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Taking an extended break

It’s been almost three years and 149 posts. Wow…

I’m sad to say that I simply don’t have the time to blog anymore. Nor do I have time to connect with other bloggers. Maybe in the future…

Thank you to all those who read, liked, and subscribed. It’s been a great three years.

All the best,

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Writing Prompt #30

Information Booth

You’ve woken up on the side of a country road. You are surrounded by farm land but cannot see any farm houses. You don’t know how you got there.

In the middle of the road is an information booth with an excited looking man behind the counter. You approach and…

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Writing Prompt #28


Zombie Crossing

Write about a town where zombies are a common occurrence. How does society function? Do children still go to school? Adults to work? Are they all equipped with weapons? Write about an average day in this not-so-average town.

Subscribe to my blog and receive a new writing prompt each week.


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TEDx Part 2

I am pleased to share with you the second round of talks and performances from the sixth annual TEDxToronto conference. Let them inspire you and your work!

Sabrina Jalees: How Living More Honestly Leads to a Better Life
Throughout history, comedians have used humor to shed light on subjects that are typically considered to be uncomfortable or taboo. In this TEDxTalk, comedian Sabrina Jalees approaches topics like racism and sexuality as she tells a coming-of-age story laced with hilarity. After working up the courage to tell her Muslim family that she was a lesbian, Sabrina learned that being true to herself and taking pride in her individuality would not only enhance her material as a comedian, but that ultimately it would lead to a happier life.

John Cruickshank: Why We Can’t Afford to Disengage from the News
In an era when social media and online publications are a primary source of news for so many, one might wonder if there is still a place for the newspaper amidst all the noise. In this TEDxTalk, John Cruickshank urges that traditional news sources must quickly find a way to re-engage younger populations to continue breeding an engaged society of socially and politically active citizens. He draws strong parallels between declining interest in the news and the decrease in political participation amongst young people, and offers suggestions as to how we might break this cycle. Read an excerpt from John’s talk here in the Toronto Star.

Adam van Koeverden: The Pursuable Prime
Olympic athletes spend much of their youth training to become world champions. But what happens once suddenly you’ve achieved those goals, and after twenty years of pursuing your sport you no longer have the same stamina you once did? In this TEDxTalk, Olympic gold medalist and world champion sprint kayaker Adam van Koeverden discusses the key factors that motivated him to succeed from a young age, and reflects on the impact that those lessons have had on his more recent years in kayaking. How can athletes continue to participate in their sport beyond their physical prime and what can we learn from them?

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TEDx Part 1


Hello Everyone,

On October 2, seventeen of Toronto’s greatest thinkers and changemakers joined together onstage at TEDxToronto to deliver powerful talks and performances that embodied the theme of “Relentless Pursuits”. I would like to take this opportunity to share 4 of the talks with you now (the other 4 will be posted next Wednesday). They are sure to inspire you and your work.

Keith Vanderlinde: The Edge of the Universe From the Ends of the Earth
From dark days to lethal frigid temperatures, one might wonder where lies the appeal of visiting the South Pole. Cosmologist Keith Vandelinde provides insight into such a journey, as he discusses the experience of living in this part of the world for six months in the pursuit of scientific discovery and tells us about the birth of the universe. In this TEDxToronto talk, Keith shares his stories and astonishing images of the South Pole and reminds us that our universe is only one of many — and that secrets to the past can often be found by examining the skies overhead.

Nav Bhatia: Changing Perceptions: From Sikh to Superfan
Toronto has been named the most multicultural city in the world, yet many of the immigrants to the city still encounter racism long after they’ve arrived. Nav Bhatia moved to Toronto in the 1984, and after overcoming significant prejudice and obstacles as a Sikh, today he boasts successful business enterprises and the coveted title of “Superfan” of the Toronto Raptors. The message in Nav’s TEDxToronto talk is one of hope and inspiration, as he urges us all to use our passions to rise above discrimination to allows us to excel both as individuals and as a city.

