I was born in Kingston, Ontario. Kingston—one of the oldest cities in Canada—is a university town on the north shore of Lake Ontario at the gateway to the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands. Where we grow up shapes our sense of ourselves in a landscape. The landscape I knew in childhood and adolescence was rich in history and contradiction. Historic fortifications from the early days of British rule and the War of 1812, a modern military base, maximum security prisons for men and women, one of the first aluminum rolling mills in North America, Great Lakes shipping on the horizon, the gray limestone of lakeshore and buildings-all combined in a place that layered and still layers past and present, commerce and lake water stretching to the southern horizon, broad sky and prison walls and watchtowers.
I attended college in the United States, a shock. I had never met people who were rich and admitted to it. The best parts of my undergraduate education were theater courses, geology, and the friend who took me to New York City and introduced me to standing at the Metropolitan Opera.
My education continued in Turkey, where I taught elementary school, explored the wonders of Istanbul, and married an American composer whose family lived ten miles from where my mother grew up in the Berkshires. We went to the opera in Munich, summered on the island of Naxos in Greece, moved on to Milan, Italy, and then returned to America and teaching jobs in Boston for us both.
And there it is. I live in Brookline, Massachusetts. I don't teach anymore. I write novels. I enjoy city life with all its variety of resources and people. I miss the gray sweep of Lake Ontario. I don't miss Canadian winters.
Jonatha Ceely was married to the late composer Robert Ceely.
To visit his website, click here: