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June 2023 Newsletter

June 2023

June 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 June 6, 2023

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

Next Board Meeting: June 13, 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: June 21, 2023

Children's Creative Writing Workshop

Second Thursday of each month

Next Meeting June 8, 2023

Reply to the link on our Website

This Month's Submissions

Angels, you say? By Dennis Wilson

So, what is this thing about angels?

Stand on any street corner and ask passers-by if they think that angels exist and you will find that the average person on the streets of your community believes that there are indeed angels. For them, angelic beings have been depicted in countless movies and television serials and they have acquired a certain universal fascination about angels. Angels are not to be worshiped, but rather to be appreciated for what they can do.

It is possible to believe in angels while at the same time setting asidethe possibility that angels really do take an interest in what is happening in the lives of human beings today.And in particular, we may find it too difficult to believe that angels observe, with interest, our affairs; that angels really arewatchers.

Well then, if angels really do exist, what do they look like? Angels are spiritual beings and not ordinarily visible but, in the bible when they appeared, they had the appearance and form of a man and looked like ordinary human beings.

Charlie Forsythparked his Buickat the end of a row of cars and trucks already parked on the expansive lawn of the Goodkey farm. He was dressed in his only suit.A black tie that he had borrowed adorned his new white shirt. His lifetime friend, Max Goodkey, had died earlier in the week. Charlie was there, along with others, to express his sympathy and offer condolences to Max’s family. He was ushered into the Goodkey living room where the open casket rested.

Before taking a seat, Charlie approached the casket and upon seeing Max, his eyes welled up with tears. Thoughts raced through his mind, “I feel like I’ve got a hole in my heart, Max.” And the tears rolled down his cheeks.He couldn’t stop them and didn’t want to. “I’m really going to miss you. So many things not said; why did you have to leave us so quickly?”

Now the crowd was gone, headed for a country graveyard fifteen miles west of the Goodkey farm. Charlie hadvolunteered to wait for the local undertakerwho would transport the body of Max to the graveyard where there would be a graveside service. Finally, the hearse arrived and he helped to place the body of his friend in the hearse and now it was on its way.

Charlie closed up the house and before leavinghe checked his pockets to make sure he still had the crumpled envelope on which he had scribbled several thoughts about his friend. He was to give the eulogy at the graveside service and he was nervous about that.

Three miles down the gravel road, he heard a slight thump-thump that soon changed to a flap-flap as he brought the car to a halt. He quickly grabbed the bumper jack from the trunk of the car

and removed the wheel with the flat tire. Taking the spare from the trunk, he bounced the tire on the ground but, oh no! There was no bounce – it, too, was without air; totally flat!

Charlie circled the car several times in frustration. He thought about the small crowd that would be gathered at the graveside and immediately wanted to panicbut instead he cried out, “Father in heaven,I really need to be at Max’s graveside and I really want to be able to say a few words over him. Lord, now what am I to do?”

He wiped the tears from his cheeks with the palm of his hand and looked up and saw a man walking towards him through the knee-high crop and waving hello to him across a barb wire fence. Charlie blinked to clear his teary eyes andimmediately the man was at his side and smiling. He was wearing a straw hat that shaded his eyes and faded bib overalls and work boots laced halfway up “Got a bit of a problem here, have you?” Charlie was unable to answer, still a bit stunned trying to understand how the farmer could have crossed that distance so quickly. Again, he said, “I say, it seems that you have a bit of a problem here by the look of things.”

Charlie was finally able to respond, “Yes, I’ve got a flat tire and the spare is flat too. And I really need to get to the graveyard where they are about to bury my good friend. The graveyard is twelve miles from here and I don’t know what to do!”

Still smiling, the farmer said, “Well, why don’t you just get in behind that steering wheel and drive. Everything will be fine.”Charlie shook his head at the impossibility of such a suggestion and was about to say so when he looked down at his problem. The wheel with the flat tire was back on the car and re-bolted.And the jack had been removed. How could that be?

Thefarmer placed Charlie’s flat spare in the trunk and closed the trunk lid. Charlie asked, “Are you a local farmer here in the district? How come you’re way out here without a vehicle yourself?”

The farmer ignored the question and said, “You’d best be going now. They’ll be waiting for you. You’ll be just fine. Go on now, and get in your car.”

