Category: Blog

Does your Myers-Briggs personality type predict Social Media Dependency?

My kid is going through the Science Fair years. In the past, he’s done projects on his family history, on friction effects and probably several I’m forgetting. This year he tackled a hot-button topic. He decided to test whether social media dependency could be predicted by knowing a person’s Myers-Briggs personality type. I say “hot-button” […]

Negative Empathy

Should writers of fiction review the work of colleagues? I avoid it personally, and my rational for doing is the basis for my side of a debate that was part of the CBC Literary Smackdown series a couple of years back. The other side of the issue was taken by esteemed Victoria-based novelist and nonfiction writer Robert Weirsma, who also writes a […]


The Incredible Story of a Marine and his Opera I received one of the assignments of my career in 2012. 20 years in freelancing. Hundreds and hundreds of published pieces in great magazines. And I finally got my first commission from Harpers. That was a big deal to me. And the story was big too. […]

Ai Weiwei’s New York Photographs

This is the transcript of an address given 13 Nov 2014 at the Belkin Gallery in Vancouver. — Thanks everyone for being here. And thank you Shelly Rosenblum and the Belkin Gallery for inviting me. I’ve only been full-time faculty here for 18 months or so. And one thing I didn’t know to anticipate were these cross-disciplinary conversations that were […]

The Achievement Square Fridge Magnet Game

In the middle of the night, early in the third week of UBC classes, Fall 2014, a strange installation appeared in the new square that’s being completed out front of the University Bookstore and across the way from the soon-to-be-completed new SUB. It looked like a billboard. But it wasn’t advertising anything. Instead, it depicted […]

RIP Paul Walker

Not a lot of RIP Paul Walker posts in my various feeds this morning, despite the Fast and the Furious lead having died a grisly death on Saturday. I guess Walker doesn’t have a big profile in the literary scene. His films were middle brow. His acting wasn’t overly nuanced. So he died in the burning […]

A New Phase in an Unpredictable Writing Career

My writing career started an unbelievable 25 years ago in an unbelievable place: banking. I can’t say it was by accident either. I started university as cluelessly as many (most?) students, thinking only that I was suited for the corporate life and with hardly a thought for what the content of a satisfying work day […]