It's been a busy spring and summer. My husband and I flew to Korea at the beginning of May. Korea has the longest purpose built bike trail in the world. After biking 650 km and staying in love hotels, we spent our last night on the 49th Floor! We took the overnight ferry across to Japan and spent the next two months biking around this amazing country visiting Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Koyoto, Saporo Island, Mount Fuji and Tokyo. This was yet another adventure of a life time.
Still with no time to write we spent July in Revelstoke looking after little Huxley as his parents worked very hard on their organic farm.
Returning to Canmore time has accelerated as we have caught up with friends, enjoyed our summer, biked, hiked, and climbed in our beautiful mountains.
Now it is time for my book, and my workshops. I am excited about my new talk 19th Oct in the Canmore library. Come watch slides, ask questions and learn to follow your dreams.
Not in Canmore? book me to come to your local library.
I had hoped to post a video of myself but like writing, technology is a slow learning process that for me, needs patience, persistence and resilience. This is true of most things in life!! Life is an exploration, success comes from learning, trying again and curiosity.
Come to my book launch this Saturday in beautiful Revelstoke library, send all your Revelstoke friends. Meanwhile I'll keep persisting and trying to figure out how to post my video on this blog!!
"bravo, bravo, bravo...you women are truly an inspiration. much love" Cori Brewster
"It was a great event. So good to hear both you and Katrina tell your stories about the development of your books." Anne Reid
"Congratulations on a very successful evening…..it was FABULOUS!! All three of you made significant and diverse contributions, leaving me wanting to read more by all! A very creative literary trio!! In addition to that you folks really inspired me to write more often." Bev Rowley
"It was such a heartfelt and inspiring evening! Can’t wait to read your book." Jess Mc Nally
LIt’s been a long winter. It came early November with short overcast days. The snow and frigid temperatures that made me wonder what I was doing in Kimberley. Why hadn’t I flown south with the other snow birds?
I sit in the rocking chair, snuggling my 19 month old grand-daughter.
“Book,” she says. I read her “Love you forever” by Robert Munsch, tears in my eyes by the end.
“More,” she says.
After another Dr. Seuss book, I ask her, “Do you want a pancake?” She nods her tiny head and her crystal blue eyes sparkle.
She helps me beat the egg, add the flour and pour the mixture onto the pan. I squeeze lemon juice, dribble on honey then watch her gobble it up.
Last fall, it was a no brainer when my daughter said she was going back to work and her partner a ski racing coach heading to Panorama five days a week. Both my husband and I jumped at the opportunity to look after her. When she arrived two months early, my friend said, “She couldn’t wait to be here.” She like all babies, was a miracle and needed to be nurtured and treasured.
Of course there were days in December when I wondered why I had disrupted my life. The previous year I had edited not only my life but my memoir throwing out worn out cloths and words. I had just published my memoir, "Circling the Edge" and it needed promotion.
Now it is the spring equinox, the snow is melting and I feel the soft earth under my feet. I have one month left with her. How I will miss her laugh and lust for life.
At the toddler tailgate party the other day, I chatted with the moms and dads of the toddlers who hugged one another a bit too tightly, splashed and ate the melting snow.
A mom came up to me “I finished your book. I absolutely loved it.” I hugged her.
I had thought my memoir would appeal to women of my age. I wrote it to honor women and mothers who give so much of themselves, who share their vulnerabilities with each other and honor their deep emotions.
How grateful I am for this unique opportunity to get to know my granddaughter and have my memoir appreciated. I am in the right place at the right time.
I surround myself with strong women, women who have broken the chains of their oppressive pasts, their insecurities and their toxic culture.
Women who embrace their remarkable bodies that come in all shapes and sizes; who reject the demand that only bodies shaped like barbie dolls are valued; who stretch, breathe deeply, and lovingly respect the temples their bodies are.
Women who delve into the darkness of their shadows, the emotional pustules that suppurate in their minds stealing their power, their strength and their dreams; who confront the painful wounds that keep them stuck as if a steel umbilical cord is tied to their pasts.
As we women cry, rage, the dragons and monsters within transform into friendly helpers, each with rich gifts, ready to support us at every turn on the bumpy road ahead.
Women around the globe seek to connect to their inner light and out of the ashes of patriarchy delicate shoots emerge with strong roots that delve deep into the recesses of mother earth. This new growth withstands the storms and the brutish footsteps trying to eliminate the light. These resilient women serve as beacons for others lost in the toxicity of victimhood.
