The Prince George Citizen announces Valerie's new column on Feb. 7, 1998.
A dear friend and excellent writer, with two newspaper columns and two published books, passed away suddenly last December. Valerie’s writing journey is explored in this blog post, along with some personal memories from my sister, Kathy Plett.
Operating a cash register in the 1970s
Our first home computer was a Commodore 64 that could talk. My ex coded the machine to speak in a robot-like voice. I can still hear its first words: “My name is Ergo.” Much better than the fake messages I now get about my “arrest warrant” or a large purchase on my credit card!
What a lovely surprise: I won first place, for the second year in a row, of Semiahmoo Arts' Double Exposure Ekphrastic Poetry Challenge! I'll share a bit about the writing process here.
Photo: My kitty with my Christmas reading
I enjoyed reading a heartwarming new anthology of fifty-five Canadian Christian writers, Christmas with Hot Apple Cider: Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving. I read it each morning at breakfast for about a month. It was a lovely way to enjoy the holiday season and continue to experience its warmth after the celebrations were done for the year.
At an event recently, I found myself avoiding the eyes of someone. I remembered how he had hurt me, and thought that maybe if I avoided him, I could convey that it wasn’t cool what happened. I could choose not to engage with him. Later I was scrolling through my photos and noticed someone who looked similar. I remembered how every time I saw him, I would draw back a little, before realizing that he was not the same person who had hurt me. Had I made a mistake?
My father told me the jaw-dropping story of how he and his brother Henry played with a homemade pistol in the USSR (now Ukraine) in the 1930s. I was struck with how lives were endangered and how lives were protected. Amazing things that happened, and that didn’t happen. Good people who played an important role. And the thread that runs through it all is faith. And humour!
Yesterday I gave a workshop on social media to a group of writers. I thought you might like to hear some of the tips we talked about and a bit of my personal journey.
Selfie with Mike McCardell, which appears in my article in the Peace Arch News
It’s amazing how good things happen when people connect.
Mike McCardell shares some advice for finding stories in his delightful memoir, None of This Was Planned. He suggests that we go out and find something unusual, and tell it to someone else. We will have something truly valuable, a story that will make memories. He doesn’t want to be the only one doing this. He wants us all to take part. Tonight I followed his advice.
On Monday, August 15, TV personality and author Mike McCardell visited White Rock. I learned that he actually spent his first days in British Columbia living in a tent here. There was a housing crisis when he and his young family arrived in 1973. Sound familiar? Earlier, I had been in touch with the White Rock Library about possibly filming Mike’s presentation.