Archive | Personal Essays


  I am a Washington Capitals fan that lives in Vancouver. I get questioned about this, about how this happened. I know people who follow the Bruins or Red Wings. They don’t get interrogated about it. It’s like I’m having some kind of dirty hockey affair. All I know is it happened during the short […]


  We were talking about hitchhiking. I asked if you ever had. I thought it was illegal now, but it’s not. But still I would never have tried it as a teenager. I was always too afraid I think. Had the dangers of it reinforced in my thinking at a young age. I always listened […]

Slippin’ Jimmy – what we’ve earned and what we deserve in life

I felt some anxiety this morning. I don’t know why as recently it hasn’t bothered me too much. All the running and cooking are normally quite therapeutic. Maybe watching the Amtrak crash in Philly on CNN has affected me more than I realize. I know what has happened. I’ve seen the same pictures already and […]

Snow in June

It was May 1st 1997,  the day of the election. I had gone swimming at the baths mid-morning. Hall Bank was a steep street. Wearing sandals, I walked up it towards the marketplace. My legs had that feeling of flexibility after you swim. I could hardly feel the incline. It had been warm the last […]



  A small rectangular plaque hangs in my kitchen. It is made of wood, with an off-white front and black writing and was willed to me by my paternal grandmother. On the front is the 1859 poem written by Elizabeth Cheney, “Overheard in an Orchard.” Perhaps the first poem I ever read, except for In […]


bw clock in lighted avenue

When I lived in Cheshire and used to go running out of town into the local countryside, I was always on my own. There were no pedestrians, only a bit of traffic, especially when I got past Prestbury and onto some of the country roads. I didn’t listen to music because I was watching for […]

The Trees Outside

tree trunks in a forest

Sometimes you can have a day of work, where a couple of things happen, and you think, that was not my worse day at work ever, because I remember when that day was, because a certain thing, or a few things happened, which qualified it for that category. I have had many days where I […]


candles on cake in dark

I thought about something that used to be in the cake – quarters, or dimes wrapped in cling film. If I had a piece of cake with a quarter in it, it was a really big deal. Sometimes it would be obvious you would get the quarter, because when Mom was cutting the cake, you […]

No Regrets – Monica Lewinsky and “Shame and Survival”


In January of 1998 I was living in Derbyshire at the time, far away from my home in Canada. I was six months shy of my 30th birthday, and it was six months after I had graduated with a writing degree from the University of Derby.

Here, in New York.

Park Avenue (public domain)

A few months ago a colleague and I went out at lunch and we stopped by the cobbler shop in the Bentall Center in Vancouver. Usually, I took my cowboy boots that needed mending in there and my friend wanted to ask the ‘shoe man’ as I called him, something. After talking with him we […]

Strawberry Fields – December 8, 2013

photo at imagine

  I realized before I went to New York in December I was going to be there on the 8th, on what would be 33 years since John Lennon’s death. Looking at my calendar, I had planned to be there for the Capital’s game that night at Madison Square Garden and then I realized the […]

The Home Child

It was a Sunday in Dauphin, Manitoba, the day my Great-Grandfather Arthur decided to take his own life. He was a farmer, and at around 5 o’clock in the evening that day, he shot himself in the head with a .22 rifle. He was 59 years old. The day was June 19, 1932. I am […]

On Writing and Stuff…

pen and notebook

When I was in my senior year in high school one afternoon a bunch of us sat in the bleacher-like seats in the classroom where I normally played my flute in band. I was sitting in the second to last row near the back, and that day I believe it was some type of career […]

Almost New Years

Growing up we used to go to a place called Sakinaw Lake on the Sunshine Coast. We used to spend time there in the summer as my Dad was a teacher and that was when he had his holidays. There were a couple of wooden docks there by our cabins, where we would sit out […]

Little Saint Nick

little saint nick 45

    I finally saw the Beach Boys play at Expo ‘86. I was 18 that summer and worked at one of the McDonalds there. That’s what I remember about Expo ’86, walking out of the wrong end of the Expo site when I was leaving for home, and ending up in a really bad […]

The worse Christmas ever?

cats, snow and fir tree

What ever happened to the 24 hour flu? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says it doesn’t exist. I know that one Christmas morning as I kid, I woke up with it. So I believe in the 24 hour flu. Christmas Eve I felt fine. Christmas morning I woke up feeling like barfing, alerted […]

Quarterbacks, Superstars and What Ifs – Greg Cook

photo of Greg Cook

I remember in my first year of Junior High I started having to take the bus to school for the first time. In elementary school I had just walked up the hill, and school started at 9. I was at the big school now, and it started just after 8, and I had to take […]


persimmon painting

Today I ate a persimmon that I bought from the store yesterday. I’d never seen them in there before. I looked for them a few months back. Suddenly, they’re they are. Must be in season. It says on the sticker they are from New Zealand. The last and first time I ate a persimmon I […]

Farrah Fawcett painting by Andy Warhol – The Dispute

andy warhol farrah fawcett painting

Three girls stand in the dust of the playground making a decision as to who is going to be who. We are playing Charlie’s Angels and if you want to bagsy the role of Jill Munroe played by Farrah Fawcett, you had better be quick about it.

Boston’s Self-Titled Album

  I can remember hearing Boston songs like Peace of Mind and More than a Feeling being played on the radio, as I was growing up, along with all the other big rock songs from the 70’s. In my early 20s I listened to a lot of music from the local scene, or from Seattle, […]

The Marathon Time

The other day, I was thinking about a house that I lived in growing up. This was the house that I had the richest memories of. Not just how everything was inside the house, but how the garden was, and how the trail to the beach was, and what the beach was like. I  had […]

Me? Watching Sports?

My Dad is 75, and I can finally talk to him about sports. Why has it taken so long? I don’t know. It was never a goal of mine, it is something funny that has just happened. I played sports as a child, and as a teenager, but I never watched them on TV. That […]

What’s Going On

It was April 1, 1984, and my friends and I were at Camp Alexandra in Crescent Beach. It was a school event. We were camping there for several days. We weren’t counselors there yet but would be next year, when we were in Grade 10 and the whole idea of that amazed me, because we […]

Happy Easter: Running, Rabbits and Joy Division

When I used to live in Macclesfield I used to go running. In the summer I would have a route that would leave Macclesfield, go out to Prestbury, then up Chelford Road and I was in the Cheshire countryside. I used to run between the villages. If I ran to the end of Mottram St. […]

Drama in Real Life

My grandparents on my Dad’s side lived in Cloverdale. Like my other Grandparents (fortunately I knew all of my grandparents) we would often go to stay there for a night or two on the weekends. They lived in an apartment. When we went to the apartment there were several activities we did. It usually started […]

Black and White

I am sitting on the couch looking through the photos I took in Yorkshire when I went to that poetry workshop and feeling like I want to throw them out. I know I shouldn’t throw them out. Why should I? They were nice photos of the Yorkshire countryside, taken with black and white film. They […]


  With the death of Michael Jackson last week, it makes me think back to the release of Thriller. I am going to Victoria, B.C. later this week, and one of my visits to Victoria as a teenager was in the months following the album’s release. It was 1982 and I was 13, almost 14. Somewhere in […]