Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

At The Desk: Nicole Aube

Share |
Nicole Aube's At The Desk

For each book that sits on our shelves or rests in our hands, a writer has spent countless hours researching, organizing, writing and rewriting. In Open Book’s At The Desk series, writers tell us about their creative processes and the workspaces that inspire them.

Nicole Aube, author of Waterbird (Gutter Press) and The Red Lantern (Pandora Press), writes about how the places she writes and her notebooks and pens help her feel connected to her work.

In addition to writing fiction and poetry, Nicole is also a singer and songwriter. She will be appearing at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on January 16th.


I shy away from the desk because technically I don’t need it. I lay down on my stomach and write with notebook and pen; I couldn’t use a keyboard in that position. I curl up with blankets in an armchair; that I can’t do with a typewriter. I lie on the beach… without the computer screen blocking my view of the ocean. Say what one wants about the facility and compact modernity of a keyboard and screen, but I want to invoke a sense of connectedness to the past when I write. To the history of writing. I’m attracted to the physical arts like dancing and playing instruments so I luxuriate in the physical act of writing. I want my body to experience my thoughts, to react to them in subtle, minimal ways of movement and breath.

I think of my artwork as lovers’ arts. Writing letters, singing, dancing, these are things that lovers do. It happens that lover are also happiest and/or most impassioned in bed. I write in bed. Before I go to sleep sometimes, and most often in the morning. I write desperately. Lyrics, music, journals, diaries, letters, poetry, short stories and long stories (novels), all longhand. I try to keep separate notebooks for each type of writing, but my methods of organizing flee when I reach for whichever is nearest or happens to appeal to me then.

I probably do not have graphomania. Graphomania, a disorder, characterized by the compulsion to fill blank spaces with words at any time, possibly afflicts some prolific professional writers, likely undiagnosed. The writers in question have found a way to mitigate their urges by bringing order into the space; psychologists have said therein lies genius. Many genius writers, obviously, do not have this condition. No genius, I’m artistically compulsive, a quality that, if used with commitment, allows me to finish the work I begin! My impulsiveness, in this way, is useful and necessary. I feed it, by restraining myself from the desk. Not wanting to share a picture of my own bed, my most intimate space, I’ve shared a picture I took of a bed at Auberge McGee’s in Ottawa, where I did some writing while on tour to promote my debut album, Philosoft, this fall.

— Nicole Aube

Nicole Andrea Aube is an author and a singer-songwriter. Aube was born in Levis, Quebec and raised, with her younger sister Jacqueline, by her parents in Kitchener, Ontario from 1983 until she moved to Toronto as a teenager. She began to write stories, poems and music at a young age, and was published as a teen. At 19, she began performing as a spoken word artist at venues such as the Hillside Festival, and the Eden Mill’s Writer’s Festival, before turning to musical performance at the age of 24. Graduating in 2004 from York University with a Specialized Honours Degree in English, Aube published 2 books: Stories, Waterbird (Gutter Press, Toronto) and poems, The Red Lantern (Pandora Press, Kitchener), both written during her studies and each printed once as limited editions. She began recording music demos in 2004, and by 2008 had used the demos to attract enough funding to support the production of her debut full-length album of original songs titled Philosoft, released in September 2011. In January 2011 she released a limited-edition EP of four songs she recorded herself at home, sold only at concerts. Aube has re-released The Red Lantern to include new poems and the lyrics from Philosoft. Also in 2011, Aube was signed to a sync licensing deal in Canada. Nicole's music has been aired on college radio nationwide and on CBC Radio One and Two.

Your can read more about Nicole at her website,

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


Open Book App Ad