An entry from the journal I started in elementary school:


Me, age 11, with a boa constrictor.


Sunday, June 7 [1981]

[ramblings about the weather and the state of my handwriting]1

The book I’m reading “Emily of New Moon” is so good I cry in the sad parts. It’s by L.M. Montgomery.2 I’ve ordered 2 books by Library.3 I’ve decided what I want to be when I grow up. I want to write. Books I mean.4

I can do a cartwheel now. Finally! Both Mom & Dad say I’m better.5

9:17 PM6

I love this entry because there’s so much packed into it. It reminds me…

  • the first bit of writing is always a warm-up (cut it!);
  • first drafts—and journal entries—are inevitably terrible (no worries);
  • good writing, just like a good life, includes crying during the sad parts;
  • always credit the author;
  • if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask;
  • mastering the things that don’t come easy gives the greatest satisfaction;
  • and, of course, always write things down.

The most popular articles I’ve written for Toasted Cheese, according to our site stats, are: Keeping a Commonplace Book, Beyond NaNoWriMo: Writing Challenges for Everyone, and Please and Thank You: The Purpose of a Cover Letter. I’m personally fond of Facing Your Writing Fears (in which I wrote about the snake photo above) and Slow Writing.

Also popular with visitors to TC: the Mini-Nano Challenge and two things I wrote way back in 2001: Fiction: Genre vs. Mainstream vs. Literary and 12 Baby Steps to a Complete Story.

My most popular editorials of late: Unqualified Praise Only, Please, Like Alice, and Cherry Blossoms.

I also write fiction and have many in-progress novels. I participated in NaNoWriMo twice, in 2004 and 2005, and won both times—and then I thought I better stop starting new novels and think about finishing one. When I finally stick a spork the dissertation (it will happen), I am going to do that.

Ages ago I published some short stories. Here’s one: Slivers.

1. i) Canadian stereotype, ftw. ii) Handwriting! (imagine this said in Seinfeld’s Newman! voice)
2. Emily > Anne.
3. I mean interlibrary loan. My nerd cred is longstanding.
4. Grammatical non sequitur notwithstanding, I love that I wrote “I want to write” rather than “I want to be a writer.” As it should be, no?
5. Main after-school preoccupations, in order: i) reading novels; ii) napping; iii) repetitively practicing cartwheels, headstands, shooting baskets, throwing footballs, etc. (I really hated getting Cs in PE).
6. Yes, I time-stamped my entries. How bloggish of me.