“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
The Strathcona Writers Muse is a forum for members of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County to provide an opportunity for members to publish their works. Anything published in our letter is eligible to receive a publishing credit. We accept poems and short stories of 1000 words or less normally but longer pieces can be accommodated if they can be published in parts. 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 email@example.com care of Henry Martell, editor.
Writers Circle Virtual Sharing Meeting online
Next date November 2, 2021
RSVP on the website and the link will be emailed to you prior to the meeting.
Next Board Meeting: November 9, 2021
Newsletter Submission Deadline: November 26, 2021
Monthly online Creative Writing Workshops
Held last Saturday of every month from 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
Poets in the park meets the third Wednesday of every month online.
Reply to the link on the WFSC website
Next scheduled meeting Nov 17, 2021
Children's Creative Writing Workshop
Second Thursday of each month
Next Meeting November 18, 2021
Reply to the link on our Website
WFSC Christmas Party (Virtual)
December 14, 2021 7 pm
Members to have food and drink of their choice and to read a winter themed story. It has been suggested that in lieu of the ten dollar gift, that a donation to a charity be given.
This Month's Submissions
On October 12th 2021 the Writers Foundation held its annual general meeting. All members have been sent the minutes if they wish a more detailed account of the meeting. In general, it was a successful year again despite the covid restrictions. Our meeting, like all others, was held virtually. All committees reported on their years activities and for all, it was successful. Words in the park was virtual again this year and included workshops that were well attended as well.
Elections were held for the board of directors and Mandy Barnett and Joe McNight were re-elected as Secretary and President for three more terms.
Henry Martell, Beth Rowe, Amanda O'Driscoll and Pamela Beattie were re-elected for 1 year terms as directors.
John Wheeler was elected as a board member for a one year term.
Guy Chambers resigned as director but will continue in his role with Poets in the Park.
An Empty Space
a day in the back
a kid standing in a field
a bare canvas
hands on the head
blind to the edge
dry to the bone
as to one’s alone
still in the hills
foot drag about
of thoughts faraway
on one’s keeping
loosen eyes drifting
cold shoulder grasping
an empty space
doesn’t have a place
doesn’t have a face
one’s toe knotting
somewhere out there
there’s a voice to listen to
out of the near
naked to the day
a call to the ear
not what matters to the who
stand on your feet
get along with life
and get back to it again
By Guy Chambers
Written by Lana O’Neill
New backyard garden
hot afternoon sun bursts forth
april seedings harden into
ripe red romas
rainbow husks and kernels ripen
entwine vines with tendrils
downy pumpkin blooms
orange crunchy carrots
sugarcoating pink tongues
thanksgiving table displays
large yellow sunflowers
scarlet runner beans
invite hummingbirds to feast
giving bounty from the earth
used backyard garden
ROAD TRIP THOUGHTS by Mandy Eve-Barnett
Road trips are a joy, incorporating
New places explored
Frequent wildlife encounters
Cherished memories to share
Increased expectation and excitement
A check list of essentials made
Local sights and attractions investigated
Reservations confirmed and paid
Double checked suitcase contents
Cooler bag filled with bottled water
Snacks bought to dispense
Extra footwear, jackets and sunglasses
Early morning start, packing the trunk
A double check before we drive away
Puppies walked, fed, then harnessed in
Breakfast our first stop along the way
Routes taken – off highway & gravel
Multiple stops for photo opportunities
This is the only way to travel
Wildlife and scenery abound
Arrival at our lodgings, truck unpacked
Dogs walked, fed then settled
Organizing of our spaces, preferences known
Comfortable companionship not meddled
Evening meal eaten, then to relax
Tomorrow’s adventure discussed
Reading and writing commence
Time is not rushed
An easy morning routine
New adventures and sights shown
Snacks gathered and packed
Our destination known
'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
THE MURDER ROOM (2003) by P.D. JAMES
Review by Lana O’Neill
There can be no confusion about the order of events in this murder mystery written by P.D. James. The Murder Room is divided into three headings: the people and places, the first victim, the second victim and the third victim. A logical mind will appreciate this and sink into their armchair, detecting with confidence alongside Commander Adam Dalgleish and his Special Investigation Squad from New Scotland Yard. Red herrings abound, as with any mystery to be solved. But for me, the hope of aiding and abetting Dalgleish’s investigation vanished into the maze of James’ articulate and extensive descriptions within the first hundred pages (a red herring in and of itself). By the time the first victim met his demise, I was playing a game of cat and mouse with character motives and more theories than my memory could process. The thrill of the climax was eclipsed by how I felt when it crept up on me during the wee hours and chilled my spine despite the heat of a cozy blanket. James successfully immersed me into the lives of her characters and as such, created a first-hand witness to a crime.
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (2008) by Neil Gaiman
Review by Lana O’Neill
Neil Gaiman teaches an excellent Masterclass on the art of storytelling. In it, he references his 2008 tale for children 10 and up (plus this adult), The Graveyard Book, when explaining character motivations and desires. He read an excerpt about how a human baby named Bod (short for Nobody) came to live in a graveyard while being raised by ghosts. I was immediately disappointed that I read that lesson at night because I couldn’t go to the library that instant to borrow it. But when I did get my hands on it and read through the fantasy/horror story, I was left absolutely enchanted by how Gaiman was able to invoke my long-gone child’s imagination and leave me with that sense of wonder undoubtedly reserved for his intended audience. Despite the title, this story is about living life to its fullest…a beautiful lesson to learn at any age.
OUR DARKEST NIGHT (2021) by Jennifer Robson
Review by Lana O’Neill
I met Jennifer Robson when she was promoting her 2014 book, Somewhere in France, during an author’s program through our Strathcona County library. I purchased a copy and went on to learn about a moment in time during the Great War while enjoying the story within about a woman’s desire for independence amid the confines of British polite society and the uncertainty of war. Robson’s most recent novel, Our Darkest Night, was found in the Hot Off the Express section of our Strathcona County library. I was immediately transported to 1940’s Venice during World War II and the world of an Italian Jewish woman named Antonina (Nina for most of the story). The skill to immerse the reader into a time and place through the eyes and emotions of her character is, at first, unnoticed. Only when feelings of despair, fear and utter sadness creep in during Nina’s moment in time amid the evils of the holocaust, can the reader appreciate (and in my case, step away for a breather) the commitment Jennifer Robson made to telling this story in such a way that only a very unfortunate few can verify.
Billy Summers by Stephen King
Simmering tension throughout with an unlikely friendship between a good 'bad' guy and a victim. King has accomplished a captivating narrative, with a glimpse at people in an underworld of hurt and money colliding with everyday life and its consequences.