Note: I wanted to add a section for the authors I met but this particular post was getting long. I’ve decided to make a separate post on them. You can find it at this link.
The Silverleaf Writers Guild is a non-for-profit group of writers, published or not, that gather together on a regular basis to support each other in their writing goals. They also host an annual book fair in locations across Northern Ontario which happened this year on September 28 and 29, 2019.
For me, this amazing weekend started in the evening of September 27, 2019 when I visited President Suites’ The Prospector’s House to meet the authors that were arriving the day before the book fair. The house itself was beautiful, showcasing antiques from when mining was a big deal in Cobalt and, I heard, the rooms were just as nice. I first met David Ferguson and Laura E. Young when I arrived, followed by Jessica Trudel (founder of Silverleaf Writers Guild), Erica Pankiw and Susan Reimer (volunteer). They were all incredibly friendly and we had a great evening talking and getting to know each other.
The next morning we set up our tables upstairs at the Cobalt municipal office, which the upstairs is a hall with a stage, meeting the remaining authors Gretchen Roedde, Tori L. Ridgewood, Laurie Gardiner, Karin Mackenzie and Michelle Contant. Some had even brought family and friends, including myself, to the event to help out. In meeting everyone, I had discovered there was no need to be nervous about introducing myself to my fellow writers as all of us are kind folk. Gone were my doubts and fears, replaced by courage and confidence, which I had never experienced before in a public setting. It was exhilarating to know that I could be my true self and not feel out of place.
During the book fair, there were events and activities that the Silverleaf Writers Guild had organized. The first one that I attended was the poetry reading by Ann Margetson of Cobalt. It was interesting to listen to a different type of writing and how a few words can convey a story.
Afterwards we were asked to read excepts from our own books if we wanted as it was time for an open mic session. Throughout the 2 days all of us had a chance to read a passage from our books or talk about them. When it was my turn, I decided to ask my friend Mary which was her favorite part of By the Light of a Darkened Forest as I can never decide which one to read. The one she suggested was perfect and included sound effects and I was more than willing to provide them. After reading I realized two things: First, that my writing has improved since publication and second, that I am proud to have written By the Light of a Darkened Forest and satisfied with my work. I had been struggling to accept that I had done good as the perfectionism in me had been reeling its ugly head for the last 3 years, nagging that I could have done better. I mean, we always can do better as we practice but at the time it was my best. I was also meaning to record my the reading but I had forgotten when my time came. Short memory and attention span will do that. Might have to do a recording later just for you readers.
The evening of September 28, 2019, Laurie mentioned about having supper together and a large group of us had decided to go to a local restaurant, Rooster’s Bar and Grill. The food was delicious as always and the company even better. We had laughed and talked throughout the evening and had a great time. It’d do it again in a heart beat.
The next day wasn’t as busy but Jessica had decided to teach the Idea Generation Workshop again as many of us authors had heard it was really good. And it was. I learned new things I hadn’t considered before or knew. An example would be new types of story structure. I was always taught in school of Gustav’s Pyramid or spiraling. Now there’s many different ways to structure, like The Circus Tent by Larry Brooks or Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. We also did an activity which showed me how out of practice I am at generating stories.
Over the weekend I had met a few new readers. The one I was most excited about was the visit from my young writer friend who I had been mentoring during the last half of this summer. If I looked calm it would have been by some miracle as I was elated to see her and sign her copy of my novel. Mentoring her has been a blessing and her writing and ideas are awesome. I hope to share her work with you someday.
In all, it was a great weekend. I was able to make new contacts and get to know other authors from Northern Ontario, knowing that makes me feel not so alone up here in the north. I really do recommend other writers and authors to join at least one book fair in their career as it’s a great way to put yourself out there and get to know other people who have an interest in writing.
I can’t wait and I hope to do it again next year!