Thursday, June 10, 2010

Inspired by beauty and youth

I remember the first (and only) time I saw Peggy's Cove. It was about six years ago in what friends might call my "lighthouse phase." Not only did I have a small collection of lighthouse figurines, mapped out a plan to visit 100 lighthouses at some point in my life and read all about the coolest ones, I also dreamed of converting a lighthouse into an inspired writing den. In particular, I wanted to live in Peggy's Cove.

I imagined myself sitting in the watchtower as the waves lapped against the rocks, and anxious ocean water churned and frothed below.  I'd weather each storm, furiously tapping at my keyboard while thunder echoed in the vast Nova Scotia sky and lightening crackled right. before. my. eyes.

Sadly, there was no For Sale sign on the lighthouse during my first visit, and there isn't one there now. Shucks.

But you don't have to hang out in a lighthouse to be inspired in Nova Scotia. It's a stunning province, similar, I suppose to British Columbia, but somehow different. More laid back.

The weather hasn't been stellar - June is the start of hurricane season and while I've been lucky to avoid rain, the wind is cool. I'm certain the sun is saving itself for Saturday (my sister's wedding) but even the cloud cover can't disguise the sheer beauty of the landscape. In the small city of Bedford, where my sister lives, there are 25 lakes - which translates to several beaches, gorgeous rock formations and cottage-style homes. (If I was here as a tourist rather than my sister's wedding, I could do an entire picture blog of dream houses.)

Ironically, it isn't just the beauty that makes me want to sit at my computer and write. I'm hanging with my two nephews whom I've only just met (blended family) and who I absolutely adore. Aside from being cute, they're also full of youthful energy. I love to listen to the sound of them having breakfast, the way their laughter winds up the stairs as they talk about last night's Stanley Cup game and admit to being dog-tired after staying up way too late to watch the winning (anticlimactic) goal.

As part of my day job - which seems slightly removed while I'm sitting in the red kitchen of my sister's amazing home - I judge youth writing submissions for the Martyn Godfrey Young Writer's Award. I have a four-inch thick stack of them in my bag to be read on the plane ride home. But this morning, when I wondered whether my nephews would choose cereal or Dino Eggs for breakfast, and I caught the youngest boy peering around the corner of my guest room to see if I was also dog-tired after watching the game, I couldn't help but drag out my computer, and the contest entries.

My muse avatar this week is definitely hot, but it isn't his face that inspires me here. Instead, I'm caught up in the energy of two young boys and the revised dream of writing from the watchtower at Peggy's Cove.

The Book In My Bag Today: The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson


  1. Lovely. And as I read your beautiful description of Peggy's Cove and Nova Scotia, thinking of my own special place along the river in Seville, Spain, I realized something important. I live in South Florida, where there are many picturesque locales worthy of converting into a writer's den, yet I never venture there. Thank you for lighting the motivating flame under my butt. I'm going to check out these spots and try to fall in love with my hometown all over again.

  2. I've been to Nova Scotia once though I spent most of my trip there between the hospital and my hotel bed. I did, however, pull myself up for one trip to see Peggy's Cove. I'm glad I did but I sure wish I would have seen more.

  3. i've always wanted to go to canada, and now peggy cove is on my list of places to visit!

    have a great time at your sister's wedding!

  4. Cool! I can see myself loving the maritimes when I go in a couple of weeks. Maybe we'll make a detour and see Peggy's Cove.

  5. Wendy - how awesome! Sounds like you have some amazing places right in your back yard. Your comment made me smile first thing this morning :-)

    Jaydee - sounds like a rough trip! Glad you were able to make it out to Peggy's Cove. It's worth the trek.

    Mi - I have a list of places in Canada for you to Edmonton :-) We have a mall!

    Donna - you're going to have a gorgeous honeymoon!

  6. I have never seen a lighthouse up close and personal. Is that a crime? I think they would make cozy homes, and the view would be breathtaking!

  7. Oo I love lighthouses. There's just something peaceful about them.

  8. I've been up a lighthouse once. It was quite a walk, but magical.

  9. I love lighthouses, too--I am not a collector, and I don't have the income to plot trips all over, but any time I end up near an ocean, somehow I find myself visiting the lighthouse.

    It is funny to me though, that you would say Nova Scotia would be more mellow than BC. Have you BEEN to the Pacific Northwest? Other than perhaps the international Vancouver, the Pacific Northwest is about as laid back as you will find (end Washington and Oregon, but layer CANADA on top of that...) Then again my new writer friends from Nova Scotia are pretty mellow too.

    Very glad you are finding inspiration in kids... they just make ME tired, but maybe that is because they are mine.

  10. Vicki - not a crime but certainly worth adding to the bucket list.

    WW - I agree. I wish I'd taken my book to Peggy's Cove and just sat on the rocks and read for a bit.

    Medeia - magical is an excellent word!

    Watery Tart - I have not been to the Pacific Northwest. I laughed at your last comment. I suspect if the kids were mine they would tire me out as well. Busy, busy boys.

  11. My grandfather came from Halifax. I have never been there but will visit one day to see the beautiful sites and look up some long lost cousins.

  12. RT - You MUST go. It's absolutely gorgeous and the people are SO friendly. I was blown away by the hospitality. At one point, my Dad got lost (even with the GPS) and we pulled up to a police officer and asked for directions. He said he was heading the way we were trying to go and suggested we follow him. Imagine my sister's mortification when I called her to say we were on our way...with a police escort :-)