My name is Leah. I live and write in Wellington, New Zealand. Welcome!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Inspiration: 'The Winter Vault', Anne Michaels

"The wind was high across the river, through the trees a continuous splashing of shadow and early autumn sun. Jean's bare skin was cold under her cotton skirt.
   They drove for about an hour and then stopped by the side of the road. Avery took out a folding camp table from the car and placed it in a field. The tabletop seemed to float in the high grass. Jean set out the hard sour spy apples and the blackberries, the bread and the cheese, two tin plates and a knife.
   Jean looked at the swaying field and the hurtling clouds; she held back strands of her hair with one hand. Amid the wind, the perfect fruit lay still and solid on the table.
   Later they drove into the suspended light of dusk, the sun falling in the miles behind them. She could not stop thinking of the stillness of the apples, the movement around them.
   A still life belongs to time...And this days stillness, she thought, this single day: it belongs to us."

Anne Michaels (b. 15 April 1958) is a Canadian author, and wrote 'The Winter Vault' in 2009. Her previous works include 'The Weight of Oranges' and 'Miner's Pond', which won the Commonwealth Prize and the Governor General's Award respectively, and 'Fugitive Pieces', which won the Orange Prize and Guardian Fiction Award. I found this lovely quote from her when I was (quite lazily) looking up her biography on Wikipedia:
'When you put a tremendous amount of love into your work, as in any relationship, you can't know--you can only hope--that what you're offering will in some way be received. You shape your love to artistic demands, to the rigors of your genre. But still, it's a labor of love, and it's the nature of love that you must give it freely.'

Thanks, Mary, for lending this to me!


  1. So glad you enjoyed it so much, Leah. I should have known you would being the poet you are. I can lend you Fugitive Pieces if you like. We should have a coffee soon.

  2. The floating table top is so surreal, Leah - what a beautifully constructed still life. Wonderful inspiration for a Monday morning - thanks for sharing :) I shall have to seek out some Anne Michaels - I haven't delved into her writing yet...