Wednesday, May 9, 2012


When I was little, my Grandmother kept hanging flowers -- 5 or 6 baskets, in a row, every summer in front of the windows of her dining room. They didn't smell like much, but the hummingbirds fought over the red ones. Tiny, squeaking, angry hummingbirds dive-bombing and racing in front of the glass. We'd watch them for hours. By the end of summer her entire yard was covered in petals. Red speckles on grass and concrete.

I've never had live flowers in or around my place. Between the basement apartments, struggling university lifestyle and general short-seasoned-ness of Newfoundland, it's just never happened.

A few months ago I noticed a hook outside our balcony door. "We're getting a basket of flowers", I said.

As soon as the closest garden center opened, the Fella, Wee man and I walked down to investigate. The store was still unloading inventory, so their hanging plants were tucked away in a corner. I saw the same familiar red petals, slightly wilted, behind a tall pylon. In an attempt to move said pylon, I looped my fingers into its top hole and immediately pierced my hand on something.
Blood ran down from left middle finger.
"Are you okay?", my husband asked.
"Yes. I'll get it, let's go." and I kicked the pylon aside.

I told the boy at the counter to "never mind the blood." He looked at me, but didn't say anything. The basket's handle was stained the same colour as the flowers it supported.

For the first few days, our little plant continued its sad appearance. I'd go out, water it with an old wine bottle and prune its dying blooms to make way for the buds. I wondered if hummingbirds would fly up to the fifth floor of an apartment building. And, little by little, our flowers recovered.

Last night, while we were watching t.v., I looked through our living room window and noticed an eruption of extra petals. The foliage must have started growing, as well, because the greenery began to really hang over the edge of the bowl.

"Hey", I said to my husband.
"Yeah?" he responded
"I'd like to have flowers for the rest of my life. Okay?"
He looked up at me and smiled "Sure. Flowers. We can do that."

Monday, May 7, 2012


Week two of writing articles every day. The words are easier coming now. I guess, like anything, it's a matter of practice and habit. Deadlines help to motivate my sorry ass, haha.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but Mr.Fella had applied to a pretty sizeable SHRCC grant a few months back. The past several months of our lives were consistently framed with "well, IF we get a SHRCC... IF we get one..."

Well, he got it. It's $35,000 a year for three years - not including the funding he already gets for his TAship. So, given our current status, it's pretty life-changing. The letter came while he was finishing up with a meeting and he had me read it out to him on the phone. We both cried, we couldn't believe it. The little guy was confused by our hysterics.

But it takes the pressure off the both of us - we don't have to worry so much about being able to keep up with daycare costs, trips back home for Christmas, that sort of thing. I can focus on the writing projects that I really like, and that'll really help me go where I want to go. I've been thinking about a novel for some time and I might give it a go, or at least get it started. I ordered some research material for it yesterday.

It'll be about Newfoundland. And being brave (don't worry, it won't be autobiographical - a blog is where I draw the line for my ego-centrism.)  Things are happening.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I think I've reached my first ethical dilemma as a writer.

I've been taken on to write daily(ish) articles on various industry sectors. One of the sectors is energy and it's becoming difficult to find energy companies that I feel comfortable writing about. The impression that I get from my editor is that these are supposed to be business oriented columns. As in, "what can we learn from these businesses," sort of thing.

Well, I'm not sure that I really want to present a "what can we learn" piece on BP (remember that giant oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? Wasn't that fun?)

And as I delve into the biggest energy companies, I'm finding similarly unsavory histories. I feel like I'm supposed to ignore the social/environmental context for everything I'm talking about and focus on the rich white guy who was able to create an empire because, surprise surprise, he was a rich white guy. And I'm supposed to pretend it was due to some romanticized notion of entrepreneurial "captain of industry" type stuff. It leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Soooooo. I'm still going to write. I have other projects. I just think I might need to change this particular arrangement.

- P.S. This is why I'm going to school to write manuals! Unless someone tries to hire me to write a guide on "how to torture puppies", I'll probably be clear of this sort of stuff!