samedi 9 septembre 2017

A poem

You are the one who opens up roads
explores new avenues
sprinkles words of love
along the way

you find the lost children

Text: Denise Nadeau
Photo: Alyson Wolens Slutzky
Translation from French to English: Colin R. Brady
Réalisation: Anna Asche
Calendar : Redbubble

jeudi 4 février 2016

Fortunately there's childhood

Fortunately there’s childhood
that persists in being reborn
in begging for its pittance
joys, verbs
that whet the appetite
to play, laugh, dance,
sing, shout, draw

The child as a physical being who sings 20 Christmas carols in the middle of January because he doesn’t know that the holidays are over and that there’s been trouble in the world.
The child symbolic of dreams, he can represent, among other things, the start of something, the project, the first steps of a book, of a sculpture, of a painting, that doesn’t yet know the problems afflicting humanity, the difficulties with which it’s confronted.
The inner child and his daily bread, his fears, his anger, his heartaches, his always and his nevers, his enthusiasm and his great disappointments.
Sometimes we have to go back through childhood, see it in a different way, redefine ourselves, so as to sketch out solutions or walk along creative avenues.

 ©  Denise Nadeau
Translation from French to English: Colin Brady

lundi 21 septembre 2015

Author and authority

For a long time, my manuscripts remained in my drawer, awaiting an authority that would consider them sufficiently good to be printed. Why? Because I kept them secret. Before I had ever submitted them to an editor, I imagined this “authority” would certainly refuse my texts, so I condemned them to silence in advance. And yet, author and authority come from the same Latin word auctor which has many meanings, including “that which makes something grow; founder, creator, instigator and… authority.” Thus, was I the authority?

Yes, it is I, the author, who decides what is worthy or not, what will be shown, shared or not. I give myself this approval, this imprimatur that I formerly sought outside myself, because I am the one who sows a seed on the paper, who grows words, paragraphs, books. To create is to accept that the course of the writing is not known in advance, since it is not copied from any other; it is entirely new. Ah, and I forgot, auctor also means "one who approves."  I would say I approve.

samedi 1 août 2015

Susan Harris and her Novel

Welcome to my new feature: Guest Posts
Occasionally, I will offer guest articles I think you will find interesting. 
I begin with an article written by American Susan Adair Harris, who has recently published her first novel, a dramatic examination of identity, unconditional love, and life after survival.  

How Did I Come Up With This Novel – Death Lost Dominion?
By Susan Adair Harris

People ask me where I connected with some of the dramatic circumstances that can be found in my novel Death Lost Dominion (which is now available from in both print and e-book  J).   I don’t know if my experience will prove helpful for you, but this is it:

My novel is not the first manuscript I’ve ever written, but it’s the first one in which I gave myself permission to write uncensored from a place deep inside.  I wrote beyond rules and conventions.  I wrote raw.  (And then I tidied up!)  I didn’t intend to draw from the following influences, but when I reached down into myself, there they were. 

My inspiration for the major themes came from three dramatic sources.
First was the film IMAGINING ARGENTINA with Emma Thompson and Antonio Banderas.  The so-called “disappearances” in 1970’s Argentina—which were actually the mass murders and torture of anyone the military government of the time deemed to be a dissident—are the major focus of the film.  In reality, I was just beginning the most important aspects of my life during those years (my teaching career as well as my marriage), and I barely noticed the news reports that ran on American television.  When my husband and I rented the Netflix DVD recently, I was shocked that I was so entirely ignorant of the atrocities portrayed.  I used them as a springboard for my novel, although the vast majority of the story takes place in the United States and has nothing to do with Argentinian politics.

My second major outside influence arrived in the book FAR FROM THE TREE (by Andrew Solomon).  Solomon delves deeply into many “horizontal identities”—identities that can separate a person from his or her birth family.  For example, if a child is born homosexual, blind, deaf, autistic, or differently abled, those conditions can make that person identify with other people who share the same realities, especially if family members don’t.  Every chapter in the book was a window on a world I knew little, if anything, about, but the one that spoke most to my writing was the one on victims of rape (the one raped and the children who were products of rape).  I have known several victims of rape, and the long-lasting damage to body and soul those women (or men or children) may endure has always impressed and saddened me.

My third influence came out of several profound events in my life and personal stories that happened to people around me—experiences of death, loss, PTSD, disillusionment, and unconditional love.  Thus was born a novel that focuses on how ordinary people move beyond merely surviving traumatic experiences to find strength and prevail.  Those who have read Death Lost Dominion so far have been touched by its power.  I couldn’t ask for more.

lundi 20 juillet 2015

Dream and Haiku

     At Easter, at some point during a family gathering, I found myself sitting with four of my sisters-in-law. I don’t know how we got to talking about our dreams. One of them asked me if I still wrote mine down. Yes, of course, I’ve been noting them for many years. This practice has evolved over time, but it’s still just as important. My sisters-in-law were clearly interested in the subject and suggested I write an article about it in my blog. So here’s the story of a little dream that could have gone unnoticed but instead produced unexpected results.
     Dream.  May 2012. I was with a few people, I don’t really know who, I don’t really know where, and one of these people suggested I write a haiku rather than a narrative text. I responded that that was a good idea, and that it should appeal to the young people the text in question was intended for.
     My second children’s novel, La fille des pour toujours, had come out in March. So there were “young people” in the picture, not to mention my children to whom the dream might be referring.
     Despite these leads, and although that same evening and over the following weeks I wrote some haiku, I didn’t really follow up on that dream. In fact, it remained there, unfinished, noted in my journal, nothing more, until I opened my new Facebook page in late November. My dream then came back to me. I began writing more haiku that I published on my author page and then shared on my personal page. I had hoped to attract young people to that latter page, which was basically devoted to promoting my children’s novel.
     That didn’t work at all. The young people didn’t show up. However, I had a lot of fun coming up with these haiku. I felt alive, joyful, as I created them and I didn’t feel like stopping. So I kept making them.
     By 2013, I had quite a few of them. I put them together into a collection with other poems that I already had and then reworked. Then I decided to shape my project into more of a finished product: I would publish my haiku myself. I got the process going and this collection, stemming from the dream I’d had in 2012, finally saw the light of day last summer. I’m very happy with it.
     I’ve come to think that the young people in my dream actually reflected the young person in me, that part of me who is full of ideas and willingly takes on new projects without worrying about her age.

Copyright © Denise Nadeau

jeudi 16 juillet 2015

First Steps

     The debut of this blog coincides with the births of my grandchildren and marks a turning point for me as a writer. These births give me a feeling of delight. Not only are they full of life, they also steer me toward new learning.
     Excerpts from my journal, no longer locked away in a drawer, are coming out into the open for a breath of fresh air.
     Saying something for the purpose of sharing is no small task for me. I have to stretch it out, model it until it rings true, refuse to hide it behind fiction, give it an easily assimilated, fluid form, then expose it to the eyes of anyone open to receiving it.

     But it might simply be like holding the hand of a child taking those first steps in life.

Copyright © Denise Nadeau