ll be asking questions about the writing and publishing process, plus the appeal of living and writing out of bounds. What a bonus to be able to climb before and after! Best venue ever.

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On not settling

“Thomas Merton wrote, ‘There is always a temptation to diddle around in the contemplative life, making itsy-bitsy statues.’ There is always an enormous temptation in all of life to diddle around making itsy-bitsy friends and meals and journeys for itsy-bitsy years on end. It is so self-conscious, so apparently moral, simply to step aside from the gaps where the creeks and winds pour down, saying, I never merited this grace, quite rightly, and then to sulk along the rest of your days on the edge of rage. I won’t have it.” —Annie Dillard

End of the Rope

“I reached a stubby little tree growing out of a crack in the middle of the cliff. Standing on a ledge about the width of my feet, I held on to a spindly branch and looked down. It was a long way to the ground, maybe thirty feet, but instead of feeling fear, I tingled with excitement…”

So begins Jan Redford‘s new memoir, End of the Rope. Fourteen-year-old Jan, who longs to “be the adventurer, not marry one,” scales a 100-foot rock face near her family’s cabin in the Laurentians. No ropes, no experience, just extreme determination to reach the top and prove her mettle.

9780345812315 (1) Continue reading “End of the Rope”

Relax into Creativity: Yoga and Writing

If you haven’t been to Gabriola Island yet, just a short ferry ride from Nanaimo, April is the perfect month! The Isle of the Arts festival runs from April 4 to 15, and there are loads of events and workshops…something for everyone. I’m happy to be presenting my “Relax into Creativity: Yoga and Writing” workshop at the festival on April 12. I first presented this workshop in Toronto last summer. I am looking forward to helping Gabriolans and festival visitors tap into their creative energy and shape their writing project.