The Quick Brown Fiox

Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, Sept 15 – Dec 8, in Burlington

Intensive Creative Writing
12 weeks towards mastering your craft
Tuesday afternoons, 12:15 – 2:45 p.m.
Sept 15 – Dec 8, 2015
Appleby United Church, 4407 Spruce Ave, Burlington, Ontario. Map here.
Note:See details of all six courses starting this fall here.

This Intensive course isn't for beginners; it's for people who have been writing for a while or who have done a course or two before and are working on their own projects. Over the twelve weeks of classes, you’ll be asked to bring in six pieces of your writing for detailed feedback. All your pieces may be from the same work, such as a novel in progress, or they may be stand alone pieces. You bring whatever you want to work on.

Besides critiquing pieces, the instructor will give short lectures addressing the needs of the group, and in addition to learning how to critique your own work and receiving constructive suggestions about your writing, you’ll discover that the greatest benefits come from seeing how your classmates approach and critique a piece of writing and how they write and re-write. This is a challenging course, but extremely rewarding.

Instructor Brian Henry has been a book editor and creative writing instructor for more than 25 years. He publishes Quick Brown Fox, Canada’s most popular blog for writers, teaches creative writing at Ryerson University and has led workshops everywhere from Boston to Buffalo and from Sarnia to Charlottetown. But his proudest boast is that he has helped many of his students get their first book published and launch their careers as authors.
Check out a review of the Intensive course here. More reviews here.

Fee: 193.81 + 13% hst = 219
To reserve your spot now, email:

Note: I start working out the schedule for when participants are due to bring in a piece of this writing three weeks before our start date, so please try to sign up by August 25. In any case, these courses fill up, so enroll early to avoid disappointment. ~ Brian

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara on the Lake, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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Posted on 27 July 2015 | 3:38 pm


Photo-mystère 146

Qui tente de se maintenir à l'ombre?

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Posted on 22 July 2015 | 11:10 pm

Other Food - Daily Devotions

Testing, testing...

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Exodus 16:1-16

TO CHEW ON: "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day that I may test them whether they will walk in my law or not.'" Exodus 16:4

In today's reading we see that the very mundane instructions for the gathering and handling of manna were were not options or suggestions but a God-designed test. What God was testing here was whether the people took Him and His instructions seriously.

[Test - nasah  means to put to the test, prove, tempt. The basic idea is to put someone to the test to see how he will respond - Dick Mills, "Word Wealth" New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 747.]

Other places this word us used shows various ways God may test us.

"Nasah" is the word used of what God did to Abraham when He asked Him to sacrifice Isaac - Genesis 22:1.

God sent a nasah-test in the form of the ten commandments followed by fearful trumpet sounds and an electrical storm. This was to impress the people with how seriously they should take these commands and Moses' instructions about staying off Mount Sinai - Exodus 20:18-20.

Nasah is also the word used to describe what Moses accused the Israelites of doing to God at Rephidim when they demanded water as a proof of His presence - Exodus 17:1-7. Later, in his final instructions, Moses told them testing God was something they should not do - Deuteronomy 6:16.

Again in his Deuteronomy sermon, Moses reiterated how the desert wanderings were a test: "And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not" - Deuteronomy 8:2 (emphasis added).

Which brings me to the question, what things in our lives may be God's tests?

It could be an Abraham-sized test like an accident or tragedy happening to a loved one or to us as a test of whether our faith is in God or someone or something else. Or perhaps it's a little manna-sized test—an item on the grocery cart missed by the checkout lady to test honesty; a string of rainy days to test contentment; someone cutting us off in traffic to test love (" suffers long ... does not behave rudely ... is not provoked" - 1 Corinthians 13:4,5).

Rich Warren defines life: "The Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God's view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment."

Of the test part he says:
"Character is both developed and revealed by tests, and all of life is a test. You are always being tested. God constantly watches your response to people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, and even the weather! He even watches the simplest actions such as when you open a door for others, when you pick up a piece of trash, or when you're polite toward a clerk or waitress" - Rick Warren - The Purpose Drive Life, p. 42, 43.   

PRAYER: Dear God, it sure changes the complexion of life when I view the details of my day as tests. Help me to pass today's tests. Amen.

