Roberta Laurie

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Last week I sat down for a chat with Jessica Kluthe from Third Verb. I’ll be teaching Tell it with a Twist (memoir writing) this Thursday, September 29, for Third Verb, so we spoke about writing true stories and my book, Weaving a Malawi Sunrise. If you’re interested, you can still sign up by going to the Third Verb website. Here’s our conversation: What drew you to telling true stories? People’s stories are… Read More

In Tell It Slant, Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola describe the “hermit crab” essay: “This type of essay appropriates existing forms as an outer covering to protect its soft, vulnerable underbelly.” The shells are borrowed from fiction and poetry as well as common written ephemera such as recipes, social media, or lists. The contents are “tender.” Next week, I’ll be teaching a workshop on memoir writing where we’ll be exploring the use… Read More

I recently entered an online writing competition. The competition consists of four rounds over six months. The challenge is this: write a flash fiction story of 1000 words or less in 48 hours. The story must be within an assigned genre and setting and must contain an assigned element. This was my assignment: genre: Action/Adventure setting: Igloo element: a calculator Full disclosure: I’ve never written an action/adventure story — ever — and I… Read More

Frames, at least the effective ones, have a way of sticking. And in case you’re fuzzy on frames, here’s a definition from the guru of linguistic framing, George Lakoff: “Frames are mental structures that shape the way we see the world.” To elaborate, frames are the mental associations that we make — involuntarily make — when we hear a word/phrase or see an image. For example, if I say the word “popcorn,”… Read More

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation at the Climate Change: Views from the Humanities Conference. It was hosted by the University of California Santa Barbara, and it was billed as a “Nearly Carbon-Free Conference” because it took place entirely online. As explained on the conference’s home page, “had this been a traditional fly-in conference, our slate of speakers would have had to collectively travel over 300,000 miles, generating the equivalent of over 100,000… Read More

I just received a beautiful email from Memory. It made my heart sing to know that I had made the person whose opinion I care about most happy. I had sent Memory the proof copy of Weaving A Malawi Sunrise. This is — in part — what she wrote: “I feel like writing is not enough to say how happy I am with the book. I just wish you were here that… Read More

I’m reposting this piece from my old website because it explains our carbon budget and why it’s so important that we stay within it. It also ties in well with my recent post, We Need to Talk. McKibbon’s approach appears simplistic, but that’s okay. The science of climate change can be overwhelming with its multitude of calculations, so concision is good. I heard Bill McKibben speak while I was at Royal Roads. I’ve read McKibben’s… Read More

It’s impossible to talk about the discourse surrounding the building of the Keystone XL or the Northern Gateway or any other major pipeline project without talking about the Alberta Oil Sands, and it’s impossible to talk about the Alberta Oil Sands without talking about Canada’s role in Climate Change negotiations. Canada was once recognized as the doer of good deeds, the peacekeeper, the diplomat. In the past, Canada has played all of… Read More

On Saturday afternoon, I attended a rally in support of the Burnaby residents who are protesting Texas-based multi-national Kinder-Morgan’s TransMountain Pipeline Project. It isn’t the first time I’ve stood as  part of a small crowd in wind and snow, but even in the cold, I was warmed by the words of First Nations elder Taz Bouchier. Taz spoke about our connection to the Earth, the land and the water. She spoke about protecting… Read More

So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “We are all environmentalists.” I know it’s become uncool to identify as an “environmentalist,” but isn’t it true? Let me explain. “Primitive” societies have, without exception, recognized the importance of their environments for survival. They needed to know when berries would ripen, they needed to know where to find fresh water, and they needed to know how to clothe themselves… Read More