Yesterday I received the opportunity to interview one of my best buds, the innately wonderful Meagan Lowe. She's an 18 year old, recent high school graduate who is off to Ottawa for a few months to become an Au Pair.
au pair[oh pair]
|1.||a person, usually a young foreign visitor, employed to take care of children, do housework, etc., in exchange for room and board: We sent the children to the beach with the au pair.|
|2.||of, pertaining to, or employed under such an arrangement:an au pair girl.|
In Ottawa, she'll be taking care of 2 boys, aged 2 and 8, for a couple that seem not only genuinely interested in ensuring maximum comfort for her at all times, but completely friendly. And warm. We discussed her future plans both in general, and with this thing she has, her writing. Like Michael Jordan had his basketball, Tiger Woods with his golf, Meagan has her writing, or her words, as she refers to them, only in a different way. She doesn't advertise it, doesn't enjoy sharing it with others, nor does she have to. It's mysterious, and I think it's beautiful. I think my questions may have scared her a little because I don't think she's used to discussing one of her most private pass times, her own self, in a way, with her friends, let alone anyone at all. We sat on the swinging chair out in her backyard with the leaves crunching against each other, with the sky's layers parasailing past, humidity levels zero, attire mainly comfortable.
Hello, who is this?
Tell me a little about yourself.
No! I don’t like it. Seriously I don’t like it. Laughs. I want the next one.
I understand you like to write and have been doing so for a while now. Tell me how you got into it? Do you remember what you first liked to write about as a kid?
My aunt Lisa came over for Christmas and asked me where my journal was, and I told her I didn’t have one, and she seemed very offended. The next week she bought me one and told me I had to write in it, so I did, and I remember exactly what it looked like. But I don’t know why, she just forced it upon me, and then it stuck, I guess. I used to write stories, which is weird because I don’t write any stories now, but I remember my little polar bear notebook and I used to write stories in that. And yeah.
What do you like to write about now? Which styles and/or points of views and the sort do you prefer?
It’s always in my point of view. Well not always, but 85% of the time. If it’s in my point of view, it’s more often than not, I don’t have something set to write about. I sit down and whatever’s on my mind, or has been on my mind, it just, comes out.
Why do you think you write?
Pause. Why? Laughs. Apparently I don’t know.
Do you hear your voice when you read your writing in your head?
I don’t read my writing.
Where and when do you enjoy writing the most? I know for me it’s either before anyone has gotten up, or after everyone has gone to bed for the night; outside on my back patio usually works best for me for some reason.
I wouldn’t say there’s a specific place or time. I suppose the time or place is a mental time or place, not so much a physical. I like when I’m alone, sitting on my bed, and I feel the need to open my book, or whatever, and I just can literally sit there for hours, and sometimes I’m writing and sometimes I’m just starring at the pages. But, I find that when I’m in that scenario, it’s obviously stuck with me because it’s happened more than once and it’s always so comfortable there, because I’m alone, but I’m not lonely, because I have my words, I guess. There’s not a time where I enjoy it more than another. Nothing that I can think of, because it changes. Once I’m finished, it’s gone, so it’s not really easy to.. that’s all.
Do you find you need to be in a certain mood to write, or can you just begin? If so, how is this mood or state of mind achieved?
It cannot be achieved or forced or practiced. It may be for some people, or a lot of people, maybe, I don’t know, but for me, writing is not something that I can try to do, because it’s really uncomfortable. If I try, it’s really awkward and like, robotic, almost. There are certain moods, plural, but again, it’s not always the same mood that I’m writing in. There’s a very common mood or state of mind that I enter into. I can put myself there if I try but I don’t try because it’s not always fun, because it’s hard to get out of.
How have you challenged yourself as a writer? What was it like writing with restrictions in Writer’s Craft?
I don’t challenge myself as a writer. I don’t usually do anything different. If I do, it’s not consciously, it’s just done by, I guess, progress in my self and who I am or who I’m becoming. Writer’s Craft was tricky because, again, I don’t push myself or change it consciously, so when I had to, I had no idea what to do. It was even awkward because I was conscious of my writing and I find that I’m not usually conscious. Not in a state of mind. It’s happening without effort, and when I have to put effort, it’s uncomfortable. It was fun sometimes though. But sometimes I just wanted to retract into my emotional, mental shell, an just write the way I wanted to, however Merwart would not be pleased with me. But she knows all that, so it was easy.
How was opening up and sharing your work with your peers in your last year of high school in class?
