May 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.
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.
Writers Circle Virtual Sharing Meeting online
Next date May 2, 2023
RSVP on the website and the link will be emailed to you prior to the meeting.
Next Board Meeting: May 9, 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 May 17, 2023
Children's Creative Writing Workshop
Second Thursday of each month
Next Meeting May 11, 2023
Reply to the link on our Website
This Month's Submissions
by Karen Probert
"Mrs. Armour will come on the bus. She'll get off the middle door. Sit on this bench until she gets here. Don't go with anyone else. She'll be here in about ten minutes. Promise me, Mika, That you'll sit here. You'll sit still."
Mika watched her father. He straightened his tie. Then brushed his hands down his pant legs and the sleeves of his blue shirt. He took three steps and turned to her. "Don't talk to anyone, Mika. Okay?"
Mika clamped her lips together. Papa came back to smooth her hair with his hand. "I can't be late today. I love you. Bye." And he strode away down the sidewalk. He weaved between people until even sitting up so straight she ached Mika couldn't see his head anymore.
Mika sat still. She felt odd. She'd been alone before, in her room with it's pale mauve walls, pretty bedspread and all her stuffies and toys, in the backyard with Mummy's flowers, the sprinkler on to run through and with her bike in the driveway. Even once at Grandma's, in front of the TV, while Grandma went next door to help her friend who fell and had to go to a hospital in an ambulance. But never like this. Never alone when she really wasn't. There were people everywhere here, and noises - voices and cars, doors opening letting music spill out onto the sidewalk, some squirrels in the park across the street calling to each other. A man's throaty laugh startled her but he was walking fast with friends so the scariness left as quickly as they passed her. Her thumb kept creeping towards her mouth but she dropped her hand when she noticed. 'Five year olds don't suck their thumbs even when they're frightened.'
Mika wanted to look behind her but Papa had said to sit still. Her hands wouldn't stay still so she tucked them under her knees. She had to sit still but she could look around. No one had told her to keep her head still. 'If I have to sit still I can still look at things. I'll look for red things because red is my favourite colour.' Mika had on her red sweater and her lucky red socks pulled all the way up. A lady across the street had on a red leather jacket. Mika saw a red bus coming. 'Mrs. Armour will get off this bus. Maybe she'll be wearing her red and white scarf today.' As the red bus swooshed past the hot air made Mika squeeze her eyes shut. She watched a woman walk past with a small brown dog wearing a red collar.
Blue was her next favourite colour so she counted the sky and the laundromat sign at the corner, the soft, pale baby blanket sticking out of a stroller and a cable -knit sweater draped over a woman's shoulders. There were lots of navy pants and a dark blue trench coat on a tall, bearded man who stopped, "You okay, little girl? Just waiting for your Mama?"
Mika kept her teeth clamped together and just nodded. But she heard him mumble, "Stupid parents leaving a little kid on a bus stop bench."
Mika saw some socks she thought were called turquoise and a baby in a yellow hat. No one was wearing green. She was tired of this game and couldn't concentrate. Tears were making her eyes itch so she kept blinking. Her hands had fallen asleep and were tingling. Her mouth was all dry inside when she tried to lick her lips. She crossed and uncrossed her ankles but her feet felt funny from being still so long.
A black lady in a long skirt sat down on the other end of the bench. she loaded packages onto the bench beside Mika. Mika scooched over to the very end of the seat. The lady said, "I got lotsa room. The bus be here real soon. This one's always late, don't ya know?"
Mika smiled a tight smile then looked the other way. she saw a bus coming but maybe it would just go by like the other one. 'How long will the bus be? Will I have to sit here into the night? I need to pee. Papa said to sit here until Mrs. Armour comes. I promised him. I don't like sitting here.'
With a great hot whoosh the big red bus stopped. Mika watched the middle doors open. Brown men's loafers came out. Big, loose white sneakers with skinny legs above them came out. Blue and white striped flip-flops came out and then some brown shoes.
"There you are sweetums! Sorry I took so long. Darned bus was late. Your Papa couldn't be late for this job interview. You're a very good girl to sit so long and wait for me. You're a perfect gem! Are you ready to go home or should we get ice cream as a treat?"
With round brown eyes filling with tears and a tiny smile, Mika looked at Mrs. Armour in her red and white scarf. "I really need to pee."
My Reign Ends by Mandy Eve-Barnett.
I survey my domain with pride and strike a beetle scurrying across the floor. The spark of light is brief and tiny, wholly unsatisfactory. I am in wait of bigger prey. Night falls above me. I sense the coolness of the air in the catacombs. The dim lit corridors of my domain are under a city bustling with humans living their pointless lives. They make goals, hoard money, breed and expect long lives. They cannot comprehend other existences, other lives under their very feet.
The construction over decades above me of buildings and roads impacted my domain upon occasion. It was saved by archeologists and professors, sitting historical interest and the preservation of relics. They are unaware of my presence for I am careful not to prey on a crowd, but on individuals or, sometimes pairs of humans – they are unsuspecting victims of my power.
It is my delight, my purpose. My first visitors were pallbearers and wailing family members laying to rest their relatives when the catacombs were first built. Their digging released me from my confinement in the dark earth. I struck the lone mourner, the curious youths, and the solitary caretakers. It was not my intention to kill them, merely make them bow down to my superiority, have them worship me as is my due. Instead, they screamed in terror, died at my feet, or fled the catacombs never to be seen again. I heard their whispers of a devil haunting the resting place of loved ones. Their fear at entering alone.
