Archive | Creative Nonfiction

Colour 197

I’m in the salon getting my nails done. I don’t find this relaxing. I just like the after-effects and looking down at the flawless colour on my fingers for days after. Everyone else is getting colour 42. I like colour 197. Every time I’m there, the manicurist keeps telling me to relax. You’re not relaxing […]


Long grass and blackberry bushes grow on each side of this sunny island road, before more trees and houses. No sidewalks here. The ditches beside the road are shallow and overgrown with grass. There are still telephone poles, the wires connecting each one to the end of the street. I step over a ditch and […]

Leather Jacket

    I am sitting in the Queen’s pub, holding a pint in my hand, wearing a black leather jacket. It’s not mine and it belongs to someone who has died. It’s not just that they died in the car accident wearing the jacket, and this just recently. I guess I am amazed at the […]

Erica’s Word – Game Theory at The Town Pump

  Lately at night I look out the window onto Vancouver, like I used to look out onto Derbyshire. I see a picture, I see rooftops, but instead of green short shaved moorlike hills there are mountains and water. The mountains are close enough that I can get to them in less than an hour. […]


I remember when The Cars Candy-O came out. I was a little older than the first album. The boys at school, I can see what they would have thought of the cover. It was grown up, with high heels and boobs. It was a year later than their first album, and I was a year […]


  I am walking home from school, down the hill. Back then I had songs in my head as I walked down the road’s shoulder. It was uphill to school and downhill back home, past the houses I would see every day. It was then I had Bye Bye Love by The Cars in my […]


I’ve never broken anything. Not even a finger, or sprained an ankle. I used to see people with casts on their arms and legs, and be envious. Their friends could write things on the white plaster, or draw little pictures, like stickmen or crashing cars, like they were signing a school yearbook. The injured couldn’t […]

Toys in the Attic

In 1990 I bought Toys in the Attic from a second-hand record store. Heard it all the way through for the first time sitting on my lounge carpet and embarked on a heavy listening phase with the album in my basement suite. I’d heard Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way lots before. Uncle Salty was […]

Being Twenty

I unlocked the door to my suite. It was after 2 am. The door had a step down to it, from the yard behind the house. That was the step where the milkman left the milk, until the golden lab upstairs thought to attack the cartons chewing through their middle. Milk spilled over the rip […]


  I blamed the March rain, because I wanted to go to the lake. I looked out the window at the droplets pooling against the glass. I  wanted to see the ducklings in Turtle Bay, but Mum and Dad said the weather was too cold and rainy. It was Spring Break. Back in those days, […]

The Science to the Finding of Expensive Umbrellas

I was never good at science. I went through a phase, once in my life, of finding expensive umbrellas at bus stops. I was 19 or 20, and going to a community college, traveling there by bus. The umbrellas were both Christian Dior. I found them on days that threatened rain, on the bus-stop bench. […]


I was eight when we went to Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Part of a trip to California with my sister and my folks. We went on the Backlot tour, as it was called then. We sat in a tram with others, everyone with their sunglasses and sun hats and sandals on. I remember the […]

Easter in Cloverdale

When we were little, on Easter morning, we had an Easter egg hunt. My Mom had bought a few small Easter eggs, the chocolate ones, and they were hidden around the house. Not outside was the rule because that would be too cold and possibly dirty and wet. We always checked about this when we […]

Life and ice-cream

I am standing in an ice cream parlor in Florence. The owner yells at me in Italian. I had just bought a vanilla ice-cream and began to eat it inside the parlor, smoothing the white cold ridges with my tongue to prevent the whole thing from toppling. I am not supposed to be doing this […]

My Bloomingdales Cape

I was standing in Bloomingdales in New York, in this one part of the store that I found. It was filled mostly with accessories, but they didn’t cost a million dollars.  I had been in there a couple of days before to buy a scarf, but I just wanted one last look before I flew […]



At our house we had about ten fruit trees all down the side of the vegetable garden. There were apple trees and plum trees and pear trees. Trees that had grass underneath and the grass we would have to cut in the summer. During the winter the tree branches, though bare, grew spindly up to […]

Going to the Lake

sakinaw lake

In my last year of Junior High, I found out that I had the chance to go up to Sakinaw Lake with my aunt and uncle. I hadn’t been there for three or four years, and so I was excited about the opportunity. My sister, who was a couple of years older than me, said […]

Watching Movies

I am sitting on the couch watching Kramer vs Kramer for the first time. I am fourteen. I’m drinking sleepy time tea and eating rice cakes with peanut butter as this is a new snack I have learned from my aunt. There is the scene about the french toast and I am watching Dustin Hoffman […]

1475 Broadway – Happy New Year!

early morning Times Square

I spent plenty of New Year’s Eves babysitting as a teenager. These were good babysitting jobs, sitting for nice people who left snacks out for you on the kitchen counter and had a newer TV than Mom and Dad’s at home. I started babysitting when I was eleven after I had taken a course, and […]

Lost in Tribeca

I intended to go running on my first trip to New York this month. I knew I would be disappointed if I lost my nerve. I wanted to run through Times Square when it was empty. I wanted to run up Broadway.

