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Meet the Namedropping Nonfiction winner

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Challenge winner Jennifer Goddard, of Montreal, Quebec, on loving the puzzle of telling a story in 100 words.

 


 

Tell us about yourself.
I’m 55, born and raised in Montreal. I was a graphic designer and painter, then an ad writer for 15+ years (still at it). I’m painting again, big time. I’m a mother to my daughter. I’m a natural worrier trying to be an optimist. I’ve become a truth-seeker.
 
What do you usually write? 
I’ve only started (actual) writing recently. In the distant past I wrote poetry, lyrics, journals. But working in advertising, I eventually sort of assumed I could never write anything longer than 30 seconds. In fact, Canada Writes is what triggered something.
 
What did you think of the Namedropping Nonfiction Challenge?
The real challenge was crafting it in 100 words. Quite the mindbender (but I love puzzles). Maybe my experience with short advertising copy helped.
 
Did you know what you wanted to write about right away?  
I knew it would be Jacqueline.
 
Who is Jacqueline? 
Jacqueline Desbaillets is my “maman 2”. I’ve known her since I was five, when our families lived on the same street and her daughter Diane and I became inseparable (for years). I think I spent more time at their house than my own. But I’ve only actually “known” her recently - her true personality, sense of humour, and her extraordinary life - all the things I didn’t see or know whan she was my “parent”. At 89, she’s my hope and inspiration.

Did you tell Jacqueline you were writing about her before you entered the Challenge? 
Absolutely, I asked her permission. This was a true collaboration: she canned my first version (I was way off), set me on the right path and made sure I got my facts straight, in no uncertain terms.She “approved” the final version :)

How long did it take you to write the entry? 
An hour or two.
 
Did you choose to post this story on Facebook?
Yes, on the Canada Writes page.
 
Did you get any comments?
Yes - from strangers!
 
How do you feel about your right to tell someone else's story?
Privileged. And strangely compelled to share true stories that can teach and inspire. Mind you, I love and admire the subject in this case. I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t.



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