I have lain in wait for decades for new mourners, but bodies are no longer buried here. Bereft at the lack of entertainment I travel the corridors, searching for a misguided soul. Rats scurry ahead of me bursting them into flames brings little satisfaction now. Wait, was that an echo? Is there someone here at long last? I tip my horned head to one side. Yes, there are footsteps and even more exciting solitary ones. Who is brave enough to enter my domain alone? I hear a low chanting, then the stench of frankincense floats along the corridor.
This is no ordinary visitor, but one meaning harm to my existence. I retreat as my form shivers at the incantation. My whole being loosens. Then I see him, swinging the incense thurible on a long chain, a large cross at his throat, and another held high in one hand. The priest wears his cloth of office, its black hem swishing along the rock path. His voice grows louder, the aroma is cloying and bitter. My form is splitting, fissures open. All I feel is excruciating pain. I am diminishing, dividing into fragments. His words, the aroma, the holy relics are exorcising me. I have no strength, no way to escape. Trapped by this man’s religious mantra, the phrases are destroying me. My last thought is anger through the pain. I am demon. I was power. Then I cease to exist.
CONNECTION by Lana O’Neill
Irene stopped tapping her foot long enough to steal another glance at her watch. Her connecting flight was due to leave. She shut her eyes and unclenched her fists then started to massage both temples while taking deep breaths through her nose. Relax. It’ll work out.
Her eyes popped open to see the stern face of a security screener. “May I see your boarding pass, passport?” The woman pointed a gloved finger at a plastic bin, “and you’ll need to remove your watch.”
Irene forced a smile and surrendered the documents before snapping off her watch and tossing it in the bin with her wallet, phone and shoes. The woman scanned the boarding pass and looked up immediately. “They’ve been paging you, even came to security. This flight is leaving.”
Irene flushed but controlled her voice. “This is all I have to put through. I can still make it.”
The screener pursed her lips and returned the documents. “Maybe,” then pushed the bin through the scanner. Airport security had Irene through in minutes giving her a small measure of hope. She grabbed everything and sprinted in her socks down the tiled corridor dodging people pulling suitcases or children or both. And for the first time today she arrived to no lineup. The gate was closed, the seating area was empty and the departures monitor confirmed the worst. Joe would beat her home and she wouldn’t be there to meet him. As if to prove the point her phone pinged. A text from Joe: Just leaving. I’ll text you when we’re on the ground. Irene dropped onto a nearby chair. The strength that supported her this past weekend began to slip away. She risked everything to take this trip and find Pearl and maybe, just maybe fix a terrible wrong. Failing wasn’t even on the radar. Her hands started to shake and pent up tears fell silently onto her jeans. Stupid…stupid fool. Irene wiped her eyes and stared at Joe’s message. The truth was not an option and she was a terrible liar. No, she was a great liar and she had a 25-year old secret under her belt to prove it. I gotta find another flight but I need more time. She scanned the airport departures monitor looking for an answer. Finding none she returned her gaze to the blinking cursor on her phone and sighed before dropping her head into her hands.
“Um, are you Mrs. Drake?” A young man carrying a worn leather satchel stood in front of Irene. She looked up, frowning but then started to smile. “It’s Miss. And yes, yes I am.”
The man’s eyes grew wide. “Wow, I can’t believe I found you.”
Irene jumped up and fist pumped the air. “You’re from the airline. I can’t believe you waited.”
“Airline? Heck no. I’ve never flown in my life.” He had an easy smile but his eyes kept darting past her.
Irene, now confused, glanced backwards and finding nothing fixed an impatient gaze on the young man. “Okay, so how do you know me?”
His eyes finally settled on her and he pulled out a familiar looking piece of paper and waved it at her. “I don’t but I’ve been trying to catch up to you ever since you left this at my house this morning. How do you know my mom and where is she?”
'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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
Watching You by Lisa Jewell
Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett
Well constructed story and plot with well rounded characters and an abundance of teasers of who done it. The interaction between the characters was fun to read and the ending a surprise. I recommend this book highly.
Insomnia by Kelly Covic
Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett
What a wonderful collection of paranormal stories. The author takes you into a world of each character with expert ease. I particularly enjoyed Music Box, it has a great twist and Idle Thursday, because its subject matter is one of my interests. I recommend losing yourself in these narratives.
Publications available from our foundation.
Anyone can purchase these works through our website at wfscsherwoodpark.com
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 Kindle: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08JPKPV62
Available for purchase:
Writers Foundation of Strathcona County 2022 - 2023 Board Members and contact information:
Joe McKnight President email@example.com Bethany Horne Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org Never Been Better - Editor Linda Pedley Treasurer Web Site Administration email@example.com 780-445-0991 Mandy Barnett Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org Writing Circle Host/ Writing Prompts/ Newsletter Editor Karen Probert Past President email@example.com 780-464-6632 Beth Rowe Director Your Lifetime of Stories Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org 780-718-7253 Henry Martell Director Newsletter Coordinator email@example.com Amanda O'Driscoll Director Instagram Coordinator Library Liaison firstname.lastname@example.org
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