Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Night Lights

Tonight, our family along with many other Jewish families will light the first candle for the celebration of Hanukkah 5772. As the flame burns brightly inside our home, we will place our Menorah in the window facing the street to make our light visible.

The word Chanukah derives from the verb la'chnoch--to dedicate, inaugurate, celebrate a fresh start, to begin anew.

Hanukkah lasts for eight days to commemorate the Maccabees victory over the conquerers of Israel in 168 BCE and to remember their rebuilding and renewing of the Jewish Temple, which had been defiled. The Maccabees were faced with the challenge of cleaning and rededicating a still-standing, but desecrated Temple. As they sifted through the wreckage to salvage what they could, they found a tiny container of oil, which they expected to last for only one night. Instead, this small amount of oil burned brightly for eight nights.

These days, at least for us, Hanukkah is less about age-old miracles--as magical as they may have been--and more about an opportunity for renewing and building what may have gone stale in our lives, or that which has failed to develop and evolve. The festival of lights provides a chance for us to envision how we might be better and do better,how our world might be a more tolerant, enlightened place. The insights flicker, but to enact them in our daily lives--that is the galvanizing challenge.

May everyone be free to light their own lights and to display their glow for all to see. Blessings for a joyful Hanukkah.

Hag Sameah!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

For Teen Writers With A Story Itching To Be Told


A Creative Writing Seminar for Senior School Teens

Work intensively in a small, seminar setting with an award-winning, professional novelist and short story author. Develop your craft and create your own portfolio of stories, or begin a longer work, such as a novel. Tap into your richest, deepest material and crack open your stories. Supportive peer critique and the instructor’s expertise will help you to get to the next level in your writing. Each student will receive an individual conference with the instructor. Supportive, warm environment.

This workshop is open to Secondary III, IV & V students from any school with a passion for writing and some background in craft. Held at Lower Canada College, 4099Royal Ave., NDG, Room # to be confirmed.

Eight Weeks, Monday afternoons, begins Oct. 3rd-Dec. 5th: 4:00-5:30 p.m. (no class Oct. 10 & Nov. 7).

SEMINAR LIMITED TO 8. For more information, please contact Ami at:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Newly home after a paradisal residency at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, VCCA, where I completed a full first revision of my novel, Faraway Nearby. For the first two-and-half to three weeks of my time, I worked day and night, immersing in the story, the characters, the varied landscapes of my book, which range from Valletta, Malta, to Puerto Escondido, Mexico, to Montreal. After writing in fits and starts for months at home, feeling fragmented by the demands of my life as writer, mother, and chief-cook-and-bottle washer, I was able to hold and contain the book within my mind and imagination, thanks to the shedding of all those quotidian distractions.

I had a beautiful studio in the barn with four huge windows, three looking out on hills and pasture. It was fun watching the horses and the cows and the bull and witnessing the birth of several calves. The rumbling vibration of the coal train which shudders past the colony, oh, perhaps four times during the day and night lulled me to sleep and coaxed me awake, and calmed me as I wrote and imagined and sculpted my book. I love the sound of trains, in fact, I love almost everything about trains...that feeling of being suspended--time out from time, not only riding a train, but even hearing and seeing one gives me that feeling.

I met some wonderful artists--novelists, poets, composers, painters--several of whom I know will become life-long friends.

I'm grateful, but also happy to be back home with my nearest and dearest. I missed you guys...bad. Thankfully, everyone is alive, well, thriving, despite my month of being an outlaw mom.

My next rez will be in Spain at Fundacion Valparaiso, though not for some time. I leave home alone a maximum of once a year. Now, if I can only time this residency for the six-month-long Montreal winter, with a visit from my hubbie and kids, well, that would be heaven on earth.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Events: Hope to See You There!

I have several exciting events coming up this spring. Please join me and nourish your literary soul.

I'll be appearing at ImagiNation 2011: Writers' Festival in beautiful Quebec City. Come stop by at the book signing and have your copy of The White Space Between and Bloodknots inscribed. The signing will take place on Friday, April 15, at 4 p.m. at Le Salon du Livres at The Quebec Convention Centre, Maison Anglaise booth. Later that evening, come and listen to a reading and panel on "Body Talk" where I will appear with Giller short-listed author Alex MaCleod, and Paul Kropp. The event will take place at Morrin College, 7 p.m.

For more information and details, check The Morrin Centre website at: www.morrin.org and look for ImagiNation, 2011.

In June, when Montreal is hotter than hot, join me and The Association of Jewish Libraries Annual Convention, where I will be reading from The White Space Between, and discussing whether I consider myself "A Jewish Writer" and why. Glen Rotchin and others will be on hand to weigh in.

This event is at 10:15 a.m. in room Viger A at The Chateau Champlain Marriott Hotel. For more information, check their website at: http://www.jewishlibraries.org/ajlweb/conventions/convention2011.htm

Here's to spring ...and to literature!