The Writer's Journey. Follow Your Dreams

When people follow their dreams, their passion often leads ultimately to the fulfillment of those dreams. Sometimes it takes a long time. At others, the dreams may change and open up other avenues. I always wanted to be a writer and while it took almost a lifetime to get to the published book stage, I do not regret the journey. And here I am to tell you that you never know where you will find the encouragement to continue.

There were many spots on my journey when something happened that suggested it was possible that I would one day publish a book. Then more books. An early such moment was when I opened an envelope to discover that a recommendation had been made on my behalf, unknown to me, by James Polk, then an editor at the House of Anansi Press,  for an Ontario Arts Council grant. I did not know who Polk was except that he had turned down my manuscript. Yet only a month or so later, he was recommending me for a grant.

Another significant event was when a story that was accepted by the University of Windsor Review was accepted for broadcast on the CBC's Anthology. And then not long after came a small Canada Council grant. I corresponded in those days with the Editor, not knowing until many years later who the Fiction Editor, who had actually accepted my work, was (Keep reading!).

When I met Adele Wiseman during her stint as writer in residence at the University of Toronto, I met not only a mentor but a friend who remained both until she died many years later. Bill Kilbourn was another mentor and friend. Sometimes my work wasn't entirely ready to submit and yet these two wonderful writers could see something in it.

And then there was the Humber School for Writers. After years of deciding I would not take this  program because it was where I live, Toronto, so wouldn't provide an opportunity to go somewhere else (as I had done by going to the Banff Centre of the Arts in 1992 and to a summer writing program at the University of New Brunswick in 1997), finally I read their course information.. My express purpose was to move on in my career as a writer. So I applied and was accepted, too nervous to ask for Alistair MacLeod as mentor, thinking that was presumptuous on my part. Lo and behold, Humber decided his small group was the right one for me.            

It was while at Humber that I learned that, ten years apart,  MacLeod had accepted two of my short stories that were subsequently published in The University of Windsor Review. Somehow this drew the strands of my writing life together and gave it all some coherence. And the courage to move on. Not long after, my short story collection was accepted by Inanna. Later, my first novel in 2010. And now in 2014, I look forward to the publication of my second novel in the fall!

The dreams continue as one after another my books emerge.A long, arduous, but satisfying, journey.
Posted on May 13, 2014 .