Chronicling the journey of writing
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More than three years ago I embarked on a solo journey to India. That experience was priceless and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. While there are life circumstances that keep me in Montreal for the time being, as of late I have been living vicariously through my older brother who is currently traveling South America. His current journey is nothing short of magnificent, and I would like to share some of his travel writing with you. 

Text below by Philip Louis

Ometepe Volcano

Photo: Philip Louis

Yes, its true, I haven’t posted a lot of pictures…

But there’s a good reason for that! Much like the time I’ve spent in Vancouver or travelling across Canada or even in Toronto, what I found to be the most fascinating in my travels were and are simply…the people. More impressive than the oldest buildings, the tallest structures, the prettiest vistas…the beautiful people I’ve met, their stories, their challenges, discoveries, pitfalls and triumphs. All intricate pieces in a grand mosaic of “Living Art,” the complexity and beauty of which can easily match and surpass any man-made structure.

If I could post pictures, I would post pictures of the people that have been placed on my path. I have found that they are the reason I’m travelling. Simply…to talk, laugh, exchange, share and LOVE. Ok, yes! I can do that in Montreal…but the people I’ve met through Couchsurfing and sleeping in hostels are different than those I meet on a daily basis. Some of them have been away from home for months…some for years…one particular friend with whom I shared a room with couch surfing said that when he was asked, at the airport, what his country of residence was…he simply couldn’t answer. He had been gone for so long and had lived in so many places for months at a time that he didn’t know what his current place of residence was.

Legally speaking, yes, residency can be determined and established…but where I’m at…nobody lives “legally.” In other words, life is lived on the outskirts of the conventionally established social norms. They live from their heart space. When you live from this divine space, your residence, family, friends, your life can exist everywhere and anywhere at once. (more…)

S.N. Goenka Passes Away

September 30th, 2013 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Inspiration - (1 Comments)

by Veronica Louis

S.N. Goenka

Photo: www.vri.dhamma.org

S.N. Goenka, the principal teacher of Vipassana meditation, passed away yesterday at his residence in India. He was 90. My heart weeps for a man who has helped me realize the most important changes of my life. His discourses were always selfless and enlightening. He was all about love and advocated that truth was universal − that it belonged to everyone. He also clearly explained just how everything was impermanent, and has the characteristics of “arising, passing away… arising, passing away.”

He sought to help others find their own liberation. He helped me find mine.

This week is a sad week for the world of Dhamma, and the whole world over, the world has just lost an extraordinary being who touched the soul of many and showed them how to come out of their misery. He never professed to be a guru, nor a prophet. He was a teacher and he simply taught what he knew and led by example.

My heart weeps and smiles at the same time. Goenkaji led a full and exemplary life. He was liberated.

May he be happy, peaceful, liberated. Liberated.

When It’s Not Meant to Be

September 30th, 2013 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Inspiration - (0 Comments)

by Veronica Louis

Painting of a stick figure looking out a window

Painting: Joyce Quansah

For the past few months, I had been actively pursuing a “dream” writing job for a “dream” company. I spent months researching and preparing myself for the whole interview process. And come interview day (a two hour text-based chat through Skype) I was more than ready as well as high on anticipation. The interview had gone really well, and the next step was to complete a few writing assignments.

When I found out a couple of weeks ago that there was a hold put on hiring for the position, my heart sank. Sometimes, you believe so much that something is meant to be that you can almost taste it and feel it with all your might. So when things fell through, my confidence took a hit, and I fell through. I was so attached to the idea of getting this position that my vision had narrowed and could only focus on that one thing. When that prospect fell apart, my vision blurred and I found myself disoriented. (more…)

Does Turning 30 Suck?

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Turning 30 - (0 Comments)

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by Veronica Louis

Three exclamation marks

Image: Veronica Louis

I recently came across Elmore Leonard’s writing rules and thought that he was right on the money. The recently deceased novelist wrote many books that were later adapted into film such as Get Shorty, Be Cool and Rum Punch (Jackie Brown). Leonard overall, encouraged authors to show instead of tell, to remain invisible and to rewrite if the writing sounds like writing.

My favorite suggestion? “If proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.” That’s right, in the world of literature rules are meant to be broken.

The ten rules are described in detail in Leonard’s New York Times article Writers on Writing; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle

A Summary of the 10 Rules

1. Never open a book with weather.

2. Avoid prologues.

3. Never use a verb other than ”said” to carry dialogue.

4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb ”said” . . .

5. Keep your exclamation points under control.

6. Never use the words ”suddenly” or ”all hell broke loose.”

7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.

8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.

9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.

10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.