The Mythical Pull of Cape Breton Island
"I grew up in a family where the love of stories is very strong. And there's also a love of performance. I think one reason stories were so important in my family was that we moved around a lot. My father was in the Air Force when I was growing up and we moved from place to place. You can't pack up your friends. You don't pack up your house. You don't put down roots. I think that's why stories became so tremendously important to me. My roots were in memories, stories and books.

Because we moved around a lot, I didn't have a hometown. I didn't have authentic roots of my own, but my parents did, and those roots were in Cape Breton Island [Nova Scotia]. We would spend weeks there in the summer. We'd go back to this enchanted place, this God's country, where the best, the brightest, the most interesting, funniest, most talented people on the planet come from...this speck! It was always so exciting to go back there. It really did become a mythical landscape for me.

I think when I first came to write Fall on Your Knees, one of those early images was of this house. And it was almost like, 'I'm a camera, I'm going to pull back from this house. Where is this house? It's in this kind of rugged, rocky, terrain. Oh, and there's a shoreline. It's an island. It's Cape Breton! It's someplace I know.' And it's the real Cape Breton, but it's also the Cape Breton of my imagination. Which is why I think the story wanted to be set in the past, to give that a little more play. It exerted such a mythical pull on my imagination because of my background."


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