Startle and Illuminate

I love writing guides. Even if I don’t accept all the advice, I love how they offer us insights into the creative process, techniques for approaching an idea or text, and biographical details. Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird are two of my favourites. I think I was set on this path when my medieval studies professor in undergrad recommended a book on writing creative non-fiction, “to help us with our essays.” Continue reading “Startle and Illuminate”



I spent the second half of 2015 working on a new collection of Carol Shields’ writing advice. Startle and Illuminate: Carol Shields on Writing was edited by Carol’s daughter Anne Giardini and grandson Nicholas Giardini. It includes introductions by Anne and Nicholas about the process of seeking out materials in the Carol Shields Archive in Ottawa, and what it was like to read and edit their mother/grandmother. Jane Urquhart supplied a foreword about her friend Carol and her enduring presence as a writing mentor. Startle and Illuminate is the perfect gift for any writer or teacher of writing, and for the many Carol Shields fans out there.

Continue reading “Unless”