About 20 years ago, a young woman came to my hotel room in Windsor, Ontario, to interview me about my first book. Her name was Vanessa Shields. It was apparent that she was a little nervous—at 45 years of age to her 20 years, I probably seemed to her like some old sage. As young as was, she struck me as being one of those intuitive types, someone with a deeper interior life than what one might have expected of someone that age. And she was enthusiastic. Man, was she enthusiastic. Bubbling with ideas and goals: she longed to be a writer, a poet, and a screenwriter. She wanted Tom Cruise to star in her first movie. She was funny, and a go-getter. I was enchanted by her immediately.
Over the years, Vanessa and I have chatted by email; once or twice we have seen one another in person, and once or twice over FaceTime. She has been one of my most ardent supporters. And she herself has become amazingly accomplished—the author of a memoir Laughing through a Second Pregnancy (so candid that parts of it made me blush), and a number of books of visceral poetry, my favourites being Look at Her, and I Am That Woman. She is also the owner of the amazing Gertrude’s Writing Room, which runs workshops in all literary genres for aspiring writers. Vanessa is a one-woman literary force. And a generous one at that. With the release of my fifth memoir Open House: A Life in 32 Moves, she offered to conduct an interview with me—done in two parts—and which she has graciously allowed me to provide a link here for visitors to my site to read.
Part I: https://bit.ly/2y9pXbi
Part II: https://bit.ly/34DarjZ