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January 14, 2022

Why write?

When I first discovered the alphabet in first grade, I started writing and have never really stopped. As a child, I was instantly amazed by the magical power of each vowel or consonant to transcribe the sounds of our language. And I quickly learned to reproduce all the graphic signs of the alphabet in my little notebook. I played with choosing three or four letters strung together to form a word with a specific meaning. For example: SKY, ME, YES, BLUE, TRUE, EVENING, GIRL, EYE, DADDY, DAY, CAT, BABY, FEAR, NIGHT, PARTY.

I was fascinated by the wizardry of these little words that could mean something as immense as the SKY and something as impenetrable as the NIGHT. The discovery felt like a bigger treasure than even my mother’s GOLD ring. Yes, you read it right: such a small word (and even smaller in French!) for such a precious metal. 

Having quickly understood the power of different words, I was doubly happy to master more, and even more so as my ability to express myself silently on the page grew. I soon preferred to write rather than speak up when I was angry with my brother. I wrote down my pain instead of crying when I saw my mother’s great sadness.

As a teen, writing became the ultimate refuge for my shifting moods. Often I would darken the page in an effort to know myself as I dealt with what life served me. I wrote to illuminate, perhaps in vain, because each day, each thing, each event transformed me into a new person I needed to discover. 

As a child, I used writing to reinvent my daily life. I remember a story I wrote in third grade in which I imagined a kitchen bursting with joy as Mom, dressed in pink, baked Dad’s favourite pudding. She was waiting for him, humming, while we kids sat side by side on the big balcony bench, our eyes scanning the horizon. Suddenly a tiny blue dot would emerge from the distance and move onto Highway 132. We would jump for joy as the car turned into our lot. And Dad, all slim and happy, would dash up the steps, eager to press his bristly beard against our faces. 

I filled hundreds of pages to make myself believe that we were a perfect family. At 15, I even started writing poems to better conceal the dishonesty I had been depicting in my long texts from the start. Influenced most likely by Verlaine and Rimbaud, my more realistic poetry was capable of making gloomy sadness twirl on the dance floor with pure joy. 

Real life hit when I turned 20 – a child who arrived too early, a nasty husband, shattered dreams and an existence that was even worse than the kitchen of my childhood. I quickly abandoned my notebook, which left me as alone as a rabbit looking for a carrot in the Sahara. Two more children prevented me from dying of grief. One day the husband left, allowing me to breathe once again. Thirty years passed as we earned our bread and created an incredible business for which I have written everything, from a simplest recipe to the details of every milestone reached.

Now an old woman who has lived a full life, I began my last quarter century retired and comfortable, but locked away in her home like everyone else thanks to a global pandemic.

In accepting my fate, a true miracle occurred: the desire to WRITE has taken hold of me, like an angel that appears before me. More spirited and exhilarating than ever, it has become my reason for living, my favourite pastime and the food that nourishes my happiness.

Wanting to stay close to you, dear readers, I started to write a weekly letter about everything and nothing. About the past, the present and the fantastic future that awaits us. Often miracles of remembrance surface in my mind and instruct me to recount to you stories about lunches at Cora, restaurant openings and the events and people I thought I had long forgotten.

WRITING is magic; it cannot be explained. WRITING is like opening imaginary windows, like drawing bridges to tomorrow, watering celestial flowers and welcoming storks who seem to arrive out of nowhere. It can’t be explained or shut away. 

WRITING is a treasure within everyone’s reach. Many write to weed the garden before leaving this world. Others want to leave a trace of their passage. I hope to leave you blank lines that lead to tomorrow; large blank pages where you can record yourself during this lifetime. I wish you portals in the sky through which you can immerse yourself in the world’s magic.

Find your inner “crazy housewife,” a.k.a. IMAGINATION, and meet the princess called INSPIRATION. It is she who makes all your dreams bigger and more vivid. And may 2022 restore to us ️serenity, ️hope and the precious ️freedom we once enjoyed.