Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaNo - Day Eight - Adapting

What a beautiful weekend.

Instead of jumping into writing on Saturday, (or more likely, complaining about not writing), I went for a walk.

Montreal is an incredible place, isn't it? I've been here for more than two years now, and I still get lost. But every time I get lost, I end up in another small "town" within the greater city.

Imagine: you're walking down streets you've been down a million times before, and because you have a little extra time on your hands, you make a right, following the street until it ends. On one side: the setting for a perfect werewolf attack scene. The train yard is barricaded by some of the flimsiest chain link fencing, but the ground is rife with cinder blocks and patches of concrete foundation, reclaimed by nature. On the other side, you can follow a side street along a row of old houses - duplexes, triplexes, all of them with brightly coloured shingles, or decorated with stark, black Gothic trimmings. Go a little further, and you find a cobblestone side street, bracketed by stores selling high fashion, diamonds, artwork, rare books and sculpture (and at least three different coffee shops, each with a fireplace and soft lighting).

Imagine, heading back home, and because it's still only three in the afternoon, you take another back street. The road ends, and a sprawling park opens up before you. Well-dressed couples stroll hand in hand in the afternoon sun; teenaged girls take pictures of tame squirrels they've charmed with make-believe peanuts. The park is laid out before an enormous, stone building, complete with greenhouse, turrets and a crenelated roof - a castle in the middle of the city. And that's just the library! Go for a walk around the park, admiring the venerable oaks and the nodding willows, pause under a tree where the squirrel has dropped his chestnut on your head, and realize, the man behind the greenhouse is saying his evening prayers.

Head further uphill, out of town, and you enter into yet another world. Fantastic houses on corner lots are three stories tall, with spiky widow's peaks, steep stairs, and a general air of haunted houses. A little further down, if it's dark enough, you can peer through windows without ever leaving the sidewalk, and attach dollar values to the immense, chrome-plated kitchens, and to the cathedral windows, to the paintings and the Swarovsky crystals in the glass cabinets, and to the field stone walls and the solid oak doors.

Imagine walking through this urban sanctuary, smelling the crushed maple on the warm, autumn air, see how the yellow-leaved trees bow over the shady street; listen to the gentle conversation of men and women as they pass by, walking their dogs; and realize: this is where you live.

I didn't write yesterday at all. I gave myself the day off to get outside and absorb this fantastic November weekend.

I made up for it today: I sat in that same, castle-like library, joined to the imposing Victoria Hall by the greenhouse (which will feature in the story I'm working on now), and I wrote. Then I came out here, to Pointe-Claire to sit and enjoy the company of my fellow writers, Mady and Michael.

This has been a very good weekend.

It's given me something to write about.

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