Selected short-story reading (vol. 4)

For the first year ever, I religiously tracked the books I read in 2021. From technical tomes on poetry and required reading for my Post-Graduate Creative Writing course, to cookbooks and the trashiest of romance novels, everything went into Goodreads. (Yeah, I’m not thrilled about it being Bezos-owned and the interface is pretty bad, but it’s the devil I know.)

The book-centric site can’t, however, capture all the smaller bits; the short stories, poems, and personal essays that fill my laptop screen or are thumbed through on my phone. Since starting the Creative Writing course, I’ve maintained a series of Google Docs where I sock away the best of those smaller bits. It’s useful when reflecting on what I read and how it influences my own work (a requirement for the final term assessments)—and it’s a great source for recommendations!

Continue reading “Selected short-story reading (vol. 4)”

Resisting stillness

Light purple sticky note with script reading "my brain has too many tabs open"

At the start of my regular Tuesday meditation sessions, the teacher usually asks how we’re coming to practice. Yesterday, I said I was feeling a lot of resistance. 

After her regular thank-you-for-sharing affirmation, she encouraged me to question what was feeling threatened by the practice. THREATENED. The word hit hard. The question caught me off guard. 

Partway through the meditation, I found my answer.

Continue reading “Resisting stillness”

A couch-driven getaway

Bolsters and blocks from teaching ‘Stonehenge’ pose

One of my favourite restorative yoga positions also happens to be one of the easiest to set up. It’s also one of the few restorative poses that’s easier to do at home—and no, it’s not just laying on the couch.

Restorative yoga is, by nature, prop-intensive. We want to provide enough support for our bodies to fully relax and a lot of the shapes call for multiple bolsters, blocks, blankets, straps, and whatnot, stuff most of us don’t have in inventory.

But the pile of bolsters and blocks pictured (not to mention all the blankets we used!) created by doing ‘Instant Mallorca’ (aka ‘Stonehenge’) pose at a yoga studio is totally avoidable at home—using couch cushions!

Continue reading “A couch-driven getaway”

Meanings, meditations, and modifications

The report from the most recent MRI on my right knee is filled with words I don’t understand — and not just because they’re German. ‘Subluxation’ is the same in English and auf Deutsche. ‘Chondral degeneration’ and ‘joint effusion’ are pretty close. ‘Arthrose’ translates neatly to ‘osteoarthritis.’ And meniscus is readily understandable with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c.’

The meaning of the medical terminology is opaque in either language. The effects on my life, however, are obvious — and leave me wondering about what osteoarthritis and a host of complications mean for meditating.

Continue reading “Meanings, meditations, and modifications”

The 22nd

The current term of my creative writing programme is all about poetry. Lots of reading, critiquing, analysing, and, of course, writing. We’re being asked to write about things that move us deeply. And to share work from published writers (who I think of as ‘real‘ poets) that inspire us.

The first poem I wrote this term is about saying goodbye to Sofie. She comes to mind so clearly on the 22nd of each month: the date of her death (in February) as well as the date of her birth (in December).

Continue reading “The 22nd”

Selected short-story reading (vol. 3)

I’m well into the first term of the final year of my Post-Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing from the University of York (not to be confused with York University in Toronto!) and this term’s focus is poetry. The last four weeks have confirmed that I enjoy reading poetry far more than writing it.

And, whether reading or writing, I prefer prose to verse.

To that end, here are three more short stories I recommend.

Continue reading “Selected short-story reading (vol. 3)”

The return of virtual yin

Autumn always makes me want to get snuggly. The colder months are perfect for cosying up and taking it easy—and the slow, meditative approach of yin yoga is a perfect match.

To make it easier to get some hygge this autumn, I’m brining back monthly Friday evening yin yoga sessions. Three relaxing 75-minute online classes (with video replay), from my home to yours.

Continue reading “The return of virtual yin”