Foreword from Singing Songs

It was the winter, January 1990. I was living in a log cabin, in the woods outside of Whonnock. A rural community with an elementary school, hardware store, small grocery store and a post office the size of a small bathroom.  That was the extent of the town.

My two children, Emily and David, were five and three at the time, and I'd just become pregnant with my youngest child, Will.  I was alone a lot that year, and I found myself writing, for the first time in my life.  Writing became my companion, a friend.  Someone to talk to after I'd tucked the children into their beds.  Someone to share my stories, my life with.

I needed to.  Snippets of my childhood, memories of my life were flooding back to me, unbidden, triggered by my children, an expression, a phrase, a tilt of the head.  My children, looking at me, and then me as a child as a colored filter lying on top as an overlay.  My child's face, my eyes, shape of my mouth, reflected in theirs.

And watching them grow, blossom, was stirring up my shoved aside past.  Calling it to the forefront of my mind, my heart.  The real childhood I experienced, not the made up one that I pretended  to the world.  There was no holding the memories back, they were busting the doors of me out, open wide.

So I wrote.  I picked up a pen and wrote.  Doghouse was the first piece, followed by Buckerfield's, and then the next one came, and the next and the next.  It was like once I started writing, I couldn't stop.  The stories were fictional, but the germinated from my real life. It was a relief to write the stories down, not to have to carry these secrets bottled up inside me anymore.

When I had written five pieces, I contacted Charlotte Sheedy, a literary agent.  "Will you read them?" I said. "And tell me what you think." She agreed to read them, but only if I was prepared t hear the brutal honest truth.  "I  won't make it so you'll never walk again," she growled. "But I'm not going to waste your time or mine if your writing's not good."