Sandra gifts

Posted by on April 20, 2011

One of the most helpful writers I know is a very accomplished lady by the name of Sandra Phinney. Several years ago, when I was struggling (*really struggling*) to come up with a workable structure for my book, Sandra invited me to her tranquil home in Nova Scotia so I could get away and think without interruptions.

As I ferried across the Bay of Fundy on my way to her place, I sat outside in the sunshine – salt wind in my hair, the cries of seabirds in my ears – and let my mind roam and drift through the storyline of my book. I could not remember the last time I had three full hours without something pressing to think about.

It was there, underscored by the rumble of engines and the splash of waves, that the seed of an idea began to emerge and later, sitting alongside Sandra’s river, I fleshed out a new structure for the book.

Sandra’s gift to me was the opportunity to get away, to talk with another writer (whom I greatly admire), to be cared for and fed (in more ways than one).  I’m grateful for the chance to be a writer and an author, but the people whom I’ve met along the path are the unexpected treasures that I cherish the most.

So, I was honoured when Sandra extended another gift and asked to interview me for her blog series, Author! Author!.  I hope you will drop by to read the interview!


8 Valued Thoughts on Sandra gifts

  1. Sandra Phinney

    Goodness gracious Agnes me! (That’s what Papa used to say when he was gobsmacked.) Deborah, this was a pleasant surprise. Right now I’m sitting in a hotel in Halifax, en route back to Canaan after a 4 month absence. Your kind words and the photo of Canaan let loose a few tears. Happy tears. So many gifts in our lives–so many memories.

    I thought of you on the plane yesterday. Happened to be reading an article about Mark Twain in the April edition of Harper’s. (Lewis H. Lapham was being his usual brilliant self in that essay.) Anyway, in it, he referred a bit to Twain’s writing style and, taking excerpts from Twain’s autobiography he quote the author talking about telling stories: ” You will be astonished (& charmed) to see how like TALK it is, (caps mine ; italicized in the mag.) & how real it sounds, & how well & compactly & sequentially it constructs itself, & what a dewey & breezy & woodsy freshness it has, & what a darling & worshipful absence of the signs of starch, & flatiron, & labor & fuss & the other artificialities!”

    In another place Twain goes on to say, “Narrative should flow as flows the brook down through the hills and the leafy woodlands … always following at least one law, always loyal to the law, the law of NARRATIVE, (caps mine; italicized in the mag) which HAS no LAW. Nothing to do but make the trip; the how of it is not important so that the trip is made.”

    Sorry to be so wordy here but those are powerful words. And I so love it when authors pull that off for the reader. You did just that with Sanctuary. And so I thought of you on the plane yesterday.

    • Deborah Carr

      I’m so glad I was able to give you that brief glimpse of your river to hold you until you reached home! And I’m so glad you are back on NS soil again, safe and sound, with many wonderful memories of your time away.

      That’s a wonderful quote, Sandra. It is powerful. Just a few weeks ago, two (read them, TWO) participants on a creative writing workshop came up to me at different times, each expressing concern that they did not use “big enough words” in their writing. I was so glad that they brought it up…so I was able to assure them that “trying” to use big words when they do not come naturally would sound artificial and pretentious in their writing.

      And that beauty, feeling and emotion can be had with the smallest of carefully selected and balanced words.

  2. altadenahiker

    Great news and lovely, lovely pictures.

    As to your comment, I’ve been totally distracted all week because I can’t get that thought out of my head.

  3. Relyn

    I am very grateful you are an author. Now, I’m off to read your interview.

  4. Relyn

    I’m back. I had to come and tell you about how very much I love the second picture. Wow!

  5. Deborah Carr

    Pretty inspiring place, huh?

  6. hele

    you are an author who inspires me as i take my first steps towards writing my book*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *