Q1 – When did you start writing?

I was fifteen. We were living in England that year and I was going to a girls’ grammar school in London. I was thrilled to be in London, yet very much out of my element, a small-town Ontario girl. One day the English teacher came into the room and asked us to open our books to a certain page and read what was there. It was a poem by D.H. Lawrence. Then she said, “Now close the book, open your notebooks, and write down whatever comes into your minds.” I wrote easily for the first time in my life. Afterwards, she asked some of us to read our stream-of-consciousness writing aloud. I read, and the other girls took note of me as something other than a hick. So that’s how it happened. In that period in the classroom I found my vocation. It was such a surprise. Until that moment I had been a great reader and a tortured writer of school assignments and Christmas thank-you letters. Now I had a private creative world of my own.

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