15 things I noticed on the train.


Small clusters of purple phlox.
A crow perched on top of the telephone wires.
Altocumulus clouds, dark grey in the centre, bright white around the edges.
A steel bridge, a church steeple, and a man in an orange jacket standing in a parking lot.
A yard full of white plastic water cisterns.
Train tracks diverging from the ones we’re on, and veering south.
Black tube-shaped train cars labelled “Ammonia — Inhalation hazard.”
A field of brown earth and rows of new green corn sprouts.
A patch of white phlox.
Hills covered in trees, and a red roof.
A black bird rising out of a field of grass.
The beverage and snack cart rattling down the aisle.
A square solar panel mounted on a square concrete base.
A baseball diamond.
A dirt road.

I’m writing this on the train, on my way home from a wonderful reading and book signing in Waterloo, Ontario. (Thank you David from Wordsworth Books for inviting me — and giving me an unforgettable introduction!)

The evening’s Q+A turned into an engaging discussion about so many things: how writing is changing as our lives are shaped by technology, how we can gather and learn in a way that mimics nature (fractals) instead of making pyramids, why we love our binaries (and why it’s so good to disrupt them), how to live and write with uncertainty, and how to love it, because uncertainty is the truth of life.

This is the second leg of my book tour. I’m tired after the event; this morning my mind feels fuzzy and over-full. To feel reconnected, I wrote the list, above. It helped.

What would I do without my journal? Writing always makes me feel more present and grounded.

I know you know what I mean. Our school, especially the Story Intensive, has introduced me to so many intelligent, thoughtful and generous writers — you’re a special group. Our writers, teachers, and graduates are some of the best people in the world, and I got to meet several of them in person on this trip. Thank you Hilary for giving me a beautiful place to sleep. Thank you Jesse for bringing me mint tea. Thank you Lindsay, Margaret, and Cherie for your kind words and support.

Life is uncertain, yes. Dishonest politics, the sickness in our environment, social injustice: it is real. It gives me great comfort to know that we are here together, paying attention, listening, living and writing with so much love and curiosity.

“The future is completely open,” writes Pema Chodron, “and we are writing it moment to moment.”

The connection we have is worth a lot. I’m very grateful that we get to gather to discuss these things together. Let’s keep writing the future together, too.

Okay. Back to looking out the train window. :)


Sarah Selecky

Photo credit: Samuel Miles on Unsplash.

On being alone and being alone together.
This is what it feels like when people read my book.


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