If you’ve finished off most of your summer reading list, here are two more that will take your imagination on a figurative holiday to Ireland. It’s been a bumper summer for Irish writing superstars. The legendary Edna O’Brien released her memoir Country Girl at the beginning of the summer. Her writing is beautiful – as […]

Here, the first of the “subway people” I mentioned in my last post: I made it through the subway doors just before they clamped shut behind me and sat down in the first seat I saw – right next to the door, facing the inside of the car. I sat straight, hands folded tightly around […]

The Toronto Transit Commission used to be touted as the best public transit system North America. Not any more. The joke is that TTC stands for “Take The Car.” And that’s exactly what I do most days. I can bypass the centre of the city, taking main arterial roads and highways, and get to work […]

While there are artists I admire – writers, songwriters, singers, essayists – there are few I would want to meet. I imagine the magic they exert on my life would change. Do I want to know anything about them personally? Not particularly. They’re entitled to their privacy; I’m entitled to my fantasy. There a few […]

Spring is here and my back garden is about to turn into a killing yard. Or perhaps a charnel house for the carcasses of birds and mice unfortunate enough to have been caught by our erstwhile tabby, Jumper. I say unfortunate enough, but I really mean untalented enough … the cat rarely catches birds. Despite […]

Books really can cause a stir. Particularly when the authors are Roddy Doyle and Stompin’ Tom Connors – you know, rock star, party-worthy types. Both came to mind this week – Stompin’ Tom because he passed away on Wednesday; Roddy Doyle because I came upon an article he wrote about writing. They’re both cultural giants, […]

  If you need something to read this weekend and you’re willing to spend sometime with a literary writer, I’ve read and reviewed both these books and think they’re worth the time spent:   In this era of in-your-face erotic fiction epitomized by Fifty Shades of Grey, Australia’s Chloe Hooper gives us an erotic psychological thriller […]

I won’t share his picture just in case you recognize him – or perhaps his ex-girlfriend – through their association with me. Not that he wants anonymity – he appeared in the newspaper after all – but when you move from prosperity to homelessness it’s gotta be hard to come face to face with your […]

There are few things that say home like the sound of a kid playing piano. The sound of stilted scales drifting through open windows and into the spring or summer air, the floating notes representing what the kid wished her spirit could do while she had to stay inside, practicing. I didn’t understand that feeling, […]

Today I walked out the front door of the house with my lunchbox in hand. My daughter had skipped out before me. She spied a friend of hers and her mother walking up the street. When she can, she dumps me and the car ride to school in favour of a leisurely walk, and today’s […]

Walking on water – that’s what we joked we were doing. We were on Stoney Lake, near Lakefield, Ontario, with the water frozen deeply enough so snowmobiles could drive across it. Riders had cooperated to keep everyone safe – orange stakes pounded into the ice marked a safe route across the snow-covered ice. A highway […]

Apparently leftover laminate flooring and big staples are acceptable building materials in the city of Toronto. Am I sounding sarcastic? Probably. It’s a sign of my frustration with the city and its bylaws – or at least its bylaw officers. Here’s why: About a month ago our neighbours put up this addition on the front […]

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