Tag Archives: friend

A Few Small Candles

shutterstock_469177472I felt exposed when I learned a personal essay was to be published using my first and last names – unusual as they are. Any illusion of anonymity I may have cherished was about to vanish. Would the risk be worth it?

A friend in Guelph told me the article inspired her to give away a perfectly good couch she no longer needs. She realized that university students would come to town in days. I smiled as I thought of the enjoyment the students would get from the gift, and the pleasure my friend would get from extra space in her home.

A buddy in my choir in Vancouver thanked me. She said the article gave her a sense of levity and possibility. Besides other roles, she is a fledgeling songwriter. If my words can help her music take flight, even a little, I feel blessed.

A woman I met through my gardening group e-mailed an introduction. “I was talking about you to my friend, Jamie, who asked me to connect him to you, as he is also a deep thinker and writer. I am sure you two will have very interesting dialogues!”

The questions this message aroused in me were a little delicate for e-mail. I didn’t have her phone number. With a name like Jamie, rather than James or Jim, I assumed the man was considerably younger than I am. I never pictured myself as a cougar.

Days later, Jamie’s introductory e-mail solved the mystery and relieved my mind. He is a young artist, fascinated by the phenomenon of people who engage fully in life in their later years. He wanted to treat me to coffee in exchange for an opportunity to chat.

I could tell from his e-mail that he is, indeed, a deep thinker, and a beautiful soul, besides. We had a delightful conversation at a funky, independent coffee shop. I am sure we will have more.

It seems I have lit a few small candles. I am enjoying the glow, and so are a few others I know of. So far, so good.


My achievement, my eye!

shutterstock_240408835-1When I gave my son the date the Globe would publish my essay describing his reaction to the quantity of candles I brought to Vancouver, he quipped, “We should have a séance that night.”

I was more interested in throwing a party for my living, local friends to thank them for lighting up my life and fostering my creativity. They brought wine, champagne, cards, and potted plants. Family members sent flowers. People seemed intent on honouring “my” accomplishment.

I simply could not have written that essay and submitted it for publication without the support and encouragement of countless people who have helped to build my confidence and skills over my lifetime. Here are just three examples, all people who e-mailed me the day they saw the article.

Barb, an apartment-mate in university about fifty years ago, was the first to contact me. She has spent time with me once in a while ever since, even during a long span when I was not able to laugh at myself much. Friends like that have been vital in building my confidence.

I heard from Annie, a former manager, next. She had hired me into a communication role around twenty years ago, knowing my educational background was in geography and business. Gutsy move. That job and those that followed enhanced my writing skills.

I got a beautiful message from Sue, a friend who is a former high school English teacher. We first met roughly thirty years ago as mothers of boys in the same class. When I shared the first few memoirs I wrote in 2008 with her, she said, “Wilda, these stories are wonderful. Valuable enough to be published.” Her encouragement planted a seed.

If the party had been a séance, I would have wanted to evoke my mother and say to her, “Thank you for continuing to grow all your life. Your example has inspired me to do the same.”

A huge village has nurtured this writer. Maybe I should start signing my writing, “By Wilda and her Village.” That would be truthful. Besides, it has a nice ring to it.