Writing a novel: like crawling across a floor pushing a peanut
Returning to Kingston, Ontario, is always special for me. When I first decided that I was going to write, be a writer—go for it—I began by attending a workshop here. That was about 25 years ago.
Returning to Kingston always brings back memories of that long-ago self, memories of my longing to be a writer, of walking along the shoreline lost in thought, memories of my flying elation over my instructor’s encouragement. Memories of attending the inspiring readings given by writers—writers I regarded with awe, writers who are now my good friends.
Each time I return, I add another layer of experience. For two years I’ve been coming to the Kingston WritersFest.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Joan Thomas, whose book Curiosity I mentioned earlier in this blog (a novel now long-listed for the Giller). Her workshop on narrative voice and point-of-view has me thinking, considering loosening the fixed “narrative distance” I’ve imposed on the novel I’m writing now.
Last night, Jane Urquhart interviewed Joyce Carol Oates on-stage. Oates had finished a novel at 1:00 that morning. She said that for months it had felt like crawling across a floor pushing a peanut with my nose. That, believe me, resonated!