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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.

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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.

On learning to fall

I started bouldering a week ago, with an intro course at The Hive. (For the uninitiated, picture rock climbing without ropes, maybe 20 feet off the ground.) It’s been on my “list” for years, and I unabashedly fell in love with it right from the start.

I’m drawn to the technique and skill, and of course I love building my strength and gradually conquering my fear of heights. But what surprises me most is how much I love falling.

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Words in the Woods

Being outdoors is essential for me to recharge my creativity. Restoring my spirit in nature allows me to bring my best to my writing and editing.

That’s why I’m so excited to be participating in the Canadian Ecology Centre’s Words in the Woods on Earth Day, April 20, 2018. This day of workshops features writers Kathryn Walsh Kuitenbrouwer on creativity and play through writing and art, and Christine Fischer Guy on awakening inspiration. I’ll be leading a workshop on the publishing experience and will guide participants on how to shape and publish their writing.

The CEC is located in beautiful Mattawa, Ontario, just a short drive from Toronto. Tickets for these workshops and the whole weekend package are now available.

Come spend a weekend in the woods talking about books and writing! There will also be yoga, walks, and strong coffee…what could be better?

On grounding and action

I spent a splendid afternoon at Ahimsa Yoga Centre, facilitating a workshop on relaxing into creativity. We discussed the creative process and how ideas flow most easily when we’re relaxed. Then I led the participants through a restorative yoga sequence that paired grounding and action. We concluded by unpacking the why behind our big dreams and worked out next steps. Yes! I’m so proud of our group for going deep and sharing courageously.

Stationery note: I made sure we had multi-coloured pens and hella cute notebooks because that is also important.

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Editing Indigenous Manuscripts

Last week I was feeling pretty despondent and wrote a letter:
 
Dear Publishing,
Do better.
Love,
AL
 
The “Love” was important. After all, it’s an industry I adore, and as Vonnegut said, “God damn it, you’ve got to be kind,” especially when delivering tough news.
 
Today I’m feeling full, challenged, and reinvigorated as an editor after completing a weeklong course on Editing Indigenous Manuscripts. The course was offered alongside the Indigenous Editors Circle at Humber College, on the traditional territories of the Ojibwe Anishinabe people. I’m grateful to the organizers for the opportunity to participate.
 

Continue reading “Editing Indigenous Manuscripts”