“Until the lion learns to write every story will glorify the hunter.” African Proverb
Mr Criticism and Mr Anxiety two thickset bullies catch up with me as I drive toward the jagged Rocky Mountains. After facilitating a two day Conflict Resolution workshop for fifteen people for the Calgary Board of Education, I am content. I enjoyed young Devon 18 from Calgary and Kumar from India who ran his own business, spent many years in Japan and spoke several languages. He brought in a box of Robins donuts while another participant brought coffee. A first in my experience.
I watch the flaming sunset illumine the ridges, my hands on the steering wheel, my foot soft on the accelerator as a wave of exhaustion spreads across my eyes, weighs on my shoulders and abdomen. My thoughts churn. Anxiety is in the backseat while Criticism sits bolt upright, towering over me in the passenger seat. I jump when he jabs his spiky fingers into my right shoulder blade.
I know these two fellows well. They have been acquaintances of mine for as long as I can remember. The more I chase them away with pitchforks and hand grenades the more they pounce on me when I let my defences down. “How did you terrorists sneak into my car?” I ask.
With a sneer, criticism the smart Alex replies, “What’s the matter with you? I thought you’d be pleased to have company on the way home. We’ll keep you awake.”
“I am not happy. The last thing I need is your company.” I replied.
“Don’t you know you’re mother gave me the job of accompanying you through your life?” anxiety chimes in.
As I pass fields with golden hay bales, they frisk me and suck out my joy. Criticism carries on his relentless tirade, “Why did you tell that dumb story about your eleven month old daughter jumping out of her crib. That has nothing to do with conflict in the workplace.” He drains me of any feelings of wellbeing.
Anxiety chirps in, “How much money did you make? You spent over a week preparing for the two day workshop.”
“You spend all your time writing and creating workshops because you love it. Wilma how many times have I told you, you need a real job, one that pays? You’ll end up a bag lady with a shopping trolley, roaming Calgary’s frozen street ,” criticism continues.
Shivering I cower in my seat. Then something snaps. “Enough,” I yell. “How dare you berate me like that? You two have sucked enough of my life energy. It’s time for you to walk.” I pull over onto the shoulder, open the door and turf them onto the frozen verge.
“After all we have done to help you, how can you be so mean to us?” they whined.
I slammed the door and began to sing, “Joy to the world, all the boys and girls.” Lightness spread like a wave across my body. I nod my head to the music.
Then I imagined I heard couple of voices, melodic tones as if from angels. I looked around. There to my astonishment beaming at me, were two young women with olive skin, and dark brown eyes. “Where did you come from?” I asked.
“We have been here all the time. I am Curiosity and this is my dear friend Encouragement. Those two bullies drowned out our soft voices. We love to accompany you on your adventures,” Ms. Curiosity replied.
“We hang out in your writing room and whisper words of encouragement. We are totally present when you lose track of time and spend hours in preparation fascinated by presenting your material in a more meaningful way.” Ms Encouragement added.
And the three of us sang all the way to Canmore.
It’s a New Year. How do you handle new beginnings? New starts have been one of my life themes. Born in Scotland, I moved to India, Oman, New Zealand and Australia and settled in Canada.
Some of these moves pulsed with irrepressible life, and enticed me forward. Some were sucker holes well known to those of us who climb mountains - ominous storm clouds surround patches azure sky that lure the mountaineer upwards.
Many years ago I started out with my destination vivid in my mind’s eye. I’ll write a book, revise my first draft and soon I’ll be an author. Easy stuff, I thought. After all I had published several articles. So focused on the azure sky and the alluring taste of success my eyes were oblivious to the gathering tempest. My mother-in-law, my supportive friend for thirty-six years passed away from a sudden heart attack. This tragic loss deflected me from the book path to the poetry path.
On the poetry path many dragons threatened to devour my writing and my very being. Their voracious nightly attacks flooded my system with adrenaline. A fingerless male emerged from my depth and threatened to strangle me. How could my sensitive countenance hold such destructive self-doubting demons? My writing ground to a halt.
Oh so slowly, I remembered that as on the mountain I needed the support of others. With help I delved into my psyche, dialogued with my soul destroying demons, released my expectations and focused on writing in the moment. Inhale word, exhale word. In time the sucker hole yielded its reward. I returned from my depths with the elixir of self-knowledge, self-love and a poetry book “Entangled Enchantments” and most recently my memoir “Circling the Edge – listening to the whispers of the wild soul.”
