Monthly Archives: October 2012

frequently asked quebecstions

Where have you been?!

Montreal, QC, Canada, in a sublet studio apartment on the smallest street in all of downtown. Here is the balcony:

Are you there forever?

No. I’ll finish up my 22nd year and then go back to my natal country.

Why’d you go to Montreal?

 Take your pick: because I couldn’t get a job, because I had nothing better to do, because I’m madly in love with my long-distance boyfriend, because I’m madly in love with the city, because Paris was too expensive and too far, because my antidepressants are cheaper here, because I don’t want either candidate to win the election so I left pre-emptively, because I’ve wanted live here since March 2009 and so I decided it was worth it.

What are you doing there?

Reading Kindle books, eating scrambled eggs on toast, podcasting, and writing. Maybe not blogging as much because I Need To Focus.

I gather that means you do not actually have a job. How are you paying for this?

Remember the last two years of college, when I only got a single beer when we went out and didn’t go to the movies as much as I wanted and didn’t buy any new clothes? That’s how. Also, a graduation present. Also, technically, with Paypal.

There’s a quote from The Enchanted April that I like about situations like this:

Mrs. Wilkins, on the contrary, had no doubts. She was quite certain that it was a most proper thing to have a holiday, and altogether right and beautiful to spend one’s hard-earned savings on being happy.

Aren’t you bored? What do you actually do all day?

No! I write. Plot. Eat apples. Go on runs through Westmount, pine for the houses there, smell other people cooking dinner. Hate my story a little. Get over it. Write more.


I want this to be my job so I’m acting like it’s my job. I’m trying to get 2,800 words a day and finish a novel by the end of this week. It’s sort of hard, but it’s the job I want. I’m my own boss! I have a notebook full of post-it plot points and everything! So I’m working hard right back at it. Fake it up to and including when you make it.

What kind of novels?

YA novels! For and about smart teenagers. It’s what I want to do for real.

Can I read them?!

No! I mean, not yet; unless your name is Alice McKillip My Little Sister Thornburgh, you don’t get first dibs either.

Are you Finding Yourself?

Yeah! If you want to call it that.

Do you speak French?


No, I mean, do you speak it in when you’re in the city?

Yes! And mostly people don’t even switch to English with me! The things that trip me up are numbers above 60, the names of cuts of meat, and the metric system. So I end up buying whole kilograms of sausages and skirting these issues entirely.

How’s the exchange rate.


Is it scary striking out to live on your own in a foreign country?

No. Well, yes. It’s weird how the wrong things become scary to me. I had a panic attack because the tiny electric oven that has no markings on the dials somehow heated up to 500 degrees and some crud burnt to the bottom flared up and the smoke detector went off, and I knewjust knew, that either the Royal Canadian Mounted Fire Department was going to show up and deport me or I was going to crawl into bed and die in my sleep and no one would ever know because I don’t officially live anywhere right now, leaving my body to be discovered half-eaten by wild dogs à la Bridget Jones’s nightmare.

That’s not going to happen.

Thanks, Imaginary Interlocutor!

Did you send in your absentee ballot request?

Yes, Dad.

Does your apartment include a loft bed with a giant poster of Canadian Pop Idol Justin Bieber? 

Why do you like Montreal so much?

I don’t know. It’s neat. The things I like about it are the qualities I want to cultivate personally, to become sophisticated, offbeat, volatile, bilingual, forbiddingly frigid most of the time but downright lovely the rest, neologism-friendly, powered on rotisserie chicken with piripiri sauce and with a big green mountain right in the heart of me.

Have you ever been?

No. Can I come visit?

Only if you can sleep under Justin Bieber’s watchful eye (see above). But yes, please, do. I’m not here for long and there are things I want to show you.