Saturday 4 May 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Louise Boulter of Moncton, NB, Canada.

Let’s welcome Louise back to the Scribbler. 

It’s been much too long since we have had a chance to talk about her stories.

She has a new novel on the go and it’s generating a lot of excitement.

She’s been a guest before and if you click HERE, you can read about her first novel.

Read on my friends.


I was born in Moncton, N.B. where I presently live with my husband and ADHD cat (and on weekends with my son).  I started writing early in life. In Grade 6 or 7, I won a City-wide contest.  It was held by the CNIB and my picture was taken by the local newspaper when I received the monetary prize. When attending College, I wrote the end of the year play for its final assembly. I always loved writing, but life sometimes got in the  way.  I worked for the Federal Government for 35 years and raised my family. However, after retirement, I returned to my first love and took a Creative Writing Course at the local college. We (students) formed a writing group and so began my writing career. Short stories followed. Some were entered in  contests and some published in  magazines. Then I decided to write my first book 'Forgotten'. This was a book about one man's journey through the world of homelessness. Over half the proceeds went  to soup kitchens and shelters. My 2nd book was written from a collection of short stories written through the years.


Title: Discovery and Recovery - A Collection of Short Stories


Synopsis: The book 'Discovery and Recovery' contains 37 short stories. They cover a range of topics, from humor, to wisdom, hope and nostalgia, taking you on a journey of all the emotions a person experiences in life.

As one reviewer stated:  "Discovery and recovery is a captivating collection of short stories. Each story is a testament to Louise's skillful storytelling. With her insight and empathetic approach Louise provides readers with glimpses into the human experience. A must read for anyone who appreciates well crafted short stories."


The Story Behind the Story: As I age, I realize that once I have passed from this world to the next, all my short stories would go where all good computers go. Along with it, so would go my short stories. Therefore I decided to compile some of my favorite short stories and publish them into one book.

Buy Louise's book HERE.


A question before you go Louise: 

Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Louise: My ideal spot to write is in the basement, where my office is located. I prefer a quiet place, a place where I can get lost in my writing with no distractions. I keep folders of various ideas and thoughts in scribblers. I can't say my office is either messy or neat. It depends on what I am working on. I always have a glass of water on my desk as I don't drink coffee or tea or anything close to tequila. I have found writing 'dialogue' works best when I take out a scribbler and use the old-fashioned way of writing. It just seems easier to give the characters their own unique voice when writing with pen or pencil. Of course, I also keep a scribbler not only in my office but in our livingroom so I am prepared when ideas jump uninvited in my mind and make sure I have a place to jot down all the brilliant ... smile... idea.

An Excerpt: "Discovery and Recovery" from the short story called "Soul Mate"

My soul mate’s hand was warm, so I felt safe letting go for a few minutes. I had calls to make, friends to summon to his bedside. While I sit next to him and speak on the phone to his only living relative, a nurse walks into the room.

“He’s gone,” she says almost in a whisper.

I put down the phone and lift his big hand again.


I kiss his forehead then immediately call my husband.

David, my husband, had been supportive for the entirety of the relationship I’d just lost. He wasn’t threatened by Joel, a ninety-one-year-old Holocaust survivor, although he became appropriately alert when I’d announced our first rendezvous fourteen years earlier.

Joel had approached me in the lobby of a community center as I put my baby in a car seat.

“What’s his name?” he had asked.

I summed him up as harmless. I figured he approached strange women and babies because he missed his own grandchildren. But a few more questions revealed how wrong this assumption had been. Joel didn’t have children or grandchildren. All but one of his family members had been killed during the Holocaust.

“I was in the camp,” he said. “Auschwitz."

He had learned to sort the blouses of the dead and to witness a hanging without flinching. Yet his eyes sparkled during our first conversation and he delivered lines like a comedian. The contrast hooked me. I asked him out for a coffee date.

“You buying?” he asked.

And so, for $1.25, a beautiful friendship began.

In the early days of our relationship, we sort of flirted. He’d drive by my house to see if my car was in the driveway. I’d make sure my make-up was right before ringing his doorbell. He would regularly tease David about the potential for romance between us.

“If I was forty years younger, you’d be in trouble,” he said over and over.

