Mel’s Week of Unplanned Symmetry

The writer life is weird and wonderful. One week there could be a series of events converging at the same time and you try believing in your incredible luck and the next…a silence so quiet that you wonder if you’re any good and why you’re bothering to do it in the first place. This week was a lucky week. A grateful week. A week where I’m doing my best to celebrate success, without feeling guilty and also being comfortable with being out in the world. TUESDAY: I talked about this and my path to publication on Read More

Writing in Motion

Monday I sent the proofs of MAUD to my editor. Today I cut many inches off my hair. For over two years I’ve kept it long because it helped me get into the body of Maud’s character. As I explained it to my hairdresser (who nodded like she understood, but I  suspect she was a little concerned for me), I needed to be able to put it up in a bun or some other concoction. The same thing happened when I was writing Oy! and  I cut my hair short, (by my last hairdresser. I’m loyal to my new Read More

#Research: Anne & Gilbert The Musical in Ottawa

In which a road trip brings the opportunity to follow up with one of my favourite people, meet “Gilbert Blythe”–well online anyway–and connect with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. Those of you who have followed this blog are quite familiar with my *clears throat* interest  fascination  obsession  “theoretical interest” in all things related to the popularity of the perfect man archetype and what makes the relationship between certain fictional couples so popular with fans, and then how the Anne & Gilbert: The Musical fits into this. In 2014, actors Ellen Denny and Patrick Cook visited the blog in Read More

An Interview with Marion Abbott: The Spirit of Maud Theatre Company

A few months ago I was traveling with a friend to Norval, Ontario where L.M. Montgomery lived from 1926 to 1935, and was told that there was a woman organizing a theatre company in the St. Paul’s Anglican Parish Hall where Montgomery used to participate and direct theatrical productions with her church and a youth organization. Now, I must admit I was weary. It seems that plays, musicals, and more plays are the chosen medium to celebrate Montgomery’s life and works. And while some of them are quite good and even intriguing and I can appreciate how someone considers Read More

Discovering Almanzo Wilder: Rachel McMillan Guest Blogs

Rachel McMillan and I met through social media. We’ve travelled in the same circles for a number of years, but didn’t physically meet until this past summer when I finally was like, “Dude, you write, I write. We like the same things. We should have food and drink together”–although I probably didn’t use “dude” but I’m sure she would approve. Since then we’ve explored Niagara on the Lake, Leaskdale, and Norval, and talked about Maud, Dean Priest, and–yes–Almanzo Wilder. Watching Rachel discuss re-reading the Little House series on Facebook and then falling in love with Read More

Embodying Character Series: An Interview with Sandra Nickel, Part Two

On Tuesday I had posted Part One of my discussion with Sandra Nickel. Today marks the second and last post in my Embodying Character Series that I hoped you have enjoyed. Sandra and I conclude this discussion with an exploration of how we can connect acting techniques to the writing process, as well as some of the challenges or opportunities that writers have that an actor might not. Mel: Wardrobe, a wig, a prop. These are ways that actors can find portals into their character. What did you find interesting in how Ellen and Patrick tried to experience Read More

Embodying Character Series: An Interview with Sandra Nickel, Part One

It is hard to imagine that it was only a month ago that I had introduced the Embodying Character Series, where–with a little help from my friends–I hoped to explore how acting techniques could also be applied to writing.  I truly enjoyed my fascinating conversations with Ellen Denny and Patrick Cook (currently starring in the Anne and Gilbert: A Musical at The Guild in Charlottetown, PEI) about how they researched and developed their characters. In my introduction, I mentioned that I was partially inspired by Sandra Nickel’s lecture, “Creating the Authentic Gesture: Bringing Acting Techniques to Writing,” so Read More

Embodying Character Series: An Interview with Patrick Cook, Part Two

On Tuesday I posted the Part One of my Q&A with actor, Patrick Cook, as we discussed how he approached playing Gilbert Blythe in the current production of Anne & Gilbert: A Musical at The Guild in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Sidebar: Everyone I’ve recommended the show to and has had the opportunity to go has not been disappointed. So if you are planning a trip to PEI this summer, go. Also by birthday is coming up…so… Today’s discussion dives into some of the questions I had about what it means to play a literary heartthrob like Read More

Embodying Character Series: An Interview with Patrick Cook, Part One

I’m thrilled to bring you this Q&A with Patrick Cook as part of my Embodying Character Series.  So far the response to Part One, featuring Ellen Denny who plays Anne Shirley, has been tremendously positive, so thanks to everyone who has shared, tweeted, and liked it.   What becomes clear here is that both actors have a genuine connection and respect for their characters and how that is conveyed, as well as for each other. It isn’t everyday one can have the sort of meta experience of interviewing a person who plays one of your favourite fictional Read More

Embodying Character Series: An Interview with Ellen Denny, Part Two

On Tuesday I had posted the first part of this two-part interview with Ellen Denny who currently plays Anne Shirley in the Anne & Gilbert: A Musical at The Guild in Charlottetown, PEI. The show is running until October 12th, so if you are considering a out east, make sure to go. Here’s the link to buy tickets. And for those of you who have commented or tweeted or gotten involved in this discussion, I want to thank you. We all like to know that what we’re doing is speaking to people and I’m glad that Read More