Seen Reading interviews WordFest attendee Marielle La Rue

Hi, all! It’s Julie Wilson, author of Seen Reading, and throughout WordFest 2012, I’ll be checking in with festival attendees. I’ll ask each one the same questions and together we’ll see just how varied the responses will be.

Next up, Marielle La Rue. I grabbed Marielle after she—plug alert!—bought my book, Seen Reading. It was after the session “How Should a Writer Be,” and we had a brief chat about fear in putting your work out there. I thought, Kindred spirit. Come, let me interview you.

Glad I did!

Julie Wilson: Who are/were you looking forward to seeing at WordFest 2012?

Marielle La Rue: I’m bad at knowing authors, so it was great to come to this today—”How a Writer Should Be” (with Susan Swan, Joe Meno and me, Julie Wilson)—because I discovered three new authors I knew nothing about . . . because it’s hard, when you go to Chapters and all they have are the “big names,” and you’re spending your money on what? You don’t know.

JW: That’s a really relevant point, that a reader knows nothing going into a book other than word of mouth, so why not take a chance on something or someone you’ve never heard of before? And how is that placement any guarantee that it’s going to better, or what was best choice for the individual reader?

MLR: Exactly. You don’t know.

JW: Do you have a favourite book of the last year or recent years?

MLR: I read a book, a graphic novel, Funhouse: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel. It’s her coming out story. It was amazing. I loved it. I had to read it for a narrative class, but I found it inspiring, not only in that she told her own story—write what you know—but that she chose a different way of telling it, through the graphic medium, and drew the narrative herself.

JW: And do you have a favourite book of all-time?

MLR: Uh . . . nooo . . . Well. Jonathan Livingston Seagull, written by Richard Bach. My dad gave it to me when I was a kid.

JW: Why did your dad give it to you?

MLR: You know, I was at camp. He sent it through the mail. I was probably twelve-years-old. I think he thought, It’s time. It was time for me to read that book.

JW: What did you love about it? Do you even remember? I ask because the more I ask people this question, the more it seems people can identify the book, but not remember the experience of reading it. In this case, do you think it had anything to do with the fact that your dad sent it to you?

MLR: Maybe, but I think I picked it up later—because I was twelve-years-old and wall all, like, I don’t understand. Great, thanks, dad!—but I picked it up again later and realized, Oh, it’s a beautiful story about being yourself, and I felt that it was important, something that everyone should learn.

JW: That sounds like a common theme, between Funhouse and this, to be yourself.

MLR: It is. It’s hard to be yourself! A lot of people struggle with it, and it’s not something enough people are told, especially now, with media telling you who you should be.

JW: Last question. You wake up on a desert island. You’re not going to a desert island. You wake up there. There’s a bag beside you, and in it there’s a book. What’s the book?

MLR: [no hesitation] Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. That could be my second favourite book of all-time. I got it in a trade on a train trip around Europe for three months. I got rid of some horrible novel, and I’ve never let it go. I just think it’s a good adventure. It’s a real adventure.

JW: Have you read it multiple times?

MLR: Multiple times, and I refuse to see the movie.

JW: Because . . .

MLR: I don’t want what I think it is to be ruined by someone else deciding what it is.

JW: So, we have three books that all have to do with being yourself, or the adventure, certainly, of being yourself.

MLR: I just learned so much about myself!


To follow along with my reader sightings, and to contribute your own—no matter where you live—use the hashtag #seenreading.

If you’re joining us at WordFest 2012, be sure to also include the hashtag #wordfest2012.

And if you see me wandering about, please do say hello. I’d love to know what you’re reading!


Julie Wilson is The Book Madam (@bookmadam), a publishing professional who splits her time between Toronto and San Diego.

She’s an active reader ambassador, coach, and conduit, and creator/author of Seen ReadingFreehand Books & HarperCollins (ebook)—a collection of microfictions written in response to people who read in public. (WordFest’s festival bookseller, Pages on Kensington, also has copies on hand, along with some keen magnetic Seen Reading bookmarks. Stop on by!)

Follow Julie as The Literary Voyeur at @seenreading.

Visit her online homes at and

Julie appears at WordFest 2012 at the following events:

Name Your Sources
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
5-6:30 p.m.
Vertigo Theatre Centre, Studio
with Deni Y. Bechard, Russell Wangersky and Rachel Wyatt

How Should a Writer Be?
Saturday, October 13, 2012
1:30-2:30 p.m.
The Banff Centre
with Joe Meno and Susan Swan


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