Notes on a Buddhist path

And now, for The Next Big Thing

January 2, 2013 By | 4 Comments

The other day I got word from my friend and fellow writer, Ahava Shira, that she had nominated me as one of her favourite writers for a project floating across the internet called “The Next Big Thing”. It’s a way of spreading the news about writers out there who we think others might like to know about.

First and foremost, thank you, thank you, Ahava, for finding my words and finding them to be good. Homage from another writer is truly a gift that touches my heart and encourages those next words to make their way into the world.

The Next Big Thing asks an author to answer ten questions at his/her blog and then tag up to five other writers to do the same the following Wednesday. My answers to the questions are below. My favourite writers are just a smidge further down.

Okay, here goes…

1. What is the working title of your next book?

As synchronicity and timing would have it, I just started writing my first book this past week. It’s prenatal name for now is Signs of Life.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I lived for several years on a small island in British Columbia. As soon as I arrived there, fresh from a lifetime in California and an existence nurtured by suburbia, it was clear that wild piece of rock and its people would leave a mark on me. I started writing about the experience when I was in the thick of living it, but now, after two years of being back in the city, I feel I can give that time and place a big stretch of spaciousness to tell its more honest and faithful story.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Memoir, personal narrative, essays, creative non-fiction. I think all of them spin and weave themselves around and through the others.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

As tempting and flattering as it might be to see my as yet unwritten words turned into a film, my only job for now is to write. After that I’ll leave it to any willing future film visionaries to sort out who should play which roles. Whatever actors are chosen, I hope equanimity will be by my side on the entire creative journey.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Signs of Life is the story of one woman’s journey to a remote island and the markers along the way that led her beyond the curve of any horizon she had ever known before.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I believe I’ll try for an agency first, but I’m more than willing, given resources of time and money, to go the self-published route. It’s certainly becoming a more and more viable and recognized avenue for getting our words out into the big, wide world.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m just in the early stages of writing that first draft and arm wrestling with my internal editor at every page. Hmm…let’s say June 2014 and then come back and politely harp at me if I’m not done by then.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

May the literary devas smile down upon me if I could hope to compare it to Annie Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” or Gretel Ehrlich’s “The Solace of Open Spaces.”

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve been sitting with the seeds of these stories jumbling around inside of me for a few years now. I believe my Buddhist practice and my deep seated interest in sharing and living the Dhamma, the Buddha’s teachings, have focused my intention with the work now more than in its earlier incarnation. It feels as if the seeds are asking to be planted and writing them is how I know best to bring their essence to life.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Although there are no lions, tigers or bears, there will be cougars, wolves and eagles along with tales of ferries, outdoor showers, power outages, potluck dinners, old growth forests, chopping wood, carrying water, lip sync contests and an unsolved murder. Yep, a murder. Interest piqued?

As for my nominations, although I know many museful writers, I’ve narrowed my selection for The Next Big Thing to just one, singular sensation, rare and gifted wordsmith:

Margaret Doyle. She’s a communicator, on as many platforms as she can master, and is always looking to watch, listen, or participate in a story. By far her favourite way to reach out is in the written word: her love of writing trumps all else, though talking around a table with good wine and smart people comes a close second.

Image Credit:

 chelle via MorgueFile


  1. Sweetness. Grateful. Happy. You rock Tess. Thanks for being such a pillar of light in the writing and blogging world.

  2. Congratulations and best of luck on your book! oh and happy new year.

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