I have always been a writer. Remarkably, although I studied English at the University of Toronto and Journalism at Ryerson University, I remain a writer. With a lifetime of scribbled-on bits of paper stored in cardboard boxes in the basement and more than 30 years of professional writing and editing experience on my resume, I find myself at the mid-century point of this mortal coil looking for more places to put my words. Hence, this lovely website. Among my credentials (both as Tracey Ann Schofield and Tracey Coveart), I have 13 educational resource books published with the Lorenz Corporation, was voted Columnist of the Year by the Ontario Community Newspaper Association, have branded a number of successful marketing campaigns for cultureONE insurance, placed in the top 10 of the Toronto Star Short Story Contest with The Street Man, and humbly follow Margaret Atwood and June Callwood on the jacket credits of 'Dropped Threads III: Beyond the small circle' with my essay, I am a Mother. I was editor of Long Term Care Magazine for 20 years; feature writer, columnist, copy editor, photographer and layout drone for The Standard Newspaper in Port Perry for seven; editor/feature writer for Neighbourhood Living Magazine in Toronto for two; and always on the lookout for my next story. I am a firm believer in the transformational power of the printed word, love hard copies of anything, and have never left a bookstore empty handed. ___________________________________________________________________ “I write, not because I am paid to write, or even because I want to write, but because I must write. Without writing, there is no context for my life.” Tracey Coveart

Skills // Writer. Chronicler. Storyteller. Editor. Proofreader. Mild Mischiefmaker.

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THIS IS MY BLOG. They say that truth is stranger than fiction. It's also infinitely more entertaining. From the mundane to the extraordinary, everything is blodder (blog fodder) for this writer. Whether it's the regularity of my dog's bowels or the miracle of my autistic daughter's high school graduation, everyday life, in its infinite gory or glory, is my muse. In our ADD/OCD/ODD/LD/PDD/ASD household, everyone and everything is special – husband, kids, dog, cat, fish, frogs, rat, snake, ants, dust, me – and we will all appear as regular (and I use that term loosely) characters in this space. In my attempts to both chronicle and amuse, I promise to be irreverent, self-effacing and alternately humorous and morose, amazed and disappointed, but always unflinchingly honest. Like an obliging parasitic host, I invite you to triumph and fail vicariously through me as I stumble through this thing we call Just.Plain.Life.


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Columns, observations


    “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
    Maya Angelou

    My birthday on May 20th marked the end of two eras for me: my first half century on this planet and my seven-year employment with The Standard Newspaper. I had been preparing for the former for 50 years; the latter came as a bit of a shock.
    The Standard had been gradually weaning me since my move to Toronto in July 2011. The feature articles were the first to go. Then my weekly columns started appearing just once a month. The Standard is proudly local, with staff living in and around North Durham. I was out of jurisdiction and it was only a matter of time before a resident, with his finger on the pulse of the community, would replace me. The writing was on the wall – or, rather, page 9 – but still, I wasn’t prepared for the cutting of the umbilicus.
    I suppose the end is always abrupt, even when one suspects it might be coming. For me, the end came when I opened the letter informing me that my services were no longer required by The Standard Newspaper. Before I read the letter I was a columnist. By the time I had finished, I was not. The end.
    I laid JustWrite to rest. I stopped regarding every encounter, conversation or screw-up as possible column fodder to be explored and exploited in 800 words. I ditched and created a new email account: I got an iPhone, downloaded the Hipstamatic app and turned my attention to photography. I hastily secured the domain name as I began to chronicle the world around me in pictures instead of sentences. I became obsessed with the shutter, taking hundreds of snaps a day. I drove my family crazy. Short walks to the dog park became epic journeys, stop-and-go affairs with infinite photo opportunities. I would shoot the same the same subject 20 times, using a different combination of lenses, films and lighting, repositioning the camera to capture every possible angle of interest. Like my columns, my photographs were intimate portraits, close-ups in sepia tones or garish colour, the edges of each image blurred with the heart of the matter in sharp focus.
    I never lost my creative energy; just my direction. I knew I was sad about the loss of my column; sad that I hadn’t had the chance to say good-bye to all the people who had taken time out of their busy lives each week to read about mine. What I didn’t realize was that I had become depressed.
    I am a writer. I have always been a writer. I started writing when I was five years old and I will never stop. I have always known this. But until I came to The Standard, I had no idea that my passion – perhaps my highest calling as a writer – is as a columnist. Once I started penning JustWrite, I couldn’t stop. It fed my soul. And it seemed to feed others, as well. I was blessed to have so many people stop me in the street or in the grocery store to tell my how much they enjoyed my column; how they picked up the paper each week eager to read about my family’s most recent (mis)adventure. I have never felt so certain about my chosen profession; so validated in my vocation. And recently – when, on two separate occasions, people from Port Perry recognized me in Toronto, introduced themselves and thanked me for my column – I realized that a part of me, a very good part of me, had died when I read that severance letter.
    In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a bird that is reborn time and again, arising splendidly from the ashes of the one that came before. I always liked Greek mythology. And so, I am resurrecting my column. While I search for another publisher, I will blog here weekly at Just.Plain.Life. As well, in homage to brevity and my new Hipstamatic friend, I will (attempt to) tweet daily: 140 characters or less of hard-won wisdom or whimsy, with a link to an original photo.
    In this digital age, when the sun rises and sets on social media, we don’t need to live in the same town to share a connection. The human condition – the human experience – is universal. And so I offer up my thanks to The Standard Newspaper and its readers for the phoenix that emerged in 2006, and to World Wide Web in July 2013 for giving this old bird a new place to roost.

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