Cuernavaca – A Reflection

I felt I had to write something to express my experiences on this trip so far.


I see families living in ramshackle quarters,

Earning in one day what I earn in 15 minutes

And working much harder for it,

And I ask “God, where are you?”


I hear stories of violence and fear,

Killings and disappearances,

Injustice and complicitiy,

And I call out “God, where are you?


I feel sad and discouraged,

Angry and helpless,

Guilty and overwhelmed,

And I cry out “God, where are you?’


And You answer “I am here. Where are you?”



Do you have Sitzfleisch? If you’re a writer, you probably do, or at least you wish you did.

According to, Sitzfleisch is:

1. The ability to sit through or tolerate something boring.
2. The ability to endure or persist in a task.

In other words (#2), to park your butt in the chair and get it done. I first read about it here.

I am working on becoming more consistent in my writing practice, so I think it’s great that a cool word has appeared to describe exactly what I need exactly when I need it! “When the student is ready…” as they say.

The blog post also talks about ways to get going when you first sit down to write. What works best for me is to stop the previous session with one change left that I want to make, or with one idea left to add or start. I just highlight the area or jot down the idea and leave it. That makes starting the next time much easier.

I’d love to hear what works for you.



Topping Up the Inspiration Tank

I was at the CANSCAIP (Canadian Society for Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) Saskatchewan Prairie Horizons Conference in Lumsden this last weekend. It’s held every two years and as usual, it was fabulous!

I got to hear 10 people pitch their mostly YA manuscripts to a panel of four esteemed judges (Marie Campbell, Eric Walter, Sigmund Brouwer and Sean Cassidy) in a Canadian Idol type competition. I enjoyed hearing the different styles and learned a lot by listening.

We went on a moonlight labyrinth walk. A huge moon lighted our way so it wasn’t a big deal that the wind picked up and blew all our candles out. The labyrinth walk is one of my favourite parts of the conference.

We heard incredible speakers – Marie Campbell, an agent who was both honest and straightforward but inspiring too; Eric Walter, a prolific writer and man of conscience and action; Sean Cassidy, an incredible illustrator/author who wowed us all by teaching us to draw cartoon expressions. Here’s my results:

ExpressionsNot bad, eh?  🙂

The open mike is another favourite part of the conference for me. We had about 20 people read 5 minutes of their work. Amazing stuff! (Not to mention I had a hoot being the time keeper.)

Add to all this, a weekend of writing talk – specifically writing for children talk. Believe me, that’s a big deal. Not once did I have to explain why I write picture books. Not once did I have to say that no, I wasn’t planning on “moving on” to adult writing.

I met new people, I laughed, I ate really well (lemon poppyseed cheesecake – yum!), I left feeling fired up and ready to write. This morning I was up at 6 to do just that.

And what a beautiful location! Lumsden in the fall. Here’s a shot taken early Saturday morning.

IMG_2075I’m already looking forward to the fall of 2015 and our next CANSCAIP SK Prairie Horizons Conference! If you are a writer, illustrator or performer for children, I highly recommend it!