• Morning Letters

    Another Turn in the Spiral of Life

    There are moments when I see a spiral in everything and other moments when the spiral seems to disappear. If you’ve read my blog before, you may have noticed I often think about learning as a spiral. Life moves, not just in circles or cycles, but in spirals within cycles.

    I’m feeling deep and writerly this morning. I see spirals everywhere. This happens when I’m rested. What a blessing a four day weekend can be, especially after particularly busy work weeks. It’s nice to take a moment to reflect and reconnect.

    This morning’s sunrise shines on the windows across the street. Birdsong pulls me outside, beyond the glass of my own front window, to feel the cool air settle around me. Frost on the rooftops and the road shimmers as it melts. When the light expands across the sky, the birds sing less and work more, carrying twigs in their beaks or searching for breakfast. Today is Easter Sunday.

  • Poetry Invites

    Poetry Invites April

    Inspired By Our Friends, Family, and Neighbours

    This month we focus our poetry on writing about the people in our community. Who inspires you? It can be someone you know well or someone you secretly admire.

    Write a poem for Cobourg Present, our evolving eChapbook. Based on the recent news headlines it looks like we are facing another lockdown. We miss our gatherings. Let’s connect to our common humanity and the heart of our community through poetry.

  • Podcast

    Conversations about Creativity: New Podcast

    Aprille Janes and I are excited to launch our new podcast featuring conversations about creativity: Hummingbird.

    Everyone is creative. Each person expresses creativity in their own unique ways. Like the hummingbird, we fly from ideas to projects to people. We find ways to make our faces light up and to better understand our world. We live our questions. Sometimes the question is about something that holds us back. Sometimes we wonder what creativity really is all about. Sometimes we examine a life lived.

    Join us as we explore our questions about nurturing a life of creative abundance. Send us your questions too! We invite you to ‘eavesdrop’ on our conversations as we explore a different question each episode.

    Feel free to follow on your app of choice. Or you can follow our Hummingbird Podcast blog to be emailed each time a new episode is posted.

    For those that have followed Sunshine in a Jar over the years, you know creativity is my favourite thing to write about. Now I’m thrilled to be able to talk about it!


    Conversations About Creativity

    Each episode is framed around a question we have about creativity.

    “Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

    Rainer Marie Rilke

    Each episode ends with a Play List, an invitation to play with the ideas further and engage in a creative call to action.

    Aprille and I have spent many years exploring the abundance of creativity. We are looking forward to deepening that relationship through these ongoing conversations together.

    We also hope that you will send in your questions too!

  • Creativity Workshop

    It’s Your Writing Spiral Now! So Then Who Am I?

    This is the last post in this series.

    Do you want to go deeper into understanding the relationship between yourself and the world around you?

    What is autoethnography?

    “Autoethnography is a form of self-reflection and writing that explores the researcher’s personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings.[1][2] It differs from ethnography —a qualitative research method in which a researcher uses participant observation and interviews in order to gain a deeper understanding of a group’s culture— in that autoethnography focuses on the writer’s subjective experience rather than, or in interaction with, the beliefs and practices of others. As a form of self-reflective writing, autoethnography is widely used in performance studies and English.” http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Autoethnography

    Also check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoethnography

    This section is a little more philosophical. It’s looking at research-inspired methods of writing as a way to spark insight. I love this type of work. My Master’s thesis used these ideas.

  • Poetry Invites

    Poetry Invites March

    Inspired by What Brings Us Joy

    This month we aim to capture what brings us joy in Cobourg. It could be a person, place, moment in time, or community group: you choose! What do you love about living here or visiting here? Why do you choose Cobourg?

    Share your joy with others by writing a poem for Cobourg Present, our evolving eChapbook. It’s been a long winter. As we move into Spring, let’s focus on gratitude for the good things and invite others to see Cobourg through our eyes.

  • Creativity Workshop

    Living in Metaphor: Revision as a Source of Energy

    What does metaphor do for you? Metaphor gives me energy. It lights up everything it touches through big ways (like the name of my blog: Sunshine in a Jar) or smaller ways. When I am out walking and notice how the sunlight shines on the water and compare it to how I feel in that moment it is metaphor. Our brains are wired to respond to these comparisons. As we’ve explored each of the spirals, we’ve engaged in a study of metaphor. We’ve compared our learning to a spiral and our creativity too.

    We are getting close to the end of this series. To review I thought it would be interesting to look at metaphor in a new way, to invite you to write your own metaphor that will serve as a touchstone for the work you’ve done through the eight spirals.

    This is an example of a definition poem. It can be a fun way to take a word that captivates you and write your own definition for it.

    Metaphor: n.,s A process, nurtured from vision and intention. Reminds me of poetry. Moves like clouds, slides through knowing and builds and alters and shifts, redefining possibility. Represented by icebergs and oranges and trees and triangles and spider webs and circles and hourglasses and…it’s how I see everything.


    Or, let’s try a metaphor test!

    There is a new trend in testing at schools called a “show what you know test.” What do you know about metaphor?

    • What is metaphor?
    • How can metaphor help enrich your writing?
    • How are you using metaphor?
    • Have you tried creating a metaphor for each of your characters?
    • Does your work utilize an overarching metaphor?
    • How does metaphor work with other forms of figurative language?
    • What is the relationship between metaphor and symbolism? Metaphor and theme?
    • How will you discover a personal metaphor to unite your creative projects and your life?

    What do you still need to learn about metaphor? (Build some time into your life over the next month to go out and learn it).

  • Creativity Workshop

    Adventures in Creativity: More Prompts!

    In my world, research is an adventure. It ignites new connections and gives me a wealth of new possibilities. Sometimes on a Sunday afternoon I go on Google adventures, travelling the world, and breaking down the confines of time and space. We are lucky to live in a time when have access to people, places, perspectives, and arts around the world. It begins with curiosity.

    Curiosity is a gift. Over the years I’ve learned that when I’m faced with a problem big or small, at home or at work, and in any creative project, curiosity is the key that opens doors to adventure and to answers. Curiosity also helps to shift my perspective, to see something familiar in a new way. This can be helpful during the start of a new project or during the revision process.

    This is a simple activity that can have a profound impact. I’ve used this in schools, in writing workshops, with family and friends, and on my own. Pass around the jar, pick a question, and then answer it! It’s a great way to get to know people or yourself (and fun for around the campfire or on long car trips).

    Create your own questions or use some of the ones listed here.