I attended a Gibsons Public Library special book club event on Saturday afternoon. Roberta Rich, author of the brilliant historical novels The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife was a guest speaker. Her description of how and what she researched for her two books stimulated my creative juices and I wished I had brought pen and paper with me.
Roberta’s research was extensive, first about the Venice Jewish getto, then for her second book, the Muslim communities of Istanbul. It covered everything, from daily life, to celebrations, to Harem culture, even down to the beauty products the women used. She even addressed the topic of writing about what you don’t know about, contrary to popular advice, as she did.
My next venture will be into the area of fiction, a short novel about a Tibetan nomad girl who escaped to India in her early twenties, diligantly pursuing her English studies, then eventually emigrating to the United States. Because fiction is a new landscape for me, other than a children’s story I wrote in 2009, I will be part of a writing group here Gibsons.
On another topic, we had a lovely welcome celebration for our latest Tibetan arrival, a young male artist, yesterday at Roberts Creek Cohousing, where some of our sponsors live. Three other new arrivals, also young men this time, came over from Vancouver for the event. As our co-ordinator spoke briefly, then Lama Tsundu welcomed each man with a khata scarf around his neck, amidst lots of clapping, I felt my heart open. This is what it’s all about I thought – cultures coming together, people helping each other.
We’re beginning our preparations for our India visit next year, travels in Tamal Nadu, then volunteering and soaking in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala’s amazing energy. Then back home and onto our next sponsorship.
Contact me if you live on the Lower Sunshine Coast and are interested in learning more about sponsoring. We’ll be hosting an information evening next month.