top of page

Newsletter August 2021

Newsletter August 2021

“A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through their mesh of prejudice, some paint it with their own delight. A story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. Only then can he accept wonders.” — John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

Editor's Note:

The Strathcona Writers Muse is a newsletter for 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.

Note that submissions are available only to members of the WFSC

Important Dates

Virtual Sharing Meeting online

Next date August 3, 2021

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

Next Board Meeting: August 10, 2021

Newsletter Submission Deadline: August 27, 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, 7:00 pm

Reply to the link on the WFSC website

This Month's Submissions

Role reversal

We care for our young

Then they care for us.

As parents

Caring must be

Tempered with

Teaching independence

As children

Caring must be

Respectful of

Maintaining independence.

Marilyn Spilchen


Sweet Memories

September 19, 2016

By Jessica Roberts

The heaviness.

The shortness of my breath,

The burning behind my eyes,

Hard to breathe, hard to see.

Can’t focus, can’t think.

The day looms over in burning anticipation.

As sorrows fly high in the sky,

And memories flare up from dormancy,

There is a wonder etched in heartache at how things could’ve been.

Unbury the treasure from the sand,

The sweet memories cannot be forgotten,

Hold em’ tight, hold em’ close.

Get myself through the day.


By Karen Probert

Robyn awoke suddenly from a deep sleep to fully aware. But of what?

Soft aqua curtains over a white roller shade gently gently billowed out in a soft breeze. Her dog, Josh, was snuffling in his sleep as always. There was a scent of vanilla.

Robyn lay still as her heartbeats calmed and her eyes adjusted to the half-light. With her left hand she stroked Josh's soft fur. He was the only thing left from her past life.

The memory crept back of the young cop, Mina, asking if she had a father. "Yeah. somewhere. I don't know where he lives. Every month Mom an envelope from him with stuff for Jamie and me and a cheque. I don't know him. His name is James Calder. Will I have to live with him now?"

"Don't know, honey, but we need to find him and let him know your Mom and Jamie are gone. You're only thirteen - too young to be on your own."

That had been three months ago and Robyn's whole life had changed that day. Josh was her only piece of that past life. Like a stuck recording in her head she heard her words, 'You sit in front, Jamie. I want to keep Josh calm until we get home.' If Jamie had been in the back seat it would have been him here now, not her. That was all mixed up in her mind because it had been her turn for the front seat and neither of them, not ever before, had given up their turn to sit up front with Mom.

Robyn rolled onto her side to pull Josh into a cuddle. He licked her nose, and then settled again. Robyn knew from the psychologist she was seeing that guilt over the decision to sit in the back seat might crop up for a long time, especially in dreams, but that it was part of her mind trying to sort out everything now that the pace had slowed. So many things had happened so fast: the out-of-control truck careening down the hill, the noise, the blood, the ambulance, the news that Mom and Jamie hadn't survived cops, doctors, social workers, a foster family for six weeks and then moving here.

Dad had been great - patient and very calm. He answered every question, even when they were blurted out from pain or fear. He sat with her at the lawyers office when she found out her home had to be sold and she'd have to change schools, leaving all her friends behind. He helped her make decisions about what to sell, what to keep in storage, what to bring here. He let her cry. And rant. He even cried with her once.

Then Robyn remembered that today Nadine had booked off work to take her to the new Junior High to register. Then they'd go to buy school supplies, clothes and shoes. Robyn planned to talk to the psychologist later about Nadine. Mom had always talked about Dad as if he were some kind of money-mad control freak. But Nadine seemed to really love him. She didn't seem under his control at all. She has an important job, great clothes, a deep-throated genuine laugh, a sad look in her eyes when she looked at Robyn but thought Robyn wouldn't notice. The phone Dad had given Robyn had Nadine's cell programmed in along with his because when he was out of town Nadine and Robyn were supposed to keep in touch during the day.

Nadine had said, "I don't know how to be a step-mother. I've never been a mother. I guess we'll figure this out together. Are you okay with that?"

Sometimes Robyn thought it was working. Today would be a test as she'd never spent a whole day with just Nadine.

Now light was filtering into her room and she could hear sounds of Dad and Nadine moving around in their master suite. Robyn decided to get up. With her own bathroom she didn't have to share she could be showered and dressed in no time to have breakfast with Dad before he left for the airport. She'd plan to smile and wear something pretty so he wouldn't worry. The psychologist said that sometimes smiling, even when you don't feel like it, helps to improve your mood as it makes other people feel good and that lightens up everything. Today Robyn decided to see if that would really work.


Darkness behind me

Fingers of black

Creeping along the cracks

Afraid to move

Knowing I must enter

Fear gripping my center

Where is the light?

To guide my way

From night to day

One step echoes

To me shadows cling

Covering fear I sing

Enveloped in black

Hands outstretched

Slime touched, I retched

Running to the light again

Come another day

Into this archway

When my heart is brave

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 Valley Time Forgot (The Whipple Wash Chronicles #1)


Book review by Mandy Eve Barnett:

A delightfully imaginative story that envelopes the reader into a magical world of imps, elves, forest and aquatic creatures. There is good tension throughout and the reader is propelled to read the next chapter.

THE OUTSIDER (2018) by Stephen King Review by Lana O’Neill Stephen King has written over 60 novels since 1967 and I am reluctant to admit that this is the first one I’ve read (except for his non-fiction bestseller, On Writing, which I’ve enjoyed twice). My only excuse would be that I’ve watched several of the movies adapted from his books and all of them left me with plenty of heebie jeebies and no desire to taunt my imagination any further. That said, reading The Outsider was an absolute treat. From the horrific beginning to the shocking end, King’s telling of the supernatural is paced as a page turner without resorting to short chapters cut off in mid-reveal. His experienced hand effectively colors the small town of Flint City, Oklahoma and its residents so that both are as real as you and I, while juxtaposing them against the unreal and leaving the reader to wonder, if something could actually be lying in wait under the bed. Classic Stephen King! 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

Publications available from our foundation. Anyone can purchase these works through our website at

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:

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 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 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: Website: (

Copyright © *2021

Writers Foundation of Strathcona County All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

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

Want to change how you receive these emails?

7 views0 comments


bottom of page