gathering words for winter

They keep me awake at night. Characters whisper to me in dreams. Their voices might belong to a book I have yet to write. Or a story that keeps tugging at my imagination, refusing to let go. Even when I'm not sitting at my desk, it always feels like I'm writing inside my head.

pigeon and book
When I'm working on a book, I scribble lots of doodles on paper. Here's Wendy, the pigeon outside Aaron's window in NARC.

doodles and a book
My desk usually looks like this.

summer bike ride
If I get tired of words, I go for a bike ride. It's my favorite solution to untangling a difficult scene. By the time I get home, I've usually found the answer.

A long walk is also a good way to tackle a revision letter. I plug myself into my iPod and daydream while the songs swirl around me (every work-in-progress has its own soundtrack).

On the subway, I catch bits and pieces of conversation. So many stories floating through the tunnels. Sometimes it feels like we're living in a movie with no end.

Toronto airport
The airport is the perfect spot for daydreams. Everybody is rushing around, trying to get somewhere. But if you sit and listen, you'll find lots of writerly inspiration.

NY Art Book Fair
If you want to write, you should read as much as possible. Read constantly. Always remember why you fell in love with words. In that way, you're never taking a break. You're like Frederick in Leo Leonni's beautiful book....gathering sun rays and words for the winter.

Frederick (1986) from waanaki on Vimeo.


  1. I love this post, and I love the pictures too. I especially agree with the part about riding the subway. I'm a commuter, and I think that the train is a good place to people-watch. I have to do it discreetly, though, because if I make eye contact with the wrong person they might take it as an invitation to convert me/persuade me to buy something/go off on a tangent about all the people that made them made that day. (And yes, all those things have happened.)

    1. thank you! Yes, the subway is always an adventure. I love when there's a guy playing guitar / dancing on the pole / drawing faces in his notebook / whatever...and everybody tries to act like it's not happening... :)

  2. Love the pics!!!! I spot POLISH Pottery. <3

  3. Love your atmospheres...I always feel like I could sink in and get cozy...

  4. Okay... your "doodle" is a masterpiece!

  5. What a great entry! I escaped into the poetry of your descriptions.


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