Brand building through storytelling

Archive for 2009

My Mother – Julia

My mom was born the only girl after 4 boys. Growing up she was treated like a queen. Her youngest brother was ten yr. older. She enjoyed her childhood. As her family grew older and became ill, she was the caregriver. At 89 she had a stoke […]

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A snowbird in spite of myself

Every year around this time, as winter tightens its grip on Toronto, my husband pointedly draws my attention to the various people we know who’ve decamped for condos in Florida and won’t be back until the crocuses sprout. “I like my routines here at home,” I’ve always said. “Besides, winter in Toronto is pretty tame stuff. Think we’ve got it bad? You should see winter where I come from!”

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My top 10 posts of 2009 at

Among the many rewards of this website is the sweet obligation of an annual top 10 list where every slot goes to me. So here they are, my friends—the posts I wouldn’t want you to miss because they’re the closest to my heart.

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How my blog posts are born

What is it with blog posts on blogging? Every time I write one, my blogger friends want to comment, stirring up on online word fest that recalls the distant days when every poet worth his quill wrote poems about poetry and sprinkled his work with allusions to other people’s verses on the mysteries of their craft. My recent post “Blogging as spiritual practice” inspired some pretty searching questions about why and what I here. I’d never thought about that before. What a worthy challenge for a blogger!

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A perplexed feminist at Baby Gap

What with a baby boomlet in the family and Christmas practically upon us, I’ve become a reluctant expert in the latest style trends for those of us too tiny and clueless to care how grownups deck us out, provided the clothes don’t itch. So I am here to tell you what I’ve learned from wide-eyed contemplation of eensy-weensy toddler jeans, fashionably distressed like Dad’s. Guess who they’re for! A boy, of course. Baby Gap and its competitors dress boys like men (or at least like college freshmen) and girls like dolls. The gender divide lives on.

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Blogging as spiritual practice

I’ve never had a mantra or a healing crystal. I bombed at meditation. When someone rhapsodizes about The Secret, I can’t keep the disdain off my face. You might think I ought to show some respect for spiritual practices. In fact I do have one. It’s called blogging.

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The year we all were Up in the Air

I do my best to steer clear of movies so new and hot, you can barely find a seat, but I made an exception for Up in the Air, starring George Clooney as a corporate hit man who flies all over the country firing people with cheerful sang-froid. Although I’ve never lost a job myself, I’ll remember 2009 as the year I lost count of all the notes I sent to friends and colleagues who had just been booted out of theirs.

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No safe place: what the Montreal Massacre means to women

I was heading home from a Christmas party, sated on champagne and smoked salmon, when the car radio broke the news: 14 young women killed at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal by a gunman shouting, “You’re all a bunch of feminists!” While I was deciding which earrings to wear with my new silk suit, they had been separated from their male classmates and mowed down just because they were bright, ambitious women intent on careers in engineering.

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I didn’t want to write about the Montreal Massacre. Here’s why.

Soon after the Montreal Massacre, Flare magazine asked me for an essay on its meaning to women. There were many who dismissed the lethal shooting spree as the act of a madman. I saw it as the far extreme of attitudes that threaten women in their own neighbourhoods and bedrooms. Yes, even women like me. I didn’t want to think about that, but I’ve learned that the stories I most resist are the ones I most need to tell.

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Taming my inner Scrooge

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Ebenezer Scrooge and his against-all-odds transformation from money-grubbing curmudgeon to beloved friend of one and all. I grew up with the black-and-white movie starring Alastair Sim. I’ll most likely break down and see the razzle-dazzle 3-D version starring Jim Carrey. And last Sunday I put on my most festive red jacket for the annual reading of A Christmas Carol at Toronto’s Church of the Redeemer, starring me and four other recruits. I was off to confront my inner Scrooge.

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