Inspire Courage Crafts

Even in my leisure activities tilt towards geekery. Not content to just crochet granny squares, I started a collection of dice bags for all your favourite polyhedral friends. Not to be outdone, each bag has a character. Follow me over to Inspire Courage Crafts if you're interest is sufficiently piqued.

Museum of the Western World & Trev’s Books with BIBLIOCACHE

As a certain big-eyed ingenue once said, life moves pretty fast sometimes. We've barely got Museum of the Western World printed and it's already out in the world! So is Trev's Books! (I've also sent them my old classic What I Did on a Saturday Afternoon!) I was invited by Aaron Moran to contribute new … Continue reading Museum of the Western World & Trev’s Books with BIBLIOCACHE

Waking from my Writing Coma

So I've just finished a draft (final?) of something and the feeling is always like finally arriving at your hotel after an incredibly long, grueling, farcical series of misadventures. It's over. It's done. You're not dreaming. There's a tired, weighted sigh of relief... the feeling that holy-sh*t-I-really-need-a-drink... But what to do now?! (Besides opening the mini-bar, … Continue reading Waking from my Writing Coma

My Three Dads

There is a line in a movie that I am not ashamed to admit I have seen way too many times* which goes:

"Typical isn't it? You wait twenty years for a dad and then three come along at once."
I feel a little like this right now. I've had several months of plugging away at a project with all the diligence of an AP English student (which is to say, very little diligence, but we fake it well), and now everything has kind of exploded in my face.

Accepting my Slytherinness

I didn't join Pottermore for the longest time. My relationship with Harry Potter was intense, but troubled. It oscillated between shameless joy and celebration to cheek-biting scrutiny and critique. In one past life, I'd enthusiastically dressed up in costume and painted signs, windows, and children's faces for the midnight releases at the bookstore. In another, … Continue reading Accepting my Slytherinness

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: VIII. Broken Down Somewhere in Belgium

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. I can't remember how it was I found out that the bus had broken down. What I definitely remember is that it was extremely cold. The bus breaking down did come several hours into a long bus trip from London. From there, … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: VIII. Broken Down Somewhere in Belgium

“Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f***ing live.”

The above quote comes from the marvellous Deadwood, out of the mouth of the marvellous Calamity Jane. And I'm really feeling it right now. It's been a while since I've posted much of anything. Life is like that. Peaks and valleys. Hills and troughs. I feel like this is a lesson I've figured out before. … Continue reading “Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f***ing live.”

Interview with Quarter Castle Publishing

Another shameless plug. This time an interview with Quarter Castle Publishing. Behold, my majesty!

I have to admit that I love talking about my writing process.

It forces a level of self-reflexivity that I think is healthy, as well as provides a valuable time to reflect on the effectiveness of my process.

Also, I am vain.

(Also also… that picture of me had a plate of pierogis artfully cropped out.)

Quarter Castle Publishing

Author InterviewAshleigh Rajala of New Westminster, British Columbia, is the author of Working Title, the winning submission in Quarter Castle Publishing’s first short story writing contest.

Recently Quarter Castle Publishing interviewed Ashleigh.

QCP: When did you decide to become a writer?

Ashleigh: I remember a moment as a book-obsessed child where I realized that someone created those books and that I too could do that. The first story I wrote was about a dinosaur, and my mum sewed a cover onto it and everything. Sadly, this opus has been lost to history. So I never really decided, it was just something I have always done.

QCP: Do you write every day? If not, how many days do you dedicate to writing?

Ashleigh: I write every day. Sometimes life gets in the way, but that’s okay. But I try to never let myself stop if I’m feeling blocked or less than…

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Quarter Castle Chronicles… chronicled

I am extremely thrilled and humbled to share that Quarter Castle Chronicles, Volume One, is now available in print and e-book! Quarter Castle Chronicles ~ Volume One showcases 13 short stories by 12 Canadian authors. They take place in settings across the country, both in the present and the past. From the rugged coast of … Continue reading Quarter Castle Chronicles… chronicled

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: II. Madrid, the Arrival

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. the arrival I was supposed to take the train from Paris to Madrid. It was one of those things that I had planned out well in advance like the responsible adult I had thought I was. I bought my Eurail … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: II. Madrid, the Arrival