MORE: More about life's tests
"When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests seem overwhelming, while others you don't even notice. But all of them have eternal implications" - Rick Warren, Op. cit., p. 43.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Bible Drive-Thru

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Posted on 27 July 2015 | 9:00 am

Anglican Samizdat

Rector on the run

From here: A Church of England rector who went on the run as he was convicted of pocketing thousands of pounds of fees from funerals and weddings is now feared to have skipped the country, police have revealed. Interpol is … Continue reading

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Posted on 24 July 2015 | 9:36 pm


OMG! I Reached the Target!!! -24.5kgs!!

I've been so busy and it has been hard to follow the diet since my new job begin but still at least my brain has burned some energy so much while I've been sitting front of the computer that this morning when I stepped on the scale, for the last time of this project, it showed me 62.5kgs, meaning that I managed to reach my target weight that I set a year ago! 

I haven't yet checked the wedding dress but it should fit. I try it this evening when the kids fall asleep! And I promise to come back with photos and final fitness test results but don't wait me too early. I have to travel to Norway next week so the updates may last...



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Posted on 15 January 2015 | 7:14 pm

After the Kids leave

Dr OddGlove – or how I came to hate my dentist

Yes, I know, I know, we’re on a “break”.  But I just have to interrupt our brief holiday to up-date you on my harrowing experience with the Demon Dentist of Harley Street.  I wrote the post below, along with a follow-up, about a year ago, detailing all the ways I’d like to torture my (former) […]

The post Dr OddGlove – or how I came to hate my dentist appeared first on After the Kids Leave.

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Posted on 2 June 2015 | 12:13 pm

Buzz Feed

Which Parks And Rec Alter Ego Are You?

Are you more of a Burt Macklin or Janet Snakehole?

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Posted on 27 July 2015 | 9:06 pm

How to survive life in the suburbs

Things They Don’t Tell You About Owning A Great Dane

There were some things I knew when I committed to adding a Great Dane pup to my home.  I knew his temperament would make him the perfect family pet.  I knew our new little love was going to eat….a lot.  I knew he would be work and the cuteness factor was going to be ridiculous. […]

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Posted on 27 July 2015 | 12:03 pm

Progressive Bloggers

Alberta Politics: Upstairs Downstairs at the Edmonton Journal as Sun staff gets ready to move in

PHOTOS: The Edmonton Journal Building at 101st Street and MacDonald Drive in downtown Edmonton. It remains to be seen who will be Upstairs, and who will be Downstairs, when the staff of the Sun joins the staff of the Journal at the same address in the fall. Below: Journal Editor-in-Chief Margo Goodhand, Postmedia President and […]

The post Upstairs Downstairs at the Edmonton Journal as Sun staff gets ready to move in appeared first on Alberta Politics.

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Posted on 28 July 2015 | 4:25 am

Bird Droppings

Narratives are hard

   In these times of an ever-shifting cultural landscape and breathtaking hypocrisy at both ends of the socio-political spectrum (but let's be honest - mostly on the left), narratives are hard.
   As a criminally-privileged cisgender white middle aged male, I'm completely flummoxed over whether I'm supposed feign outrage that GQ is objectifying Amy Schumer in a sexually-themed Star Wars cover/photo spread, or shower her with insincere and self-serving plaudits for sticking it to the Hollywood patriarchy. 
   Similarly, I find myself at a moral impasse over the confrontation between transgender reporter Zoey Tur and right wing commentator Ben Shapiro, whom Tur threatened to send home in an ambulance after Shapiro referred to Tur as "sir" during a debate moderated by Dr. Drew Pinsky.  Is it enough to smugly conclude that Shapiro invited the threat of violence by disrepecting Tur, or should I further rationalize that Shapiro's refusal to embrace transgender culture is itself a form of hostility?
   Truth be told, I really don't care either way on either issue, but woe betide the social media enthusiast who ventures an "incorrect" opinion. Been there, done that, had the t-shirt applied as a gag.  From now on, I want to get it right - convictions, logic and common sense be damned.
   Help me, social justice warriors.  You're my only hope.

