Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Writing Who You Are

One of my French-speaking aunts.
The Therese Book
No Time Management Tuesday this week, because instead of writing a TMT post I spent a three-day weekend in Vermont for a Celebration of Life ceremony for my aunt. Aunt Tessy was one of the four Theresas/Thereses in my Gauthier family for whom Therese LeClerc in The Hero of Ticonderoga was named.

Butch and Spike's ancestors.
The Cootch Book
One of my Couture cousins came down from Ottawa for this event. Actually we're all
Coutures through my grandmother Gauthier, who was originally Beatrice Couture. And that is where Butch and Spike's last name came from in A Year With Butch and Spike.

My father referred to one of my grandmother's brothers as "Uncle Cootch," and now you know why Butch and Spike became known as the Cootches.

Still Another Couture Book
My Couture family also is responsible for the last name of the family in the Aliens books. Beatrice's youngest sister, Anna Couture, married a Denis. She died around the time I was writing My Life Among the Aliens, so the main characters became Will and Rob Denis. Which I pronounce "Deh knee" not "Dennis," since that's how my Canadian family pronounce that name.

Yes. I do obsess over names.


tanita✿davis said...

I like that you do this; too many people don't see themselves as having a culture or a ..."who" unless they're people of color, which then moves into people appropriating and inappropriately borrowing. This is not to say that you should never write anything but your own family tree, but digging in and truly seeing your people and your making the past live is, in fact, quite interesting! From ANY culture or people!

Gail Gauthier said...

When I was a child, French Canadians in Vermont didn't have a strong culture. At least, it didn't seem that way to me, who had a Yankee mother and a French father, so we didn't speak French at home. There were no French Canadian holidays, the way the Italians and Poles had holidays Columbus Day and Polaski Day. We had no special foods at Christmas. (I didn't learn about tourtierre until I was out of college.)

One of my older cousins who grew up in Vermont told me this weekend that she spoke French until she was three. Then there were complaints from her older sisters' teacher because they spoke French. (I don't know if that was their only language. My father and aunts couldn't speak English when they started school.) At which point, my aunt and uncle decreed that only English would be spoken at home.

So we have to hunt for our culture. That probably makes it more interesting to me.

Nancy Tandon said...

Fun to learn about how you used real life in your fictional world! I love connections like that.