Consider the Working Title Worked

I'm happy to share that one of my works has been included in the latest issue of WomenArts Quarterly Journal. Based out of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, WomenArts Quarterly Journal (WAG) is: an initiative of Women in the Arts, aspires to nurture, provide support, and challenge women of all cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, and abilities … Continue reading Consider the Working Title Worked

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, Versailles

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. Versailles A few days into Paris—before the Australians, the honeymooners, the college kids, and the life-traveller; after the three asshole partiers, Matthieu from Montreal, and the nameless guy from Newport Beach—I decided to check out the Palace of Versailles. It was … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, Versailles

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: IV. Casablanca

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. I was exhausted and burnt out. For short trips, you rally. But backpacking is a marathon. I dyed my hair from blonde to brown before I left Vancouver because I knew I was going to Morocco, and I’d heard warnings—mostly … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: IV. Casablanca

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, the Five Types of Travellers

This is part of a series I have been working on. The Introduction is here. the five types of travellers My first week in Paris was a crash course in backpacking. The first day, wandering from my hostel along Rue Moufftard down to Place St. Michel, took me onto the Ile de la Cite, towards … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: I. Paris, the Five Types of Travellers

The Commencement of Commencement Advice Commences

There's nothing more useless than unsolicited advice.  I was going to preface that with When you're young, but it's really applicable to all ages. Unsolicited advice simply comes at a much greater frequency when you're young. As I age (like a slowly ripening then rotting apple; that is the metaphor I've chosen to age by), I understand this … Continue reading The Commencement of Commencement Advice Commences

Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: Introduction

This is the introduction of what I hope will become a series / retrospective project / diary-after-the-fact / examination of memory-and-place-and-all-that-jazz. All the links to other posts about specific adventures and places are/will be below. Whenever you get back from a long bout of travelling, the world always feels different (at least for a little while, … Continue reading Travel and the Art of Mental Maintenance: Introduction

Why do I binge watch seven seasons of a tv show, but can’t force myself to watch a two-hour movie?

This post started as a note in my journal: one of those things that starts crawling out from your head while you're in the shower, like a worm on the sidewalk in the rain. I meant to write it before the Oscars, because that makes it seem topical rather than tangential. But alas. Every year, Husband … Continue reading Why do I binge watch seven seasons of a tv show, but can’t force myself to watch a two-hour movie?

I was bound to waste a whole post on a cat sooner or later

As we promised ourselves upon our return from England, Husband and I got a cat. The more appropriate term might be inherited - nay - took in... as if she was the ragamuffin who charmed her way into our hearts in an 88-minute running time. It's actually nothing of the sort. She is the cat … Continue reading I was bound to waste a whole post on a cat sooner or later

When I was Thirteen a Thesaurus Lied to Me

Contrary to the alleged wisdom of Roget's Super Thesaurus 1995 edition (what deemed it "super" the tome never explained): "poetry" and "prose" are NOT synonyms. Thirteen-year-old me did not realize this. I trusted the almighty power of the printed word. Old notebooks now hold embarrassing hand-lettered titlepages. Of course, by "hand-lettered," I mean letters cut from … Continue reading When I was Thirteen a Thesaurus Lied to Me

Random Train of Thought Departing from The Grand Budapest Hotel

When The Grand Budapest Hotel opened last weekend, Husband and I missed it. It was only playing in one theatre and it sold out. (Get your shit together, Vancouver.) One week on, even with a wider release, we barely squeezed into the theatre. Casting glances around to our fellow movie-goers, I realized that the stereotype … Continue reading Random Train of Thought Departing from The Grand Budapest Hotel

Resolutions and Pattern Recognition

I've never much been one for resolutions but sometimes circumstances arise, flailing their fists, demanding action be taken. It's never anything so banal as the ticking of the clock from one year to the next that does it; no, for me, it's something drastic. Often, these resolutions end badly. Why? Because I suffer from the horrible conflation … Continue reading Resolutions and Pattern Recognition

The Anniversary of a Our First Not-a-Date

The first date Husband and I went on was not actually a date but rather more like a premise for a terrible Christmas movie. It was two years ago. We were roommates at the time and still referred to one another, "My roommate, Gregg--" or "Me and Boy Roommate--." We never quite reached the "My friend, Ashleigh--" … Continue reading The Anniversary of a Our First Not-a-Date

