How long have you been a member of NOWW?
As a member of NOWW for 15 years, I’ve enjoyed writing workshops in the Kenora area. Charles Wilkins inspired a large group at the Kenora Library by reminding us that stories tell who we are, give us identity and contain our morals, beliefs and what is important to us. Mike Laverty gave a workshop in Dryden that served writers from Kenora, Sioux Lookout and Atikokan. The writing exercises revealed how many of us are inspired by the rich and exotic landscape we writers draw on in northwestern Ontario.
I served on the NOWW board as regional representative from 2015 to 2017. It was wonderful to work with this dynamic group of writers and to get to know all about the different kinds of writing happening from Marathon to Kenora.
What do you normally write?
I write creative nonfiction and short stories. I’ve also completed a script for a play. This was prompted by an eight-week playwriting course led by Mark St. Germain in Sarasota, Florida last winter.
Do you have a favourite book or favourite author?
I have many favourite authors: Elizabeth Strout, Ian McEwan, Anne Tyler and Carol Shields. There are two books I like to reread: Swann, my favourite Carol Shields novel, and Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. In Swann, I enjoy the humour and the respect accorded to all the characters and the structure. Dostoevsky’s portrayal of Raskolnikov’s moral anguish as he contemplates murder is riveting and profound.
Let’s get to know you a bit better. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you found your way to writing:
I turned to writing after I stopped playing the flute. I’d finished a tour of Northwestern Ontario and Manitoba with a chamber music trio. Though the concerts had been well received, I decided that the number of hours needed for practice and rehearsal didn’t match the market demand. I began writing after I was accepted into a class led by Carol Shields at the University of Manitoba. I am strongly committed to the power of story and to that end, I’m involved with a storytelling initiative in Kenora where community members are given the opportunity to share their personal journeys publically.
Tell us a bit about what interests you now:
Currently I’m interested in the ways marine biologists are saving coral. Over the past 15 years, my husband and I have witnessed first-hand how coral is bleaching in the Caribbean. There are marine biologists who’ve made the decision to be hopeful and are propelling their hope towards solutions. I’d like to explore this subject in fiction.
Who has inspired and impacted your writing?
Here are two writing quotes that inspire me. Amelia Gray says, “writing seems to work best when it’s fighting to get at some truth.” Well over 100 years ago Dostoevsky said, “the main idea of the novel is to depict the positively good man. There is nothing more difficult than this in the world, especially nowadays.”
Will we see you at any upcoming NOWW events?
I look forward to participating in NOWW workshops and submitting to the NOWW writing contest, if I can keep my word count down!
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
I don’t have a website or any social media platforms yet. It’s on my to-do list! I graduated from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree majoring in music and minoring in English. I’ve published nonfiction in magazines and anthologies on a wide range of subjects including travel, music, parenting and perspectives unique to where I live. I'm a past CBC literary award winner in the creative nonfiction category and have been short-listed for the Writers Union of Canada Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers twice. After a twenty-five year career as a music teacher, I continue to share music-making on a volunteer basis with adults who struggle with mental illness. I've been married for thirty-four years and have two grown sons.
And to end things off, tell us something surprising about yourself!
I took up golf two years ago. I resisted for many years because I thought it would take up time better spent reading and writing. Not only am I hooked on the game, my writing has benefited! There isn’t time to overthink your swing because you’re playing with a group and each group needs to move along. I find that forward moving flow, from one fairway to the next, has transferred to my writing practice. My daily word count has gone up!