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Muse Newsletter July 2021

Editor's Note:

The Strathcona Writers Muse is a newsletter to members of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County. It also provides an opportunity for members to publish their works. Anything published in our newsletter is eligible to receive a publishing credit. Since very few, if any, submissions are refused, it is a wonderful way to publish your work. We accept poems and short stories of 1000 words or less. Longer pieces can be accommodated if they can be published in parts. Works can be essays and opinion pieces as well as short stories and poems. We are always in need of new items for each month so don't hesitate if you have something we can put into our publication.

Send submissions to care of Henry Martell, editor.

Important Dates

Virtual Sharing Meeting online

Next date July 6, 2021

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

Next Board Meeting: July 13, 2021

Newsletter Submission Deadline: Jul 26, 2021

Monthly online Creative Writing Workshops

Held last Saturday of every month at 12:30 to 2:30 pm

Go to the website to register - click the RSVP and the link will be emailed to you prior to the workshop.

Poets in the Park

Jun 16, 2021 seven pm

Reply to the link on the WFSC website


Written by Lana O’Neill

Orange-flavored Tang,

A full jug in the fridge

On the lowest shelf

Ginger snap cookies,

The crunchy ones; inside the

Belly of a ceramic Friar Tuck

At the Edge of the counter

Cuckoo clock,

Chirping each new hour

Chains and weights crawling up and down

A white wall, daring to be reset

White gas-burning stove,

Burners lit with grandpa’s match

Silver percolator bubbling coffee

Seen through the glass handle on top

Shiny kitchen table,

Butted against three single hung windows

Unadorned except for Grandpa and a deck of cards

In his chair, closest to the only counter

Great grandpa Harry,

In his 90’s, sipping a glass of whiskey

Seated at the table across from Grandpa

Built-in cabinet wall,

Behind Great grandpa Harry

Showcasing Grandma’s collectible

Buttons and Bows depression glass dishes

Three o’clock Sunday dinners,

Potatoes- boiled, mashed or mmm, roasted

Sweetened plums in jars, fresh creamfor plump saskatoons

Picked from the river valley two blocks away

Grandma’s voice,

A soprano, directing traffic

Humming, singing, calling me lovey

Grandma’s kitchen

Room for two appliances and a kitchen sink

Seven children and twenty-five grandchildren,

And hundreds of memories


Eric strode across the field carrying his stovepipe shako under his arm. He was dressed in an 1812 full British Infantry uniform that displayed the rank of Lieutenant. The officer had crossed the soggy field to wish his friend, Travis, good luck in today’s battle before returning to his unit. Eric found Second Lieutenant Travis McCrae with the horses having a hand rolled cigarette. Travis was extremely fit, a shade over six feet tall, with wavy auburn hair, a wiry beard, and brown eyes. He developed his etched muscles from years of handling horses and was an exceptionally good rider. Travis nodded to the slightly taller Eric as he approached and stubbed the cigarette out. Eric, too, was an accomplished rider with a build that matched Travis. However, he was blonde, clean shaven, and had blue eyes.

“You ready for today?” Travis asked seriously.

“Yes and the boys with me are too. Just wanted to say good luck on the field,” he replied. They shook hands. They would have talked more but Eric had to get back to his unit.

“Keep your head down and stay safe,” called Travis as Eric walked away. Eric turned, smiled, and waved. He hiked back to his platoon and mounted his steed. His put on his shako and took his place at the head of the platoon.

It was a nice morning, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The French Army of Napoleon in their traditional blue uniforms had arrived from the south and were in battle formation. The British army in the traditional red tunic and grey pantaloons were also in combat formation. The battle began with cannons firing at each other followed by the foot soldiers charging. Eric’s dragoons covered one flank, while Travis and his fellow dragoons covered the other. The advancing French suddenly stopped their advance and executed a volley of deadly musket fire toward the still advancing British before they were ready. The deadly volley tore into the ranks killing, wounding, maiming. Men fell, dark red blossoming across their uniforms. Then the French Calvary charged through their infantry lines. The British ranks countered by quickly forming into squares to repel the charging steeds and riders. However, the gifted riders peeled off just as the squares formed leaving the Red infantry packed together and at the mercy of French musket and cannon fire. The barrage was merciless! Eric and his platoon charged into the fray from the flanks on their horses, but they too were cut down. Eric fell from his mount after what looked like being struck twice in the chest. All seemed lost for the British that day.

Suddenly a loud voice through a fifty-watt megaphone bellowed and blared across the battlefield.


Eric picked himself up off the ground and inspected his tunic. One of the three bags of fake blood he had strapped to his chest under his uniform had not detonated. He took off his soaking tunic and removed the bag. He flexed his shoulders and checked himself for any broken bones. His upper body was sore, but his self diagnostic revealed no broken clavicle, radius, or carpus.

