In the Pre-Dawn Dark

The howling wind has woken me prematurely. It is rushing frantically ’round my house, rattling the windows and doors, cold and lonely. The wildness in my veins wants to run out and dance with it, in the fractured moonlight offered up by the icy snow.

Like the descendant of the wolf snoring next to my beating heart, and the small cousin of the lion curled up on the flesh of my thigh, I too have been domesticated — a comforted creature ensnared by creature comforts.

Burrowed in my nest of blankets and quilts, and with my evolved human head cradled by the down of long-gone birds gliding along glassy waters, I wonder what may have been lost along the way.

I think the wind knows.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ Day 2 contributions via the comments here.


My Confetti Hands

I knew it would happen eventually.  And, of course, it did.

Like so many people out there, my social contact since the pandemic began has consisted of screens.  An unexpected benefit of this has been the sheer number of conferences, classes, and gatherings of like-minded people that I could not have otherwise have encountered, let alone enjoyed attending.

The last week of July 2020, I was invited by a long-distance friend to visit her writers’ group, and that was when I first learned of Teach Write.

Begun by Jen Laffin, Teach Write is an online gathering of teacher-writers who meet several times a week to set writing goals, celebrate, and write together.   I’ve been attending since August 2020, and those Time to Write (TTW) sessions are easily the highlight of my week.  I have made friends with writing teachers from across Canada, throughout the United States, in Ghana, and in Asia.  It makes spending so much time in my house a lot easier. 🙂

One of the very first things a newcomer to these writing sessions learns is that, during celebrations, we silently cheer each other on by holding up our hands and waving our fingers, as if we are throwing “virtual confetti.”  Until someone explains it to you, it can look rather odd, but it becomes a natural part of your life after a session or two.

Besides Teach Write, I have been taking a memoir class that follows hard on the heels of the Sunday TTW session.  (In fact, I usually duck out a few minutes early to get to it, just so I’m not rushing to get there.  What that means when I’m literally signing out of one screen and into another, rather than running across campus, I don’t know.  Welcome to 2021.)

At the beginning of yesterday’s memoir class, Nancy — our facilitator — asked us each in turn to share how our writing week had gone.  I went first, and then listened to another classmate describe his accomplishments.

And then it happened.

OMG I just sent virtual confetti in my memoir Zoom class.  They’re all looking at me like I’m from another planet!

My TTW friends texted back with reassurances.  But I was not to be assuaged.  I felt I needed to explain myself to somebody, anybody.

I was just in TTW — didn’t even get out of the chair — so my confetti hands didn’t realize we had switched Zooms and we were done that part!

My friends laughed along with me, and I sheepishly spent the rest of my last memoir class sitting on my hands.

As it turns out, that was not the last time I will be seeing most of those memoir classmates.  We have decided to continue on meeting regularly, with me as facilitator.

I know exactly what the first thing I teach them about our virtual meetings will be.

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ March Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ Day 1 contributions via the comments here.

Refresh … Paste. Refresh … Paste. Refr–

I am an unabashed bibliophile.  Nothing makes me happier than books.  I have a lot of books; I just got an app for my iPhone that will allow me to scan bar codes (or manually enter details) to create an inventory database of my books.  I will let you know the total number when I finish entering them all.  It will likely be sometime in 2024.

In my small city, we don’t have an independent bookstore for new books.  We do have a couple of delightful shops for pre-loved volumes, but for new releases, I have to rely on the chain stores or online.  And since my taste in reading runs an eclectic gamut — especially in terms of nonfiction — Amazon and I are frequent acquaintances.

The delivery service Amazon uses most often for Prime customers in my city is not my favourite, I’m afraid.  I can’t check the tracking directly from my Amazon order page, and once I do copy and paste the tracking number into the box in their website, I can’t bookmark the page.  So every time I want to check it, it takes three screens and too many mouse clicks.  That’s irritating.

Then there is the tracking information itself.  The updates are hit-or-miss.  Sometimes they incorrectly fill in the origin city, using my city as the location all the way along.  So I have no idea where my beloved new book actually is.  (And — I’m sure you’ll understand — I need to know!)

Here I sit, staring at my screen.  Expected Delivery: Today.  Why is there no “Out for Delivery?”  Why is the last update yesterday afternoon at 4:10 PM, in another city?  Why — this morning — did they update the expected delivery date two days ahead of when Amazon said it would be here, yet not update its location or status?  Why do they toy with me this way?!

I need more tea.  And I need my new book.

This post was also shared on
Two Writing Teachers‘ Slice of Life Challenge for February 16, 2021.

Karen J. McLean