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Posted on 20 July 2015 | 8:17 pm

Trashys World

Progressive Bloggers

I would like to give a quick tip of the hat to Scott (of Scott’s Diatribes) and the others behind the scene who make the blog aggregator – Progressive Bloggers – plug along year after year… And now in its TENTH FREAKING YEAR!  Older than the Harperite nightmare, it is! Quite an accomplishment, indeed. For […]

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Posted on 25 July 2015 | 11:50 am

The Galloping Beaver

Man in the blue suit


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Posted on 26 July 2015 | 8:50 pm

Michael Geist

More Than Milk: Why Agricultural Protections Are Just the Tip of the TPP Iceberg

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that encompasses nearly 40 per cent of world GDP, heads to Hawaii later this month for ministerial-level negotiations. According to media reports, this may be the final round of talks, with countries expected to address the remaining contentious issues with their "best offers" in the hope that an agreement can be reached. Canadian coverage of the TPP has centred primarily on U.S. demands for changes to longstanding agricultural market safeguards.

With a national election a few months away, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the prospect of overhauling some of Canada's biggest business sectors has politicians from all parties waffling on the agreement. Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast, who will lead the Canadian delegation, maintains that the government has not agreed to dismantle supply management protections and that it will only enter into an agreement if the deal is in the best interests of the country. The opposition parties are similarly hesitant to stake out positions on key issues, noting that they cannot judge the TPP until it is concluded and publicly released.

While the agricultural issues may dominate debate, it is only one unresolved issue of many. Indeed, the concerns associated with the agreement go far beyond the supply of products such as milk and chickens.

The post More Than Milk: Why Agricultural Protections Are Just the Tip of the TPP Iceberg appeared first on Michael Geist.

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Posted on 20 July 2015 | 12:33 pm

Montreal Simon

Stephen Harper and the Bloody Harvest of War

As I'm sure you remember, during the early years of the war in Afghanistan there was no greater chicken hawk than Stephen Harper.

Until he realized it wasn't winning him enough votes, and he decided to cut and run.

But while he has been able to run away from a lot of things, like the state of the economy.

He can't run away from his precious war, because we're still reaping its bloody harvest.
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Posted on 18 July 2015 | 6:03 am

Ghost of a Flea

Rick McGinnis: Self-portrait

"I am 21; I have recently dropped out of college and had spent much of...

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Posted on 8 July 2015 | 2:24 pm

The Disaffected Lib

China's "Century of Humiliation" And Why It Matters.

I'm regularly astonished at the reaction I receive when I mention the militant nationalism flourishing within China's military establishment, stoked by the perceived need to avenge what they call China's "century of humiliation."

Few in the West have the slightest idea of how Britain and her allies suppressed the Chinese and laid low their once powerful nation (along with India).

Eduardo Galeano, who died a few months ago, wrote this very eloquent summation of what China endured at the hands of the West that helps explain the bellicosity of China's military leadership today.  We ignore this at our peril.  The West's (i.e. Washington's) ongoing attempts to contain China and prevent it from establishing a sphere of influence in its own backyard are dangerously provocative in a time of shifting balances of power.

Opium was outlawed in China.

British merchants smuggled it in from India. Their diligent efforts led to a surge in the number of Chinese dependent on the mother of heroin and morphine, who charmed them with false happiness and ruined their lives.

The smugglers were fed up with the hindrances they faced at the hands of Chinese authorities. Developing the market required free trade, and free trade demanded war.

William Jardine, a generous sort, was the most powerful of the drug traffickers and vice president of the Medical Missionary Society, which offered treatment to the victims of the opium he sold.

In London, Jardine hired a few influential writers and journalists, including best-selling author Samuel Warren, to create a favorable environment for war. These communications professionals ran the cause of freedom high up the flagpole. Freedom of expression at the service of free trade: pamphlets and articles rained down upon British public opinion, exalting the sacrifice of the honest citizens who challenged Chinese despotism, risking jail, torture, and death in that kingdom of cruelty.

The proper climate established, the storm was unleashed. The Opium War lasted, with a few interruptions, from 1839 to 1860.

