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A Rewording Life Launches Today!

A Rewording Life photo


I’m tickled to be among the 1,000 — yes, you read that right — logophile contributors to A Rewording Life, a literary project conceived by Sheryl Gordon to raise awareness of and funds for dementia research. The book is now available, and the Toronto launch happens tonight!

Here’s a little background:

“With A Rewording Life, Sheryl Gordon brings clarity to obscure words, collaborates with over a thousand cool Canadians (Yann Martel, Jane Urquhart, Terry Fallis, Miriam Toews, Wayson Choy, Emma Donoghue, Linwood Barclay, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Kim Thúy, Craig Davidson, Shani Mootoo, Charlotte Gray, Measha Brueggergosman, Sass Jordan, Joel Plaskett, Colin Mochrie, Atom Egoyan, Mark Tewksbury, et al.), and raises money for dementia research.

“When Ms. Gordon saw her mother, Yolande, lose her words to dementia, she understood like never before that words have meaning. To honour her mom, she asked Canadians who make her life more rewarding to pen an indelible sentence for an abstruse, bemusing, or convoluted word; she chose words she tends to forget. She hopes to harness these scintillating sentences to help eradicate dementia.

“Interwoven amongst the plethora of contributions are eight heartfelt essays written by Ms. Gordon. The initial letters of her essay titles (a, d, e, i, m, n, t, e) spell dementia. She hopes readers can embrace this scattered concept. Confusion is, after all, the nature of this disease.”

To find out which word and example I contributed, well, you’ll just have to buy the book! How could any writer (or reader) resist dipping into this treasure trove of 1,000 new words? With A Rewording Life on your shelf, you’ll have a ready antidote to lethologica — something from which Sheryl told Descant Blog she suffers. Don’t we all!

For further information on this worthwhile project and how to purchase copies of A Rewording Life, visit www.arewordinglife.com.


Sheryl Gordon


SHERYL GORDON, founder and curator of A Rewording Life, has been a trainer and writer in the IT field and has taught ESL.

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Inspired by Art: Who’ll win the OWC “Story Starters” writing competition?


©2014 Allyson Latta

©2014 Allyson Latta


Click to read stories based on this photograph.

Story Starters

I was thrilled when the Ontario Writers’ Conference committee asked me to contribute one of my photographs to Story Starters. Now in its second year, the competition brings together artists and writers in a creative and entertaining way.

From January to March, at the beginning of each month, OWC featured the work of a different local artist. My photo (above) was published in February. I was honoured to share the Story Starters stage with artist, writer, and editor Ingrid Ruthig (January) and artist Gretel Boose (March).

Participants had till the end of each month to submit their writing prompted by that month’s art — prose or poetry of no more than 100 words. The result was amazing, as you’ll see when you click the link at the top of this page. My photo gave birth to an unexpected and provocative array of stories and poems. Altogether the three Story Starters inspired almost 200 contributions.

The committee chose its top ten for each month, from which judge James Dewar selected three finalists per Story Starter. Good luck to the following writers!

Marie Arthur-Beswick

Joe Balevi

Mona Blaker (2)

Kristy Leigh Logan

Alicja Merifield

Claire Sylvan

Lori Twining

Caroline Wissing

At the Ontario Writers’ Conference this Saturday, delegates will be able to read the finalists’ stories and vote for their favourites. The three winners will receive their prizes at the close of the conference.

And if you need more proof that art can plant a seed in a writer’s mind, here it is. One writer, Audrey Ksepka, used her Story Starters submission as the jumping-off point and wrote a 1500-word story that won first prize in a writing contest in Brownsville, Texas.

The Conference

I’ll be at the Ontario Writers’ Conference this Saturday, presenting a workshop on memoir writing titled “Truth and Dare” (with bonus self-editing tips). If you’re attending, maybe I’ll see you there.

And if you haven’t yet discovered this annual conference with its wonderful lineup of authors, editors, and workshop leaders, you don’t know what you’re missing. There’s still time for you to register for the Festival of Authors on Friday night (May 2). Or just come along and pay at the door.