Charlie’s thoughts were centred on this whole scenario that had just been played out in front of him; how it was so much out of the ordinary. It was so far out that maybe, just maybe, there might be something supernatural about it. “Well, alright then, what have I got to lose?” He started his car and pulled away. In his rear-view mirror, he saw the farmer standing in the middle of the road watching him leave. Within seconds the tire went from flap-flapping to running smoothly. He looked back a second time. The farmer was nowhere in sight!

A number of people came up to Charlie and thanked him for the touching eulogy that he had given.And now he was almost home; just seven miles to go and the tire was still running smoothly. He knew that there was a road-side service station just up ahead and when it came into view he decided to pull in and have the owner-mechanic check the tire. “How much air do you generally carry in these tires?”, the mechanic asked.

“Thirty-two. Thirty-four.”

The mechanic slipped the tire pressure gauge onto the stem and pushed it down in order to get a reading. Perplexed, he stood up and kicked the tire, then bentdown and applied the gauge a second time. “Well now, I’ve seen everything. This tire has obviously got air in it. I can tell by the kick I gave it. But my tire gauge has showed azero reading twice! This tire has no air in it!Yet it has every indication that it is properly inflated! I don’t understand this at all!”

Charlie grinned, “Well, I reckon we’re lookin’ at a miracle here, thanks to an angel I met today!!”

Charlie picked me up at the airport in Williston, North Dakota and drove me to a dinner meetingin Scobie, Montana where I was the guest speaker for the evening. This is a true account of his encounter with an angel that he shared with me as we drove together to Scobie.

~ I, too, have a personal angel story to tell you sometime, if you are interested… ~

Just a Little Lie by Mandy Eve-Barnett

Mehar sat on her window seat watching a group of teenagers chatting and mucking about under the illumination of a streetlight. They seemed so at ease, joking, and pushing each other around. A couple of the boys raced their long boards back and forth, as their friends cheered. A girl grabbed one board and beat them to the imaginary finish line. There was exaggerated shock and laughter. One teen in a black leather jacket leaned against the lamppost and lit a cigarette.

Mehar watched him exhale several smoke rings and traced their upward path into the air. She was thrilled, excited and afraid all at once. Cupping her jaw, she continued to watch the group, hidden, or so she thought from view. The smoker exhaled again and turned his head to look directly at her. She recoiled into shadow. He couldn’t have seen her; the bedroom lights were off. The boy tilted his head to one side, look at his friends, then looked directly up at her and winked.

Oh, no he did see me! But how? Mehar shuffled to her bed and sat cross legged. He was electrifying. His dark hair, biker type clothes and the fact he smoked – everything her father despised and forbid. Mehar was restricted to family gatherings and events; her friends were her cousins rather than school mates. Her ethnicity and traditional upbringing keeping her apart from normal life. The life she craved and wondered about. The world outside vastly different from home with her strict parents. There was an arranged marriage in her future, a path set out for her since childhood. She felt like a prisoner. Her only escape being high school, but even then, she was chaperoned by several cousins to ensure she didn’t consort with the ‘wrong’ sort of person. In other words, anyone not of the same faith and upbringing.

Every night the same group gathered under the streetlight. Mehar watched the boy take his preferred place. The sixth evening, he wore a brown jacket and jeans, and carried a motorcycle helmet in one hand. This time she did not recoil when he looked up and smiled. She gave a small nod of her head in acknowledgment, and he winked. He turned to talk to another boy then walked out of sight. Mehar’s heart sank. She’d become obsessed with him. Watching from a safe distance but creating wild meetings in her imagination.

She heard the doorbell and a muffled conversation. Then her mother called her name. As she descended the stairs, a pair of jeans and a brown jacket came into view. Her heart stopped. She held her breath. It was him – at the door, her door, standing looking up at her. She gripped the banister hoping not to faint.

“Mehar, this young man says you have something of his. A textbook from school. Go

and fetch it.”

Mehar could see her mother talking, her words in her ears but her mind could not


Her mother’s voice rose. “Mehar, do as you are told. Hurry.”