Gemini – Kits Stories

In the late eighties, for a little while I worked on Robson Street at a clothing shop called Gemini. It was one of the last old clothing shops on the street before all the expensive chain stores moved in to the neighbourhood.  Soon there would be a Chanel shop nearby and already a big pink loungerie […]

The Big Green Building

planetarium and green building

Another place I lived in during the Kits era, was the big green monster building by the Burrard Bridge. I only lived there for around six to eight months. I spent a lot of my time there playing solitaire, eating greek salad, staring out at the lights of the city and listening to Stevie Ray […]


view from kits beach

I’ve only been on EI, employment insurance once. I was 19 or 20 and living in Kits. I had worked in a few retail stores, and I was at a shop called Jai on Broadway, on Broadway. It was ideal because I only lived a couple of blocks away at the time. I lived in […]

Oscar the Cat

Dennys sign photo

In 1987 after my 19th birthday, I decided I wanted to move from White Rock to Vancouver. This was mostly because White Rock was too far from what my desires were getting to be, which was to have a place of my own and be able to go out and see bands in Vancouver, without […]

My Old School

picture of Semi

It is 1972. I am around 4 years old and it is the week before Christmas. It’s in the evening, and my sister and I are in one of the classrooms on the second floor of Semiahmoo Senior Secondary School. I think we only had one car back then, so Dad would have driven Mom […]

Summer of 1972

I am sitting on the lawn of the first house I ever lived in. I am going to say it is the summer of 1972, and probably just before or after my fourth birthday in July. The lawn is like a large green expanse with the edges sloping down, and I am sitting in the […]

My Grandpa and the War – For Remembrance Day

poppies painting

Ertha Kitt used to scare me. I mean no disrespect to her memory. It was just a stupid little reaction kids have. When you see an adult on TV and you don’t understand them. I saw her once on TV when I was at my grandparents- my Mom’s parents at their apartment. She looked like […]

Halloween as I remember it

My parents had a fair sized garden when we were kids and we had a pumpkin patch in it. For some reason we had a number of years where the patch grew enormous pumpkins. We put it down to my Dad’s seaweed fertilizer that he used to drag up from the beach. Anyway, the pumpkins […]

My First Baseball Game Ever – Watching the Blue Jays In Seattle

I went for a run today, 10 miles this morning in the dark, and when I got back the sun was just coming up, but it wasn’t. I realized this is the first cloudy day we are having. We’ve been lucky this September in Vancouver. Often it can start to rain the first day that […]


street painting

It’s 3.30 or 4 in the morning and I’ve sat down on a bench in the park, tired of walking. I’ve walked everywhere. I’m afraid to go home. I wonder how I’ve ended up, sitting in the park, in the middle of the night. When I’m 29. I’ve even been to the women’s shelter as […]

A Weird Day in the Bookstore

I was 24 at the time and working at a second-hand bookshop. The shop was at the top of the hill, across from a large pub, and my job there was the kind of job every body asked, how I got it, all the time. Thinking I was so lucky. Actually it meant for some […]

The Long and Short of it

When I was 11 or 12 I had hair that was far past my shoulder blades. I decided I needed it trimmed, I can’t remember why. I can’t remember if it was to tidy it up, or keep it healthy, or whether my Mom was getting her hair cut and I decided I would get […]

Tall Trees

  One summer when we were up at Sakinaw Lake, Mom explained to us that there were some tall trees behind the cabin, and that the next day there were going to be some loggers come by to top the trees, otherwise they would risk the cabins nearby, namely ours, our Uncle’s and a couple […]

Suckered in, set up…

In the first neighborhood that I ever lived in, there were some other kids on our street, next door, that we sometimes hung out with. Two boys about the same age as us, maybe a little older. One was called David, I can’t remember the name of the other one, Anyway, across the street from […]

Safe and a porch-light

When I was 18 I was living in White Rock and had finished school, had finished working at McDonalds that summer at Expo ’86 which was my first job. I was then working in White Rock, part-time at Muffin Break, and also at a gift shop in the mall.

The Big House

When we used to live in White Rock we lived on a street, in the second house I ever lived in. It was like an afterthought, a street that curled down from Marine Drive as if it was trying to get down to the ocean but the trees grew up from the beach and stopped it. The street was quite […]

The Lions

A few years ago when I was first back in Canada, I was staying in White Rock, and I ran 10 miles one day from the pier, to 28th, the old street that we used to live on above Crescent Beach, when I was only little. I wanted to stand on it again, and see […]

California Coast and an 8-Track Tape Deck

During the dark mornings lately, there are times when I wished I could have had a do-over of decade old decisions, a chance to clean up messes. I missed sunlight waking me. Family vacations. When I was a kid there were times we went to California. When we did, Mom and Dad used to wake […]

800 Square Feet

  I remember being at my Grandma and Grandpa’s, on my mother’s side, at their old farmhouse in Cloverdale at a very early age. And I remember the Christmas Eve there I first watched Frosty the Snowman on the old tv. I think my parents had probably gone to Harrison Hot Springs or something, and […]

June 1992

When I think back to 19 years ago, it surprises me how time has passed, and I wonder why I write about things when I do. When I was first in England in 1992, I met my friend John almost right away, and within a short time we were seeing each other.

Off Course

Quite a number of years ago, I had accumulated a plastic bag full of small poetry magazines that I had poetry published in. I had spent quite a lot of time writing and the magazines were ok, they were just small magazines. There were a couple of poems in better literary journals – I kept […]

Creature Comforts

It is funny that when the mercury rises up near 30, no matter how hot it gets in the apartment, no matter how the steering wheel tries to fry your hands when you go to drive the car, no matter how you complain about the heat and assess your immediate surroundings for anything that could […]

Ice Cream

Yesterday I bought ice cream. One chocolate, one vanilla, in the big round buckets like I had when I was a kid. These were the same buckets that my mom would save for berry picking after the ice cream was gone, blackberries from the spare lot down the road or blueberries from the farm, or […]

Sakinaw Lake ’76

Years ago, my Mom and Dad used to have a cabin at Sakinaw Lake, alongside my Uncle’s cabin. We drove up there every summer― caught the ferry at Horseshoe Bay, then off the ferry and kept on driving past Sechelt and farther until we reached the lake. We would pack everything we brought with us […]