Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Reviews (and more collage...)

Thanks, Canadian Materials and Gillian Richardson, for the very thorough review of Planet Ark. At a time where reviews and reviewers (especially of children's non-fiction) are short at best and otherwise almost non-existent, it is so wonderful to have a Canadian resource that takes the time to review books for young readers.

And I've been going through a lot of glue, matte medium and exacto blades around here. A few results:

King of the Nerves


Double Island

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Playing With Paint and Paper

For a variety of reasons I haven't been writing too much lately. Partly it's because of time (I work at an NGO; doing a job that brings me a great deal of satisfaction) and partly it's because writing a non-fiction book for adults, such as Long Beach Wild, is very (very) labour intensive and, well, I just need a break to re-charge. I have been exploring visual arts as a creative outlet a bit more though. I've painted and drawn here and there, taken the occasional course, dabbled in fits and starts. This round though, it seems to be sticking a bit more. I even feel brave enough to launch them into the Blogosphere for all (or whoever wanders by) to see.
Abstract Flowers
Creating these abstract flowers was fun and a very relaxing way to spend a bit of time on a drippy weekend. It is the result of an on-line tutorial by Carla Sonheim. She has other great tutorials and books you should check out. Lots of fun.

And it's been a little collage crazy here in my office since I've been taking an on-line course by Berlin-based artist, Stephanie Levy - 30 Days of Collage. I won't bore you with all of my creations, but here are a few. Some from the course and some created just because.
Exercise: warm colours
Exercise: use of fabric
Just because.  
Exercise: use of tape

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


John Steinbeck wrote, "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." If you replace the word ideas with "blogs" or "websites" or "Twitter accounts" you will realize the dilemma I've been in for the last year or so. I am slightly overloaded with social media and it has pretty much stifled me to complete inaction. The time away has been good, but I'm ready to jump back in so I'm re-setting and re-activating my online presence in, I hope, a slightly more strategic way.

Part of the dilemma is that I have a pretty partitioned life. I have the side of me that writes books for children, the part of me that writes books for adults, the part of me that writes for museums and interpretive centres, the part of me that is passionate about all things Tofino and west coast history, the part of me that has a small publishing company with an amazing friend and artist, Marion Syme, the part of me that dabbles in art (you probably don't know that person yet). Okay, you get the picture. O v e r e x t e n d e d.

So, I'm determined to get this house (er, houses; and virtual at that) in order so that I can continue with blogging and posting and tweeting without getting hung up with whether I'm posting in the right place. Some blogs I am just going to ditch - without anyone ever really knowing - but others I'm going keep active. It's probably silly to think I need to partition everything off so much. I am who I am. To some people, I'm a writer of science books for children, to others I know a little bit about the history of the west coast, to others I'm a bit publisher. It doesn't really matter. I'm all of those things. So let's get back at it. But first, just so we have a record of where everything is at present, here's the list. Amalgamations probably coming soon (but this site will stay active). My primary website. Postelsia Press, the little publishing house I run with Marion Syme. For all things Long Beach, visit here and for all things Tofino, check out The Heart of Tofino. My primary Twitter feed will be Tough City Writer and you can find me on Instagram under the handle, you guessed it, toughcitywriter.