Here’s the skinny:
I write about the best things in life: beers, birds, burgers and books. In no particular order. Other best things included interviewing David Suzuki and writing tour press for Jane Siberry (insert: “Mimi on the Beach” here).
I kick-started my career trajectory by writing book reviews for The Vancouver Sun. It will come as no surprise that some of those books were about birds, beer and burgers. Actually, 20 years before this, I landed a freelancer stint in Vancouver, BC, for Cockroach magazine (an Environmental Youth Alliance publication). I bought myself a North Face sleeping bag and a jar of cashew butter and thought I’d ‘made it big.’
My work has also been published in The Globe and Mail, NOW, FASHION, Cottage Life, Canadian Running, Coast Mountain Culture, Kootenay Mountain Culture, Abbotsford News, Harrowsmith, Ornamentum: Decorative Arts in Canada, Ground (The Ontario Association of Landscape Architects) and realtor.ca’s online platform Living Room. Once upon a time (for 17 years) I was a registered massage therapist and columnist for Massage Therapy Canada, writing about peculiar massage treatments and strange spas around the world.
In May 2019, my memoir Free to a Good Home: With Room For Improvement will be leaked to the world and I’ll have to pay my elementary school library $30 for the three books I buried by the pond (as admitted in my confessional book). Jann Arden wrote the foreword and I hope I never have to sing for her to return the favour.
Passion Projects/Sideline Hustles
A wise person (not Yoda, it was actually Joe Wiebe, one of my writing instructors and the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries) once said that you need to marry your passions. Joe was right, so I divorced massage therapy and married chimpanzees, Africa and Jane Goodall (not officially). In 2007, I transplanted to Entebbe and edited The Tribes and Totems of Uganda, a project initiated by Roots & Shoots members of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). I stayed a little longer to illustrate two colouring books about the primates of Uganda and Rwanda for JGI and the Dian Fossey Foundation.
On a 2012 gin whim, I enrolled in Matador U’s travel writing program. They whisked me away on a 10-day Cuba traverse with The Adventure Centre and then to Alberta to cover the groovy scene, deep-fried Oreos and Blue Rodeo at the legendary Edmonton Folk Fest. Here’s some of the stuff I wrote here.
Thanks to Matador and one tiny Tweet, Mabuhay, the official in-flight magazine of the Philippines Airlines contacted me to write a feature on Toronto’s food and booze scene. Salamat (thank you in Filipino) to Matador and Mabuhay!
Via Matador, I also worked on an extensive Explore Canada Like a Local initiative, showcasing Edmonton and Toronto’s culinary cred. This involved several camel burgers (yes, camel! Sold out of a shipping container on Bathurst street in Toronto!) and an introduction to the Queen East’s (now defunct) Avro’s conversation starter: The Canadian Campfire.
- ½ ounce of Crown Royal
- ¼ ounce Goldschlager
- ¼ ounce butterscotch schnapps
*Don’t forget the Marshmallow Fluff chaser on a pâté knife and crème brûlée torch- charred finish.
After this I married my passport and wrote travel features on Curacao, St. Lucia, Colombia, Zanzibar, Samana and Flowerpot Island for Grand magazine and updated a Uganda guide for US travel agents with Travel 42.
Near Misses (always the bridesmaid…)
- Shortlisted for G Adventures Coolest Travel Intern 2009
- Honourable Mention ROOM Fiction, Poetry, Creative Non-Fiction Contest 2008
- Shortlisted in The Writers’ Union of Canada Annual Writing For Children Competition 2008
- Winner of Youth Challenge International’s 10th Anniversary Essay Contest 1996
Minding My P’s and Q’s: Editing
I am currently the editor in chief of Harrowsmith magazine. I’ve always been a spelling and grammar ninja, and had fun with these editing gigs too:
- Bok the Badger by Lawrence Tilley 2008
- The Tribes and Totems of Uganda 2007
- Douglas College’s (New Westminster, BC) Green Guide 2008
- 20th Vancouver Queer Film Festival Guide web pages 2008
Blasts From the Past
I’ve written all sorts of things including wedding vows and wedding speeches (that didn’t involve me!), Unofficially, I’ve named donuts for Toronto’s OMG Baked Goodness, wrote book testimonials (check out the back of Jann Arden’s Falling Backwards), PR for the Budongo Forest Ecotourism Project in Uganda, house specs for three house-selling friends; Mother’s Day, Valentine’s and career ads for the Wild Orange Spa (Abbotsford, BC). Oh, and braggy moment: I was a guest blogger for former Chatelaine editor Rona Maynard (which I thought was an enormous deal and I didn’t stop sweating for two weeks after the fact).
Just like Beatrix Potter, I sought out the instant gratification of self-publishing. Though, in 1904, I don’t think Beatrix had access to Blurb or Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. I have self-published three books: Accidental Love and Death, Forget Me Not and Free to a Good Home. There’s probably another three books in the form of folded serviettes and scribbles in a tin box in my library closet.
Update: Caitlin Press (Halfmoon Bay, BC) loved Free to a Good Home: With Room For Improvement so much that they opted to publish in 2019. So, you just never know…
Please, please, contact me, if you ever see job adverts for any of these positions:
- Paint Chip, Pencil Crayon or Crayola Crayon Namer
- Wine Label or Beer Coaster Writer
- Fortune Cookie Message Writer