Where I Write: Christine Fellows

Below, Christine's late-day view from her Winnipeg workspace.


What kind of person writes all day in a dimly lit room with dark grey walls, even in almost-winter days of precious little light? Me! I do. I like watching the sun set the tops of the trees on fire outside my window—the dark room as a backdrop really makes the sunrise pop. Also, I feed the birds/mice/squirrels/rabbits in the backyard, so there’s usually some drama unfolding out there. This room is like a theatre: dark, cozy, a good place to take in a show.

Although you can only see one of them in the photo, there are two pianos in here. I don’t play piano as much anymore on account of the arthritis, but I find the pianos comforting, and they are safe places to store my ukuleles so the dog doesn’t knock them over with her tail.

When I’m writing, I move from pile to pile. When I get stuck on a poem, I set it aside and move to a song. Usually, the song helps me to fix the poem, and vice versa. A big part of the editing process for me involves reading and singing aloud. And index cards. I love index cards. When I’m writing for a themed project, I keep a scrapbook, and make collages as part of the writing process. The collages are not art pieces in their own right, they’re just for me. There’s something about choosing and pairing images, and cutting and gluing that helps me to clarify my thoughts. Same with the index cards. I like moving things around.

I record music here in this room too, sometimes. We live on a busy street, and we have budgie named Pickles who sings and talks (“Hello Pickles. I love you, Pickles.”) all day long, so I don’t record actual albums in here. Demos mostly. They all sound like they’ve been recorded in the middle of rush hour in the Australian outback.

In fall 2014, I released Burning Daylight, my sixth solo album, alongside my first poetry collection, and toured a collaborative performance work, Spell to Bring Lost Creatures Home, across Canada in 2015. Right now, I’m working on songs and spoken text for a collaborative show with a choreographer and two dancers that will premiere in Winnipeg in the spring, arranging and demoing a bunch of ukulele songs for a new solo album, and steadily amassing a pile of poems for no apparent reason.