Southern Gulf Islanders: Lael Whitehead (Mayne Island), Debbie Bowles (formerly Mayne Island now Salt Spring Island) and Helen O'Brian (Mayne Island) all wrote books for children. But the similarities don't end there. There's a commonality in the underlying theme of their books as well.
Lael Whitehead has often entertained our island with her melodious singing. But I'd yet to discover her author voice. The room was wrapped in silence when she began to read. The magical passage was rich with communion between nature and man.
Debbie Bowles' skill as an illustrator is well known. However, writing a book was a new undertaking for her. Lucy and the Sky is written in playful rhyme. In the passage Debbie read, a frog helps the protagonist, Lucy, escape her forest "prison". Debbie teased us by only reading the first half of the book. And, oh, how I wanted her to continue to the end--as did everyone in the room. But grinning, Debbie yielded the floor to Helen.
Helen O'Brian's book recounts the swim of a man named Finn. Finn undertook this extremely challenging swim in order to raise awareness for BC's fragile waterways.
Immediately following Helen's reading, Finn took the floor to share some brief anecdotes. One story in particular stands out for me. Finn said that when he began the swim he was overwhelmed by the daunting task that lay ahead of him. But he was fortunate to meet with members of one of BC's native nations.
The Chief told Finn, "If you honour the river at the beginning of each day, the water will wrap around you, to carry and protect you."
The Chief led Finn through a ceremony. They stood at the edge of the bank, cupped their hands into the river and showered themselves with the water. They continued these steps until they had faced all four directions--north, south, east and west. Finn told us that he faithfully began each day's swim with this ceremony.
Did it help? Did he meet his challenge?
Well, you'll just have to read Helen's book. : )
I'm so glad I shared in this wonderfully positive celebration. It refreshed my love for my island home. And, on the way home, I paused for a second to acknowledge how truly fortunate I am.
Sharing my author journey...
This week my muse taught me: All that I need I have. It is there waiting. All I have to do is acknowledge it.
I spent much of this week pouring over a collection of old writing. I'm building a book. It's a lot of fun to do--to see how much my author voice has development; and yet how much I've remained the same.