2017 as refugees from twenty-seven Canadian winters, Clive and I biked along the Carretera Austral through Patagonia. The Carretera is a 1,200km mainly gravel road. Had I known I was going to spend Christmas Eve miserably wet I would have planned better. The 23rd Dec our friend Pedro, from Rio, Clive and I pitched our tents in a wooden shelter by a lake. Just like British Columbia, rain hovered over the tree clad hills, water lapped on the shore, as we warmed ourselves by a fire. In the morning it rained. Not much was said as we packed our saddle bags and set off. After a couple of hours, the road steepened, dripping wet and weary we biked past a road workers shelter. Pablo and Annibal, Chilean student bikers popped their heads out. “Hi, it’s dry in here.” Full of smiles they looked as if they were having the best adventure. ev Fuelled up with milo powder mixed with yoghurt and their youthful exuberance, we biked on the wet ripio - gravel road - to the pass.
Tongues of snow descended from the gloom that obscured the summits. Waterfalls spilled over cliffs and snaked through the forest. We zipped our rain jackets up to our chins then hurtled down. Trembling, cold to the bone, I hugged my instant coffee and hot dogs purchased from a roadside food van. The rain trickled down my face as we biked the next 30 km of tarmac past more waterfalls and rushing rivers, breathing hard up the final uphill to the small village of Villa Amengual. I passed a hand painted sign for the Refugio Para Cicilista but I hoped to find better lodging for the night. We dripped around a small supermarcado with well stocked shelves. After knocking on several the bed and breakfasts we were disheartened to find there was no room at any inn.
Wet and close to hypothermic we headed to the Refugio. Once again Pablo and Annibal welcomed us with their big grins.
“Come in. There is a wood stove.” We entered a basic room, their bikes on one
wall and mattresses on the floor. I held my wet back to warm stove.
“Come and meet the owner Inis. She lives across the hallway.”
“Hola! Make your selves at home,” she said beaming. “Yes I have hot shower. You can dry your stuff by the stove. I thought I was going to be on my own tonight. I will make a meal for you all.” I was touched by her kindness.
Clive headed back to the supermarket and returned with champagne, Chilean Merlot and snacks. Meanwhile, Lean and Manuel, Argentinian cyclists who we had met a week ago as they emerged from their night under a bridge, joined us. We were with five cyclists, from Chile, Buenos Aires, Rio, Inis and her teenage son. Warm and dry we shared wine, laughter, chatting in Spanish and English. Wonderful aromas came from Inis’s kitchen as she and her son cooked. We sunk our teeth into juicy ribs, chicken, salads and the finest lemon meringue pie. To round off the night, Pablo played the guitar and sang Chilean folk songs.
Christmas Day after a delicious breakfast, we hugged Inis goodbye. Basking in her Chilean generosity we rode through the stunning Lago Torres Reserve with wild tall trees and snow covered peaks, our hearts full of gratitude for the true spirit of Christmas.
Two weeks since my memoir Circling the Edge, was birthed. This was, as the cliché says - a labour of love. Years of writing, editing and re-writing followed by a full year in the publishing process, copy editing, picking over it, formatting it with Friesens Press. A few weeks ago I received boxes of the finished product - lowlights and highlights of my life in 296 pages.
November 26th I sat in Café Books, Canmore at my signing table as the manager informed me “If you sit on your phone you won’t sell any. You need to catch peoples’ eyes and engage them.” I heart thumped in my chest. Didn’t she know I was a shy author? I followed her instructions and had sold 7 when an older gentleman walked into the store and straight to me. “You’re the first real author I have ever met.” Getting over my imposter syndrome, I smiled.
“Your father was a minister?” he asked.
“Yes” I replied
“When I was 42 I told my dad I could no longer follow his religion and do you know what he said?”
“My mother said she was heartbroken I would not join her and my sisters in heaven.”
The other night my daughter had a book launch for 40 of her Kimberley community. What a delight to have such an enthusiastic audience and share my life with her friends. She and her buddy played and sang as I signed books to a diverse group of all ages.
“I bought your book and took it home. My husband grabbed it and loved to read all about your adventure! I had to wait until he was finished before I could read it,” my neighbor told me.
Then I received a couple of reviews made my heart sing.
“What an amazing story and honest soul searching read. The early travels were incredible but the struggle for an authentic self is what ultimately inspired and captivated.” Dr. Nellie Radomsky, Author - Lost Voices: Women, Chronic Pain and Abuse.
“Wilma, your book is astounding. Have spent the last day with it, and am moved by your writing and depth. Take hard work, time and perseverance, I imagine, as well as aptitude for the work. Your conciseness brings your travels to life, grounded. Thank you.” Florence Dickson
Buy my book: Café Books, Canmore, Shelf-life Books Calgary, Polar Peek Books, Fernie, Huckleberry Books, Cranbrook. And of course myself, friends in Canmore and Calgary have them.