Fiction and Festivities with Sassafras Literary Magazine

The pleasure is mine to announce - imaginary megaphone in hand - that I have a piece published in the most recent issue of Sassafras Literary Magazine. In their sixth issue, Sassafras, have gathered an excellent collection of other short works of art, poetry, fiction and non-fiction that I am proud to be in the company … Continue reading Fiction and Festivities with Sassafras Literary Magazine

So We’ve Yet to Find a Decent World Map with South Sudan

For my sixth birthday, my grandparents bought me globe. It sat on the desk, tilted at that attractive, precarious angle. I loved that the mountain ranges were palpable beneath my fingertips. Their intention with this gift was to aid my transition into the realm of proper education. I had just begun the first grade. This … Continue reading So We’ve Yet to Find a Decent World Map with South Sudan

Which Drunken Story to Tell…?

The good people at The Round Up Writer's Zine have published a piece of mine of great intellectual snobbery... ... namely the story of time I got really drunk on Sambuca while camping. This was for The Moonshine Edition, which was seeking embarrassing drunken stories. With the piece entitled "Always the Sambuca," I have to admit that … Continue reading Which Drunken Story to Tell…?

Positively – Well, Almost Certainly – 4th Street

This past weekend, Husband and I rented an apartment on 4th Street in New Westminster. This three-storey walk-up was built oh-so optimistically one year before the crash (1928). With views of apartment blocks, a cobbled road and a slice of an industry-laded river, it makes us feel like we're living in an F. Scott Fitzgerald … Continue reading Positively – Well, Almost Certainly – 4th Street

An Eventful Week (or, “a week full of events”)

Last Thursday we returned on the train from York to Doncaster, enjoying one last chance to experience the UK with the carefree attitude of souvenir-shopping tourists. No longer was there a life to plan. Friday we enjoyed one last dinner with my aunt and uncle, our gracious hosts during this two month stint of ego, … Continue reading An Eventful Week (or, “a week full of events”)

To Read or Not to Read: Morrissey’s Autobiography

One of the things I am going to miss about Britain (more on that later) is the fact that Morrissey releasing an autobiography warrants not just mentions on the news but also hardcore, "man-on-the-street" journalism. Truly, the public needed to know what the average Mancunian thought of Morrissey. We needed to know, I tell you! … Continue reading To Read or Not to Read: Morrissey’s Autobiography

All Hail the New Backpacking Generation

Another difference between backpacking now and backpacking five years ago: the millenials have become the dominant backpacker demographic. Five years ago, I was one of the only people with a laptop—and this was pre-smartphone, pre-iPad. I only had my laptop because I held illusions of sitting in French cafes typing out a masterpiece. But most … Continue reading All Hail the New Backpacking Generation

Land of the the Bone-Grinders

Still we linger in Doncaster. Things, however, have taken an interesting turn. In his ongoing efforts to delve deeper into the eccentricities of British history, Husband stumbled across an interesting fact about the town in which we are currently staying. In 1822, it was reported in the London Observer that "more than a million bushels … Continue reading Land of the the Bone-Grinders

A Not-So-Polite Rant About The Great Gatsby

As I remember fondly from working at a bookstore, every time a movie adaptation of a book comes out (especially one starring a quote - heartthrob - endquote) it creates a certain rush of readers: people who only pick up books with movie posters for a cover. No judgment. Really. Whatever gets you reading. I … Continue reading A Not-So-Polite Rant About The Great Gatsby

The Etiquette of Facebook, or, “Please don’t bring up those elementary school pictures I was tagged in in front of all our co-workers.”

Even if Emily Post hasn't quite got round to adding a chapter on it, there are unspoken rules to social media. They boil down to Wil Wheaton's motto: "Don't be a dick." Here are a few: 1. Don't tag unflattering pictures. 2. Don't start comment wars over something irrelevant. 3. Don't invite me to play … Continue reading The Etiquette of Facebook, or, “Please don’t bring up those elementary school pictures I was tagged in in front of all our co-workers.”

Flowers and Canneries and New Spouses

The most common question heard by newlyweds: "How's married life?" Answer: "Good." The second-most-common: "How does it feel to be married?" That one is a little harder to respond to. Usually, I will say, "Just the same as before." But that's not necessarily true. There is a difference I was not expecting. Mostly, it's in … Continue reading Flowers and Canneries and New Spouses