Monday 4 July 2011

What's Behind YOUR Wall?

(Cursor down for Contest)

Have you ever needed to escape your life for even a little while? 

Rowena Through the Wall came about because I needed to find a world to escape to in order to cope with things happening in my own life that I could not control.

I was sitting in the hospital by my mother’s bedside in the palliative care ward.  For the 36th time, she had been admitted to hospital, dying.  Thirty-five times, they had brought her back to life.  This time…

I have no sisters and my only brother is autistic.  The burden of care was mine to bear and this time the weight of it was almost too much.  I looked at the dreary hospital room wall and wished I could walk through it to another world.  That night, Rowena got her start.

Every day, I would go to work, then run to the hospital for my ‘shift’ with Mom.  When they kicked me out, I would dash home, and escape into the world that I could control.

The world of Rowena Through the Wall.

Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, and the adventures start almost immediately.  At my mother’s bedside, I would play a little game of  ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen to Rowena now?’  Or – ‘what’s the funniest thing – what’s the craziest thing?’   I would jot these ideas down in a journal in between attending to my mother’s personal care chores, and then, when home late at night, I would start writing.

I didn’t get much sleep during this time.  I couldn’t sleep anyway because of Mom, so why not put those sleepless hours to good use?  Each new adventure Rowena had gave me a burst of energy that helped me deal with news that got worse and worse. 

I could control the world of Rowena.  I could satisfy my need for escape by putting Rowena in dangerous and sometimes riotous situations that she could use her wits to get out of.  I could live vicariously through my heroine.

They sent my mother home to die, and she didn’t.  She is nearly blind, on oxygen and failing again, but last week I put the paperback of Rowena Through the Wall into her hands.  And now I am half way through book two of the series.


What’s behind your wall?

Everyone needs an imaginary escape.
If you could walk through a portal in your wall, what would you find at the other side?

Comment here with what’s behind your wall!  One lucky person, drawn randomly, will win two free ebooks!  Contest ends July 31.


  1. If I could walk through a wall, through which you could either go forward or backward in time, I guess there would be no sense in trying to redo the past. Eradicate that wanton bathroom scene or the one in the back seat or in the church basement? Wipe out a couple of marriages? Become that famous People magazine reporter instead of a rather uptight teacher? Hmmm. Certain children wouldn't exist either from the wanton scenes or the marriages. So I suppose I'd choose to go forward. I'd walk right onto the red carpet in Hollywood. My son would be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, my daughter would have produced the film which is also up for Best Picture, and my daughter-in-law would be nominated for Best Actress. I of course, would be skinny, having undergone the perfect facelift. Brad (Pitt that is) would smile and nod and shake my hand. (I will fail to mention the time in Toronto when I raced toward him, grabbing hold of his elbow just before the security guards whisked him away.) All of my family and close friends would be walking the carpet too and afterward we'd go to Brad and Angie's for a big party. I'd never go back through the wall again, except maybe to taunt some of those naysayers who thought this was all a dream. It's not a dream. Right, Rowena?

  2. Cathy, you've reminded me of a wall that I never produced a novel... or the beginning of one.

    If I could go back in time and change one thing - without fear of losing my kids etc - it would be to a moment at the beginning of grade 11.

    My boyfriend and first "love of my life" had broken up with me at the end of grade 10 because he wanted to be free to see other girls while he was working out of town for the summer. When he got back in September, he suggested we started seeing each other again and I agreed.

    It didn't last long.

    Through one of my walls, I go back in time and inhabit my younger self knowing what I know now. I make a few healthy lifestyle choices that I hope will stick and, when the opportunity arises, I tell my ex-boyfriend where to stuff it.

    I was way too polite the first time around.

  3. If I could keep my daughter..I would have never gotten married....worse mistake of my life..and I wouldn't have wasted eight years of my life on the second worse mistake..I was way too easy to

  4. Instead of the fountain of youth there would be a fountain of healing & positive change. A few drops could fix a child's skin with severe full body eczema/burns & give them a natural aversion to allergens or situations that would make the problem reoccur. People with emphysema, lung cancer, COPD, would heal if a few drops was in their breathing treatment solution. They would find cigarette smoke disgusting. Instead of being powerless when I want to help my family & others, there would be power that could not be misused. Only one person can get through the wall. Also a few drops from the fountain of knowledge gives ideas;ways to alter fat removed through liposuction to put into people with wasting diseases like cancer/AIDS & concentrated into injections for people in areas of famine.

  5. I would go through my wall back to my younger self and make several different decisions like going to college and perhaps waiting until I was older to get married.

  6. On the other side of my wall would be a place where I can relax and be myself (or read in quiet if I choose too) and not worry about anything. I have been so stressed out that I sometimes wish I could just get away from everything somewhere that I could call my own. I also wouldn't mind a "money tree" over there. ;-)

  7. Yes, I would most definitly go back to 19975. The most wonderful yeear of my life. A a trip to Paris in February, our chaperone and his girlfriend taught us students, I was almost 17, to use the Metro, subway, when we got there. We were allowed to explore Paris at some point on our own every day and also had a daily group activity...Paris was safe then and so beautiful. Yellow daffodils on the sidewalks for sale, everywhere you go in Paris you can see the Eiffel Tower!
    Then came summer and my summer job. My parents thought it would be a great idea if I lived away and worked in Lake George at my cousins restaurant all summer!!!! Awesome!!!!! Man did I luck out or what! I was very shy and apparently quite pretty but didn't realize that fact. My mother never complimented us on our looks, she wanted us to grow up and think that girls were more than just pretty objets, that we have brains too. She didn't want us to be at all conceited. The first person to tell me I was pretty was my sister when I was 17....I was so stunned. I never thought of myself that way before. I could have kissed her for that compliment! For some reason boys were after me that year, I turned 17 in April, first boyfriend in February in Paris. Yeah, he got me a bouquet of those daffodils, to this day they are still my favorite flowers! My second boyfriend, oooo the chemistry, he was hunky with muscles and what a great kisser....yum. But it's my third boyfriend, my first love that I'd love to see again, my sweet Mikey, Tall, thin, bushy brown hair and gorgeous brown eyes. We only had that summer and every time we tried to get together during our senior year something came up. Usually my parents, he lived in a different town about 30 miles away and they didn't like that. We spoke on the phone from time to time duing the school year and I loved him so but after we graduated he took off to hitchhike the US. I never saw him again. I would just love to relive that joyous summer again.....just as it it was supposed to be......

  8. I am awed and humbled by the sharing of wall stories here, my friends. Thank you. I am thinking of how many women here have talked about going back to a time in their past, and how many of us need somewhere to 'hide' for a little bit, from the stress in our lives. It reminds me how women take on the burden for so much care.

    And I suppose I'm wondering about myself a bit now...thinking how my 'wall' adventure takes me not to my past, but to a world away from ours...where I can live an adventurous life vicariously through Rowena.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Inspired by your question, Mel, and all the great comments. It's a bit long for a comment so check out

    I wonder what wall I'll walk through while waiting to renew my drivers' license?