Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Writing and the Community

Today, in celebration of the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild’s 45th birthday, the Guild honoured Ken Mitchell as a founding member by dedicating their library in his name, a fitting tribute to a great writer, leader, mentor, and inspiration.

I imagine every Saskatchewan writer who has been involved with the various writing and arts organizations in this province has at one time sat around a meeting table with Ken Mitchell. I have more than once and learned so much from the experience.

Prior to the dedication and unveiling, Ken Mitchell delivered a great Write After Lunch presentation titled “Writing and the Community,” something which I've been thinking about a lot lately. He talked about the importance of folk culture in our social development and the need to preserve our stories. He told us how important this region and this culture is to his life. As a founder, he recognized the need to "keep writers here and engaged" and, as anyone who knows anything about Saskatchewan literary history knows, he has dedicated more than 45 years to this work. This in addition to his more than 30 books - novels, poetry, dramas and histories - that have taken stories of this place and its people to provincial, national and international audiences. We're the richer for it. And his work and innovation continue.

I posted this pic of Bohemian Waxwings on Facebook prior to the presentation. I took the pic through the triple pane window this morning while sitting here in my chair. The flock fed and passed berries back and forth for the duration of the talk. They're still at it. Waxwings, too, know much more than I ever will about the importance and workings of community.

But I will continue to pay attention and learn all I can.

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