My father, a born engineer, has spent his entire life taking things apart in order to figure out how they work. At fourteen, he attached wheels to a push lawnmower and made his own go-cart. At nineteen, he deconstructed and rebuilt an air compressor. When I was four, he built an entire car (The Lolley Trolley) from scratch.
To my father, the world is a collection of systems whose mysteries are one careful disassembly away from being revealed.
I was only a few days from my due date when my editor at ELLE Canada learned that I was expecting and gave me a fantastic opportunity: to write an essay for the May issue (to coincide with Mother's Day) about entering motherhood.
I have been publishing with ELLE Canada for years but in the past, I would write an essay on spec and then submit it for consideration. This meant that I had weeks (sometimes months) to perfect the piece, really thinking through every metaphor and turn of phrase, and ensuring that the writing was smooth and concise. I always ran the essays past my writer's group for their input and the writing was always stronger for it.
With this assignment, there wasn't time for any of the distance and reflection that perfecting requires. In fact, I only found the thread of the essay on what turned out to be the day I went into labour, and wound up writing the piece two days later, in the throes of post-partum emotion and delirious with lack of sleep.
I'm a writer, explorer, amateur setter of cryptic crosswords, and new mom.