So long Strathcona County Library…

With a mixture of sadness and excitement, my last day at Strathcona County Library Strathcona-1draws to a close.  I’ve had a wonderful four-month chapter here at the library – I’ve met so many wonderful people and attended some truly lovely and meaningful events.

Thank you to all who’ve come to me for consultations and evening presentations.  Thank you to the great staff of this great library.  It’s been an honour and a privilege.

Yesterday, I made the trek from my alma mater, nearby Salisbury Composite High School, to the front of my adolescent home in the “bird” section of Sherwood Park.  It took all of twelve minutes to traipse across a field I remember walking so many times, many of them solitary, even lonely.  Twelve minutes to think and sort and reflect on the way to school, and another twelve on the way home.  I passed by the homes where I babysat, where my first boyfriend lived, and over to my friend Jon’s.  I tried to find the footprints of that adolescent girl:

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But of course, they are gone.

 

 

I sang a few snippets of songs, just as I used to do when I was fifteen.  And Beth Nielsen Chapman‘s wonderful ballad, “Years,” came to mind:

“And I thought about years/ How they take so long, and they go so fast.”

Years have come and gone since I lived here in the Park.  I wrote some of my most wretched love songs and poetry.  And I met my dear, dear friend and mentor, my teacher, Duane Stewart, himself a singer-songwriter with the stage moniker of Duane Davis, in a past life.Slide37 copy

Suffice to say, he changed mine.  I am a writer, a poet, a lover of literature, because of him and our English classes together at SAL.  I am better because I know Mr. Stewart.

Not to wax too sentimental or nostalgic, though I still am and am not that lonely adolescent girl, I leave this place with a happier heart.  This residency has been a homecoming of sorts, a chance to relive the old and welcome the new.  I have more stories to tell because of my time here at SCL, maybe some songs and poems, too.

I wish I could find those twelve minutes twice every day, five times a week to do some reflecting and soul-searching.  I wish we all could.

I hope we all do.

Namaste.

Writing Quote:  “The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering.’ So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.”
– Milan Kundera, novelist (b. 1929)
Writing Tip: “Sentimental fiction is a kind of pablum: Excessive amounts can spoil the appetite for reality, or at least for more fibrous forms of art.” – Zoe Heller, English journalist and novelist  (For further insights, see this excellent NYT article on sentimentality.)

Sentimental Writing Prompt:  She meant more to him than the stars ever could. (Your challenge: not to create pablum.)

Nostalgic Writing Prompt:  What is your character nostalgic for and why?

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