Story Notes

Story Notes: Shine

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I was so pleased when my short story ‘Shine’ was recently published over at Empty Mirror, a wonderful publication for essays, art and prose with a soft spot for Beat Generation writers.

To read the story just head on over to Empty Mirror!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Empty Mirror before reading the notes.

About ‘Shine’

Once I heard a story about Leonard Cohen’s muse for ‘Suzanne’ living in a trailer park. It wasn’t even true (find the true story of Suzanne here) but it made me think about muses and how they are often forgotten and left behind. As someone who loves to inspire I hold a special place in my heart for my sources of inspiration—whether it’s an orange blob on the sidewalk or an eccentric neighbour. I hold my muses as sacred.

I loved the idea of a muse in a trailer park, forgotten but still powerful, going through her endless cycle, filled with words and melodies that are never shared. I love the juxtaposition of gods and the sacred against the mundane and dilapidated.

So this is my ode to the muses who are lost and forgotten, who inspire then move on and never expect anything in return. The artist needs the muse just as the muse needs artists. Both are integral to the process in whatever form it takes.

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Story Notes

Story Notes: Remembered in the soil

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My story ‘Remembered in the soil’ was recently published over at Purple Pig Lit, a fantastic webzine filled with surreal and fascinating prose and poetry.

To read the story just head on over to Purple Pig Lit!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Purple Pig Lit before reading the notes.

About ‘Remembered in the soil’

I love the idea of nature speaking to us; coincidence and our pattern seeking minds coming together to form spiritual and meaningful ideas out of nothing.  This story came from a crack in the sidewalk by my house, a thing that I was sure had shifted since we first moved in a couple years ago.

It got me thinking about what the earth might say if it had the chance and the things that get left behind in the soil.  I’m currently reading about geology and geography, so this story has even more meaning to me now.  Imagine what we are walking on—who knows what’s buried right beneath our feet?

Nana’s story came out disturbing and alien despite it being related to the earth.  I think it’s fitting.  We live on the planet, we bury our dead in the soil and we feel an almost simian connection to the ground beneath us, but there is so much we don’t know about our surroundings and our origins.  We have so far to go in truly understanding our planet and so in a way it is alien to us.  But ultimately, as hostile and mysterious as it is, it is our home and it is the place (as Nana discovered) that has sheltered us for so many years and will continue to shelter us for so many more to come (we hope).

Story Notes

Story Notes: The Same

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My story ‘The Same’ was recently published in The Quilliad. I was so happy to be included in the publication and also to get the chance to read with some other fabulous writers at their Halloween launch party.

To read the story just head on over to The Quilliad and order a copy of the magazine!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at The Quilliad before reading the notes.

About ‘The Same’

At the reading I introduced The Same as an existential horror story inspired by the roving gangs of teenage girls who prowl the streets of my neighbourhood, and I would definitely stand by that description.

A funny thing happened at the reading of this story though, one of the other writers (also a fellow reader that evening) came up to me and told me she found my story to be very sympathetic (given the subject matter), and her words struck me.  I had never before considered my attitude towards my characters to be particularly sympathetic but once I thought about it I realized in a way, I am.

The Same is definitely meant as a comment on individuality (or lack thereof) and the trend these girls seem to follow of blending seamlessly into one another.  For me individuality has always been important, something to aspire to.  I’ve always wanted to stand out and trying to fit in (so much so that you find yourself look and talking the same as everyone else) has always been a mystery to me.  So what do I do with mysteries?  Write about them.  And the more I write about something or someone, the more I step into their shoes (or Uggs in this case).  I find myself (often unwittingly) creating sympathetic conditions for them and in the effort to get to know them in my story I find myself feeling as though I’ve gotten to know them in the real world.

I’ve done it before when writing about real world subjects; the woman in my building who talks to her dog, loudly and incessantly; the man asleep under a down comforter on the beach; the blob of orange goo on the sidewalk in Chinatown.  Once I write about a thing it becomes a part of me, I build a connection with it and in that connection I find a point of sympathy, or more accurately empathy.

Maybe if people wrote more about the things that confused them or even pissed them off we’d have a more sympathetic, understanding world.

Story Notes

Story Notes: Insomnia

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My story ‘Insomnia’ was published recently in Gone Lawn Issue 16. I’m so excited to read the work of the other contributors, it is a fabulous publication and I was thrilled to be included.

To read the story just head on over to Gone Lawn and check it out!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Gone Lawn before reading the notes.

About ‘Insomnia’

Guess what? I wrote this story as a result of insomnia!

I don’t suffer (thankfully) from insomnia very often, but when I do it’s terrible (obviously). I’m a big sleeper, I love dreaming and I sleep for possibly too many hours (at the very least until 10am everyday). So when I can’t sleep I immediately start to lose my mind.