Look Around You

Really look. What art — visual or otherwise — do you see that might get your pen moving and the words flowing?



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Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Writing Inspired by Art: enter your prose or poetry in OWC’s “Story Starters” competition


Click the following link to check out my photo chosen by the Ontario Writers’ Conference for this month’s “Story Starters” competition. What story does it tell?


February Story Starter


You have till February 28 to submit your photo-inspired creative writing. Enter as many stories or poems as you like (each 100 words maximum).

The top 10 entries for each month will be sent to the OWC’s final-round judge, who will select a top 3. The top 3 entries for each piece of art will be displayed at the 2014 Ontario Writers’ Conference (May 2nd & 3rd in Ajax, Ontario) for final ballot-voting by attendees. The winners will be announced at the conference and each will receive a prize (TBA).

I’m pleased to be following talented writer, editor, and artist Ingrid Ruthig, whose Confluence was the competition’s January inspiration.

Now, view my Story Starter for February and get creative. I hope to see your story or poem on the contest entries page!


About the Ontario Writers’ Conference

Don’t miss this fabulous gathering of authors and editors, speakers, and workshop facilitators. I’ve been involved for several years and it’s a worthwhile and fun event. I’ll be there this spring, leading my workshop “Truth and Dare: Find the Courage to Share Your Personal Story.” As a bonus I’ll offer editing tips. Register soon.


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Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Happy New Year from Allyson


©2013 Allyson Latta

©2013 Allyson Latta


Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

~ from “In Memoriam,” Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Best wishes to my Readers, Subscribers, and Contributors,

and to Storytellers everywhere,

for a 2014 filled with good health, great friends,

and of course, stimulating reading and writing!


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Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Winners of the 2013 Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest / And introducing … the Singer-Songwriter Mentor Experience

girl writing2


I’m pleased to announce here the talented winners of the 2nd annual Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest:

1st prize: Natalia Darie

2nd prize: Whitney Sweet

3rd prize: Bria Lubiens

Contest judge Shannon Bramer selected the winning entries and will mentor these promising poets, who will split $1,000 in prize money toward online private instruction. Winners’ names will also be announced in the November issue of Quill & Quire.

My interview with 1st-prize winner Natalia Darie will appear on this website in coming weeks. (Meanwhile, here’s my conversation with the young poet who took last year’s top prize, Ana Rodriguez Machado.)

The Aspiring Canadian Poets Contest is the vision of Heidi Stock, founder and president of Aspiring Canadian Writers Contests Inc., and its honorary patron is memoirist, novelist, and Vancouver poet laureate Evelyn Lau. Poet Catherine Graham kicked off last year’s competition as inaugural judge and mentor.

Congratulations to this year’s winners.

You can read their poems here.

♦     ♦     ♦


And …

if you’re an aspiring songwriter, take note (pun intended) of the just-announced Singer-Songwriter Mentor Experience, which will take submissions starting October 8, 2013.

Visit the Singer-Songwriter Mentor Experience website, and read more about the contest here: “Unsigned singer-songwriters compete for mentoring opportunity with multiple Juno Award–winning artist.” The 2014 mentor is Canadian recording artist Luba. This contest is sponsored by Aspiring Canadian Writers Contests Inc., and supported by the Songwriters Association of Canada.

Entries are being accepted between October 8, 2013 and December 22, 2013, or until 300 eligible entries are received.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Write now! Deadline for UofT School of Continuing Studies writing competition is almost here


"Geheime Korrespondenz," by Carl von Bergen, 1891 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

“Geheime Korrespondenz,” by Carl von Bergen, 1891 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Friday, May 24, 2013.

That’s the deadline for submissions to this year’s Random House of Canada Student Award for Fiction.

If you were enrolled in a course offered by the Creative Writing Program at University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies between May 15, 2012 and May 15, 2013 (today!), YOU’RE ELIGIBLE.

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Wednesday, May 15th, 2013