Rachel Parent: Why You Have the Right to Know What’s in Your Food
At a time when environmental factors are contributing so significantly to the agriculture industry, many farmers and corporations are turning to the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and pesticides to sustain their crops. Fifteen-year-old activist Rachel Parent believes that the use of these chemicals is negatively affecting our health, and that consumers have a right to know when they’ve been used to modify ingredients in the food we’re buying on a daily basis. In her informative TEDxToronto talk, Rachel urges Canadian officials to make it mandatory for food manufacturers to list the use of GMOs in labelling, so we can make informed decisions as consumers.

Jamil Jivani: Racial Profiling Hurts Everyone, Including the Police
Police forces around the world have often been criticized for racial profiling and for acting with unnecessary force. After being a victim of racial profiling himself, activist Jami Jivani wanted to change the way that the police engage with local citizens. In his TEDxToronto talk, Jamil discusses the importance of mediating the relationship between the police and the public. Though there may be fundamental flaws in the system, Jamil believes that by developing a dialogues with police officials, we can initiate positive change.

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The Artist Health Centre

The Artist Health Centre (AHC) is located in the Toronto Western Hospital and specializes in, you guested it, treating artists. Dancers, for example, can use one of their studios and have themselves filmed while they dance. A specialist can then view the footage and make recommendations on how to avoid/treat certain injuries.

In addition to healing the body, the AHC holds workshops which benefit the mind. Topics such as mindfulness, confidence and goal setting. Check out their calendar for future events.

Today I present Leisa Bellmore, Shiatsu Therapist at the Artists’ Health Centre, who will talk about the benefits of Self-shiatsu for those who have trouble sleeping. Although the article targets those suffering from chronic pain, I think it is also helpful for those artists such as writers who just can’t get their brain to shut off!


Need a hand getting to sleep? Self-shiatsu on the hands may be the answer
By Leisa Bellmore, Shiatsu Therapist

We all have an occasional sleepless night. But for those who suffer from chronic pain, sleepless nights are a common occurrence.

Research shows there is a bi-directional relationship between sleep deficiency and chronic pain. Those experiencing chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems and those with sleep problems have an increased incidence of chronic pain.

I recently collaborated on a research study that sought to determine if self-shiatsu on the hands could improve sleep in people with chronic pain. Our results were promising.

Shiatsu is a Japanese therapy based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves the application of sustained, comfortable pressure to specific points on the body. It is used for stress management, preventive care and to treat both chronic and acute conditions.

Those coping with chronic health conditions often feel helpless and hopeless and feel a lack of control over their situation. Research demonstrates that self-management interventions can increase feelings of control and mastery, leading to a more positive outlook.

We chose to examine the effect of self-shiatsu because it is a non-invasive, self-management intervention that is pragmatic and cost-effective.

Our participants, who had chronic musculoskeletal pain and sleep disturbances, were taught self-shiatsu on the hands to perform nightly prior to going to sleep. At the two-week and eight-week follow-up they reported falling asleep faster and waking less frequently during the night. Many stated they fell asleep while doing self-shiatsu.

While this was a small pilot study, the results suggest this could be an ideal self-management intervention for sleep problems, regardless of whether one has chronic pain or not. Hand self-shiatsu could help with the occasional sleepless night or more severe insomnia. The shiatsu points on the hands are not difficult to learn – one only needs proper instruction from a shiatsu therapist.

Our research team, which included Cary Brown and Geoff Bostick of University of Alberta, hopes to conduct a larger study to further examine the effects of hand self-shiatsu for sleep deficiency. It could be a very useful strategy in bringing relief to many people.

