The streets of old town Rovinj, Croatia
By Caitlin Kelly
Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Vancouver, Canada. Lived in London ages two to five, Toronto five to 30, (with brief stints in Mexico, [6 months] Montreal [1 year] and Paris [one year.])
Happiest childhood memories?
My parents split when I was about seven, and I was their only child, so summer camp was my happiest place. I loved canoeing and sailing and making close friends and being outdoors all the time. I felt welcomed and valued.
Where did you attend college/university?
Victoria College at the University of Toronto.
Just because….Yes, it’s Mike Myers and it was Fleet Week 2017
What did you study and why?
I was an English major (surprise!) but also studied French and Spanish for many years there.
Did you enjoy it?
Not that much. I was broke, living alone in Toronto and also freelancing to stay afloat. The school is enormous and pays little attention to undergrads so I had to be very self-reliant. The campus is beautiful and our professors were top-notch so I did get a good and demanding education. I appreciate that rigor and this prepared me well for the world of work.
Where do you live now — and why there?
I ended up in Tarrytown, NY — a town of 10,000 people on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, 25 miles north of Manhattan — thanks to my first husband, a psychiatrist then in residency; we transferred from New Hampshire. There were only 2 spots open that year, one a 10-minute drive from Tarrytown. I love it: economically and ethnically diverse, lots of restaurants and cafes, a 3rd-generation-owned hardware store, a great gourmet store, lovely walks along the river, a historic Main Street often used for film and TV, like Mona Lisa Smile (with Julia Roberts) and The Good Shepherd (with Matt Damon) and the HBO series Divorce (with Sarah Jessica Parker.) Also, 38 minutes by train into Grand Central Terminal.
We love to visit Montreal, a city I’ve lived in as an adult and as a child
What are some of your favorite ways to spend free time?
Reading — our apartment is filled with books, newspapers and magazines. Listening to music and radio (NPR, TSF Jazz). Some television, but mostly Netflix. Movies! Talking to friends, preferably face to face. Entertaining. Travel. Looking at old things at antique shows and flea markets. Many forms of culture — galleries, museums, ballet, theater, concerts. Being outdoors in nature. Paris!
Do you have any idols or role models?
Hmmmmm. Not really. There are some people I admire, but everyone’s fallible.
Why did you choose to become a journalist/author?
I love meeting new people from all walks of life — in my work I have met Queen Elizabeth, convicted felons, Olympic athletes, an admiral. I love telling stories. I enjoy knowing some of my writing has helped others.
Hokusai — The Great Wave off Kanagawa
Breughel, Odilon Redon, Egon Schiele, Klimt, the German Expressionists, the Nabis and Fauves. Some of Canada’s Group of Seven. I love Japanese prints by masters like Hokusai and Hiroshige.
Favorite classical composers?
Couperin, Bach, Handel, Satie, Vivaldi, Rodrigo, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Tchaikovsky.
Gerald Durrell, Thomas Hardy, Muriel Barbery, Tom Rachmann.
Best place you’ve ever been?
Tough call! Four-way tie: Machu Picchu, Corsica, Ireland and Thailand.
Worst place you’ve ever been?
A really nasty hotel in Granada and another one in Copenhagen.
A terrible illness. Losing my husband Jose.
Making others’ lives a little happier. I love connecting people.
What’s the view from your bedroom window?
Gorgeous! The Hudson River and its western shore.
Which of your friendships is the longest and how did you meet?
A friend from high school, but closer to my pal from freshman English class who lives very far away from me in Kamloops, British Columbia. There’s a great 1988 Michelle Shocked song, Anchorage, that eerily sums up our differences quite accurately but we still love one another.
How do you handle conflict?
Ugh. I’ve had a lifetime of it — between challenging parents, a tough step-mother, being bullied in high school and at work. It depends. Like many people, I may swallow my anger for many years — then explode. If someone’s driving me nuts, these days I just withdraw and fade away. If it’s an annoying freelance client, I find another. There’s always another.
What do you hope your legacy will be?
That people remember me — and some of my writing — with love, respect and a smile.