I guess in this case it was a good thing, because this story just started happening to me. As I lay in bed in the dark trying to sleep I just imagined myself splitting in half and it was kind of terrifying and kind of exciting in a large, existential sort of way. As the sleepless nights continued everything became more and more anonymous feeling, empty and dreamy. It felt like I was walking around in a painting, everything was art—completely still and laced with obscure meaning.

I don’t enjoy playing the tortured writer card, but in this case the torment of sleeplessness paid off and actually produced something productive.

And now I’m off to take a nap.

Story Notes

Story Notes: The Giver

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My story ‘The Giver’ was published this week in Bitterzoet Magazine.  There were so many wonderful stories and poems in this issue of Bitterzoet and I was totally honoured to be included.

To read the story just head on over to Bitterzoet and check it out!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Bitterzoet before reading the notes.

About ‘The Giver

This story came from the idea that every little bit we do makes a difference; a smile, a kind word, a small confession.  Even the tiniest things can make a huge difference in someone’s day, or even their lives.

 I often walk around feeling like I’m insulated, like I’m living life in a vacuum.  It’s so easy to forget or not even realize the impact I have on others.  But by looking at the impact others have on me, I can extrapolate, calculate the possibility that when I make eye contact on the subway, say hi to a stranger, offer a bit of my attention, it does make a difference.

I don’t want to live in a world where we are all alone, where our actions don’t have consequences.  The girl in ‘The Giver’ offered bits of herself, seemingly inconsequential, in order to provide a larger inspiration, or a sort of relief to the world around her.

Ultimately, I think that’s what I strive for in my writing, and maybe all writers do.  Offering a bit of ourselves so everyone else can remember they’re not alone.

Story Notes

Story Notes: ‘Of Gods and Curtains’

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My story ‘Of Gods and Curtains’ was published this week in Apeiron Review, a lovely magazine filled with fabulous prose, pictures and poetry. I was thrilled to be included in Issue 7.

To read the story just head on over to Apeiron Review and check it out!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Apeiron Review before reading the notes.

About ‘Of Gods and Curtains’

We all have stories to tell and this is one of mine. It’s on repeat in my head as I struggle to find various ways to express it. Maybe to exorcise it. Maybe to simply see it from a new angle. It always comes out different, fictitious when I write it, but it’s always got that core of truth.


This is a story that’s hard for me to look in the eye. It came from the desire to have the story out in the open and blossomed with the line ‘Your Idols are crumbling, you have put them so high on their pedestals you can’t see the cracks.’

Sometimes all you need is a single thought to open up a wound.

People sometimes ask me why I feel the need to tell this story. Why I keep coming back to it over and over even though it’s hard and I think it’s mostly because I feel a responsibility to share my struggles with others so that they can know they’re not alone. I want people to know that there is help out there when you’re faltering, there are vets with golden rings who can help patch you up and help you make yourself whole. People who can help you see the sky.

I encourage anyone with a black river to seek help.

Another reason I keep returning to the story is because it scares me and the more something scares me the more I want to write it. Because if it means something to me, I think it might just mean something to someone else too.

Story Notes

Story Notes: Honey & Rye

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My story ‘Honey & Rye’ was published this week at Klipspringer Magazine. It’s a beautiful magazine and I was so honoured to be included in the ‘Circularity’ issue.

To read the story just head on over to Klipspringer and check it out!

Because I love to know about the origins of a story from the writer’s perspective, I thought I would share some notes about this story with you.

Spoiler Alert: There are spoilers in the story notes below. So if you want to read the story with fresh eyes check it out first at Klipspringer before reading the notes.

About ‘Honey & Rye’

I was in the shower and the first line of this story popped into my head: ‘We grew fat on honey’. It’s weird when that happens, when something pops into your head out of nowhere. But it wasn’t nowhere was it? There were a million different things buzzing through my head at the time and they all combined into this single, tasty line.

The first person to introduced me to the multiple first person perspective was Aimee Bender, one of my favourite writers, in her short story ‘Appleless’. If you haven’t read it, you should. Like…now. It’s in her fantastic short story collection ‘The Color Master’.

I love the multiple first person perspective because I find it lends itself beautifully to a fairytale story with an almost chilling, slightly sinister undertone.

Once I had the first line I just sat down and the rest of it poured out; thick and golden, sweet and yeasty. I was pleased with the results.

I see a lot of fairy tale re-tellings happening out there in the writing world and although I can’t knock them (because who doesn’t love a good classic?) I still feel as though writing our own new fairy tales is important. I personally prefer to read (and write) new fairy tales and I wish there were more out in the world (again Aimee Bender does an excellent job of this).

Finally, a lovely person online and some people in one of my writing groups suggested this would make a good illustrated story or animated short and I would love to see that happen. If there are any artists out there interested let me know! I’m not really sure how collaborations like that happen, but I thought I’d put the idea out there anyway.