I don’t like reading my work out loud unless it’s like “a presentation project, now go.” Unless it’s that, I don’t like it because it seems silly thinking about it, but it’s a very private thing for me that I don’t share with anyone. I don’t even read it myself. So when I have to read aloud, it’s never the same off of paper as it is when it's going onto the paper, or in the mind before it leaves at all. One-on-one was not so bad when it was just swapping the reading and the writing, but it’s still uncomfortable knowing that people are reading it, and although it’s not as though they’re going to be judgmental, to me, reading my writing is reading me, and that kind of sounds a little pathetic almost, to me, and it’s not as though I’m pouring my soul onto the paper, but it feels that way when it’s happening because it’s the only thing that I really know, which again sounds weird, but I can’t really help that.
How was receiving feedback for the first time? Do you remember which piece it was about?
It was nice hearing the positives and it wasn’t as hard as I thought to hear the negatives, if you even call them positives and negatives. I remember what it was for. It still made me uncomfortable, but it was always a piece of writing that I knew I had to share going into it, but it took me along time to warm up to writing it. Before I even started writing it I started getting all annoying and shaky because it’s so personal for me and I don’t share things, so it’s hard, but, it got easier throughout the year. But at the same time, it didn’t, and today I’m still where I was when I walked into that classroom on the first day, I think, and I don’t know if thats good or bad. I don’t know if its either.
Do you have a favourite piece of writing that you wrote? Do you care to share it with big-city-secrets?
No and no.
What is it about your writing makes you smile and exhale with satisfaction or contentment?
Pause. I’m trying to think if I do that. Pause. Sometimes when I write stuff down, sometimes it’s relieving. And sometimes I get this... Sometimes I’ll be somewhere or doing something and I’ll have this thought of, “Uhhh, okay I need paper now.” And I’ve done crazy things to get stuff written down and sometimes I’ll be somewhere and for some reason I don’t have a pen or paper with me or whatever and I’ll have to write something on my phone or, you know, scribble it somewhere. Or sometimes I’ll be sleeping and I’ll have to wake up and turn on my light and find a pen and paper, and those are the times where it’s like, “Okay, now I can do what I should be doing.” But I don’t know if it makes me happy because I don’t think I really do it for enjoyment, I just do it because I can’t imagine not, and it’s almost as though I need to do it. Sometimes at least.
Do you think you’ll do something with your writing in the future, either private or publicly?
Mhm. I couldn’t tell you what, but I don’t think I’ll stop, if that answers the question.
What are your plans for the fall, both with writing and life in general?
I’m going to be a fake mother. I plan to write as necessary. As normal. I don’t really know. Now I’m actually wondering if being in a different environment will change things. I don’t think it’ll change in terms of my writing. I think I’ll continue, but not more or less than normal. And I’m just going to try my best to take in as much as I can and enjoy myself and learn and have fun. And be happy.
Afterwards, we trained into Toronto and visited the Eaton Center, Kensington Market for vegetarian soups and rices and other dishes, bubble teas, and a free entrance to the AGO. I've never been, so I was very impressed with absolutely everything. I can't say that my experience was heightened due to the somewhat recently updated architectural design, but still, it was all so stunning. There were a few pieces that caught my eye. First was a sculpture by Evan Penny called Stretch 2, I believe it was. Take a look at his site to get an idea of how unbelievably mind blowing and eye twisting his works are. I was so impressed, I wanted to get closer and closer and closer to this massive head starring in front of us. I sort of wanted to befriend the guy. Second was an installment by Jim Dine. It was of a large, blank white canvas with a bathroom sink attached to the middle of it, sticking out like a bare ass to be, well, stared at. Around the sink was a set of black acrylic paint applications, not quite splattered, just brush strokes. Not too much, not too little. I read his artist statement and stood back in awe, saying that's ok more than once to the passing art enthusiasts, parents with empty strollers, foreign couples, ones on dates, young, male art students, extremely powerful and stunning, pixie haired blonde women. Ones who looked intrigued while receiving the free tour of this floor of the museum, sliding in with those wearing the special passes. Touching on something before, the artist statement; this is something that I've grown to become very appreciative of. Although the lack of insight from the artist creates a mystery for the audience, the statement gives some a little push on the swing in the correct direction as to where this artist wants you to go with their piece. When visiting hundreds of pieces of art, I feel that some viewers don't want to have to create stories to go along with every piece they inspect. Sometimes. There will always be the creator who indicates that this is what it is, which will leave the 2 men or the group of friends from the city to thrust opinions at one another, at the painting, into the air, out of their minds, escapism.