More about Author Monica Nawrocki
I’m Monica Nawrocki, a semi-retired potato-chip junkie living with my wife in one of the most beautiful places in the world: Cortes Island, British Columbia, in the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples.
I came to writing purely by accident. After an eight-year period teaching at a school for at-risk children and youths, I wrote a book in 2007 called Thanks for Chucking that at the Wall Instead of Me, a reflection on the profound lessons these children taught me over the years.
Writing about children is one thing. Writing for them, quite another! I’ve since written several novels for kids and even published a couple, including Full Moon Lagoon and Cedar Dance. Not one to be pigeon-holed, my works of fiction and nonfiction span genres and audiences, and because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ve usually got about three different projects on the go.
My writing career has brought so much joy and opportunity over the years. Of note is Island Time, a show in which I was thrilled to participate and which led to the creation of a book featuring photographs of the art that inspired the poetry and short fiction. I’ve also had the good fortune of being published in several magazines and anthologies.
When not writing, I am swimming in nearby Hague Lake, walking the forest trails, or reading in my hammock. It’s a hard life, but somebody’s got to live it.
Why do I write?
There have been many answers to this question through the centuries, and as I thought about some of the classic responses I've heard or read, the very first one that jumped into my head was, "Because I must."
Did you just roll your eyes? Me, too. But since it popped so insistently into my head, I feel it warrants a closer look.
My writing started with a simple desire to process. After the most intense period of teaching in my life, I began to write my memories, feelings, impressions, lessons . . . and before you know it, it was starting to look and feel like a book. I was a writer! Creative non-fiction, mostly. Ways to process my own experience and clarify for myself, who I am and where I fit into the grand scheme. E.M Forster summed it up for me: How can I tell what I think until I see what I say?
Slowly, my words wandered toward fiction.
My fictional characters have taught me as much about my life as the real people in it. Every time I bring one of the voices in my head to life (I heard it, you know what I mean), that new character has a little of me somewhere in them. Yes, even the villains. Definitely the villains.
Every character is a chance to take a close look at that fascinating connection between experience, thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
I think it is safe to say that I have learned something about myself through almost every piece of writing I've done. I don't think that is every writer's experience, but it is mine. Writing is my Sociology, Psychology, and Theology studies, all in one.
And speaking of Theology, that leads me to the Big Question: Why Are We Here?
The best answer I can find for that age-old question comes from the Dalai Lama: We are here to be happy. I don't think he's talking about the "happy" we're being sold by North American culture; the one that's all about "fun." I think he's talking about real joy.
I'm all in for that.
Visualize a world where everyone is happy. Content. Satisfied with what they have. Full of love. Can you see that world? It's so different from the mess we've made.
So, next question: Is it possible to be truly happy if you don't know yourself? If you don't understand yourself?
I'm thinking . . . nope.
So, if I want to change the world, I must be happy. If I want to be happy, I must understand myself. To understand myself — and this is just MY way — I must write.
Why do I write?
Because I must.