Amazing Author: Katie Boland

Katie Boland and I have known each other since she was 8 years old. We met doing our first ever television series. I was much older than 8, but still young enough to understand what it was like to be Katie's age, and old enough to understand that her fascination with me and my life, was her way of beginning to formulate those questions that she had not yet found words for and the answers that may guide her in the years ahead. They were questions about love, friendship, lipgloss, acting, hair products and boys. (She has always been older than her years!) Sitting next to one another at lunch, Katie would go through my purse and while sampling all my makeup, ask away. We worked together on that particular tv show for years, and have worked together in many ways since. Her mom gave me my first film gig, she did my my first short film, my husband and her worked on another series together, and a tv movie too, and we have stayed in each others' lives through marriages, babies, heartaches, tragedies and triumphs. Although 15 years separate us, there is little else that does. We have always been eerily similar in our introspection, our need to create, and our yearning to fuse all that we love and miss in our two cities of Toronto and Los Angeles, into some as yet to be created place to call home. We are worriers and dreamers, grappling with the themes that haunt us-for me, secrets and choices, and for Katie, love, loss, and heartbreak.

Katie's work is haunting and poetic. Her ability to capture a time and place in our emotional landscape is both extraordinary and heartbreaking. She is able to put into words the feelings that the lovelorn and lovesick experience in the silences of things that go unsaid, and dreams that go unfulfilled. She also has the biggest smile and the amazing ability to shine her light on the accomplishments of others. But today, I want to shine the light on Katie. I hope that you enjoy this post reprinted from Caroline Leavitt's Blog, and buy her book Eat Your Heart Out, now available from Brindle and Glass, and Amazon.com.http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Your-Heart-Katie-Boland/dp/1926972937 Read it and weep.

What Writing Eat Your Heart Out Gave Me
Writing my collection of short stories gave me a way to say goodbye.
"I feel too sick to sit," my grandmother told me one afternoon. It was around this time that I began writing, that panicky period when things end, for real and for the first time. I had tried to bury my past but it kept clawing its way out. Six months too late, I realized I had left the man I loved.
"What'd you do today, Nan?" I sat on the chair near her bed. I should have sat on her bed with her but it scared me. It had swallowed her whole.
"Nothing, just lay here. Thinking about my life, all the people that have come in it. I have thought of every single person in my life."
"Oh, yeah?"
"Can't help but think about things, stuck here like this. I have known so many people. Even near-strangers I am thinking of. Most of them are dead now."
"It's funny how some people only come into your life to leave, it feels like."
"But you never forget them. They come in and out but you never forget people."
At this time, we were both trying, with various degrees of desperation, to time travel. My grandmother, under those covers, was as much twenty as she was eighty-two. While writing, I was who I once was but also who I wanted to be. My book is about heartbreak, and in writing it, I got over my own. Coherence and closure can exist in literature, not always in life.
Writing helped me make peace with that.
Recently, a friend of mine, also a writer, came over.
“Writing that script was the best catharsis,” he said. “But now, so much time has passed that I have this weird relationship to my memories. I re-read it and I think, did that happen like that? Did she actually say that? Or did I write it?”
I could relate. Conversations that were too succinct and honest for me to have, the characters in my short stories had. Through the act of writing them, I began to feel like I’d had them, too.
Working on Eat Your Heart Out, I accepted that I liked living in the past. As a writer, it was okay to love what I had made up. In life, that’s not as true but now my nostalgia had a purpose. I took what was destroyed in my life and built it into my stories.
As I wrote my book, I healed. Before it was finished, I met someone else. I fell in love with him, too. We broke up, too. He and I didn’t get to say goodbye, not the way we deserved to. I went through the same process. My characters could say things to each other that I could never say to him. This time, it was a little easier.
Through writing I had to come to accept that human beings don’t always end things with dignity; not like trees that change colour, flowering, fading, falling, beautiful, alive. By being a writer, I can give things the ending that I want. You plot the ending from the beginning. Unlike life, it doesn’t come out of nowhere.
I spoke to my mother recently about heartache. “Are break ups ever really resolved?” she asked.
Between the two people, I would say the answer is no. Between myself and my computer screen, I would say the answer is yes.
Ernest Hemingway said that living outside yourself while writing is dangerous. For me, in writing Eat Your Heart Out, I realized it was safer.
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