Wise words from Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews, outside her Toronto home. Photograph by Jaime HoggeMiriam Toews is the author of All My Puny Sorrows. She was quoted in an article on McCleans.

The writing life is one long, never-ending search for narrative. Well, it’s not even a conscious searching. It happens even while you’re busy buying groceries and when you’re fast asleep. It’s a curse. A writer is always, always searching, even against her will, against all her better instincts, for the thread of a story. Everything is fodder. Everything is fuel. You can feel it coming on like the tingling of a sore throat. The brain never stops struggling to reshape every experience and feeling into a coherent narrative. A writer doesn’t live “in the moment”. A writer steals the moment and stashes it away to gnaw on later in the day, in a dark and lonely room. When I ask my daughter how her cousin is and she says,”Not good. He’s fallen in love,” all I can think is: Ah , now that’s the perfect intro to a new story. The writing life is relentless. A writer is nothing but a rendering plant, a place where things go, things that were once alive, to get turned into something else. A rendering plant makes use of everything, the darkest moments and the happiest moments, too, like birthdays spent at Coney Island, riding the Wonder Wheel, and hollering, “On your mark, get set, go!” as your children race toward the sea.”

Check out the entire short article here.


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