Opening the Door to Backstory

Backstories are always fascinating to a fiction writer. How can you know the characters in your story if you don’t know what’s happened in their past and how that’s affected them?

Is that why I feel so sad when I see yet another of Montreal’s beautiful old mansions bite the dust? Because when we’ve lost Montreal’s old buildings, we won’t know Montreal?

I couldn’t help but wonder what the story was of this building Continue reading

Advertisements

Finding Treasure in a Shoe Box!

Out of the Time Capsule comes a shoe box. Great excitement. What’s inside? Letters? Sea shells? A fragment of a dance I once composed? Something of immeasurable value?

Off with the lid.

treasures from the Time Capsule

Inside:

1) a caviar tin lid, bright blue, shiny. Was that a special occasion? One to remember? Then why don’t I remember?

2) a rock. Glued to it, a fabric leaf, and to the leaf three small bobbles (one grey, one red, one grey). ??????????????????

3) a dinosaur, plastic, red with blue fin rising from its back, mouth wide open, spiky teeth.

treasures from the Time Capsule4) a playbill for ‘Swing’ from 2000. Hey, look at those great songs “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “I’ve Got a Girl in Kalamazoo,” “Cry Me a River”…

But the show was in New York. I’ve been to New York twice: once on my way to work in Bogotà in the ’70s and once a couple of years ago. I wasn’t in New York in 2000. I don’t think I was in New York in 2000.

The show certainly looks as though it was a whole lot of fun.

5) a programme for ‘School for Scandal’ – was that the time we met up with friends for an ultra-elegant afternoon tea before the show and the kids discovered packets of balloons in a drawer in the table and tried to blow them up? By the time we adults realised what was going on, everyone in the restaurant was looking aghast. The balloons were condoms.

6 and 7) two trophies – one for ‘Best Etiquette’ in a golf tournament, the other with a plaque reading “B. of N.Y. Canada Day 77 – Fittness Award 2 Mile Run.” (I Google to check if that stands for Bank of New York – but why would the Bank of New York be sponsoring a Canada Day run? And why wouldn’t it know how to spell Fitness?)

Recognize any of this? I ask my husband.

He seizes…

8) a big round button with the words “First Prize” and featuring a jolly orange cat waving its paws. “Hey! That’s my special Father’s Day button,” he says.

One orange cat button circa 1989. Priceless! (And for the rest, there’s recycling. The rock will go into the garden.)

treasures from the Time Capsule