The sale of people had been the juiciest enterprise in the British Empire. But happiness, as everyone knows, does not last. After three prosperous centuries, the Crown had to pull out of the slave trade, and selling drugs came to be the most lucrative source of imperial glory.

Queen Victoria was obliged to break down China’s closed doors. On board the ships of the Royal Navy, Christ’s missionaries joined the warriors of free trade. Behind them came the merchant fleet, boats that once carried black Africans, now filled with poison.

In the first stage of the Opium War, the British Empire took over the island of Hong Kong. The colorful governor, Sir John Bowring, declared:

“Free trade is Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ is free trade.”

Outside its borders the Chinese traded little and were not in the habit of waging war.

Merchants and warriors were looked down upon. “Barbarians” was what they called the English and the few Europeans they met.

And so it was foretold. China had to fall, defeated by the deadliest fleet of warships in the world, and by mortars that perforated a dozen enemy soldiers in formation with a single shell.

In 1860, after razing ports and cities, the British, accompanied by the French, entered Beijing, sacked the Summer Palace, and told their colonial troops recruited in India and Senegal they could help themselves to the leftovers.

The palace, center of the Manchu Dynasty’s power, was in reality many palaces, more than 200 residences and pagodas set among lakes and gardens, not unlike paradise. The victors stole everything, absolutely everything: furniture and drapes, jade sculptures, silk dresses, pearl necklaces, gold clocks, diamond bracelets... All that survived was the library, plus a telescope and a rifle that the king of England had given China 70 years before.

Then they burned the looted buildings. Flames reddened the earth and sky for many days and nights, and all that had been became nothing.

Lord Elgin, who ordered the burning of the imperial palace, arrived in Beijing on a litter carried by eight scarlet-liveried porters and escorted by 400 horsemen. This Lord Elgin, son of the Lord Elgin who sold the sculptures of the Parthenon to the British Museum, donated to that same museum the entire palace library, which had been saved from the looting and fire for that very reason. And soon in another palace, Buckingham, Queen Victoria was presented with the gold and jade scepter of the vanquished king, as well as the first Pekinese in Europe. The little dog was also part of the booty. They named it “Lootie.”

China was obliged to pay an immense sum in reparations to its executioners, since incorporating it into the community of civilized nations had turned out to be so expensive. Quickly, China became the principal market for opium and the largest customer for Lancashire cloth.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Chinese workshops produced one-third of all the world’s manufactures. At the end of the nineteenth century, they produced 6%.

Then China was invaded by Japan. Conquest was not difficult. The country was drugged and humiliated and ruined.

The history of British exploitation and subjugation of India is scarcely better.  At the time of their conquest, China and India were the first and second largest economies in the world.  Britain showed a friendlier face to India and brought the country into its empire.  China received none of that solicitous engagement.  The "humiliation" was very much alive right up until the British finally returned Hong Kong.

I think we're entering perilous waters if we ignore this history or dismiss it, demanding that China let bygones be bygones.  That's the sort of thing you can do or say to small countries with some impunity.  It's a different thing altogether when the country with the scars and profound grievances is the emerging superpower.

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Posted on 27 July 2015 | 1:21 am

De Smog Blog

How Intense did the Battle Between Bob Ward and ExxonMobil's Army of Climate Deniers Get?

In this DeSmog UK epic history post, the battle continues between Bob Ward – working at the Royal Society at the time – and ExxonMobil’s army of climate deniers.

Bob Ward, the then head of media at the Royal Society, was shocked when members of Koch-funded public policy organisation the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) heckled professor David King, the government’s chief scientific, during a visit to the United States in 2006.

Ward began to wonder if there had been an upsurge in attacks by deniers on science during the previous months, and soon found himself going head-to-head with the world’s most powerful company on the issue of climate change.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '9624'; [Reuse options] Click here for reuse options!

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Posted on 28 July 2015 | 7:01 am


The Wire Troll: Zack Godley is Golden

The starting pitching-starved Royals need everything they can get from Duffy, who has bounced back nicely after his pre-injury struggles. Duffy has been stellar in July, with his last two starts being downright dominant. He won't get you many Ks, but he's gone at least six innings in each of his last four outings, with three quality starts.

