Archive for December, 2010

December 20th, 2010

Excerpt from My Peruvian Health Experience

by Kerrie Lamb, Learner, Writing Workshops

“He says you are dehydrated and require iv therapy.” Claudia’s words kept wafting through my mind as I mulled over the course of our trip. During the ten days we had spent in Peru, I could remember eating only four times, due to a persistent nausea and an overly ambitious case of the squits. While in the jungle, I had been delirious with fever. In Cuzco, the altitude sickness started, manifesting itself as a non-specific sense of dread, which culminated into one wheezing night of fit-full sleep and anxiety-ridden dreams. Come morning, I couldn’t move at all. Claudia ordered me up a large tank of oxygen through room service, while I attempted to dress myself in stages; hand in sleeve, rest, sleeve up arm, catch my breath, try to engineer getting shirt to other arm, take a nap. Now, here I was in Tarapoto, a Canadian healthcare worker about to experience the finest healthcare Peru could offer…

About Kerrie Lamb:

Kerrie loves experiencing the things one can only experience when miles from home. This is her first attempt at sharing.

The text above is Kerrie’s opening paragraph for her travel article, which was written for Ann Ireland’s online course for beginning travel writers: ‘Creative Travel Writing’ (CWWR 952).

December 17th, 2010

Home Free

Home Free

by Jacklyn Atlas, Learner, Photography Studies

View the rest of Jacklyn’s Home Free series, or visit her blog for more images:

To see more of Jacklyn’s portfolio, visit her website:

This photo was taken for Ruth Kaplan’s course on documentary photography: ‘Approaches to Documentary Photography’ (CDFP 392).

December 17th, 2010

Excerpt from Snowed Under

by Leah Sandals, Learner, Magazine and Web Publishing

It was a blue-sky Alberta foothills day, with the kind of intense light that makes a Toronto-dwelling former Cowtowner chafe at the slushy afternoons she unjustly endures each winter.

A thick, one-metre-deep frosting of glittering snow layered the landscape, refracting the sun in a million directions. My eyes squinted at the dazzle as we reached the edge of a small valley, where bare, winter-elegant aspens stood.

With the outline of the Rockies in the distance, it was a perfect day for any number of outdoor activities: skiing, sliding or, that most gentle of pursuits, strolling leisurely, coffee in hand.

But it was not that kind of day for me, nor for my fiancé, sister, brother-in-law or nephew. Despite the postcard-worthy loveliness of this place, we had come on a sobering endeavour — to find, and then visit, the dead…

To continue reading, see Leah’s article published in Canadian Geographic.

Leah Sandals is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. Visit Leah’s website,, for more information.

The text above is Leah’s opening to her personal essay, which was written for David Hayes’ advanced course on magazine feature writing: ‘Advanced Feature Writing’ (CDJN 118).

December 14th, 2010

Excerpt from Niagara-on-the-Lake: Icewine

by Yvonne Price, Learner, Writing Workshops

Niagara-on-the-Lake – Creamy milk chocolate spews out of a tiered fountain and I carefully twirl my biscotti underneath it, ensuring that the cookie receives a complete coating. The icewine that accompanied the cookie had lasted all of twenty seconds, and the empty glass feels light in my hand. I place my glass in the flow of the velvety liquid until it reaches the top of the rim, causing a roar of laughter to fill the air in the overcrowded tasting room at Riverview Estates. This first stop on our annual winery tour warms us up and sets the mood for a weekend of fun at the Niagara Icewine Festival…

To continue reading, see Yvonne’s travel piece published in the Toronto Star.

About Yvonne Price:

Yvonne has held various senior management roles in the life and health insurance industry for over 20 years, provides personal training services, and serves as a member of the CHIP Advisory Board. Currently, she is conducting research to write a book that will involve travelling across Canada for 10 months starting in April 2011. Yvonne will be blogging her journey to raise awareness of both Canada and CHIP Charity.

The text above is Yvonne’s opening paragraph for her travel writing piece, which was written for Ann Ireland’s online course for beginning travel writers: ‘Creative Travel Writing’ (CWWR 952).

December 14th, 2010



by Ken Kang Ming Yan, Learner, Photography Studies

To see more of Ken Yan’s portfolio, visit his website:

This photo was taken for Ruth Kaplan’s course on documentary photography: ‘Approaches to Documentary Photography’ (CDFP 392).

December 8th, 2010



by Sean M. Penhall, Learner, Photography Studies

“We were to take a photo in natural light and try to re-create that same light in the studio… I decided to go a little further than that and dressed/did the model up completely opposite of the original photo; whereas she was very light in the original, and much more dark in the studio lit photograph. The only thing they had in common was the same light. The result, both photos felt very different when viewed.”

Hair and Makeup: Tami el Sombati (JudyINC)
Model: Lily Gao (Sutherland)

To see more of Sean M. Penhall’s portfolio, visit his website:

The photos above were taken for Rob Davidson’s course investigating techniques and approaches to commercial photography: ‘Commercial Product Photography II’ (CDFP 390).

December 8th, 2010

Excerpt from Untitled

by Naomi Frankel, Learner, Writing Workshops

Rachel lay contented, the sun golden and warm on her closed eyelids. She wondered drowsily whether she had time for a nap before having to pick up Ben from his soccer practice.

Maybe 20 minutes, she decided, snuggling deeper under the covers as the sweat of their love-making cooled on her skin. A minute later, she became aware that where warmth and light had once been, now there was shadow. She opened her eyes to find Gabriel leaning over her. He smiled and gently stroked her cheek. She returned the smile, then quickly closed her eyes again, greedy for her nap.

