Thank you for being curious about my background and my work.
I am (in no particular order of importance in my mind) a book author, journalist, editor, former broadcaster, business owner, and mother of two adult daughters. I also consider myself to be an agent of change.
When I was barely out of my teens, I recognized the need for rethinking how we work, play, and educate ourselves in order to restore the planet’s social and ecological balance. For the last forty-plus years, my mission has been to help people understand the interconnections within the web of life on Earth and to encourage everyone to challenge the assumptions inherent in the often conflicting choices we make in our daily lives.
I co-founded my company Life Media with my husband Rolf in 1976 as The Alternate Press to publish books and Natural Life Magazine. Since then, we have published a variety of other magazines, books, and websites; you can find links to some of them on this page of the Life Media website. I have written thirteen books and contributed to many others; here are those that are currently available.
One of my main focuses involves the de-institutionalization of learning. Trained as a school teacher in 1969, I quickly rejected the factory model of processing children and became an early proponent of experience-based, self-directed learning – or just “homeschooling” as it was called in those days. It’s now called “unschooling,” but I prefer “life learning” or “living as if school doesn’t exist.” Here is the story of how I became interested in self-directed learning.
Since the mid-1980s, I have occasionally worked as a freelance editor and reporter for a variety of local newspapers, newsmagazines, and business publications; written for national magazines; written and hosted a weekly small business television show; written a weekly small business newspaper column; and hosted a radio show.
In 1996, I was recruited to a successful run at the leadership of the still-fledgling Green Party of Canada. I resigned as leader the following year because I felt there was too large a gap between the party’s stated goals and those of many of its members, and that I could be a more effective changemaker by resuming my life as a writer and social entrepreneur.
My experiences in politics, advocacy, and journalism have given me an understanding of the environmental and social dangers inherent in the globalized corporate mindset and of the transformative power of local small business, social entrepreneurship, and “unjobbing.” I’ve been involved in that field since the mid 1980s, when I began to help women and their families create home-based businesses – as Rolf and I had, ourselves, done a decade earlier in order to help our own daughters live and learn without school. In the 1980s, I founded the now-defunct Home Business Network, and for the next decade helped legitimize and legalize home business.
I have been a poet since I was a teenager and have published two books of poetry, as well as a collection of memoir-style essays and poems about mothering and daughtering, entitled It Hasn’t Shut Me Up. Currently, I am working on three new books, one about self-employment and the future of work, one tentatively titled Messy, and one about ageism/adultism in family life and education.
What is most important to me in my writing is that it be grounded in experience, and that it is plain, clear, and concise.
In my life and my work, I also value honesty, respect, kindness, curiosity, communication, mindfulness, balance, laughter, and simplicity. I believe that every experience and encounter provides us with an opportunity to learn and grow. Or, as Carl Jung wrote, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
Another hallmark of my life and work has been my belief in cooperation and support, rather than competition. As a result, I have volunteered on the boards of countless non-profit organizations, provided advice and mentoring to many businesswomen, and helped many businesses begin and prosper. In recent years, in an attempt to slow down, simplify my life, avoid stress, and make more time for writing, I have eliminated my participation in that regard. But I still try to provide moral support and publicity for others whose work excites me.
I have lived around the world, but am now happily settled a few blocks from the ocean in a tiny town on Canada’s east coast.