What good writing can do is
to assure that the writer is really in communication with the reader, that he is delivering his message unmistakably and, perhaps, excellently. When that happens, the
reader takes satisfaction in
the reading and the writer takes joy in the writing.
—Theodore M. Bernstein
The Careful Writer
I am a regular contributor with UPPERCASE magazine, most often writing the Origin column, exploring the story behind various aesthetically intriguing objects and ideas.
I have previously written for the trade magazine CIM and the Montreal Review of Books, and my writing has also appeared in This Magazine, the Dominion, Maisonneuve, and rabble.ca.
A Font for Mrs. Eaves. In 1996, innovative type designer Zuzana Licko released "Mrs Eaves," her Baskerville-revival typeface, dedicated to Baskerville's wife and printing assistant, Sarah Eaves. UPPERCASE #55 (Origin column), winter 2022
The Tender Tool. A reflection on gardening, and the gardening tools we have used through the centuries, particularly the watering can. UPPERCASE #53 (Origin column), spring 2022
Rubber Stamps. The history of rubber stamping, from the office to educational stamps to Dada-inspired mail art. UPPERCASE #50 (Origin column), summer 2021
Non-Latin Type Design. A discussion about typography, communication, and identity with three type designers, working in Arabic, Japanese, and Gujarati. UPPERCASE #47, autumn 2020
Sparkle Town. Vancouver was once home to a "bottle-dash" stucco craze, a form of stucco for homes that included not just stones but bits of colourful broken glass. UPPERCASE #46 (Origin column), summer 2020
A Pleasurable Pencil. The Blackwing 602 was once praised by Steinbeck and Warner Brothers animators. In 2011, Palomino resurrected the Blackwing, to the joy of pencil aficionados. UPPERCASE #40 (Origin column), spring 2019
Clothespin Equals Kiss. In the modern world, the humble clothespin has come to represent a different mindset and approach to our everyday household chores. UPPERCASE #42 (Origin column), summer 2019
Knitted Sweaters. Iconic knitted sweaters like the Guernsey, the Aran, the lopapeysa, and the Cowichan are rooted in specific locations, cultures, and traditions. UPPERCASE #39 (Origin column), autumn 2018
‘Fab’ is for Fabulous. In the 1960s, Lester Bertsch created fabulously gaudy and floral food trays, called Fab Trays. They were wildly popular, and continue to populate thrift stores across the country. UPPERCASE #9, spring 2011
My work for CIM includes feature articles (see below), news pieces on Ebola, profiles of mining projects (from copper to coal, to iron to gold), reporting on energy initiatives (pdf) and new technology, Q&As with geological speicialists and Indigenous leaders (see below), profiles of emerging industry leaders, and specific commodities reports.
No safety in numbers. The informal mining sector in the developing world (artisanal mining) is plagued by safety issues. This feature article investigates if the Canadian mining industry can help alleviate these. (Nominated for 2014 Trade Association Business Publications International award) CIM Magazine, November 2013
Two roads converge. (pdf). Shuswap chief Ronald Ignace discusses the relationship between traditional knowledge and Western science, and the implications for the resource extraction industry. CIM Magazine, August 2014
Death Valley Scotty. Death Valley Scotty was a colourful American con man who lured investors with a non-existent gold mine. This is one of over 30 articles I wrote for the Mining Lore column. CIM Magazine, February 2012
Heather Pritchard of FarmFolk CityFolk. For the last 20 years, Vancouver-based food activist Heather Pritchard has been working toward a sustainable food system in BC and nurturing a younger generation of organic farmers. This Magazine, October 2014 food issue
Cinema Politica. From humble beginnings, Cinema Politica is now the largest campus- and community-based documentary screening network in the world, celebrating 10 years of "screening truth to power," and connecting filmmakers, audiences, and activists. This Magazine, March/April 2014
Il Et It Une. Days before a neighbourhood building is demolished, I discovered a piece of history that helped paint a picture of a Montreal city block over the last few decades. Maisonneuve, December 2012
What we’re (not) talking about when we talk about Franklin. The discovery of one of Franklin's ships in the Northwest Passage was as much about Arctic sovereignty as it was about Canadian history. So why aren't we talking about this? rabble.ca, September 22, 2014
First Nations Education Act 101: A settler's guide. Discontent over a First Nations Education reform bill led to the resignation of the Assembly of First Nations grand chief Shawn Atleo. This is a backgrounder to the issues raised by the bill, within the context of inherent and treaty rights. rabble.ca, May 5, 2014
Bill C-4: Anti-human smuggling or anti-refugee? Canada's refugee policy has undergone a massive overhauling under the Harper government, and refugees have not come out on top. This Magazine, February 2012
Régie du lentement. Wait times at the Quebec rental board are on the increase, reaching a record 20.3 months. The effect on low-income tenants is especially troubling. The Dominion, issue 88, May/June 2013