Four writers, four questions #1 Paula Wild

After giv­ing my­self a short writ­ing ex­er­cise, I in­vited three oth­er au­thors to par­ti­cip­ate in Four Writers, Four Questions. The chal­lenge was to an­swer each ques­tion in 200 words or less and to be as cre­at­ive as pos­sible. Here’s the first in­stall­ment, a dif­fer­ent writer’s an­swers will be pos­ted weekly.

What are you work­ing on right now?

Dark shapes flow over the hump of the hill as si­lent and eph­em­er­al as fog. They move with in­tent fo­cus yet are open to whatever pos­sib­il­it­ies the land­scape re­veals. Senses quiver, alert to what is present and what re­mains to be found. Their search pulls them for­ward in an en­dur­ing lope through the trees and down onto the plain. The wolves are hunt­ing and will not stop un­til they find prey.

I too am hunt­ing but I seek facts, fables and an­ec­dotes rather than meat to fill the belly. Paula at UclueletI’m still climb­ing the hill, fol­low­ing a me­an­der­ing path through the forest, sniff­ing the earth and air for leads. Sometimes I fal­ter or get lost. But al­ways I move for­ward in search of my prey: the wolf and all that word for an an­im­al implies.

Why is this pro­ject mean­ing­ful to you?

On a December walk: a lime green coat of moss on trees, trans­lu­cent rain drops cold on my cheeks and Millard Creek’s cap­puccino-col­oured froth bat­ter­ing the banks. And, at the be­gin­ning and end of the trail, a shiny, sil­ver Christmas ornament.

The com­pul­sion for hu­mans to mark the land seems in­nate. We claim our ter­rit­ory with fences and houses, re­move nat­ur­al ve­get­a­tion to grow crops and feed live­stock and scat­ter or slaughter what we fear or find in­con­veni­ent. Some al­ter­a­tions are be­ne­fi­cial, be­nign or beau­ti­ful; oth­ers cre­ate en­vir­on­ment­al hav­oc that may im­pact fu­ture gen­er­a­tions forever.

Now the wolf is at our door, stand­ing in the soft shad­ows of moon­light howl­ing to his kin sil­hou­et­ted on the ridge. Inside, hold­ing tight to their warm blankets, hu­mans shiver with fear and fas­cin­a­tion. Is it pos­sible to un­tangle the com­plex web of myth and mis­con­cep­tion, truth and ter­ror that sur­rounds this car­ni­vore? Curiosity and a keen in­terest in nature prompt me to try.

What is your process?

Gather enough facts, fig­ures and stor­ies to fill the Pacific Ocean and jump in after them. Float around for a while un­til I’m over­whelmed by a rough chop of end­less white caps. Realize I’m drown­ing and will nev­er make it to shore. Flail my arms and kick my legs, des­per­ate to sur­vive. An etern­ity later, find my­self rid­ing the crest of a gi­ant wave giddy with re­lief that land is in sight. Tumble onto the sand ex­hausted and elated. Click send to email the ma­nu­script to my publisher.

Why do you write? 

Long ago, when a close friend and I were both mired in the sludge of de­pres­sion we called it The Room. There was no door, it was im­possible to get out.

When I write I enter a place in my mind where I feel ex­tremely com­fort­able. There are many doors and end­less op­por­tun­it­ies for ex­plor­a­tion and adventure.

Why wouldn’t I write?

Paula Wild is an award-win­ning au­thor of six books and 1,000+ arti­cles. Her book on wolves is sched­uled for a fall 2017 re­lease by Douglas & McIntyre. 




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