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Bona fide word nerd. Author of 3 award-winning novels for young adults. Somewhat lazy painter. Living & writing from a tiny rural village on Vancouver Island.

On Aging and Authenticity

Image purchased from CANVA

When I was seven, I wanted to be a writer. I would spend hours — days, even — at the old family IBM Selectric, writing numerous stories about horses and heroines. They usually featured girls my age who did extraordinary things, and they all had one thing in common: a hard time fitting inside the box. They were different, and nine times out of ten, the other kids didn’t understand them. They made fun of them, or they ostracized them. But by the end of the story, the girls had usually achieved some remarkable thing by themselves. And they’d done…

Gone to Pot

A photo of the author in her garden

There is a lot of talk about weed these days, especially here in Canada, where it has been legal for a couple of years now. It seems everybody is smoking it, growing it, eating it, or rubbing it all over their bodies.

I’m not really into the ganja, but I know lots of people who are. My husband, for one, makes his own edibles and “micro-doses” to help with his chronic back pain. This will be our third summer growing eight plants on our property, and while I don’t participate in weedism, I do love the plants. So much so…

From the Diary of a Parentified Child

Unsplash Image by Sharon McCutcheon

I am nine when my father runs off with his 23-year-old secretary. He leaves a note on my mother’s pillow: I just don’t love you anymore. I know this because I find the crumpled piece of paper in the garbage can after my mother falls asleep on the couch. Then I read it in my closet with my Mickey Mouse flashlight.

The message is written in black marker and all the words are in capital letters. Even my father’s name at the end — Peter — is written this way.

My sister Allison says it sounds more final that way…

A Hard (Drive) Lesson to Learn

Images created with CANVA and GoGraph

A few years ago, I had a Big Mac attack. I preface this by stating I wasn’t parked out under the golden arches, pigging out on pseudo-meat inside a sesame-seed plastic bun. No, my Big Mac attack was all about my computer, and despite what I thought were good daily work habits, my laptop succumbed to Central Processor Arrest. Translation: it had failed to supply adequate circulation to its hard drive muscle and surrounding bits and bytes.

It happened, as these things often do, quite suddenly. I had been sitting in front of my…

When the Child Becomes the Parent

Image by Carol Anne Shaw

Last week my 95-year-old mother, Pauline, was admitted into a long term care facility about twenty minutes from my home. She has dementia, hypertension, kidney disease, and in the past year or so, has dwindled to just over 100 pounds.

A fall just after Christmas put her in the hospital. She had been on the floor of her apartment for a few hours before a neighbour found her, had broken her arm, and required surgery. Not a great scenario for a frail 95-year-old person to be in. Only a year earlier, she had fallen and broken her hip, requiring hip…

Who Used to be Good

Unsplash image by Spencer Davis

A year ago, I was on the honour roll. Home by ten. Running 5k a day.

A year ago, I was Good Louisa. Pretty. Dutiful. Compliant. But hey, things change. And so do people. So here I am behind Armond’s Diner at 5:30 am, my back against the brick wall, sucking on a strawberry frappuccino, while I watch Denny’s car burn to the ground.

I don’t feel anything, but that’s kind of how I roll now. I don’t even try to stop it. And after the first couple of minutes, I am bored. …

You’re Doing it all Wrong

Image purchased from CANVA

Middle-aged women should work in banks, hospitals, and other respectable places

They should remember birthdays, passwords, and know how to cook their father-in-law’s favourite dish on auto-pilot

Middle-aged women should be good at budgeting

And instinctively know intricate details about laundry

They should sport short, no-nonsense haircuts (especially after the age of forty-five), and leave the short skirts and dangly earrings to the millennials

Middle-aged women should have term deposits


An undergrad degree

And Costco memberships

They women should belong to book clubs — the kind that are less about literature, and more about…

A Little Girl’s Musings on Marriage

Image purchased from CANVA

Rosemary thinks this marriage stuff is for the birds

It’s silly, she thinks; she will NEVER get hitched

Not ever

When she is older, she will change her name to Rosie

She will eat overpriced cereal for dinner, and wear clothing that is far from age-appropriate

She will have many lovers, then cast them aside without a moment’s hesitation when she gets bored

There will be no spotless-split level for Rosie

No casserole cookbooks or Subaru station wagons

No strained tea dates with a difficult mother-in-law on Sunday afternoons


Not Rosie

Instead, Rosie…

Unsplash image by Kelly Sikkema

The One That Got Away

What We Cherish Most

Free image from CANVA

There is a lot of turmoil in the world these days, but there are some things I know for certain

Things like the therapeutic effect of a poached egg on a grey November morning

Things like the comforting weight of a good dog’s head as it rests on your lap

Things like the intoxicating smell of the earth after it rains

And the way a smile from someone you once loved can still knock you over

I know for sure, the inherent power, socks and underwear have to make (or break) your day

And while there is a lot we…

Carol Anne Shaw

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