Showing posts from 2020

Compositions from the Kitchen - The Return of Magnetic Poetry

My mother gave Magnetic Poetry Kits to both Steve and I for Christmas. Mine was nature themed and Steve's was for haikus, but since the haiku set was full of nature words as well, we decided to amalgamate them into a single mega-set. Behold! I actually had an original Magnetic Poetry Kit and a Shakespearean bonus set when I was young (also gifts from my mother). I don't recall how often I used them as a tween/teenager, though I seem to recall that I would compose one short work and leave it on the fridge for months on end. Which really fails to embrace the inherent strengths of the medium, I think. So will the same thing happen again? Only time will tell. But for now, here is a first foray into my career as an adult fridge poet: Listen to Lichen Listen to lichen Smile at seeds Make friends with a mushroom Walk with the weeds. ART!  (I will have to give up on rhyming pretty quick. There just aren't that many options)

Writing News: "A Warmer World" receives a Toronto Arts Council Playwrights Grant

I'm pleased to announce that one of my works-in-progress has been chosen for an 'Individual - Playwrights' grant from the Toronto Arts Council. I'm particularly excited about this because "A Warmer World" brings together two of the things I care most about—writing for young audiences and the environment. As I described it in my grant application: "A Warmer World" is a versatile episodic play for young audiences about our current ecological crisis, which explores the issues, the potential impacts, and the personal actions we can take around climate change, pollution, and habitat loss. The play consists of monologues and short scenes featuring primarily teen and tween characters, and is designed to be suitable both for a professional TYA company to present as a full-length show with a small cast playing multiple roles, or for a school to perform itself with flexibility in cast size and length. If presented in full, "A Warmer World" is expecte

Why Our Chairs Wear Socks

These two floofs right here. They are the reason the chairs in our house wear socks.  Several layers of thick socks, in fact. Below is what I recently did to the wooden legs of an ottoman: This white wooden stool, on the other hand, got the pool noodle treatment: This is all part of the steps we've taken to wobbly-cat-proof our home. Littermates Charlotte and Rubin both have the neurological condition cerebellar hypoplasia, sometimes also called wobbly cat syndrome. The part of their brain which controls movement and balance didn't fully develop in the womb, so they are two happy, healthy cats who happen to fall into things a lot. Over the years we've had them, I feel we've really upped our baby-proofing game, and have found all sorts of ways to pad all sorts of awkward corners. When I was taking the below photo of the two newly-padded pieces of furniture together, I didn't even notice that I was getting the worn-out-pajama-pants-wrapped desk leg and the pipe-insula

Sundays are for Fish Sketchin' (or, Drawing to Learn)

This morning I got up, ate some pancakes, and drew a fish. Because y'know, Sunday. Meet the Iowa darter—or at least my best approximation of one. My weekends haven't always been this way. Back in February I went to the Royal Ontario Museum for a one-day workshop called "Ontario Underwater: Freshwater Fishes of the Great Lakes". This was—and I cannot stress this enough—for fun.  I've had a good handle on Ontario mammals since I was a kid. I started casually birding in my twenties (although I still have a lot  to learn) and more recently, my knowledge of local reptiles and amphibians has progressed nicely. But fish, fish! For the most part, fish remained a mystery. As I hoped, the workshop was a great introduction, but it was also a lot to take in in just a few hours. Luckily we were all sent home with a copy of the Freshwater Fishes of Ontario guide book, but what to do with it? With birding, you take your book and your binoculars and head

The Beauty of Slowing Down

We've been staying home and social distancing for two-and-a-half months now, as the spring of COVID-19 stretches into summer. All things considered, I'm surprised it took me this long to decide to spend some of this formless time giving my website a little refresh. When I was looking for a new banner photo, this image felt like the perfect choice. It's a lovely photo if-I-do-say-so-myself , but it's also a lovely memory. A year ago next weekend, Steve and I rode the Maple Leaf together, a train that connects Toronto and New York City. We'd travelled to New York before, once by plane and once by bus, but since then I'd discovered the joy of train travel during a three day solo rail trip across America (which is a story for another time). Although that trip was filled with once-in-a-lifetime sights, it was even better to rattle along a little closer to home if it meant I could watch the sunset with someone I love. This year, there's no travel lined up i