The full study, published in the Journal of Integrative Medicine, can be found at:

A short video about self-shiatsu can be viewed at:

Leisa Bellmore is the Shiatsu Therapist at the Artists’ Health Centre (, an integrative clinic at Toronto Western Hospital. The Artists’ Health Centre specializes in serving the health needs of professional creative and performing artists. Leisa works privately with non-artists and frequently teaches workshops on stress management and self-care for various health conditions. She can be reached at

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Your Brain

88 - Brain

This is not a post about improving your brain through diet, exercising, sleep, and reducing stress. (You’re welcome).

This is also not a post about zombies. (Sorry).

As writers we’re inside our heads a lot. And the fact that this lump of grey matter can create settings and characters and plots is kind of incredible. It is this appreciation which has led me to post the wicked-cool facts about our brains by
The Nursing Assistant Centre.

So yes, exercise, eat right, get a good night’s sleep, but also freak out about these facts because they are super awesome.

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Happy Birthday, Blog!

I can’t believe you’re a year old. I remember when I chose your template, when I uploaded your first photo… and look at you now! 66 posts!

As a birthday present for you, the reader, I have posted two of my favourite cartoons on writing. Enjoy!



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Guest Blogger Adrian Faulkner

Welcome Adrian Faulkner! Adrian is the author of The Four Realms.


He’s also into geocaching which, now that I’ve looked it up, is AWESOME!

Mr. Faulkner writes to us today about failure leading to success.


Failure Is The Path To Success

Being a writer is great. I mean, you effectively get to play God. You write the stories you want to write, you can make the characters do whatever you want and no-one can arrest you for all the horrible things you do to them! You get to be your own little megalomaniac; no-one’s telling you what to do, or what you can’t do. It’s complete bliss!

But the problem comes the moment you start to show your writing to others. They’ll have opinions, some of it positive and, undoubtedly, some negative. If you want to pursue publication, you’ll submit your stories to editors, publishers and agents, and along the way you’ll get rejected.

After the hedonism of complete control this can come as quite a shock even if you feel you’ve mentally prepared for it. Usually you’ll only be afforded a stock reply. They’ll just say “not for us, thanks for sending it in” and that’ll be that.

And as a result you’ll find yourself doubting yourself and your ability. That story you loved so much, you thought so perfect, you’ll now look at with different eyes. You’ll wonder what you’ve missed. You’ll be miserable company. If you’re like me, you’ll probably eat a lot of ice cream that evening.

The problem is that rejection is all too often seen as so removed from success. There’s this view that says they’re polar opposites, that rejection is failure and failure is the polar opposite to success. But actually, not really. In fact they’re neighbours.

You see, when it comes to writing the opposite of success is giving up. Just about every writer has experienced rejection and failure, most to the point where a sane person would have long given up. Persistence is the key, and not just in the case of writing. If you don’t believe me, take virtually any successful person from any time in history, in any field of expertise you care to name and look at how much they failed before they found success.

So next time you get a rejection, know that you’re a step closer to achieving your goals; because other people – saner people – would have long given up by now, but you’re going to pick yourself up and keep on writing.

About the Author
Adrian Faulkner has never really stopped making things up since he first started writing stories at age 7. He spent a decade as a leading pop culture journalist and geek culture commentator before focusing on fiction. His debut Urban Fantasy novel, The Four Realms, was published in 2012 by Anarchy Books. Adrian lives in Berkshire, England and in his spare time is one of the country’s leading geocachers.

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Daylight Savings

59 - daylight-saving-time1

Summer used to be my favourite season. As I get older, I’m finding that fall and even winter (no, not winter!) are becoming my new favs.

I hate the cold, but with A.C blaring everywhere in the summer when do I get to be warm? Sunny weather beckons “get away from your desk and come outside!” Not very productive for a writer. Plus you’ve got all those weddings, family barbques… fun but exhausting!

In the fall I don’t have to be embarrassed that I can’t tan. I can wear my comfy clothes. I can drink hot chocolate. I can write.

The clocks may be falling back this weekend, but I’ll be springing forward.

Bring on the dark.

59 - The Dark

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