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Posted on 26 July 2015 | 9:35 pm

Canadian Living

Cool summer cocktails

Celebrate the hot summer weather with a cool cocktail at your next patio party, beach picnic or cottage party.

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Posted on 24 July 2015 | 9:22 am

Pro Woman Pro Life

An interview with the creator of the Planned Parenthood sting

Interesting. Hard to say they are making it up or fudging the footage. Hard also to believe that there is worse to come.    

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Posted on 24 July 2015 | 1:16 am


Zionists to BDS movement: 'Shut your mouth!'

read more

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Posted on 27 July 2015 | 2:51 pm

Rolling Around in My Head

Plugged In To The Past

Joe has been spending the past few days getting ready to expunge a lot of paper from our apartment. We are clogged with paper. We have files with paper gone yellow and brittle with age. When Joe gets busy with a project, the side effect is that I do too. Over the last few days he's been setting piles down beside me with the unspoken but clearly understood expectation that I will sort through each big pile and turn them into smaller keep and not keep piles. I have been complying because, well, I don't really have any other option.

There are some benefits to doing this kind of thing. I just went through a pile and I found two things. I want to write about each thing separately. Today I want to show you this:

I was brought up short when I found this in the stack of papers that was set beside me this morning. It shook me a little bit, actually, more than a little bit.

As you know I've taken a bit of a leave from blogging as I've been incredibly busy and I got really tired from travel and wedding and other demands on my time. During this time, I've been thinking a lot about the work that I do and the work that I've done. I've been thinking about things that people of my age begin to think about. Life. Choices. Regrets, Celebrations.

In the middle of all that, I get this piece of paper.

It was a gift when given to me.

It's a gift now.

I had just finished doing a workshop for people with intellectual disabilities on rights and responsibility and voice. It had been a really moving experience for me, and, as they always are, it was fun. Several people came to speak to me after the class and thanked me for the workshop. One fellow, sat where he was and was frantically drawing this picture. He brought it to me and shyly handed to me. He said that it showed what he learned from the workshop.

He explained that he listened, got great ideas, got plugged in to his own voice and that he knew he had a responsibility to speak out.

I told him that I loved the picture.

And I did.

And I do.

It's not getting shredded. It's staying here, with me, to remind me again of why I lived the life that I lived and why I made the choices I made and that though I had regrets there have been a lot of celebrations.

I suppose we all go through times when we need to ponder. When the letters that form the word 'listen' rearrange themselves into the word 'silent.' I am still going through that period. It's not a comfortable place to be, but I think I'm well into the journey I need to take. I need to be able to embrace the next part of my life by understanding what came before.

This little piece of paper helped.

And I wanted to share it with you.

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Posted on 21 July 2015 | 2:38 pm

A Canadian Foodie

Lavazza Series 2015: Cappuccino Coffee Bean Cookies

Cappuccino Coffee Bean Cookies are the Perfect Partner for a Cup of Lavazza! When I was teaching middle school at Hardisty, I had a parent helper who made the most incredible coffee bean cookies. This was back in the 90’s. I had never seen a coffee bean cookie, and was charmed. She did give me the...

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** Remember to join %% to create your own online recipe box and then click SAVE on my recipe below to add it! I use my online recipe box ALL the time! **

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Posted on 26 July 2015 | 3:31 pm

Dean Somerset

5 Things I’ve Been Wrong About and How I Updated my Thoughts on Them

One of the fun processes to moving is packing. And by fun I mean I want to take a rusty lawn rake and slowly exfoliate my eyeballs while listening to Justin Beiber sing a Tiny Tim song in falsetto. But during the process of packing and moving you tend to have to go through stuff…… Read More

The post 5 Things I’ve Been Wrong About and How I Updated my Thoughts on Them appeared first on

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Posted on 14 July 2015 | 11:51 am

Knit Nut


It’s a teeny-tiny backyard, but this year we added six bird feeders, some native plants, a composter, a bird bath and a mister. Now we’ve got a bunch of regulars who visit throughout the day, including cardinals, goldfinches, chickadees, woodpeckers, purple finches, squirrels, chipmunks, butterflies and bees. And we’ve been certified by the Canadian Wildlife [...]

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Posted on 23 July 2015 | 3:30 pm