“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~ Stephen King
What did you do when you were stuck at home during the COVID-19 shut down? The answer to this question covers the whole gambit from wearing pajamas all day and bingeing Netflix, to re-organizing the entire house to working on projects that had been put off until “someday when I have the time”.
Three people connected to the library used their “somedays” very well: they put their noses to the grindstone and used the lockdown time to produce a book. Doris Daley, well-known and lauded as a Western Poet, who also happens to be a library employee and facilitator of the Poetry on the Patio group, produced That’s A Good Answer: Wise Words from Wonderful People. For this compilation, Doris asked her contacts from far and wide to supply the answers to burning questions such as “How did your parents save money?”, “What should the 11th commandment be?” or “Three benefits of hiking are…”. The answers span the spectrum from the thought-provoking to the hilarious. All of the contributors are listed at the back of the book which is already into its second printing.
Doris also spent the lockdown confined to her house with her husband, so perhaps compiling a book is as contagious as COVID-19 as Al “Doc” Mehl also produced a volume during this time. Al, like Doris, is well-known as a cowboy poet and songwriter and when not trapped at home, facilitates the Diamond Valley Songwriters group, which meets monthly at the library. Al comes by his nickname “Doc” honestly as he lived his professional life in Denver and Boulder as a pediatrician, before Doris married him and lured him to Black Diamond in 2016. The title of Al’s book, Good Medicine: Read Two Poems and Call Me in the Morning, is a humorous nod to his former profession as well as a collection of 20 years’ worth of his original cowboy poetry. The volume also includes western art and photographs throughout.
Our third productive author is Della Dickie. Della is a member of the Poetry on the Patio group and during the time of COVID-19 she produced her third volume of poetry: There’s Still A Bit of Kid In Me. If you are familiar with Della’s previous collections, Splatology and Wrinkles of Laughter, you will find both her sense of humour and unique outlook on life present in her latest offering.
All three volumes are available in the library collection (or soon will be). Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we have not been able to host book launches for these wonderful authors, so If you wish to purchase a copy, (they make great gifts!) then please contact the library.
All of this may seem a bit daunting to some of us, especially if you were in the all-day pajama wearing club. However, you may have a short story or two to tell. Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is inviting senior residents of Okotoks, Black Diamond and Turner Valley to share a story or two about a difficult time you faced and how you got through it. Project SOS (Share Our Stories) will be running for a few months and to get you started there are writing kits available at the library. You never know. This could be the beginning of a whole new endeavour. Stories will be shared on the town’s website.
Please note that the library will be closed on November 11, to mark Remembrance Day.
I will finish as I began with another quote about writing:
“There’s no better teacher for writing than reading… Get a library card. That’s the best investment.” – Alisa Valdes