Jusqu‘à ce que la mort nous sépare by Dominique Fortin
Anyone who knows me, is well aware of my deep love and admiration for the work of Dominique Fortin. So when I reached out to her to ask if I could use the painting I had recently purchased for the cover of my book and she said YES<–! I knew I could die happily. Seriously, if you hear I am gone tomorrow– just know, I am all good.
The story is actually a bit longer than what I have shared above.
It begins in Montreal and then loops back and forth between Old Port and Providence a few times — with a segue out to Prince Edward County and Toronto — before settling here, at last. You see, last summer, while I was on holiday in Picton, a novel began pouring out of me. This was a complete surprise to me. I knew I would be writing that summer, but expected to return to the non-fiction piece I had to abandon the summer before. Life is funny that way.
(PRO TIP: toss the oars and let the current carry you. Any illusion of control is only gonna get you caught in the weeds).
From Picton, I traveled to Toronto to hang with the Sam Lamb fam— the book never stopped. I was never at a desk– better than 90 percent of it was written in bed. Not the same bed– beds all over, it turns out. From Toronto I went to Montreal to be with the Bernardin clan— and again, more writing from the most magical garden bedroom. I had to force myself to stop and focus on Squam and teaching by September –but then, as luck would have it– I was already scheduled to spend three weeks on a remote island in Greece which kept the pages rolling.
One afternoon last November, I was in the “writing room” I had set up for myself replete with desk, chair and exactly ZERO on the walls for distraction— a tiny white box, as it were– and yet, where was I? Oh yes, writing for hours upon hours from the comfort and ease of the daybed. Crazy! Not at all the way I pictured my disciplined writerly self. And yet? Guess who got the boot last summer? That’s right– my inner project manager, aka the task master. Shooing her out the door was this flowy goddess that paid no attention to rules, schedules and did whatever she wanted how she wanted. (It was pretty awesome, I must admit as she had never had the run of the house before and life got way better with her intuitive lead).
But there I was, nearing the finish line but also totally overwhelmed at how I was going to weave all these crazy pieces together. Seriously, over.whelmed. And then, of course, the spirit help rolled in and I watched Elizabeth Strout in an interview and she described that exact same moment in her process and I felt such relief. Like, okay– this is a stage in the journey when you have to assemble all the bits into something that resembles a coherent narrative.
Right at that time, I got an email from Jeanne with a link to an upcoming show of Dominique’s– of course I drooled over the images, but I have a stack of art in the basement as I do not have a single open space in this house for another painting. Or, so I thought. As I sat on the daybed facing the blank wall over the untouched writing desk, I thought– wait, what about there? I checked the measurements of the painting that had stolen my heart (see above) and wouldn’t you know, it was the exact, precise, perfect fit size for that wall.
Boom. So I bought it as a gift to myself for finishing the novel — and since it was going to travel from Rimouski to Montreal (thanks, Jeff!) and wait for me in Jeanne’s mom’s apartment until I was there to collect it in March (by then I expected to be long finished with the book)— I put it out of my head– and just knew I had a treat ahead of me.
And then, in January, as work on the book design began– I had the idea of original art on the cover and I thought, huh– what about that painting I bought a couple months ago? I checked the title—- until death do us part — are you KIDDING me? For a book about two sisters where one of them dies? (not a spoiler– you know this from the first chapter). And so, there you go. The synchronicity of this book has been like this from start to finish.
And now we are here. It is in the world. You can order the book itself, ebook or audiobook.
Or not. Just sharing my news– and, I have to add one bit of mojo that really rocked my heart. While I was in Greece, Autumn was here in my house for a 3 week artist retreat and she left this little tag on my wall. I have not touched it. The painting got put into place six months later– and lo and behold, don’t they look like a match made in heaven?
I have SO much more to share– but am headed to the airport today — flying to Norway. And I promise to tell you all the crazy things that have been going on– but for anyone of my beloveds who does get the book– be SURE to go to the acknowledgements page at the back because YOU<–!! you you you are so there. Wrapped in love and gratitude.