A couple of weeks ago, I met with an editor who told me I needed to start a blog. So, here it is … my first blog post.
Well then, “Let’s start at the very beginning … a very good place to start,” as Julie Andrews says.
I started writing again, late in 2011. That’s when I realized I had about ten minutes to myself at the beginning of every day, and ten minutes the end. And I don’t even have kids!
I set my alarm for six every morning, sat my butt in the chair and started a writing practice again. At first I was journaling: having a conversation with myself, a check in, if you will, every morning. I suspect that the process of intense reflection was bordering on too difficult at the time. Mom had been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in September.
Looking back, I think I needed escape. So, I began to tell myself a story. It started out with me, trying to make sense of the tension I feel between my creative side and the academic-toned life I find myself in. Or that’s what I wanted to explore when I sat at the keyboard, anyway.
I put my character in the North. She was, as I had once been, working on a video project in the NWT. She was in the bush, with two Elders on a day trip. I wanted her to be lost, somehow separated from the Elders. She would fall and get knocked out for a time so Matthew McConnaughey could come to her in a vision. He would impart some piece of wisdom she had been missing in her life and set her straight on her path, wherever that might take her. Over time, I abandoned the first drafts and started fresh with, a whole new setting and idea.
The title came to me first, which, some will tell you, is the ‘wrong’ way to go. Everything I Learned About Being a Girl, I Learned from Princess Leia. It made me laugh. And I needed to laugh at the time.
I decided, early on, that I wanted this book to be a celebration of all of the things I love in the world: music, Star Wars, pop culture, the Canadian landscape and our uniquely Canuk ways.
July 2012. I decided I had to introduce my protagonist, Morgan to the West Coast. I was going to Victoria for work, but booked my flight a few days early so I could spend time with my cousin. Liz, her daughter Amélie, and Bixby the dog picked me up at the airport. After a full day of flying, they drove me to Nanaimo for an overnight visit with my aunt and uncle. The next morning, the four of us piled in Liz’s red Subaru and headed west on the Island Highway. It was the first time I had been back to Tofino in about eighteen years and I knew I needed to write about that place.