Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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What happens in Book Club stays in Book Club. So I can only give you a highly edited account of the meeting that took place the evening of March 20, 2009, at an undisclosed location on Parliament Street.

From the moment I was buzzed upstairs to the elegant apartment over a nondescript hair salon, I knew I was in the presence of an elite group of book babes. There were flowers and music; cozy leather chairs and delicious apps (Spanish goat cheese and olives). It felt very much like an old-fashioned private club, and I felt honoured to be the first outsider to be invited (my friend Sandra, who brokered the deal, also was present).

Prodigious amounts of yummy wine followed (Valley of the Moon merlot; that pinot grigio with the dog on the label) along with a truly impressive dinner of coq au vin (made by our hostess Jane in the manner preferred by Gabriel Garcia Marquez). Finally, sated, softened up, and sitting by the fireplace, I prepared to sing for my supper.

Some questions had been submitted in advance, so I had answers for the easy ones (see my previous blog).

Where it got tough was trying to intelligently respond to the biggest question of all: Why do we write?

Where do you find the discipline/drive/desire to churn those words out on a Sunday morning?

For me, it was always about escape. In this I am like Kate, my protagonist in SAILOR GIRL, who ran away to work on the Great Lakes freighters as a way to winnow her life down to an understandable form, to find a kind of truth.

Writing, for me, whether it is a personal essay or piece of fiction, is about escaping the tangled skein of my life to create something organized and pure that shines meaning back onto that chaos.

Not that I said anything that clear on Friday night. But I have been thinking the question since, and I have to thank Alison for helping me gain some clarity.

As for Beth’s big question about sex (Why does Kate fuck around so much? Why? Why?), which she, um, fixated on toward the end of the evening, I still don’t know how to answer that.

What was the question, again?

(Thanks, Book Babes; it was grand.)

1 comment

I like your answer a lot; to "why do you write." Never heard it answered this way before.

Also impressed by this club's food. Coq au vin??? Usually one hears of cheese and crackers only at book clubs. And maybe cupcakes.

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Sheree-Lee Olson

Sheree-Lee Olson is a Canadian novelist, poet and journalist. Her first novel, Sailor Girl, was published in 2008 by The Porcupine's Quill.

Go to Sheree-Lee Olson ’s Author Page