Writing prompts and exercises can be the perfect way to move your writing project forward. Some of our members have shared their favourite writing prompts to spark your creativity.
I've been focusing on writing about place during my tenure as Vancouver's sixth poet laureate. I was startled when recently reviewing my own work to discover how much of my writing has involved rooms of my childhood home, the cemetery where my father is buried, medical environments (hospitals, examining room, nursing homes), and parks and playgrounds and other places I took my son when he was growing up.
Think about a specific place that is significant to you. It could be a particular room in a home, theatre, classroom, pub, park, stadium, store, lake, etc.--any place about which you have strong associations and sensory memories (smell, taste, touch, sounds, colours, lights, etc.). The place you write about could be a haven or oasis, or the opposite--a place of unease, sorrow or distress. It might be interesting to delve into the history of the place, as well as ponder its future prospects--what was it before, what is it becoming.
For more about writing about place, watch this session that Fiona did with Vancouver Public Library: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dY9wxc5mPTY&list=PLp9Du1me5InL27RCU9C80r5ZuPYn5uJHA&index=2
About Fiona Tinwei Lam:
Fiona Tinwei Lam is the author of Intimate Distances (finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Prize), Enter the Chrysanthemum, and Odes & Laments. She also authored the illustrated children’s book, The Rainbow Rocket. Her poetry and prose have been published in over forty anthologies (Canada, Hong Kong, and the US), including The Best Canadian Poetry in English (2010, 10th anniversary Best of the Best edition 2017, and 2020). Three of her poems have been featured on BC’s Poetry in Transit. She is a co-editor of and contributor to the creative nonfiction anthology, Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood published by McGill-Queen’s University Press with Cathy Stonehouse and Shannon Cowan, and also the editor of The Bright Well, a collection of contemporary Canadian poetry about facing cancer. She and Jane Silcott co-edited the creative 2018 nonfiction and poetry anthology, Love Me True: Writers Reflect on the Ins, Outs, Ups & Downs of Marriage. From September 2020-21, she curated and hosted the online monthly poetry series In/Verse for the Federation of BC Writers to showcase local published poets. Her award-winning poetry videos, made in collaboration with local animators and filmmakers, have been screened at festivals locally and internationally since 2009. She has recently been appointed Vancouver’s Poet Laureate for 2022-2024.
Born in Scotland, she emigrated to Canada at a young age with her family. She has a B.A. in political science (UBC), an LL.B. (Queen’s University) and an LL.M. (University of Toronto). She articled and worked as an associate in a Vancouver law firm, and later as a staff lawyer at the Law Society of British Columbia. She also has an M.F.A. in creative writing (UBC). Over the years, she has facilitated writing workshops for people of diverse ages, backgrounds and circumstances (including adult students at UBC Continuing Studies and Langara Continuing Studies, immigrants and low income adults and single parents in various community settings, and elementary and high school students). She teaches creative writing at Simon Fraser University’s Continuing Studies.
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