inpresenceofabsence-web October 12

“Cities are smells”

A few pretty lines from Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence. He was writing about exile here, but reading these words in my East Jerusalem hotel room remind me of travel in general, and of the smell of fresh guava in the markets this week. Cities are smells: Acre is the smell of iodine […]

Dispatch from Jerusalem

My arrival in Jerusalem four days ago coincided with a wave of attacks and and violent clashes in Israel and Palestine. People have been shot and killed. Soldiers, teenagers, and elderly women have been stabbed – some with a screwdriver, another with a vegetable peeler. A pregnant woman died alongside her four year-old daughter. Rockets […]

MAC02_COSH01 October 02

A brief political rant

I will be plain. We’ve reached the point where voting for the Conservative Party of Canada is an immoral act. Instead of appealing to our better natures – instead of invoking the once-Canadian values like inclusion, fairness and compromise – Harper and his cabal have chosen to appeal to the worst of us. This is […]

IMG_0682 September 21

Writing Food: From Kelowna to Gaza

A couple of weekends ago I had the great pleasure of giving a talk at the Okanagan Food and Wine Writers’ Workshop in Kelowna. Many beautiful meals were consumed, much wine drunk, and many excellent discussions had about food writing, travel writing, and writing in general. In between meals and presentations, we toured Sandhill winery, […]

Pay No Heed to the Rockets – a book in progress

It occurred to me today that I haven’t “officially” announced my current project, at least not here online. Those who follow this blog know that a few years ago I spent a month as the writer-in-residence at the Palestine Writing Workshop. I became interested in Palestinian literary culture at that time and published a long […]

IWR_logo April 14

The Iceland Writers Retreat

Last night I returned to Calgary after spending a week as an instructor at the Iceland Writers Retreat. The event, in only its second year, is a marvelous bringing-together of featured authors from around the world with about 80 workshop participants for a week of writing, reading, eating, drinking and – because it is in […]

DOWNTOWN February 11

Missing Michael Green

I would like to express some thoughts on Michael Green’s passing, not as his friend or colleague – sadly, I was neither – but as a fan. Michael was a fearless, funny and completely absorbing performer. When he was on stage, I could never take my eyes off him – even when he stood there […]


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