I even imagined romantic scenes starring Joel and me, circa 1946. In these fantasies, I played the strong young lady loving the young Polish survivor back to life. I would soothe him after he woke screaming as nightmares of vicious dogs and men shooting at members of his family plagued him. He would be so grateful for my patience and tenderness and eventually take me as his bride. And for the rest of our lives, he would never leave heaps of laundry in the corner of the bedroom or forget every logistical detail I ever told him, as my actual husband did.

I had these fantasies because like most humans, I was conditioned to associate strong attraction with romantic love. I was drawn to Joel, therefore I must have a crush on him, right? He was forty-four years my senior, therefore I had a hard time labelling our bond. I played with all kinds of combinations: grandfather and granddaughter; sister and brother; best friends. None of them fit.

The soul mate, we’ve been taught in our mind, is the brass ring of romantic love. Find your other half and you can start searching for wedding caterers. A soul mate knows you and 'gets' you and will never let you down. Therefore, you should marry him. Don’t.

At least not if you believe in soul mate as a mirror image. An old myth says humans started as four-limbed double creatures, but the gods worried they'd take over, so they decided to split us in half. Ever since, we’ve been searching for our other halves so we can feel complete.

How marriage became part of the equation I’ve never understood. It seems as though marrying your twin would be exactly the wrong thing to do.

For four years, I had dated my psychological echo. At first it was wonderful: so familiar, so comfortable. Then it turned disastrous. Because we were so similar, we made the same mistakes. There was no counterbalance - no one to pull either of us back by the belt loops when we got too close to the edge. Thankfully, we didn’t marry.

My husband and I are not soul mates. We are complete individuals, not two halves of each other. He is science and I am art. He is awake and I am dreaming. He saves and I spend. I’m better at parallel parking, but only he can remember where we left the car. Of course, our differences can sometimes be infuriating, but our pairing has worked for twenty-one years. I like to think it’s because David is my intended: the best husband the universe could have picked for me. A unified soul has nothing to do with it. We balance each other, make each other laugh, and agree on the big things. But he doesn’t get me unless I explain myself because he doesn’t see the world through the same lens. Then I found Joel.

He identified our similarities first. He had tumbled into an anxiety-depression hole that led to many uncomfortable chairs by many institutional beds. He’d been admitted for chest pains, but the doctors and I knew cardiac weakness wasn’t causing his distress. PTSD from four years in the Nazi system was making him sick, but he refused to see or speak to the staff psychologist about treatment. It was my job to convince him to surrender to help. I told him my story. I’d been anxious for years until a case of postpartum depression forced me to face and treat my brain’s chemical inadequacies. I felt fine ever since. Accepting help didn’t have to be shameful.

He looked at me and grinned. We were both nervous. We laughed at the same things. We interpreted the world in the same cynical way, spoke in the same blunt manner, even liked the same foods prepared the same quirky ways. Because he’d been raised in the days of privacy and dignity, our conversations didn’t involve dribbling our vulnerabilities. But we still knew what the other would say or how the other was feeling most of the time. We didn’t have to work at trust and love, or worry either would fade. Neither of us could be described as easy-going, but even after he hung up on me during an argument or I scolded him for being so exceedingly stubborn, we didn’t have to apologize or explain ourselves. It was easy. It was not marriage.

We were, I believe, the purest of soul mates. There was no romance. Just the deep comfort of being seen and known and accepted completely. For a brief period in both of our lives, we got to feel whole.

Then his hand went cold.

What’s it like to lose a soul mate? The saddest part is suspecting such a relationship will never come again. I plan on having my husband around for many more years, and I will surely develop new life-changing friendships. But I don’t think we get more than one soul mate per life cycle. Who else on this earth will ever know me so well?

I used to panic, as Joel got older, about how I’d live in the world without him. But it’s turned out to be surprisingly painless. I take comfort in remembering how lucky I had been to have found my other half. But I also don’t feel like he’s completely absent.

I talk to a lot of dead people in my head, my mother, sisters, brothers, dear friends gone too soon, but never to Joel. This makes sense to me. Following my soul mate theory, to reach him, I only need to talk to myself.

Thanks for sharing the good news about your novel, Louise, and for being our guest this week. We wish you continued success with your writing.


Thank you dear readers for visiting and reading. Don’t be shy, leave a comment, please.

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