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August 2023 Newsletter

August 2023

August Writers Muse

Published by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County

“There are perhaps no days of our childhood that we lived as fully, as the days we think we left behind without living at all: the days we spent with a favourite book.”

Proust: on contemplating why we read.

Editor's Note:

The Strathcona Writers Muse is a forum for members of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County to publish their works. Anything published in our letter is eligible to receive a publishing credit.

Important Dates

Writers Circle Virtual Sharing Meeting online

Next date Aug 1, 2023

RSVP on the website and the link will be emailed to you prior to the meeting.

Next Board Meeting: Aug 8, 2023

Poets in the Park

Poets in the park meets the third Wednesday of every month online.

Reply to the link on the WFSC website

Next scheduled meeting: On hiatus till Sept 2023

Children's Creative Writing Workshop

Second Thursday of each month

Next Meeting Aug 10, 2023

Reply to the link on our Website

This Month's Submissions

The Breakup

By John Wheeler

Edith sat alone at the bar of the restaurant nursing a vodka martini waiting for the dinner date to arrive. She had made a reservation earlier. Her black diagonal slit, belted midi dress that showed off the curves of her thirty-eight-year-old frame, that she worked so hard to maintain, went well with her well coiffed dark hair and diamond stud earrings. Completing her ensemble were a pair of black slingback pumps and a knockoff St. Laurent black purse that could fool any fashionista. She didn’t have to wait very long.

A pretty young woman in her mid twenties wearing a floral print cocktail dress was seated at a table by the restaurant hostess. Edith watched as a waiter soon came by and placed a plastic vase containing a dozen red roses in the centre of the table. She couldn’t hear what was said, but she could tell by the young woman’s sparkling eyes and bright smile the flowers had worked their magic. Edith tossed back the remainder of the drink.

“Show time,” she said to herself.

Edith got up, sauntered over to the young woman’s table, and seated herself opposite the now shocked young woman. Edith pushed the flowers off to one side allowing a better view of the young woman and the remarkable crafted pendant that hung from her neck.

“Hello,” said Edith looking at the young woman. “Glad to see the flowers arrived. Just thought I should drop by to tell you Charles will not be coming tonight.” She paused. “Or ever.”

Just then a waiter appeared. “Can I get you ladies anything from our bar?”

Edith turned to the waiter and replied, “I’ll have a …sidecar.” She turned to the young woman, however the lass seemed catatonic. Edith addressed the waiter. “She’ll have a champagne cocktail. We’re celebrating.”

The waiter smiled and nodded. “I’ll be right back with those drinks.” He turned on his heel and left. Edith returned her attention to the young woman. She said nothing, enjoying the awkward moment. She knew the young woman was aware of who she was.

Finally, Edith said, “That’s a very nice locket you have there. I have one just like it.”

The young woman cleared her throat and seemed to come out of her stupor.

“It’s not a locket. It’s a pendant,” she said meekly as her hand moved to cover it.

“No. It’s a locket. There’s a trick to opening it.” Edith held out her hand. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to break it or throw it across the room. I want to show you that it opens.”

The young woman looked at Edith’s hand then at Edith. Slowly, her hands moved behind her neck to open the small clasp on the chain. She removed the pendent.

“You promise?” she asked tentatively.

“Yes, yes.”

She put the pendent and chain in Edith’s hand. Edith pulled her hand back immediately began fiddling with it.

“My grandfather liked puzzles. He had the jeweller put a secret button on it so nobody could open it unless you knew how.”

The locket popped open in her hand. Edith looked at the pictures contained inside. Then she leaned over the table to display the inside to the young woman. The young woman leaned forward to see better. Just then the waiter arrived. He placed the drinks on the table. Edith interrupted before he could begin.

“We’ll need a couple more minutes, if that’s all right.”

The waiter nodded and left. With her free hand Edith picked up her drink and took a swallow.

“Gawk,” she said after tasting it. “Why did I order that?” She set the drink on the table.

The young woman didn’t touch hers. She kept staring at the small black and white pictures inside the locket.

“This is my mother and this my grandmother,” said Edith indicating each with her finger. Her eyes began to water. Then her face contorted into an animal snarl. “He had no right giving you this!” she said quietly as she restrained herself from coming over the table. She snapped the locket shut.

The young woman sat back in her chair; fear etched across her face.

