I heard a wonderful story at “Read by the Sea,” the literary festival I attended in River John, Nova Scotia.
The story was told by Lesley Crewe, writer of nine novels set in Cape Breton. Born and raised in Montreal, she and her family have lived in Cape Breton for many years. She was one of four Canadian authors who read from their work and participated in a panel discussion.
I don’t even remember the question. I think it was something along the lines of, “What led you to write your first novel?”
Crewe’s answer was poignant.
She and her husband lost their second baby, a son, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She loved his name – Joshua – and said she didn’t want to see it “only written in granite.” So she gave her infant son new life by creating a character named Joshua in her first novel “Relative Happiness.” She said she sat at her desk in her bathrobe and wrote his name over and over again in that novel, working through her grief and loss.
Such is the power of words to heal not only those who read them, but those who write them. Through the creative energy that grew out of her grief, Lesley Crewe gave the world a work of fiction that has the ability to move her readers, to make them laugh, to make them cry, or to make them reflect.