As I mentioned in an earlier post, Leonard Cohen was in Toronto on Dec. 4th for the first of two concerts at ACC.
In 2007 I participated in my first MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON. At the time, I was so nervous about the simple act of declaring myself a writer. I spent 48hrs in a room in Huntsville, Ontario…WRITING. The novel I wrote during that weekend was called SEBASTIAN’S POET. Writing it was like an out of body experience. I fell asleep at the keyboard, I wandered, I hallucinated…you name it. I went in there with very little in the way of an idea. My inspiration was a man in a fedora. A man from Montreal who had a love for stringing words together. I knew my main character was going to be a broken child, and I knew a folksinger would be his salvation.
Leonard Cohen was the inspiration for that folksinger–who later became TEAL LANDEN. Teal is the guy who came into my main character’s life and gave it meaning. He was just a slob with a huge heart…a wanderer who discovered an empty couch in a spiritually empty home and decided to stay awhile.
For 48hrs I had Leonard Cohen songs playing in my head. And for 48hrs I lived the life of Sebastian Nelson. A life that spanned the 7 tumultuous years leading to 1980. Sebastian was a boy in the Beaches district of Toronto, Ontario…a boy who needed to belong to something, anything. When Teal Landen entered his life, there was a degree of instant salvation. He was heard. He was seen. Much like the way I felt heard when I first stumbled upon the music of Leonard Cohen.
So Cohen is a big part of who Landen became…or at least my imagined image of Cohen. It was fun writing that story, losing myself in Cohen’s music and seeing where the life of Sebastian Nelson would go.
You can read the story. It has since been published as the novella SEBASTIAN’S POET. The publisher is Musa Publishing in U.S.A. I was thrilled to find how much they believed in this story that came out of me rapid fire that long ago weekend. It’s amazing what can happen at these writing marathons, but what’s even more amazing is how they make you feel. Invincible and vulnerable and powerful and weak.
You will notice that the epigraph in Sebastian’s Poet is a line from one of Cohen’s songs. “There is a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in.” is a line that has buoyed me over the years. It’s from his song ANTHEM. I was thrilled when I was given permission to use it as the jumping off point of this little novel. (-:
(Oh! And look for a cameo in the last chapter. Gordon Lightfoot makes an appearance. It was fun putting words in his mouth! (-:)