Edith took a deep breath and slowly let it out. She picked up her black purse and opened it. The distraught thirty-eight-year-old woman dropped the locket and chain into the purse then removed a folded sheet of paper.

“You are probably wondering how I found out,” began Edith. She picked up her napkin and dabbed her eyes. Once composed she began.

“I’ve known since you and Charles began emailing each other. Years ago, I hacked into his account so I could keep tabs on him. You are not the first dalliance he’s had, by the way. It was when you sent this heart-felt emailed love letter…” She dropped the folded printed page on the table. “…that I finally decided to act and set you straight. I was the one who emailed you stating that I had agreed to divorce him. I was the one who set today up.” She paused picked up the brandy and orange flavoured drink and finished it.

She grimaced again. “How do people drink this stuff?” She returned the empty glass to the table. She rose and loomed over at the frightened young woman.

“You are to stop seeing him. If you try calling you will find his cellphone number is no longer in service. If you try email, all you will find is me. Try any other form of social media, all you will find is me. You two are done. Am I clear?” Before the young woman could respond Edith answered, “Good!”

The Gordon by Karen Probert Gordon chose to stand up the slope from the burly, bearded Scots who faced him from below. His pale face, framed by red curls, had a few freckles across his nose and cheekbones. A narrow version of the Gordon clan kilt hung over his thin hips. Gordon's voice carried across the glen all the way to the marshes. A slight breeze fluttered the cattails there before it cooled the bare legs and faces of the ranks of battle-weary men. Low grey clouds scudded across the sky reflecting their mood. They had lost the clash with the Donald clan before retreating to this low area to recoup. Gordon knew he needed to inspire these exhausted warriors. Choosing to speak calmly now he began: "Look about you my Scotsmen. The three cornered hills surrounds us. This is the shape on your shields. Scouts have been sent out to see where the damned Donalds have camped. We will make a new plan. Each of these three hills has a bowl on the other side. There is s steep ridge between each bowl. At dawn we will be on the ridge above the Donalds. It may be one ridge or two but I expect them to be regrouped in one. We can descend to trap them in the middle bowl or have them retreat out the side of one on each side of the ridge. We will gather stones before dark, the biggest ones we can. When the Donalds get close to the top of a ridge we'll start our group of rocks rolling down. We, the Gordons, are named for the three corned hill. It gives us strength and power." Gordon lifted the rock he had been standing on, turned and walked with it up to the ridge. His troops bent to gather rocks. Some carried one or two, some banded together to roll larger ones up. By midnight two of the ridges were lined by rocks. Gordon then called for any oil or grease from the cooks to be put close by to be heated and coat some of the rocks in the morning to send them boiling down the slopes. "Go eat", he called out, "you've done well. Rest. Tomorrow we will vanquish our enemy." As the troops settled in for the night scouts returned to tell Gordon that most of the Donalds were camped in the middle bowl. Gordon was seated on a log by the campfire. He'd eaten a portion of a stag and was carving a pattern on an antler piece he had retrieved. Sliding his short knife between his thin leg and his heavy wool sock he stopped to pay attention to his scouts. The firelight and sounds of the settling camp set off his reverie. His proud father had been a giant of a man, lord of the Gordons, a clan leader to be trusted, followed without question, a valiant fighter and clever statesman. Gordon, originally Angus, had been the third son, the one never expected to lead the clan. Physically more like his fragile mother he was to have become a priest. Jamie Gordon, his oldest brother was raised to become the lord of the clan but was gored by a clan McLachlan sword in his first battle. The fiercest Gordon, middle brother Douglas, had been slain in his bed by the jealous husband of his lover. This left Angus to now be called The Gordon as leader of his clan. Gordon had not told his followers that in some places the name Gordon could be said to mean 'from the marshes'. His mother had been plucked from her ancestral village at the age of fourteen. In that battle the Gordons had swept out of the forest in a surprise attack on the trading centre in a marshy river delta. The area had become part of the Gordon clan territory and the generations following became Gordon clan. He had always listened to his mother's stories and believed his strengths and talents, more thoughtful than physical, came from her. Tomorrow he would need the guidance of all his ancestors if the Gordons use of rocks and greasy slopes could outwit their enemies while only a few would meet in battle with his strongest warriors. And so The Gordon slept uneasily until dawn.