He smiled. “A good day. Nothing broken. More work for me tomorrow,” he thought to himself. Eric loved riding and doing stunt work. He found his shako and sauntered across the field looking to find his fellow stuntman Travis. They had agreed to meet at the South Field, and then go for a quick pint before shooting their next scene. “Lights, Camera, Battle,” he thought to himself as he strode across the field.

Ocean Memories

Cleansing, crashing, spraying

Waves of emotion, of memory

Washes over me

Here my childhood is close, my parenthood too

Cleansing, crashing, spraying

Laughter, sand and sun

Ice cream, castles, and seashells

Small hands, old hands together

Cleansing, crashing, spraying

Rock pools, creatures and fishing

Hot sand, pebbles and sea glass

Chatter and companionable silence

Cleansing, crashing, spraying

Memories of jot and of loss

Wishing to return to yesteryear

To family and the ocean

Mandy Eve-Barnett

'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 QUEEN’S GAMBIT (1983) by Walter Tevis Review by Lana O’Neill As an eight-year-old, my biggest worry was catching the right bus from school (especially in the winter) and my biggest hope was getting a singing stint on Kiddies on Camera with my best friend, Michelle. By the time Walter Tevis’ protagonist, Beth Harmon, was eight she was alone, living a flat-lined existence in an orphanage. Her biggest worry and hope were one and the same- ensuring she got her daily allotment of little green pills (‘vitamins’ to the orphans, tranquilizers to you and me). The Queen’s Gambit is a story of an unremarkable girl who found the game of chess amid the unpromising circumstances life threw at her. This cerebral game is written into the story like a secondary character and readers may become lost in the terminology, if not, the strategies. For my part, watching the Netflix television series of the same name beforehand, went a long way towards my understanding of the game and thus my enjoyment of the plot. The book, though, provides a window to Beth’s thoughts, thus the key to understanding her journey inside a world she mastered to become more than remarkable. Saying Goodbye is Easy by Kathie Sutherland Review by Mandy Eve-Barnett A compelling, complex, and enlightening narrative, full of truths, struggles, and internal emotions. Every reader will find a connection with the struggles, highs, and lows of the narrator. A courageous, heartfelt, and revealing story, told in short stories and reflections. This book will change your outlook on your life and your life's path. THE KITE RUNNER (2003) by Khaled Hosseini Review by Lana O’Neill This debut novel of Khaled Hosseini is a poignant tale of loyalty and betrayal before, during, and after the turmoil of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the eighties. Hosseini, an Afghan-American born in 1965 in Kabul, is more than qualified to write the voice of first-person narrator, Amir. We first meet Amir as a grown man but he immediately whisks us back to his childhood so that we may understand him better and why he must try to be good again. Hosseini colors the story of Amir by immersing the reader into the Afghan culture, including its food, people, language, religion, and many more delightful depictions. The reader, though, is not spared the horrors of innocents in a war-torn country, especially as Amir comes to realize that ‘sometimes bad people stay bad’. The Kite Runner reads like a trial for the human condition where courage is the key to redemption and thus, freedom.An emotional read, for sure Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce Review by Mandy Eve Barnett Absolutely loved this book! Great characters, story, tension, discovery, and the power of finding your true self. The descriptions transport you to the locations. I thoroughly recommend it. THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY (2020) by Matt Haig Review by Lana O’Neill Have you ever wondered, ‘what if I’d chosen differently?’ I’m sure we’ve all contemplated a crossroad from our past, the ensuing decision, and its’ aftermath. Be it good or bad, to be human is to have regrets. How else can we look back on them during times of inner reflection and make judgments of ourselves? But let’s step beyond reality for a moment. What if you could go back, with your current knowledge, and choose another path at that crossroad? Robert Frost analogies aside, the idea is intriguing if not a bit intoxicating. The Midnight Library, by bestselling author Matt Haig, is a journey into this very idea. Haig winds this never-ending philosophical question into the story of Nora Seed, a young woman lost amid the regrets in her life. A fantastical library is the portal through which she can live that choice not taken in an attempt to fix her original mistakes. Reality may not offer second chances on such a grand scale and maybe it shouldn’t. But readers will surely find themselves looking inward as they follow Nora’s journey. Her ultimate decision will reward the reader with a sense of enlightenment and purpose.

Make sure to grab the newest writing prompt book published by The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.

Available for purchase:

Amazon POD:

Other publications from WFSC:

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County 2020 - 2021 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 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 Pamela J. Winter Director Poets in the Park Co-ordinator Guy Chambers Director Poets in the Park Co-ordinator Amanda O'Driscoll Director Instagram Coordinator Library Liaison Email:

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Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


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