It’s been quiet in here. I still haven’t written… much. Bits of stuff here and there, halfheartedly started revising some old chunks of writing, but then abandoned it all again. However, I have, in the last 3 months (since I last wrote anything of note — i.e., the ending of my thesis/novel), started a new job, finished a thesis, moved house, been to a close friend’s funeral, hosted my mother-in-law, entered 2 major contests, and spent endless hours trudging around furniture stores. So I figure I just have to cut myself some slack and admit that I’ve been taking a “creative convalesence”, as Steven Heighton puts it. (By the way, I’ve swiped the phrase from that essay/editorial, but the piece isn’t actually about taking time off from writing; rather, avoiding repeating yourself and NOT necessarily “writing what you know”, an approach I heartily agree with. I write to explore other lives. Check out what he has to say.)

This week, though, I’m flying out to Vancouver for my graduation at UBC (our class will be traipsing across the stage right after Douglas Coupland, who’s being awarded an honorary degree…! How’s that for a tough act to follow?). It’s the official end of this phase of my writing education, and I think it makes a good landmark, a touchstone, for a new start.

So what’s next? I still have so many ideas swirling around in my brain. Back to Alex and Madeleine, my two tortured musicians? They’re still sitting there patiently, and they feel like the creme caramel you know is in the fridge, waiting.  But writing about South Africa is pulling at me. This weird fascination I have with the place. But how to write about it? The things I saw, the things I feel now. It hasn’t taken shape yet, but I have a lot of plane time coming up and a lot of time to think. I’m determined to come back from BC with some sort of outline. So see you back at the start.