Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Feature: Donna Gagnon Day 3

(sky over Haliburton, Ontario)


We walk slowly through the night, you and I. Holding hands tightly, sweating hard in this topsy turvy landscape of madness.

When we were young, the early autumn days were full of gentle promise, fallen leaves reflected bits of waning warmth up into our toes. Evening’s breath was cool and refreshing. Midnight would often find us immersed up to our necks in lake water as comforting as a bath. That liquid’s now all boiled away and we step carefully over the widening cracks in the earth. I do not know where we are going.

The polar bears have become extinct. They could not travel quickly enough as the ice melted. Your face resembles the dry land we traverse and I am thirsty.

Tonight, when we sleep, I will dream of rain and shine. I will turn and tuck myself against you, in the hope that you are also remembering the world we used to share. And when we are nearly awake, I will pray to a God that never existed that clouds will have returned to the sky and that we will be blessed by a change in season. And I will pray that you have brought a map.

© Donna Gagnon

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4. 'Con te partiro' is a powerful piece. Now, though you don't boast about it, you were a trained opera singer too. Did this help in your empathy for the character?

A lovely ex-opera singer gave me lessons for a few years. Not sure that makes me a trained opera singer! I do love voices, though, and have always found talented and tortured artists to be extremely fascinating. Perhaps that fascination is due to envy. The road I've taken in life thus far is the 'safe' one ... work, marriage, children. Part of me thinks I'd rather be bohemian, living in a cold garret and focusing only on producing great works of art. That's most likely not going to happen so I write imaginary stories about people who did live that way.

5. I have heard that you like to listen to the dull groan of Leonard Cohen while you write. Doesn't this really depress you and lead to fraught emotional situations in your writing? Ever considered writing to the jollity of say the chicken song to conjure something light and frivolous perhaps?

The Chicken Dance? C'mon, that's just silly. I'll dance to it at a wedding and laugh my fool head off but could never in a million years use it for background music while I'm writing. I need Leonard's sexy poetry and rhythms or songs by The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Joan Baez, and Jacques Brel to spur on my words.


  1. Hello Donna

    I've really enjoyed reading all of these pieces so far. You have a terrific range and are not afraid of taking on challenging subjects like September 11th and fathers!

    Looking forward to the rest.


  2. Ah, challenges. They seem to just throw themselves in my face. :)

    Thanks, Caroline.