Once I started treating my writing as a non-negotiable—a spiritual gift, a calling—surprising and wonderful things began to happen.

Amazing, beautiful things that have nothing to do with the usual measures of success, like selling a book proposal or making a million dollars.

It led me to mentor other writers, something I love with a passion, more than a decade after I thought I’d closed the door on teaching (in a former life I taught elementary school).

My writing has had a ripple effect, inspiring other writers to honour their work and share it, enabling more heart connections in a world that desperately needs it.

At the end of every reading, someone comes up to me to tell me their own story. That exchange of gifts is precious and demonstrates to me the power of art.

The writers I’ve mentored now support each other via our online community—just one among many, many gifts that followed me following my heart.

Here are a few treasured wondrous happenings after I said yes to my writing.

1

Surprises in the mail

Yolande House’s lyric essay “Hear Me” was published in the Spring 2018 edition of PRISM International—and she sent me a hard copy of the publication in the mail as a thank you.

Yolande holds the record for taking my Outliers course three times to date! She calls my course “addictive”.

2

Invitations to write for publications.

Recently I wrote:
“Making Art to Process and Heal from Infertility” for Fertility Matters Canada
“Learning to See” for The Puritan’s Literary Suburbia Supplement
“Hey Vancouver! Where’s Your Soul?” for After the Art

3

Community

Being a part of a warm, encouraging, supportive online writing community (that meets up at conferences!).

L to R: Karen Zey, Nora-Lyn Veevers, me, Lori Sebastianutti, Eufemia Fantetti, Rowan McCandless, Dawn Hurley Chapman

4

Feature reader

This year I was a feature reader at Read Out Loud here on the Sunshine Coast. Organizers even did a lovely spread about me in their gorgeous Pride Guide (thanks Andrea!)

5

Exciting updates from fellow Outliers:

6

Surprise honours, like being included on the list of Best American Essay Notables in 2017.

7

New friends that are kindred spirits.

Me with Rowan McCandless

8

Art inspired by my words.

Illustration by Nima Gholamipour

9

Meeting writers I’ve long admired, like Fiona Tinwei-Lam and Dinty W. Moore

TOP L to R: Cynthia Flood, Audrey Thomas, Marianne Apostolides, Fiona Tinwei Lam, me
BOTTOM L to R: Dawn Hurley Chapman, Rowan McCandless, me, Dinty W. Moore

10

Opportunities to confront fears around vulnerability.

I realize now I’ve always been a writer and teacher. If you’re a writer or teacher, or both, I believe you’ve always been those things, too.

Being a writer is a way of seeing the world, processing it, understanding it, and communicating your unique vision.

Like many introverts and artists I needed a lot of time and practice to feel confident enough to embrace “writer” as simply who I am.

As long as I remember that my purpose is to empower and support writers and readers, I imagine more magical things will continue to happen.

I believe this rule applies to all creators and teachers, including you.

XO