Saturday, December 14, 2013

Headwaters Writers' Guild - TEN YEARS - December 9, 2013

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


How was your drive into work today? If this had been Tuesday, December 9, 2003, possibly the first Headwaters Writers’ Guild session might not have happened.

The drive to Honeywood in the winter was horrendous and often the late Janet Bellinger and I would write at Coffee Way (now Duca). "It's too bad we don't have a writing group in Orangeville." Janet planted the seed for our group.

For almost two years, Janet Bellinger and I continued to take workshops from the late Ed Wildman. Janet and I would be up early on the day of the workshop, editing some of our writing to read at the group. Ed believed that it was paramount for a writer to read their work aloud. He followed Natalie Goldberg’s advice.
Ed would always serve us coffee and dessert during a fifteen-minute break. Sometimes I brought muffins and Janet brought cake, and occasionally we had a potluck lunch.

Michele joined Ed’s workshop in 2002, and J.C. in April of 2003. Ed’s last workshop was in early September 2003.

By the end of October 2003, J.C. missed going to Ed’s workshops and he begged me to start a new writing group in Orangeville.

We’d called the Grand Valley Library and they offered us a room for our sessions. But we didn’t relish the drive to Grand Valley in the winter.

In mid November, while I was in the process of starting the group, Michele emailed me complaining about withdrawal pains re the writing workshops. Another member of Ed’s writing group was supposed to join us but we had conflicting schedules. Finally, I emailed Michele, who had four children, to pick a date and J.C. and I would attend.

On Tuesday night, December 9, 2003, J.C., Michele and I sat at a long table upstairs at the Orangeville Library and began the first session of the Headwaters Writers’ Guild, although at that time we were nameless.

Ed was unable to attend our first writing session.
December 14, 2013
I can't believe that it's ten years already. Even as a writer, I couldn't have imagined this. At first, our group consisted of beginning writers. Now, most of us have been published. Or we are writing novels, short stories, or we're working on editing our completed novels or non-fiction books.
When we started this group, we wanted to connect with other writers. We knew that only other writers would know how hard it is to find the perfect word, write on a daily basis, edit, send our writing out into the world, read or share our writing, and become the writer of our dreams.
Thank you to all our members for sharing this journey. We miss all our members who for some reason are unable to attend. We are delighted when you join us.
And for our member who reside in heaven - the late Ed Wildman, Janet Bellinger, and Len Rich, I still miss you!
Founding Member.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Two Stories Accepted for Publication

Hey, all. Just heard the news that two more of my flash fiction stories have been accepted for publication. Check out the first one, ONCE UPON A TIME, A SOLDIER, at today! The second story, LES CANAILLE, will be published at Cigale Literary Magazine ( on December 20th.

Lot's of good things happening. Jeremy Grant and I (The Rubber Brothers--percussion and poetry) opened for the Dave Bidini book reading event at the Alton Mill yesterday afternoon. A great time was had by all. And...I organized the audience into a poetry writing jag (collected their scribblings and shaped them into a poem) so that together we created the Great Canadian Hockey Poem. This is what we came up with:

Dreams Live Forever

Dreams live forever
dad and me on a Saturday night
where cold meets warm at the edge
of the rink
at the edge of the hot chocolate cup
cold seeping into bones
frozen feet and numb fingers
sitting on the bench
putting rink boards up
the echo of the puck
hitting the boards in an empty rink

I love hockey
it makes me happy
soggy hot dogs and stinky popcorn
my couch coach father
and our Saturday night imperative
skates on ice, sticks on puck, the big hit
(but please, no fights)
Hull Hall Harvey Howe
the 4-H club
Johnny Bower, Tim Horton, Dave Keon
(because I wrote a speech about him in 7th grade)
I loved the edge catching, ankle twisting hurts
the bulrushes up the ice
fogged over in the morning light

oh, and
my father tying my skates
the smell of gloves
fights on the ice
fights in the stands
hey, and no helmets
no mouthguards
like a 7-year-old-child
but macho

like smelly brothers after a game
and thank god for
sweet smelling, nose saving, Febreeze-fresh hockey bags
leather goalie pads and sweat
and the thrill of the first Leafs game in Maple Leaf Gardens

And clear the track, here comes Shack
the arc of shaved ice on a sudden stop

See, I was at the big game
3-1 Leafs over the Habs, 1967
and Keon winning the Conn Smythe
a part of history
Jubilation in Canadian Pride
and I loved shinny
and I remember my old gear
“Make sure you hang it up.”

It’s all about the dream
that I’m the one with the puck
back and forth
momentum changes
exploding into a breakaway
bodies banging
sliding gliding sweeping
swooshing around the ice
and crack went the stick to the puck
oomph, crash, shoulders hurt

But we love the game
that’s why we think
it’s worth the stench of the hockey bag stink
because dreams live forever
and well
it’s kept the guys out of trouble


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Exercise at Meeting - December 1, 2013

I admit it. I stole the idea from the Georgetown Wordsmiths for today's exercise. I orginally participated in this exercise, November 2012. After I received my paper, it felt so good that I wanted to share the experience.

I didn't expect two new members, Louise and Sonia, to join us. But they were game and joined us in writing nice things about strangers! Thank you Louise and Sonia for being such good sports.

We were delighted when Michael (Judy's son) visited us. He enjoyed the exercise too.

And like Val, I of course, brought cake. I hope everybody enjoyed today's meeting.

Joan Doane, of course, is one of the funniest writers I know, gave me permission to publish this on our blog. Thanks Joan.

Her website is

I hope you enjoy her minutes as much as I did!

November 26, 2012 – Minutes by  Joan Doane (Georgetown Wordsmiths)

I almost had to resort to calling my husband and asking him to bring the truck to get me home from the last meeting. Car troubles, you ask? No, but I was having a problem getting my swelled head into my small vehicle. My head barely fit through the door and, once I’d wedged it in, I then had to fumble about to get my seat to its lowest setting. As it was, my hair rubbed along the roof and my nose touched the front window, which became rather chilly during the 15 minute ride home (my nose AND the window.)

The problem started with Anne Marie who was acting as our illustrious Chair for the evening. She presented us with a very interesting opening exercise which consisted of us all writing nice things about each other! Imagine! We all went home with a sheet of paper, beautifully decorated with our names on the top, and 11 comments from our fellow Wordsmiths about how brilliant we are! Now that was certainly a great way to end a long day.
While I was hoping to receive accolades about my flowing mane of hair and lithe body (and received surprisingly few of those, for whatever reason), I was also happy to hear that I’m considered smart and caring, empathetic and organized (you obviously haven’t seen my desk lately!), and also, by a bit of a landslide majority, somewhat humorous. Go figure! It was a truly brilliant exercise and a great pick-me-up for everyone. Thanks, Anne Marie, for the neat idea! Thanks to all my fellow wordsmiths for the mutual I-think-you’re-great-too-lovefest! I’m still having difficulties going through narrrow doorways.

 Val brought cookies to share — a sweet gesture – in both kinds of ways. Nom, nom, nom. Thanks, Val!