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February 4, 2024

My passion for writing

I’m the type of writer who finishes a letter on Tuesday and wants to start a fresh one the following day. You’ll rarely find me with idle hands. I either have to make an appearance at the office or start some big cleaning project at home. I’m also constantly on the lookout for bits of information that’ll spark a story for your Sunday mornings. Quite often these days, I dillydally and have fun, I write poems that I store in the back of my mind. I force my fingers to dance on the keyboard like I’m worried they’ll get stiff from thinking too much.

The white page is an empty house that must be taken possession of. I open the door and everything is white, completely empty. I can barely make the height of the walls, the size of the rooms. I move slowly in a blinding light.

A bird flies in through an open window; it’s a blackbird, as black as my ink, with a pretty orange beak. Suddenly the colour starts singing in my head, and my senses awaken. I hear timid chirps, the broken sound of words coming from nowhere. The bird, drunk from the ink, summons the voice inside my head; a surreal imagination defies all reason and the text appears. Taking the shape of a cloud dancing in the sky, a thousand birds flock together and fill my pages with meaning. Writing is the most magical passion. It opens the door to daily miracles.

I love poetry, with its short sentences, rhythm and suggestive words. Like a garland or rosary of good intentions, the poem dresses up each precious word. Without knowing if my readers appreciate reading the occasional poem, I throw a few out, here and there. I always, always try to find the right form that best conveys what I want to say. A short story, a highlight, a memory from childhood that surfaces; everything feeds me, everything is grist for the mill.

I’m still just a novice who’s learning. I had to take a thousand detours before finally dedicating myself to my passion for words, but it’s never too late, and I insist on pursuing it. I’m a good storyteller of lived experiences. Sometimes I embellish human nature, especially when it comes to my old prince charmings! I want them to be impressive, intelligent and promising, even if it means forgiving their dishevelled appearance and audacious remarks that make my words twirl.

I’m not a writer who expounds worldly causes. I’m very much a teller of everyday stories who’s able to ennoble the smallest of details, the desolation of a place, a string of words or a broken heart. I have a propensity for elevating the everyday.

I observe, I read a lot and take notes. I have dozens of notepads blackened with words I like. The tenacity of bees has always inspired me. Dare I dream that one day my humble words could be as sweet as fine honey?

Since the Salon du livre de Montréal (Montreal book fair) and the recent publication of my work, I’m thrilled to find people are now acknowledging me as an author. This makes me wonder if I shouldn’t try my hand at a different form of writing. Perhaps short stories? A brief fictional story that can be read in one sitting and typically ends with a climax, or unexpected twist.

Since the narrative is brief, the short story has only a few characters, not much action and a handful of locations. The plot often revolves around one or two main characters. I wonder if a short story could run the same length as a Sunday letter (1,200 words or so).

Wow, I’m getting carried away! Writing allows me to grow and experience new possibilities. I don’t think writing is a privilege reserved only for poets, philosophers and other novelists. We can be the best of friends; I simply need to work at it with passion and determination.

I’m already looking for my protagonist, a fictitious character that I’ll have to pluck out of the void and invent from start to finish. Will I be able to tell a story which is not entirely true? Can I learn how to flesh out the psychological portrait of the story’s lead? Create an unexpected plot in only 1,200 words? Am I capable of such a feat?

I can already imagine a short story where the protagonist’s inner world takes up most of the space; their feelings and emotions serving as a defining element of the plot. I’m already sketching the outline of two old stubborn toads. Sounds terrible! Would the story be too simple?

When you’re older, the only thing happening in your life of any importance is your pill regimen. And yet the ending of the story has to be surprising, breathtaking and totally unexpected. What a challenge!

I’m starting to get comfortable on the page, but I will have to learn to respect the need for brevity if I want to write a short story. Angels above, please help me shorten my sentences!