“I’m in love with you, Rachel.” She opened her eyes again and met his. All thoughts of a nap gone, and anxiety replacing contentment as she tried to think of something to say.

“Awww,” she said feebly. “Wow.” Then, “Oh geez! I’m late, Ben will be waiting.”

She threw off the covers and began hunting around for her panties. Spying them at the bottom of the bed, she plucked them up and scrambled into them, then the rest of her clothes. Gabe remained where he was, propped on one elbow, watching her as she dressed.

“We’re so good together, Raich, you know it. Screw this once-a-week crap. Let’s not fight it anymore.”

“I didn’t think we were fighting anything,” she responded, trying for a playful tone. She turned her back to him, finished dressing.

“Rachel, how do you feel? What do you think? Do you feel the same way?”

Rachel wiped off the second attempt to apply her lipstick properly and looked at him. She loved the way he said her name. She loved the male physicality of him, his solidness. She loved his intelligence, his questioning nature. And at that moment, she hated his evident vulnerability…

About Naomi Frankel:

“I’m sort of old so I’ve had many careers: currently, mostly an ESL teacher, but on my coat stand hang many hats: book editor, union educator, communication skills instructor, staff development manager, magazine editor, and writer of everything BUT fiction. Currently I live in Vancouver, where I moved from Saskatchewan four years ago.”

The text above is Naomi’s opening to her untitled story, which was written for Ann Ireland’s online course for beginning fiction writers: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).

December 7th, 2010

Excerpt from The Hole

by Anita Klassen, Learner, Writing Workshops

Daring to look out the cellar hole, Marc glanced furtively around the deserted landscape, hoping for the countless time for a glimpse of his brother. He had been in that dark, cramped cellar for 8 days now, according to the marks etched into the damp, dirt wall. The stench was almost un-bearable, the tidbits of food found stored in the deep recesses of the walls – edible, but just barely. But Marc clung to the belief that his brother would be true to his promise and would return.

When they began their camping trip, three weeks earlier, it was a dream come true for Marc. His older brother had refused to be a part of any family vacations for years. Turning 21 had created more than a legal adult, it had birthed a maturity and responsibility in Danny that Marc was savouring with every moment they spent together. It was with amazed joy that Marc and his parents planned this camping trip with their long lost prodigal son.

This joy turned to confused bewilderment and fear when Marc and Danny’s parents disappeared along with approximately 400 000 other Americans. Those who were left in the campground were as lost and scared, searching for answers, as the boys were. Authorities ruled out foul play almost immediately. No criminal mastermind could have orchestrated a mass kidnapping of this magnitude. Not only that, there were no ransom demands or public announcements taking responsibility by terrorist groups. For a brief moment, the frazzled voice on the radio suggested the rapture had indeed occurred. This was quickly dismissed as most North American churches reported at least 50% membership was still accounted for. With no answers forthcoming, Marc and Daniel decided to head home on their own…

About Anita Klassen:

“Elementary school teacher for the last 19 years, mother of three, married for 21 years. Lived in northern BC my entire life but love to travel to exotic places as often as we can get away. Have always wanted to write but haven’t had the nerve to try before this. Plan to continue now that I’ve “bitten the bullet” and taken the first step.”

The text above is Anita’s opening to her short story, which was written for Ann Ireland’s online course for beginning fiction writers: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).

December 3rd, 2010

Excerpt from The Sturgeon

by Chelsea Miya, Learner, Writing Workshops

The rocky shore of the Taiga shield rolls about in all directions, rising up and over, like the lumpy crowns of old men. The water laps at the crest, gently, gently, green algae poking its nose above the waterline, while gnarled trees wave their branches above. With each burst of wind, the crooked pines speckle the surface with a few more grey needles that twist and swirl in invisible underwater eddies, collecting on the shore. There’s a smell, a cold smell, slightly oily like the aftertaste of fish, but the water itself looks clean and black and impossibly deep. As my limbs propel across the lake, kicking thickly at the depths, I imagine the creatures that lurk below, swishing tails caressing curling weeds, scraping unseen speckled bottom, soft sand hardened by metre upon metre of duteous pressure.

My father said he once spotted a sturgeon from the bow of his canoe. He swore he saw it, shadowy shape dipping underneath an outstretched paddle, rendered twig-like by its gaping girth. It passed underneath and was gone. Sturgeons grow forever, he said, stroking his beard. They’re the oldest fish alive, descendents of prehistoric times, and that one might have lived and gone on living since the turn of the century…

About Chelsea Miya:

“I spent my toddler years in Pond Inlet, Nunavut – population: 1000 – a tiny tag-a-long for my adventurous parents, then-freshly graduated from teacher’s college. My earliest memories were crafted from the frozen tundra: the panting of sled dogs, the rhythm of drum dancing, the scrape of an ulu; this was my music. I even learned Inuktitut in day care, becoming much more fluent than my parents (ha!) After moving down south to Ontario as a high-schooler, I always felt like a bit of an outsider. Instead of shopping malls and Much Music, I preferred to lose myself in books. Today, I’m a recent journalism school graduate from Ryerson, who has written for publications like Now Magazine, the Hamilton Spectator and the Waterloo Region Record. I hope to go to grad school for creative writing and (someday) become an author.”

The text above is Chelsea’s opening to her story, which was written for Ann Ireland’s online course for beginning fiction writers: ‘Short Fiction Writing – Level I’ (CWWR 410).