partly cloudy, temps minus 5, breezy
Very pleasant, walking south on rue Saint-Jean. Not so comfortable walking back. Wind right in the face. Still, fortunately it's not that cold.
Woke up this morning and tried to figure out why I'm having so much more fun here than I did in Paris. There's no way, as gorgeous as Quebec City is, it can be considered that much better than Paris! Perhaps I'm simply more familair with Quebec. And I have friends here. And a mission. that's always fun. Research. I think too I'm more relaxed. I was just exhausted when we went to paris in early December...all I really wanted to do was sleep and eat. Paris felt just too energetic, too thrilling. Too enervating.
But I think a huge factor for me is this home we've rented for the month. It's beautiful. Spacious, gracious, comfortable, renovated enough to be up-to-date but without the character stripped away. And the masterbedroom in the eaves is nothing short of spectacular. That, for me, is a huge issue.
I nest. I sure don't need a big space...but I do need a place I find beautiful, and safe.
I'm not an adventuruous person. As a teenager I realize I was physically daring (parachuting etc) but emotionally very timid - frightened. Now, at 50, I'm more cautious physically but way more daring and confident emotionally and intellectually.
So, yeah, give me a challenging book to write...and put me in a small room...but it better be beautiful. And have pastries.
Spent a lovely morning in Chez Temporel. Michael and I first had breakfast at Le Petit Coin Latin (omelettes) - then he came home to work on his laptop, and I took my notebook down the street to the cafe. Tiny place, as I've described. 10 small tables, tin ceiling, long wooden bar. I think everyone else (3 people) was writing a book as well. At least 2 of them were nursing coffees and writing on laptops or in notebooks. The third spent an hour reading Le Soleil (daily Quebec City newspaper).
In a Quebec cafe no one hurries you. You're welcome to bring a book, order a coffee, and sit all day.
I had a bowl of guess what and schemed. Needed to figure out how Gamache figures it out. Some mystery writers don't need to plot that closely - I do. For me it's the foundation from which the story and the characters take off. As long as I have that I feel free to be really creative. One of the wonderful things I've learned - there is no right or wrong way to write a book - just what works for each of us.
The advice I give to aspiring writers is pretty simple:
1) read poetry
2) write what you like to read
3) write for yourself - believe in it, and others will too
4) your creative self needs to write the first draft. Go wild - let yourself really go. Ignore your internal critic who says it's crap. (there's a place for your 'critic' in the editing - but not before)
5) Be kind to yourself - set yourself up for success
6) never, ever forget how lucky you are...and enjoy it.
I don't always remember my own advice...but on days I do I do my best work. And have fun.