Writing Wisdom from my Wife

My wife, Belinda, made us a proper Victoria Day lunch. Lamb kidney – an old school British dish that would have fit right in on the table of the dining room of Downtown Abbey.


Lamb Kidney









Lamb kidneys, beefsteak tomatoes, onions, chives, fresh mint and American bacon served with a proper slab of toast.

(And to all of you folks out there who are cringing and going on and saying “Ewww, kidneys.” – hush up and mind your manners. This was real food – the way that real people ate – long before organic bananas and cheeseburgers and fofu – (which is tofu made without cruelty to soybeans)

A lot of folks don’t realize but my wife – who has taught bellydance for about thirty years – was a red seal chef for several years before that. She cooked at the Lord Nelson back when the Lord Nelson Hotel was considered one of the finest hotels in Halifax. She cooked at the Silver Spoon Cafe – where she created some of the finest chocolate truffles in the province. She cooked tavern fare at Winston’s and several other restaurants in town.

People who have known my wife for many years see her only as a dancer. They do not see her other skills and talents.

Now she is heading towards a third brand new career as a medical administrator. She has completed a year in community college and is already serving her work term in the local hospital. You see her now and you would think of her as being a smart and efficient office worker. You wouldn’t see the chef or the professional dancer.

People are complicated creations. It is a great mistake to take any of them at face value.

You just take a look around you.

There are probably just as many people that you know who have intriguing and unexpected back story.

That’s right – I am using a writer’s term “back story” – because that is what I am – a writer.

Some folks look at me and they don’t see the fellow who used to heave around furniture and empty out eighteen wheelers. They don’t see the woodworker or the house painter or the militia man or the tree planter. They don’t see the palm reader or the poet or the fellow who used to make money as an artist’s model.

People are complicated.

“We are built like disco balls,” my wife told me once. “Each of us possess many facets and we glimmer and reflect in our own kind of way.”

You think about that the very next time you sit down and try and squeeze a character out of your pen.

(and I know that most of you do your writing on the keyboard same as me – but somehow the idea of squeezing a character out of a keyboard does not seem nearly as poetic or powerful an image as squeezing one out of a pen – so there it is.)

Nobody is all good or all bad or all funny.

People are complicated.

Your characters ought to be as well.


And before I let you go – here’s an Anderson Live episode showcasing the cast of Downton Abbey.

Here’s part one of the episode.

And here is part two of the episode.

Happy Victoria Day!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

3 responses to “Writing Wisdom from my Wife

  1. I have often said that God is like a disco ball, we each see part of the light reflected. Belinda takes it one step further. We each reflect part of God’s light.


  2. The sight and thought of those onions is making me salivate all o ver my keyboard Steve.


  3. Amen to that. In writing and in life, you get a glimpse of who people are but it’s always worth remembering that you never know who they have been… and it may have been something very cool.




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