Painting by Michelle Berry
When I was newly married, in 1990, a neighbour invited me to a theme party. After drinking and eating, one by one, everyone at the party would head upstairs to the fortune teller who was camped in the master bedroom. We would get our fortunes told. The only thing about my fortune I can remember was the determined way the fortune teller told me that I would have five children.
"Five children," I almost screamed. "I don't even want one."
She corrected herself quickly -- "Or," she said, "that could mean you will create five important things. It could be children, it could be art... are you a painter?"
In fact, I was painting at the time (maybe the neighbour had told her this?), and I was also writing.
Five books, I thought. That would be impressive.
Twenty-one years later, I have created - more than she said I would - two children, three books of short stories and four novels. Plus loads of short stories in literary magazines, book reviews for the globe and mail, anthology-work and an art book (with Andrew Valko).
So she got it right. Sort of. She linked the important things - creation, in any form is... well.... creation. Creating art, creating children, creating books, it all works under the same principle. You are striving for something - thinking and molding and physically and mentally working - striving to put out the best you can.
I used to think writing books would make me immortal. Ha. Shelf life is three months these days. There is just so much out there, how can your work stand out? Painting is the same way, I assume, although I haven't put brush to canvas in fourteen years. The one thing that does, however, stand the test of time, is children. My two girls make me glow with pride every day.
Although, truth be told, I certainly wouldn't want five of them.Michelle Berry in conversation with Keran Sanders of the Weekend Morning Show