“Autumn Walk” first appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, July 27, 2016.
One night in late October, my daughter and I were crossing a field on the way to the store. We came upon a group of rabbits, lined up in a row and all facing the same way. They took no notice of us, and just sat there, in that perfect, unnerving line. Such things haunt the imagination.
Q and A
“Q and A” first appeared in Hippocampus Magazine, August Issue, 2016.
And yes, people have asked me all these questions—some even more personal. It happens so often that it doesn’t even phase me anymore.
The Dance of the Snow People
“The Dance of the Snow People” first appeared in The Flash Fiction Press, December 11, 2016. If you live in a northern town—as I do—then you deal with snow for more than half the year. I was thinking about the long winters in Edmonton, and how the snow sometimes seems like a living thing. Then I thought of Hans Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.” Soon I had a story.
“On Smoking” first appeared in Hippocampus Magazine, March 1, 2017. This is my first attempt at memoir. I wrote and rewrote this piece a number of times. It began as a history of my life as a smoker, then became a piece about my dad.
“Purge” first appeared in The Penmen Review, March 21, 2017. This story has been brewing in one form or other for more than ten years. One version of this story was about a crazy old man who feeds the squirrels, much to his neighbour’s aggravation. I enjoy the squirrels that live in my backyard, and one day I wondered what would happen if one got inside the house. After considering that unnerving possibility, the story was easy to write.
Leaf and Branch
“Leaf and Branch” first appeared in The Danforth Review, April 9, 2017. Raising two beautiful daughters finds its way in to many things I write. I was writing another story about trees, then I found myself writing “Leaf and Branch.” For me, this story is about fatherhood, as much as anything else.
“Bridges” first appeared in Literary Orphans, May 24, 2017. For me, writing this story was about exploring a feeling. For the character in the story, it’s about trying to understand that feeling. I always love to put bits of Edmonton into my pieces, and what better landmark to include than the High Level Bridge.
“Flash Point” first appeared in The RavensPerch, June 19, 2017. This story is autobiographical—moreso than anything else I’ve written. I was walking down Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue with my daughter, when this pair of obnoxious characters came striding down the street. Writing the story was my way of trying to understand my reaction, and a chance to explore some encounters I had during junior high school. In 1974, I lost my sight in a car accident, which meant four months in hospital and half a year in a class for blind and visually impaired kids. Returning to my regular school a year later was a difficult transition.
My Sister Maddie
“My Sister Maddie” first appeared in Penmen Review, September 20, 2017. I wrote this story probably ten years ago, and I at first wanted it as part of The Paper Man collection—that didn’t happen. For me, the story is about trauma and its effects—how it can destroy families and emotionally cripple those involved. “My Sister Maddie” was rejected by various journals at least a dozen times, so I was thrilled when Penmen Review picked up the piece.
I travel on a regular basis—mostly to conferences and to visit family. Most of the time, I travel alone, which means, as a blind person, I rely on the assistance of people who work for airlines and in airports. I’m truly grateful for all the assistance I receive; however, I sometimes feel like a package being handed off from one currier to the next. “Traveling Blind” was first published by Wanderlust Journal, an interesting magazine that features pieces by people who travel the world.