What is ‘Home’ for a Writer?

Bridge House, Ambleside, Cumbria, EnglandA writer friend who had recently moved to Montreal asked me where home was for me. Was it Montreal?

I was surprised how complicated it was to answer that. Yes, my home is in Montreal. I’ve lived here for years. But Montreal is not totally “home.” There are ways in which I’ll never feel I completely belong. For one thing, I only have to open my mouth and people know I’m not from here. I certainly don’t sound like a francophone Canadian. I don’t sound like an anglophone Canadian either.

Where are you from? I’m asked that at least once a week.

But where I came from isn’t home either. That country has changed so much that when I’m there, I’m definitely a visitor. I even have trouble working out which coin is what value when I get on the bus or go shopping.

So is home being with my husband? With my family? Or is it…

I’m clearly not the only one to have trouble pinning down the idea of ‘home.’

The panel discussion “What is Home” at the recent Blue Metropolis Literary Festival, Continue reading


Homage to Mavis Gallant

Crescent Street, Montreal (quotation from "The Fenton Child" by Mavis GallantThis year the Blue Metropolis Festival, Montreal’s annual literary festival, dedicated the opening event to Mavis Gallant who passed away earlier this year. Afterwards, Linda Leith, founder of Blue Metropolis and friend of Mavis Gallant, gathered writers, friends and fans together to pay tribute to her.

The stories painted a colorful picture of an entertaining conversationalist, an acute observer, a reluctant interviewee, a quick, incisive wit, an independent woman, a determined hard-working writer (over a period of ten years, she wrote 1,000 pages of a never-finished non-fiction book on the Dreyfus affair), a person who took great pleasure in her daily routine of ordering the plat du jour at her favorite bistro after her morning’s writing.

As a very young child, excited at meeting the Mother Superior, she Continue reading

After the First Draft – Next Steps

So there you have it: a first draft of your short story. What now? What’s the next step?next steps - prints in the snow (2)

In a previous post  I wrote about my struggle with how to continue with first drafts, especially those that had no clear ending, and how I learned to ‘dig deeper’.

Dig deeper. What does that mean? Continue reading