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May 19, 2024

To write every day

The snow has melted, the cold weather has turned mild and the grass is getting greener by the day. This morning, I even saw a few ants in a single file climbing onto my porch. I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I open the door to the kitchen and a few gusts of warmth, a few bursts of happiness enter. I make myself comfortable to write at my large kitchen table, I type a few sentences and my fingers awaken. Two, three, five pages are darkened as I finish my first cups of coffee.

It’s quite something to see winter yield its place to summer! I must have been 5 or 6 when Dad said that in 50 years’ time Gaspésie would be as hot as California. Really? Will I live long enough to burn my toes on the asphalt in January?

Last night I read that writing’s therapeutic virtues have a positive influence on women’s moods. What do I know? I’m so old now. My only medicine consists of encapsulating my words in ink, and I indulge to excess.

At the coffee shop the other day, a young woman declared that writing leads nowhere. Maybe she’s right. I earned a living by cooking and serving amazing breakfasts, but today, I write and will never stop because it feeds my happiness. Writing is an exquisite dessert for my life. Yesterday, a strawberry crêpe, this afternoon a pistachio cake and tomorrow, my favourite apple pie brushed with sugar fudge sauce.

The young woman drones on:
— “What purpose does it serve, to fill pages with ink all day long? Couldn’t you travel? Visit Spain, the Eiffel Tower or Venice and its magnificent gondolas and cafés, Murano Island and its glass-blowing artisans? Haven’t you said it all in the last 4 years?,” continues the rude woman, raising her brows.

— “What’s motivating you to keep typing words in a café instead of being outdoors feeling spring’s warm breezes? Time is flying away and you, dear Cora, are writing, typing and aging. You incessantly start a new story. You sieve, you brew, you invent a plot, a few characters and an ending that’ll look like a new beginning!

Clearly this young woman is a loathsome inquisitor who has no love for words! Doubt overcomes me. What a misfortune it would be if I became an empty well! I’m not hurting anyone by putting all this ink to the page. I ponder for a moment, reach into my bag and hand her the last copy of my book. The woman seems surprised, but at last, she falls silent.

Tonight, at my large kitchen table, I’m writing again. Who else could describe winter’s tears falling onto the spring’s warm soil as I do? I type until the clock passes midnight when, suddenly, I see a small mouse coming out of a cupboard. I follow it with my eyes. It runs across the floor under the table, along the wall, enters the living room and hides under the red sofa. I’m so terrified of mice and here I am, all alone in this big house! I calm myself, sit back down and think. I invent a new paragraph. A path in the middle of the forest with century-old trees and a carpet of lily-of-the-valley shoots. In the largest oak tree there’s a huge hole, a refuge for my family of mice. I feed them fine cheeses, and they forget all about my home address.

I never tire from chasing an inexhaustible vein of ideas. I skip a line, finish a page, I’m always eager to start a new letter. This childlike pleasure in threading words one after the other reminds me of my brother when he was little, the tireless marble player. Focused so completely on his game, he would be absolutely still before throwing the coloured glass bead as far as possible. Like him, I stop, think, invent and cast my words. I draw strength from the sap of trees to build my castles.

I laugh, I cry, my emotions often all simmering together. I strive to embellish my world and the thousands of birds that land on my lines, on my words, in my stories and in my heart. My motivation to keep writing is this: a copious capacity to keep moving forward, to go further, to dig deep into the soul of the world scattered within each and every one of us.

Am I the woman I would have liked to be at 20?
My heart wide open, my eyes so green,
Blue waves, fish discussing among themselves?