Michelle Elvy is a writer and manuscript assessor living on a sailboat with her husband and two daughters for more than twelve years. Her professional lives have included teacher, historian, translator, editor and chief wrangler at a software consulting company. She has published stories about children, food, faraway places, motorcycling, dreaming big and the kindness of strangers. Long before she set sail across the Pacific (before she sold everything she owned, before she became intimately acquainted with Alaskan fjords, Mexican chilis, Polynesian canoe racing and Fijian headlice), she was a PhD candidate at Brown University, a Fulbright Scholar and a Watson Fellow.
She believes that a person is an outcome derived from a sum of experiences, events and stories, all arranged seemingly willy-nilly yet producing precisely and only one result.
“I’m so hungry.”
“We’ll have dinner soon.”
Michelle is energetically and enthusiastically hopeful about just about everything.
“What sounds do rabbits really make?”
But she’s also (just as energetically) cynical and skeptical about everything else.
“I know those cartoon rabbits don’t really talk; it’s the people in the background making them talk.”
“It’s just like Santa Claus. That’s why you don’t eat so many cookies at Christmas – because you have to eat the ones we put out for Santa.”
No Comment. Grin.
To encapsulate oneself with one particular set of adjectives, to consign an individual to the black-and-white here-and-now, to convey a never-morphing, never-backsliding, never-advancing, never-evolving me – well, that hardly tells the whole story.
To describe a person as a lover of mangos, ginger and Milka but a non-lover of lima beans, raisins and jelly, to write that Michelle is at once a happy mother, keen teacher, earnest daughter and faraway friend would tell part of the equation. To say she’s a fan of profanity and firm believer in chance would be an understatement. To say she advocates a less-is-more approach to life but lives as fully as she ever has would approach the truth about who she really is. To say she worries about living in a nuclear age and the nature of 21st century war and climate change and the devolving political discourse in her birthcountry, but to admit that she does it while traipsing around sandy beaches in jandals, would also be the truth.
To say that this website is as much about the evolving person as it is about the evolving stories is just about right.
Michelle lives in New Zealand, where she sails, edits and writes.
Michelle, I cherished both your articles today, and I am yet understanding how to post a comment to a particular article or passage thereof. Because there was a part in the Glowworms story that made my heart glow, somewhere in the middle (heart) of the story. Then, I liked the Geaux Saints story, because it made me ask who the heck the Saints are, and also painted a greater picture of the role of football in the American ego/ society/ sense of self/ identity. Clearly, I am not a fan or connaisseuse of football in this lifetime: I don’t like the short attention span, the brouhaha, the violence, heaviness, and lack of athleticism, and need for long term stamina (compared to soccer). Seeing football as a synecdoche helps me see a wider picture.
I love your writing.
Gerda! Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you like the stories here so far, even if some touch on American traditions that do not necessarily speak to internationalist such as yourself. But I do appreciate that you read them anyway, and if I’ve achieved anything toward making you see football as synecdochally as I do, then I am pleased!
As for the website: I’ve changed the template and the COMMENT button should be more readily located now. I hope. Just getting started with this site; give me a good old-fashioned pen and paper!
I don’t think the “leave a comment” link after your stories is not working properly. So I’m leaving my comment here instead…. Love your blog on Searching for Panama and all the references to Kirk. Wistful and lyrical. I definitely think Kirk was searching for a Place to fit in and for a clearer definition of himself. I think I can relate to your sense of home being everywhere. Though I often think it’s reassuring to have roots in one place, kind of the same way that religion is reassuring to some people. I think you should post a photo of yourself on the Momo in your bikini and Kirk’s cowboy boots!
Shannon — I think I’ve now resolved the comment issue; thanks for the heads-up. So glad you enjoyed the Kirk stories — he lived a rich but short life and I feel sometimes as if I’m reliving conversations with him when re-read his poetry and write. I’m quite sure you understand questions of (up)rootedness and finding balance and peace. Good to hear from you here! Love back to you!
You are an inspiration. Thanks for that.
DeePee — you are sweet! So lovely to know you!
A fantastic introduction to say the least. Pleased to meet you Michelle. 🙂
Thank you, Nomzi. Glad you wandered this way. I post mostly other people’s poetry here at the moment, and I am glad to share it. Will come look you up as well. Thank you again!
About time I found this page. So inspiring!!!
I am a poet. I am from India. I have created a blog. I hope you enjoy visiting it. Please share it with others if you can. I would be thankful to you for that.