Selected Writing and Whatnot

Warrior vs Worrier

A twelve year-old girl worries that her imaginary companion, a brash, aggressive reflection of herself (a warrior, so to speak) needs to go. She’s a bad influence, always causing trouble while she catches the blame. As you can see, reading this, it’s hard to tell them apart. When she succeeds in removing her from her life through a meticulously stacked bet, she discovers that without that half of herself, she’s ill-equipped to deal with the problems she once endured: tension between her parents, her crush’s interest in another girl, and her teacher’s wayward expectations. It takes a surreal imagination and […]

Clear as Day

Clear as Day is one of my most traditional stories. Ironically, it is also one of my favorite. The style, which has a whiff of Flannery O’Connor about it (which is not to say, decay), is supposed to be clear and direct in its language, but still a little tough to catch at heart.

The Spider Web

The Spider Web took me about four months to finish. It’s in the same class as The Best Way to Travel: it’s a long, somewhat experimental story that revels in rich language and grotesque characters. The idea of it comes from my last year in Vancouver. I was living in a basement suite that, especially at the beginning of the year, was full of all sorts of spiders. They’d turn up all over the place—mutlitudes of them, every day. I tolerated a few of them that had woven webs in convenient places—that is to say not in my bed. All […]

The Heart Never Sleeps

I wasn’t sure about this story for a few months after I wrote it. It was a little too straightforward for my taste. About half way into the story, I discovered that I had no idea what was going to happen next, and about three-quarters of the way in, I then realized that I had to end it soon or I would miss my deadline. A couple of years later, I think it holds up rather well despite these things. Perhaps this is because it is in fact quite easy to read. Or perhaps it is because of all the […]

The Red Agenda

Writing directly, even minimally, is very in vogue these days. There are lots of clear writers, including my favorite writer of all time, Flannery O’Connor, but I am not so sold on the philosophy. I have a fondness for complication and sophistocation. While I have avoided it in recent years (because it is very unpopular), I still frequently dip in during those moments where it might still be considered appropriate: a reverie, a moment of madness, a climax, or as a trick when shifting point of view. So I recognized that people would want this and I wrote The Red […]

The Best Way to Travel is by Train

Just before my 3rd year at University, I had made the first of several identical decisions over the years: I was going to put other things away and Become a Writer. I was waiting to hear from the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing department about my undergraduate application that summer, and I was determined that even if I didn’t get in, I would dedicate my free time to, among other things like maybe writing a story, reading the dictionary from cover to cover. So I could be the best writer ever. Ha! A nagging voice—the voice of proportion and […]

The Rhododendrons in the Window

This story itself keeps a short leash on its structure and theme. That luxury is afforded partly because of its length, but I’d like to take some credit and say that I quite like it. It’s “edgy” in the most literal sense: the subject of the story spends the whole time on the edge of something dangerous or other, and the central question is really, “will they go over?”

Weepy Rain

This is a trivial piece, but it has a nice poetry to it. The shorter the writing the more crafted it seems to get, until finally some critical mass is reached and it implodes into poetry, like a black hole. This story is on the edge, since it’s really just an anecdote told in a pretty way: set the scene, break the scene.

Cassiopeia Trembles

One of the workshop stipulations in my last UBC fiction course was that there should be no genre fiction. This blanket statement was put out there I believe to staunch fan fiction, or anything crassly plagiaristic. This story tries to skirt around brands like that, but still be hyper-stylized fiction, filled with ingredients that approach, but never fall squarely on cliche. I spent a lot of time on the style of the piece—more so than on figuring out what was going to happen with the story. It was supposed to be one of those grand-concept science fictions that twist hard […]

Handle With Care

Handle With Care is a strange story, not least because it’s unfinished. It’s an interesting example of form-driven storytelling. I didn’t start this story, as I often do, with a scene or a theme or even a character. This story started with a rhythm. I let the language tell me where the story should go. It turned out much better than you might expect. That is: it actually makes sense. I ended up with a story that probably could not have been created any other way than it had . . . a world where people and places are shipped […]