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July 7, 2023

More questions!

Surely you remember Isabel P., whom I’ve mentioned to you before. It’s the third time we’ve connected, and this time she’s sent me a new list of questions. I agreed to answer again because I think that this young lady has the potential to become a Lisa Laflamme or a Mutsumi Takahashi.

— “Tell me about your everyday life. What does a day in the life of Cora look like? How do you plan your days? Do you have a writing routine?”

— “As I age, my body has become a creature of habit. Without fail, I wake up at 5 every morning, hobble to my favourite couch in the library and lie down to read. It’s the perfect place to snooze for another hour before getting ready to make my way to the town’s coffee shop to write. When I’m not needed at the head office, I write until 1 p.m., take an afternoon nap on the couch at home and then open my eyes around 3:30. That’s when I start to think about dinner. I turn on the TV at 6 to watch the news to find out what’s going on in the world. I typically turn it off soon after. I get on my stationary bike and pedal to a non-existent destination for an hour while drinking my last coffee of the day. Then I spend an hour or two thinking about new topics I could write about or exploring interesting magazines or books I want to read next.”

— “If you had to choose between wisdom and intelligence, which one would you choose?”
— “Wisdom, definitely, because as I age, I tend to forget everything intelligence has taught me. Wisdom leaves me alone; it’s wise enough to accept me as I am.”

— “How would you describe your ideal self?”

— “I don’t know. I’ve just put it in the oven and, once it’s cooked, I’ll be able to throw its ashes into the wind and see what becomes of it.”

—“What would you choose: to love someone or be loved?”
—“I deeply love my grandkids with a love that’s boundless. And I will never lose hope that one day I’ll find a great love. More than anything, I’d like to experience the tremors of a heart in love – my own or the other’s.”

—“Who decided the order of the alphabet?”
—“I don’t know, but I think it’s a job well done. Lamour (love) comes first and it ends with zero. One thing is for sure, I would like to find l’amour before the end.”

—“A little bird told me that you never eat breakfast. It’s a bit odd for the Queen of Breakfast. Is it true?”

— “Yes, it is! I spent many years concocting the best breakfasts in the world for our many customers. We never had a minute to stop and eat. That’s how my children and I got used to eating around 3 p.m., just before cleaning the kitchen and prepping for the next day. During those days, the orange juice was freshly squeezed for each order and employees weren’t allowed to have any. To this day, I almost never drink orange juice.”

— “Do you believe in life after death?”
— “Absolutely. If I didn’t believe in it, a while after my wedding, I would have thrown myself off the pier in my hometown of Caplan and the nasty eels would have made a quick meal of me.”

— “I heard through the grapevine that you’ll publish a new book. Is that so?
— “Yes. It’s already written and we are now at the stage of correcting typos and checking a few details here and there with the editor. The title is still a work in progress and it’s scheduled to be published this fall.”

— “If you could choose the way you die, what would you prefer?”
— “That’s easy. I would like to go in my sleep, without even noticing that I am changing worlds.”

— “What would you do if you knew the exact date of your departure?”
— “Maybe I would count the days like a child counts the days before Christmas. I would mark the calendar squares with a big X in each box.

—“Seriously, Madame Cora, would you say you’ve had a successful life?”
—“As much as I could have, I think. I love my last quarter of a century and how I’ve started to write again. I wake up every morning to a new challenge; a dream to tell, a story to tweak. I adore describing the glorious banality of everyday life, and it gives me great satisfaction to help dispel the disenchantment that too many unhappy people feel.”

— “And now, my last question. If you had the choice to invite anyone in the world over for dinner, who would it be?”
— “It would be an absolute pleasure for me to invite Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama, and his friend, Matthieu Ricard, both 87 years old. My hopeful heart would wait for an affirmative reply.”