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!
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.
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).
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.
With the short fiction term of my Creative Writing course wrapped up and the poetry chunk starting in September, I have time to fine-tune a few pieces I’m planning to submit for writing competitions and/or publication. Most of the publishers require previously unpublished work, so I won’t be popping them up here—at least not yet.
In the meantime, though, here are three more stories from other writers I think are worth a read.
Canada has been on my mind a lot recently. Partially because of international media coverage after the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC. Partially because Prime Minister Trudeau got weird amounts of attention for his poufy hair and fancy socks at the G7 in Cornwall. But mostly because I haven’t been on Canadian soil for a year and a half.
That’s a long absence for me.
As more people are fully vaccinated (in Switzerland and Canada) and COVID-19 infection rates are going down in both countries, travel is starting to re-open. But plotting a trip ‘home’ has been complicated by quarantine requirements, lack of flights, previous commitments, and, above all, so much uncertainty.