By Marie Chartrand (Montreal, QC)

How a Nomad Can Miss the Boat:


I arrived too late in Three Rivers, the old bosom of French Canada. Before, it had been a very mobile life between my father's English roots in Ontario and my mother's Québécois milieu. Six months was the usual measure before we would again, according to mother, stuff our vain lives in cardboard boxes, restore networks of survival and fit temporarily in the decor. Then, my father's job or lack of it, would suddenly propel us anywhere, providing no leeway for Church or school participation. Yet, I had playfully learned to read and write and from my butterfly point of view, every move meant lands to discover and stepping out of the ordinary. I was nine and a half and held as a certitude that anything interesting had to be mobile. For religious life, there were no compensations possible for having missed the earlier upbringing in rites and rituals. Singing became the only religious incentive my soul would respond to. The joyous pagan in me had nevertheless, a solitary streak, friends having been of such a volatile nature in the past. For social life, I created means to withstand the unaccustomed boredom of having to stand in line and learning about life at such a rigid pace. I concocted wild stories for my comrades who amazingly, believed them all. It worked wonders and provided me with the real experience of this other boat, the capacity to transform anything with, the power of words.

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