About Me

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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ocean Inspiration

Every artist (writer, painter, musician, dancer, film maker, actor, every artist, doesn’t matter what the discipline) has places in their head that inspire them, scare them, get them thinking – iconic locations. They can be real or imaginary. They can be right around the corner or halfway across the galaxy. They can be a memory (the garden you haunted as a child) or a place right around the corner (the street you walk to work each morning).

For me, my inspiration is one very large place – the ocean. Mostly the Pacific Ocean, but that’s only because I live on the west coast. The Atlantic off the east coast of the Americas and the French and English coasts also resonate with me, as does the Mediterranean. Obviously, for me it’s not only about the water, it’s above the movement of the waves.

Why do I say obviously? Because I grew up in Vancouver right on the Pacific Ocean and when, for many years, I lived either in Kelowna on Lake Okanagan or in Toronto on Lake Ontario, I always felt – though I didn’t realize it until years later – that something was missing. I figured it out after four or five years in Toronto when I went to Miami. I sat on a dock watching the brown pelicans fly by and breathed a giant sigh of relief. Of course, I’d felt the same thing coming home to Vancouver, but I was coming home. I didn’t realize that the comfort I felt was anything other than that.

So I write about the ocean. Not always in an obvious way, but when I think about it, I see that it’s always there. I suspect it’s the reason I craft sentences the way I do, so that they move like one of the many rhythms of the ocean. I’m always conscious of the way sentences move – whether I’m writing or reading them – it’s probably the most important thing to me. I read them out loud and if they don’t work, I’ll fix them.

The nice thing about the ocean being the inspiration for both my stories and my sentences is that it provides me innumerable choices – the ocean can be anything. It can be any color, any mood, any emotion, any flavour. And, although I don’t consciously consider the ocean when writing a sentence, when I look back on them, I know what’s wrong – and invariably, it’s the rhythm.

I suspect musicians who grew up on the ocean have the same feeling when they’re writing – they’re listening to the notes, but they’re equally conscious of the rhythm.

After writing for almost twenty-five years, I’ve finally figured something out. It feels both good and a bit scary.


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