Written by Lana O’Neill

Close your eyes

Open your mind

Welcome the light

Banish the shadows

Breathe in life

Extricate loss

There, that’s it

Now you’re ready

Invite yourself in

And remember you’re not new

You’ve always been there

Fun, fantastic and you-nique


Open your eyes

Look in the mirror

See the purpose in that face

The yearning, the love

Each a talisman of your spirit

Guarding the real treasure

Right there in the silver

Someone who is someone

Only then will you know

It’s how YOU see you

Not they or she or he

Only you, always you

'If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write' - Stephen King

What Are You Reading?

The Muse wants to know what other writers are reading! Are you doing research for a story? Are you reading a great book that you want to tell others about? E-mail the editor and let us know about your book.

THE LESSER BLESSED (1996) by Richard Van Camp

Review by Lana O’Neill

Larry Sole is a Dogrib First Nation teenager living in Fort Simmer with, not only, his mother but also a past filled with a lifetime of horrors. Teenage boys tend to keep their innermost thoughts to themselves, more so if they have enough self-awareness to do so. But Larry is different. He is a creative but tortured soul with a gift for story-telling. The Lesser Blessed is surprising, tragic, humorous, enlightening and written to overflowing with raw truth delivered by a 16-year-old Larry. While shocking in its’ exactness, the three-month span story is poetically presented in Van Camp’s first novel. A memorable read.


Review by Mandy Barnett

Beautifully written, exquisite language, with growing tension and apprehension. I was transported to another time and place with ease.

I will be looking for more books from Hester.

Highly recommended.

The Country Escape

By Jane Lovering Review by Mandy Barnett

As an expat in Canada I loved the setting of 'home', I could see the village, the cliffs, the sea. Jane immerses you into her characters well and takes you on a journey with them. A delightful read for anyone who has lived a complicated life.

Publications available from our foundation.

Anyone can purchase these works through our website at


We are excited to announce new publications through the Foundation.

The winner's of the children's creative writing contest in 2020 and 2021 have been compiled into a book. It will be at a special price until September 30th. Link:

A Creative Mind: Poetry Anthology III

The WFSC challenged its members to write a poem-a-day for 30 days and the poetry shared in this anthology are part of the results. Participants were allowed to submit up to five selections with others chosen at random to fill the book as needed. We think you’ll enjoy reading the as much as we did. We have selections from 14 poets offering 81 selections ranging in styles, voice, and direction, but all focused on the title / theme of the day

“Creative Writing Workshop Facilitators Kelsey Hoople and Mike Deregowski challenge you to participate in national poetry month.” As part of Poetry Month for April 2020, the challenge was to write to the overall theme - The Great Escape. A different title posted each day provided inspiration for writing a poem a day for thirty days. It was a challenge worth taking up as many of the participants could no longer meet in person due to COVID-19 measures, but they could support one another online! This collection of poetry includes submissions from qualifying WFSC members for 2020. Challenge yourself! Enjoy!

“Creative Writing Workshop Facilitators Kelsey Hoople and Mike Deregowski challenge you to participate in national poetry month.” As part of Poetry Month for April 2021, the challenge was to write to the overall theme - When Life Changes. A different title posted each day provided inspiration for writing a poem a day for thirty days. Amidst the COVID-19 challenge, getting creative was an outlet for our writing group, which enjoyed connecting online and being inspired. This collection of poetry includes submissions from qualifying WFSC members for 2021. Challenge yourself! Enjoy!

Available for purchase:

DWP WFSC's publication prior to the Writing Prompts book shares stories of Canadian writers.

We write from the heart about people who are important and things dear to us.

We write with a spirit that leads us to explore and explain.

We write. We are passionate.

We are Canadian.

Postcards from Canada proudly features the words of members from the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County in celebration of being Canadian – during this 150th year of Confederation. Share with us as we take you on a journey across Canada with our words, our images, our verse, our prose… Postcards from Canada - Wish you were here! Get your copy for $14.95 through the following:

Amazon POD:

Available for purchase:

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County 2022 - 2023 Board Members and contact information:

Joe McKnight President Bethany Horne Vice President Never Been Better - Editor Linda Pedley Treasurer Web Site Administration 780-445-0991 Mandy Barnett Secretary Writing Circle Host/ Writing Prompts/ Newsletter Editor Karen Probert Past President 780-464-6632 Beth Rowe Director Your Lifetime of Stories Coordinator 780-718-7253 Henry Martell Director Newsletter Coordinator Amanda O'Driscoll Director Instagram Coordinator Library Liaison

Copyright © *2023

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

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