Like many, I spent most of my teenage years writing fraught, angst-ridden, and sometimes maudlin poetry. I also kept a journal – stacks of them, in fact – although I’m a bit terrified of opening them today.
Creative writing fell by the wayside as I expanded my creative palette into classical music performance, and later, moved into academia and research-based writing.
It was never truly gone, though, and by 2013, my muse was clamouring for attention.
Most of my creative work has been in the area of creative non-fiction, a genre that allows me to weave my creative impulses together with my analytical and archival interests.
In 2019, I published a memoir, What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home (more details on that below!).
I have also – and most unexpectedly! – returned to poetry, and am currently working on a fiction manuscript. All of this has been a balm to my creative soul.
My short form creative non-fiction has appeared in Geist, Riddle Fence, The Ethnic Aisle, and donttalktomeaboutlove.org, and in two anthologies. It has been short-listed for Room Magazine’s creative non-fiction contest (2015) and long-listed for CBC Canada Writes creative non-fiction contest (2014). In 2021, I received a Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Award for poetry.
WHAT THE OCEANS REMEMBER:
SEARCHING FOR BELONGING AND HOME
“This memoir is an exploration of memory, archival documents, and the limits of both. It’s also about music, race, lineage, inheritance, and family, and I loved it. A truly extraordinary, entrancing work.”
— Kerry Clare, author of Mitzi Bytes and Waiting for a Star to Fall, and author of Pickle Me This blog.
What the Oceans Remember: Searching for Belonging and Home (WLU Press, 2019) tells a story of complicated belongings, and of a search for origins, belonging, and home.
In this memoir that traverses five continents an spans more than two centuries, I explore archives, family stories, and my memories in a question to understand the stories that lie behind my Dutch name, Canadian passport, British birth certificate, and brown skin. Along the way, I ponder the rich possibilities—but also the limitations—of archival sources, the pull of the ocean, the meanings of music, love, legacy, freedom, memory, and ruin, and ultimately, the relevance of our pasts to understanding our present.
Honours and Recognitions: What the Oceans Remember was longlisted for the BMO Winterset Award (2020), received an Honourable Mention in Non-Fiction category of the Miramichi Reader’s Very Best Books (2021), and a Finalist for two Foreword INDIE awards (2020).
Want to read some reviews of What the Oceans Remember? You can find them here.
What the Oceans Remember is available directly from Wilfrid Laurier University Press. It can also be ordered by your favourite bookseller, and is available for pre-order at Chapters-Indigo, Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Powell’s Books, Waterstone’s, and Blackwell’s.