Learning in Almonte Inspires Author - theHumm March 2020
Learning in Almonte Inspires Author - theHumm March 2020
By Glenda Jones & Pat McLaughlin
Sometimes all it takes is encouragement and validation to get creative juices flowing. For Pat McLaughlin, newly published poet, taking a Learning in Almonte course on creative writing with Phil Jenkins gave her the incentive to gather her poems into a meaningful collection on aging entitled Aging: The Best Alternative.
Pat had taken online poetry workshops and had attended a writing group at the Ottawa library, but it was the push by Jenkins that led her to believe her work was worthy of publishing. Jenkins had vetted some of her work, and she was open to his suggestions. However, the process is not for the faint of heart! There was still a long way to go before the book was ready for presentation. Pat formatted all the poems to reflect their message, one per page. She needed to arrange chapters to give the collection continuity and she needed to edit every line for errors or omissions, a difficult task for any author.
Once her writing was assembled, Pat set about creating a full work of art: she chose the touching photo of her in-laws on a beach for the cover, selected the paper quality, the print size, the colour and title, and then went about finding a printer. Coba Studio in Merrickville was her first choice, and the work they turned out is indeed very fitting. They were even able to offer the book, called a chapbook because of its size, with a choice of cover colour: red or white.
Self-publishing is an onerous task. As exciting as it is to see the finished product, less exciting is the work of selling the books. Pat had a formal book launch in December, and then set about arranging opportunities to present her work in a variety of venues. She conducted a poetry workshop at Chartwell Retirement residence, at which she read her own work, and then led the group in creating Haiku poetry themselves. She has shared her poems with other seniors, who can identify with her sentiments. So enthused are her audiences that her book is now into its second printing!
Pat’s poetry runs the gamut from funny to frustrated and resigned. It is obvious she is embracing the aging process gracefully, and understands the senior point of view without dwelling on the negative. To her, age is a number, not a life sentence!
Aging: The Best Alternative is available directly from Pat at email@example.com . If you are a senior, love a senior, or are going to be a senior, this book of poetry will keep you amused and give you pause for thought. (Choose the red cover — it’s snappy!)
An aside from Glenda Jones: Another incredible success that came from Learning in Almonte’s writing course was Rob Riendeau’s stellar Christmas story, Who Stole Christmas from Mississippi Mills? This full dramatic production with actors, puppets, original music, dazzling costumes, and much more reflected the true spirit of Christmas in our community. Congratulations to Rob as well as Pat for conceiving and producing their work for the rest of us to enjoy.
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