Canadian writer Mary E. McIntyre’s published articles, reviews and stories appear in newspapers, periodicals, journals, textbooks and anthologies. Family memories of cottaging at Lake Scugog from the 1930s to 1990s found at her blog Washburn Island: Memoir of a Childhood. To view her interest in photography and writing click on Camera Combo.

Mary is a member of Life Writers Ink, a small writing group. Members share writing information, helpful critique and travel together for writers’ retreats.

Contact: marye@bell.net


Life Writers Ink Writing Group and Stouffville Passing Show Camera Club

The Writing Bug

PineRidge Arts Council

Between 1996  and 1999 I volunteered as Secretary for the PineRidge Arts Council in Durham Region east of Toronto. President Cathy Schnippering, editor of PRAC’s quarterly newsletter Arts Scene, encouraged me to write a few articles about artists and events in Durham Region. Cathy’s husband, Lou, taught me the basics of software, Quark Express. Knowing a little about the software, I tracked photos and stories of my family and created booklets about my parents and grandparents. It was a start for interviewing family members and writing down their memories.

When my mother passed away in early spring 2003 I needed an outlet to help me heal from the grief of losing her to a long illness.

Durham College – Creative Writing 

In the autumn of 2003 I registered for the Creative Writing program at Durham College in Oshawa. My teacher, Tobin Elliott introduced me to the basics of creative writing. Through his congenial teaching style Tobin built my confidence in my writing skills. I was hooked. At his invitation I met with other writers at Williams Coffee Pub on Sunday mornings the following year. I learned about different genres from listening to other writers’ stories.

Ryerson Online Senior Memoir Writing

I registered for the Online Senior Memoir Writing Course (and follow up workshops) offered by Ryerson University for the next 4 years. Instructor Allyson Latta became my mentor and friend. She taught me to go beyond the basics and challenge my writing skills. Once again an association with a good-natured and dedicated teacher gave me the confidence to enter a few contests and publish my writing.

Nothing Succeeds Like Success

Allyson Latta hosted a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s in Unionville in September 2008. I wrote an entry  Scugog at Dark for the short story contest, a memory of my family driving to Washburn Island. The story was the first-place winner. This was a poignant moment for me because, in the week between submitting my story and the event in September, my father passed away. He had encouraged me to pursue my writing interests and was my best critic. “Find the hook, Mary,” he said. “You’ve got to find the hook.”

WCDR – Writers’ Community of Durham Region

I recalled that The Writers Community of Durham formed a group during my stint as Secretary for PRAC. The membership produced an anthology titled Lichen, and at a PineRidge Arts Council meeting we pledged small funds to help them with their launch. WCDR was the first group I thought of when I was looking to expand my writing interests. I learned of their 24-hour writing contest and entered it two years in a row. I also entered The Star Newspaper annual short story contest. It was important for me to participate, and to tailor my writing to specific requirements. I was gradually learning to write with purpose.

Life Writers Ink

At the Alzheimer’s fundraiser, I met participants from the Ryerson online workshops. Five women decided to form a writing group Life Writers Ink. We weren’t sure what could come out of a commitment, as we’d only known each other online. Could we get along and help each other in face-to-face situations? I’m happy to report that nothing but good has come from our association.

Our members encourage, critique, trade books, discuss new information, share technical skills, attend author readings, poetry workshops, book festivals, conferences and writing retreats. We rejoice together over our writing victories, over stories and poems published in various anthologies, articles, and textbooks, and as contest winners. Please check out two members’ blogs: Ruth Zaryski Jackson and Cheryl Andrews. In February 2010 we attended a valuable 1-day workshop presented at Ryerson by The Writers’ Union of Canada. From that learning experience, I embraced social media, and created a blog about my writing journey.

Writing Retreats

The first retreat for Lifers (Life Writers Ink) was five days at an Ontario cottage on the shores of Otter Lake in August 2009. Advancements to our individual goals astounded us. We began to trust our potential as emerging writers. To view an article I wrote after the retreat and featured in the Lifestyles Section of The Parry Sound North Star Newspaper, August 2009, see: 30,000 Reasons To Cruise Georgian Bay

Our second retreat was at a condo in Fort Myers for two weeks. We set an agenda, combining writing for our pet projects and learning more about publishing and marketing. Social media has distracted me from the craft of writing, but I’m nearing a satisfactory level of involvement that allows me to maintain my blog and grow an online presence.

Our third retreat was at Otter Lake again. This time we invited guest instructor, Allyson Latta, to introduce her pilot workshop, Illuminating the Path: Finding Theme and Structure in Your Memoir.

I attended a memoir-writing retreat in Arizona’s Sabino Springs, January 2011. Instructor, Allyson Latta, conducted workshops to stimulate memories and improve our writing skills.

Five years in a row since 2011 I’ve attended Turquoise Waters Writers’ Retreat at Sandy Lake in Ontario’s Kawartha district. In the fall of 2016, our group will attend a retreat at God’s Mountain in Penticton, BC.

WCYR – Writers’ Community of York Region

In September 2011 I attended the inaugural meeting for the Writers’ Community of York Region, WCYR, a second writing group modelled on the successful 400-member Writers’ Community of Durham Region, (WCDR).


Camera Combo Blog Launch November 2011

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words — plus a Thousand Words: Combining my interests of photography and writing here.

Email: marye@bell.net


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