Category Archives: Travel


The Threat to Nonfiction in the Digital Age

No, this is not a serious academic treatise detailing the legal ramifications of libel and slander, copyright and moral rights, or defamation as such. Rather, I come at it from the dilemma of one engaged in frequent travel, blogging back to a select few (~65) friends  about my experiences around the world, including the people I met along the way. Stories of friends and fellow tourists alike pose the difficulty inherent in digital transparency: how to render fairly, or at all, when reactions of inaccuracy or inappropriateness of sharing are inevitable?

With Facebook and other social media now so ubiquitous, it becomes a practical problem to write about one’s own life (traveling or not), when any of the real-life characters you may write about are likely to read it or are linked to someone who will. Changing or leaving out names can help but does not ensure anonymity for those in one’s known network. So asking permission is a good solution if there is any risk of offending someone portrayed in print.

Some would object even to sharing one’s own outer and inner journey in public. I don’t mind feeding myself into that hopper, grist for the mill. I do balk, however, at reporting incidents involving people I know, or even restaurateurs or hostel managers who may find themselves Googled over to my observations one way or another.

privacyThe result of these novel inhibitions is to filter the creative lens; even, potentially, to put actual interpersonal experience off limits to nonfictional reportage—unless officialized by the interview mode, the waiver form, or by changing personal details “to protect the innocent” (as well as the guilty).

When we go down the road of Creative Nonfiction, we have an insurance policy whereby details of presentation are a matter of choice, and even of invention. If we care too much about matters of accuracy and transparency, however, our cold feet will likely lead us on a different path. That one leads to the promised land of creative freedom, but a land of exile from “what really happened”: the land of fiction.

Summer Bounty – a brief recap

P1020944 (477x640)It’s been a full, long summer, both productive and relaxing… still in progress. Aside from a bounty of pleasure in nature, with friends, and making music, here’s a brief recap of news on the writing front. First, a view of my outdoor office: 

Conference and Kootenays Book Tour

5RiversWWC2015 (1)Next week I’ll be passing through BC’s West Kootenays on the way to Calgary, a writing conference called When Worlds Collide. There I’ll do readings from Hunter’s Daughter and sit on four different panels about writing and editing topics: Editing Tricks, Mystery in a Foreign Location, Does Being an Editor Make You a Better Writer, and Cyberpunk and Social Order. Along the way, I’ll stop in at Nelson’s Lakeside Park for an Open Mic reading, and visit my home for two decades, the tiny backwoods community of Argenta, where I’ll do a book reading and signing at the local library.

Book Launch and Landing

IMG_1285At the end of June I joined two other Victoria writers, Dave Duncan and Paula Johanson, launching our books released this spring by Canadian publisher Five Rivers. Due to a schedule switch, I arrived 45 minutes late, with just enough time for my reading from Hunter’s Daughter. The assembled patrons of the Canadian Legion hall didn’t seem to mind.

Blog Updates

Jewel of Stillness and McKenzie Tantra – The Seeker’s Manual

6 Things that Summer Teaches Us – Medium

Works in Progess

writing on the edgeI can’t quite say that I have two new releases on the horizon, but over the spring and summer I have completed substantial revisions on two new books. Here’s a sneak preview:

Red Rock Road, Light Blue Sea, a work of creative nonfiction, charts a metafictional journey to Spain. A midlife Canadian couple plays Quixote, Crusoe, Adam and Eve—tracking landscapes between bliss and burnout, art and love. The travel sections chronicle the backpacking trip of Wilson and Noella Greenwood at the edge of the pilgrimage map, as they chase sun and a haunting Moorish palace. Then, their Formentera cottage becomes a crucible of creative and romantic tension, yielding acceptance and embrace, renewed intimacy and new art.

The Last Book takes the picaresque literary tale of Thomas Mann’s Felix Krull and propels it into the speculative waters of time travel, multiple avatars, lost civilizations, White House hackers and a dystopian future, all via a 70s joyride through middle America. In this literate mashup, Cloud Atlas meets House of Cards—with other comparisons including Kerouac, Atwood, Vonnegut, Eco, Dick.

Stay tuned, as I move these titles through the publishing pipeline and into readers’ hands.