Turning around in a daze, Mehar tried to think. In her bedroom she emptied her backpack and found a geography book then hugged it to the chest. Walking slowly down the stairs once more, her eyes were fixed on his. Her mouth dry. He smiled and held out his hand. She offered the book, and their fingers touched. She felt a piece of paper slip into her palm. She grasped it. Afraid her mother would notice.

“Thank you for keeping it for me. I’d never be able to do my homework without it,


He knows my name. She could only nod. He turned said goodbye and her mother shut

the door before tutting at her daughter and disappearing into the kitchen. Mehar walked back upstairs, anxious to see what was on the slip of paper. With her bedroom door closed she read the words, over and over.

Meet me on the west corner of Aspen Way in thirty minutes.

There’s no way I can get out of the house! It’s impossible. A single tear roiled down her cheek. The bedroom door opened, to reveal her mother standing with hands on hips.

“Well, I don’t see you working on geography homework.”

“No, Ma, I finished it earlier.”

“Well, in that case take out the garbage and roll the bin to the street for the morning.”

Mehar bit her lip to resist a smile of joy. She could get out of the house now. Keeping her excitement in check, she followed her mother down the stairs into the kitchen, gathered up the trash bags and exited by the back door. She dropped the bags into the large, wheeled bin and opened the garden gate. Resisting the urge to run, she set the bin at the curb then turned to her left. She could see a shape leaning against a lamppost. Her breath came in little gasps as she approached him.

His deep-toned voice made shivers go up her spine. “You made it. I wasn’t sure you could get away.”

“I can’t stay long. I’ll be missed.”

“I understand. A friend’s sister has the same problem. I asked why you never came out.

Do you mind?”

“No, not at all. My life is different and difficult. Thank you for asking me. I’m sorry I don’t know your name and was puzzled you knew mine.”

“Well, such a pretty girl is hard to ignore. I’m David. You must forgive me. I asked around about you. Got my mates to meet outside your house until I came up with a plan…but I’m not a stalker, I promise.”

Mehar felt so alive and free. He stepped forward took her hand and kissed her lips.

Later, she would think she dreamed it all. Walking back into the kitchen her mother questioned what took so long.

“The bin fell over, Ma. I had to grab all the contents and put them back in.”

The Day of The Dead

By John Wheeler

One terrible day, the world went insane.

The laws of nature would not be the same.

No warning went out, there just was no time.

The dead would rise up, on people they’d dine.

Dismay in the streets, alarm in the homes.

The dead eating people, down to their bones.

The dead never stop, they keep on coming.

While those still alive, just kept on running.

For many long hours, survivors would hide.

Humanity hurt, but they were alive.

They would make shelters, on mountain tops high.

Or deep underground, where children would cry.

At midnight the dead, flopped to the ground.

Discarded like trash, the dead did abound.

No reason nor cause; no explanation.

Those left did a cheer to their salvation.

Perhaps Mother Earth, had just had enough,

of pollution, smog, and other bad stuff.

And so, she hit back, with ardor and dread.

So, people recall, The day of the Dead.

'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 First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd Reviewed by Mandy Eve-Barnett This was an exceptional narrative, especially as its theme is a subject I love. Imagine you live more than one life in parallel? Most of us never knowing about the other life, oblivious to it. But Lauren does know and that is what makes this book so remarkable. It is captivating.

Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett I thoroughly enjoyed this narrative of England woollen mills in post war. Authentic language and fashion of the era, great characters and a plot that kept me guessing. DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS (2022) by Sue Lynn Tan Review by Lana O’Neill Did your mother ever tell you to ‘get your head out of the clouds’? If so, then Daughter of the Moon Goddess is for you (just don’t tell mom). The story of Xingyin, born in the Pure Light Palace to Chang’e, the Moon Goddess, is one of fantasy, magic, sacrifice, and romance. And as with all enticing stories, a compelling conflict and a fateful decision hooks the reader before the end of the first chapter. Xingyin sets out on a quest into unknown kingdoms of the Immortal Realm. And it is through her eyes that our senses experience Tan’s mythical world in this debut novel. The lyrical quality of her writing creates an ethereal effect which transports the reader into the world of immortals. Imagine summoning a cloud, stepping on, and being whisked away from danger into another realm. I can already see a movie or a six-part series on Netflix!

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:

PO Box 57083 | Sherwood Park, Alberta | T8A 5L7

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