Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Work in Progress

I am directing my energies towards completing a novella in the first person that is gaining momentum. I am writing about fictional conversations with my grandpa, who passed away nearly ten years ago, using myself also as a loosely fictional character. I am trying to keep his voice real, the way I can still hear him, but it is not easy. Both conversations take place in the mind of the granddaughter who has chosen to retreat to her grandpa’s remote cabin in Golden, B.C. for a summer. I think I can get away with creative licence in not always having the authenticity of his voice, as the voices overlap in thought.

This novella is becoming an important project for me, as it is an opportunity to reconnect with my grandparents and rekindle their personal histories and stories about growing up in early Victoria. When I was younger, I didn’t pay close attention to the wealth of their stories. As well, I lost my grandpa too soon and there were many unfinished conversations, or ones that we never had the chance to start. This is also a chance to ask the questions that he probably wouldn’t have answered, mostly about the time he served in WWII and how that period in his youth affected the rest of his life.

I find myself approaching this project like someone with a long stick poking a sleeping bear – there is so much depth and I want to create a story or environment that unfolds like a journey and does him justice. I don’t want to travel too far down into fabrication, and at the same time I need to be careful of what truths I reveal. I also have many topics to research – as this journey is also physical and geographical. There is travel time involved on roads that I haven’t travelled alone before. I will need to learn about the adventure of driving through the B.C. interior and into the Rockies. I drove across the province once before, as a passenger, to Elkford, B.C. On the way back home, we drove through Golden and slept in the truck on the side of the road. The most I saw of Golden was the sunrise and a gas station. There is no doubt that I have my work cut out for me, and I don’t have the luxury of taking a road trip any time soon.

I also want to incorporate my grandma’s knowledge and love of the wildflowers in B.C. – she was an artist and enjoyed painting our native flowers.

The motivation for this novella was sparked by a contest through Mother Tongue Publishing to write a novel or novella set in British Columbia.

My other news is that last night I received several bound draft copies of my novel, Turnstiles, which were printed for me by a friend. I am so excited to finally have bound copies to pass around to family and friends for review and critique. This will be the final step in making any necessary changes before sending pages with a query letter to a publishing agency.

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