Alone in the Woods

Alone in the Woods

The writing life is often described as lonely and isolating. It can be, and yet last month, I chose to spend even more time alone – at Rosseau Sanctuary – doing some internal exploration of self. The tarp you see in the picture was my home for four days. While I often walk in the woods here in London, there’s something special about sleeping and eating and…yes, that too…in the woods. Something about connecting with Gaia and all the nature spirits!

Refreshing and healing. Alone, but not lonely.

Back in civilization, I’ve been invited to speak at the Listowel Library on October 19, 6:30 p.m. I’ll be talking about my Mom’s book, Transformation: Autobiography of Beverly J. Vollmer (1937-2022). I will be presenting at the library for twenty minutes, as will Ron Finch, former LDSS principal (about his mystery novels.)

The Listowel Banner also did a fabulous write-up. Mom had once worked as typesetter at the Banner, and it was lovely to see her honoured with that piece.

I continue to search for a publisher for my memoir, If I Could Remember, I Would: Teddy Bears & Brains & Caring for my Mother. Meanwhile, I’ve been requesting blurbs – you know, those quotes you read on the back cover or sometimes there’s a whole page at the front of the book. Here’s the first blurb I received. It’s from Nicole Breit, award-winning poet, essayist and Best American Essays 2017 Notable author:

In her beautifully crafted memoir If I Could Remember, I Would: Teddy Bears & Brains & Caring for my Mother, Donna Costa has accomplished something so rare and noteworthy: an imaginative work of literary distinction that is both a tribute to her mother and a precious gift to her readers. This book belongs on the shelves of doctors, caregivers and family members who have walked alongside a loved one living with Alzheimers.

Nicole’s Spark Your Story writing program was a fun and powerful course I took to learn modern forms for personal essays…different ways to write memoir. Learning these forms – for example, collage essays, diptych essays, hermit crab essays – helped me formulate several stories in my manuscript. It’s also how I was able to get my stories published in literary magazines and how I got shortlisted for two writing contests.

Does it sound like I’m tooting my own horn? (They tell me writers are supposed to get comfortable doing that.) Actually, I want to toot the horn for Nicole’s awesome writing program. It not only gets the creative juices flowing, it teaches you how to channel that into creative form.

I extend much gratitude to Nicole for all she taught me that has helped me grow as a writer.

Remember, if you’re out Listowel way, drop by the library on October 19. I’ll be donating a copy of Transformation to the library and will also have copies for sale if you’d like a personal, signed copy. And if you knew my Mom, I’d love to hear your reminiscences.

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