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Gwen Tuinman

Novelist Speaker Advocate

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writing

Character Therapy

Poet William Stafford wrote, “So the world happens twice—once as we see it as is; second, it legends itself deep, the way it is.” So, the writer first experiences the event, then processes details, and retells the story, teasing out the subtleties to make a point. She holds up the magnifying glass. See, this is how we are! We’ve all been hurt this way.

To have lived an experience is not enough. Writers are led by an urge to re-examine, find meaning, dig deeper. We are forever looking forward, forecasting, reflecting, being present, watching for those fire flies of an idea.

Continue reading “Character Therapy”

One Writer’s Room

Virginia Woolf said that a woman needs a room of her own if she’s to write fiction. I’m privileged to have such a room. It’s a snug space that accommodates a desk and chair, a book shelf, and a sofa table. There’s enough space along the centre of the room to roll out a yoga mat and meditate in front an antique stand made by my great grandfather. Through the window this morning, I see espaliered plum trees growing alongside a sprawling elderberry bush. Continue reading “One Writer’s Room”

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”

The Creative Path to a Short Story

How do writers come up with story ideas?  There are as many answers to that question as there are writers. Some call upon their muse for sparks of imagination while others attribute their creative flow to a rigid work routine.  For me, story ideas originate from perpetual curiosity, an open mind and synchronicity. These elements all played a role creative process that lead to my short story,  Everything They Are Not.
Continue reading “The Creative Path to a Short Story”

Feeling Nostalgic — Knit, Crochet, Tat, Write

lady knitting on her porch

I’ve always been fascinated by handcrafts. Crocheting. Knitting. Tatting. At one time or another, I’ve known how to do all of these things, at least in a very basic way.

My maternal grandmother shared her love of crocheting by teaching me to create circles and squares with a hook and yarn. My paternal grandmother taught me to knit and to tat. The tatting shuttle took a great deal of patience to operate. Her pillowcases and handkerchiefs were trimmed in lace created by her shuttle. I remember that she had an ivory shuttle that once been her mothers, my great-grandmother. Continue reading “Feeling Nostalgic — Knit, Crochet, Tat, Write”

Standing by the Millpond

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Travel ignites my imagination. Whether venturing off to a destination far away, or one closer to home, a change of scenery and a new experience leads me to a new writing idea. My recent weekend trip to a small town, a few hours drive from my own, was no exception. Continue reading “Standing by the Millpond”

Feeling Nostalgic — A Year of Firsts

woman on rocks

When is the last time you did something for the first time? It’s been months since I saw this question posed on Twitter, but it’s never left me. Around two o’clock this morning, I found myself reflecting on many of the firsts that I’ve experienced in the last year. Some of them were fruits of labour, some were the seeds that came before the fruit, and some of them were pure synchronicity. Continue reading “Feeling Nostalgic — A Year of Firsts”

The Shiner’s War

Booth_lumber_camp_Aylen_Lake_Ontario_1895_ source_Library and Archives Canada backslash C dash 075266

Men wielding oak clubs? Ladies of ill repute? Drunken disorder? Social chaos masterminded by one kingpin? It’s the stuff that Hollywood movies are made of — but it happened in Canada. As a matter of fact, this Wild West was playing out in Bytown when my Irish ancestors arrived in 1831. When they left the area eight years later, could they have been trying to escape the lawlessness of these events known as the Shiner’s War? Continue reading “The Shiner’s War”

So, I’m Irish

Irish Gwen

So, I’m Irish. More accurately, I’m about 25% Irish. My maternal grandparents’ last name was Lindsay. Although I’ve known this my whole life, it’s only been in the past year that I’ve become curious about my forefathers and mothers.

Through a popular genealogy website and some internet research, I’ve been able to learn some interesting history. The documents and history I’ve been able to uncover so far has sparked my writer’s mind. Continue reading “So, I’m Irish”

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