Kathleen Winter’s first novel, Annabel, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the 2010 Governor General’s Awards. Her earlier collection of short stories, boYs, was the winner of both the Winterset Award and the Metcalf-Rooke Award. Kathleen began her career as a script writer for Sesame Street before becoming a columnist for The Telegram in St. John’s Newfoundland. She now lives in Montreal with her husband and daughters.
About her contribution here — which captures perfectly what Dr. Johnson was on about — Kathleen says:
I found this snippet in an early draft of Annabel. It describes Wayne and what he sees as he enters the church hall to listen to Wally Michelin’s choral concert near the end of the book. I was feeling frazzled by all the rewrites and this just went way over the top and I kept it because I wanted a reminder of how low a person can sink if she relies too much on her brain instead of her real inspiration. Here it is:
There were some corridors and he got lost until he saw a man coming out of the men’s washroom. The man told him to go up three stairs and down the corridor to the practice room. There were felt banners on the walls. It was a Presbyterian church and children had entered drawings in a contest and all the drawings were on the walls. Each drawing was an illustration of the verse, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” The thing that interested Wayne about the drawings was all the forms that were anything but children. The children had wanted to draw striped snakes with zigzags, and ice cream cones, and an orange cat wearing green horn-rimmed glasses, and had inserted these things and more among the pastoral scenes of children listening to Jesus. In one of the drawings was a spaceship with some aliens who had also come to hear what Jesus had to say.