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Gwen Tuinman

Novelist and Advocate

Seat of the (Author’s) Pants

I’m nearing a finish line. For the past three years, I’ve been researching and writing my current novel in progress—and it’s almost done. The work must be completed before the end of May which is not so far away now. Continue reading “Seat of the (Author’s) Pants”

Necessary Voices

We booklovers read for entertainment, but also to see a whisper of ourselves and to feel heard. Stories show us how other people avert disaster, conquer sorrows or live to the fullest. So, what’s in it for the writer? Continue reading “Necessary Voices”

Essie

Essie was born in 1884. She was my great grandmother and a source of fascination for me as a child.

When visited her home as a young girl, I marvelled at the glass prisms lining her windows and the rainbows cast along her walls. Essie served sultanas and pink marshmallow cookies sprinkled with coconut. She’d sit patiently, eyes closed behind her wire-rimmed glasses, while I brushed her hair. I was nine years old and she was ninety. Continue reading “Essie”

Beginning and Ending

“I like to live always at the beginnings of a life, not at their end.”


This quote by essayist Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) caught my attention recently. While brief, it’s a thoughtful prescription for living that I’ve been mulling over the past few days.

What did Anaïs mean by “at the beginnings of ‘a’ life”? Continue reading “Beginning and Ending”

Underrepresentation of Women in History Archives

I’ve been thinking about how as a writer, I am responsible for laying down a representation of women that reflects our reality. Many scholars recognize that, in historical archives, there is a limited representation of women on the American Frontier and in early Canada. It’s a commonly held view now that the Continue reading “Underrepresentation of Women in History Archives”

Failure and Failing

Failure hurts. We spend untold amounts of energy doing our best to avoid it. The process of failing is doubly painful for those of us raised by women whose worth was measured by their efficacy as housewife and mother. Their children’s accomplishments ticked boxes on their performance appraisal. Our failings were their failings. Perfectionism was the fix. Continue reading “Failure and Failing”

Belonging to the Journey

“When you plan a journey, it belongs to you. When you begin a journey, you belong to it.” After reading this African proverb in a friend’s Facebook post, I drew a quick breath and my heart opened up. Words that resonate carry such power.

So often, we engineer plans to orchestrate a project or life event according to our vision how things should go. Sometimes the universe has bigger ideas. Our creation expands beyond what we imagined, and unexpectedly carries us forward on its own energy. We cling, wide-eyed and uncertain, to its sweeping tail. The horizon is obscured by fog and around every corner is a new corner we can’t see around. Continue reading “Belonging to the Journey”

Pioneer Women and the Importance of Their Work

I often contemplate the lives of women who lived in the past. Since girlhood, I’ve always been drawn to stories of yesteryear and so it seems fitting that in the novel I’m currently writing, I inhabit the lives of fictional women characters from the 1800s. To accurately reflect their daily existence through story telling, I comb through historical texts to develop an understanding of women’s lot in life—joys and sorrows, the restrictions they navigated, and in the absence of today’s technology, the never-ending day-to-day work of caring for a home and family. Continue reading “Pioneer Women and the Importance of Their Work”

Tintype Photography with Stephen Brûlé

Stephen Brûlé is a photographic artist specializing in tintype photography. I had the privilege of interviewing him recently after we crossed paths at an event in Toronto. His display of antique camera equipment caught my attention immediately. There’s a story here, I thought, with details that will find their way into my writing. This podcast episode is the product of our conversation about photography, creativity, and olden times.

Please enjoy this Wellspring Podcast of Tintype Photography with Stephen Brûlé.

Continue reading “Tintype Photography with Stephen Brûlé”

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