Emily Carr

“Writing is a splendid sorter of… feelings, better even than paint.”

Emily Carr

This past April during our season of “favourite authors”, Lyn Koltutsky revealed the literary side of the now-iconic Canadian artist Emily Carr. Lyn’s talk was interspersed with views of old photographs and stunning paintings. Emily Carr’s talents as an artist went largely unrecognised during a lifetime of sorrow, poverty and many challenges. In spite of — or perhaps because of — her life journey, she shines as a true “original”: adventurous, confident, quirky and complex. Her literary and artistic accomplishments seem even more astounding! 

Carr’s first book Klee Wyck, a collection of short stories, wasn’t published until 1941 near the end of her life when her painting career had ended due to a heart attack. Nonetheless, it won the Governor General’s Award for Literature that year! The two subsequent books published in her lifetime, The Book of Small (1942) and The House of All Sorts (1944) were “autobiographical” but she used creative licence which created somewhat of a myth of Emily Carr. Four more books were published posthumously.

Living, Loving and Loathing Shakespeare (and Laughing, too!)

Image of William Shakespeare

via Pixabay

Cecilia’s lifelong passion for William Shakespeare was clearly evident in her enthusiastic presentation on October 16, structured in the form of a  five-act Shakespearean play.

Each succeeding act consisted of defined topics, such as family and friends who influenced his writing, his humour as well as various characters who inhabited his plays.

 

 

Cecilia’s power point presentation (Act IV) in exquisite pictures, detailed her extensive personal experience with Shakespeare’s live theatre as well as journeys to Stratford in the United Kingdom and Canada.

Shakespeare’s words of wisdom, his philosophy of life and humour still resonate with us today.

Sue Carscallen

Nora Ephron launches our Humour, Irony and Satire Season!

Note: Regretfully, Calgary’s poorly-timed, record-breaking dump of snow on Oct 2nd caused us to postpone Mary’s presentation, “The Evolution of Humor & Its Role in Society & Literature. 

Neon sign on wall "all you need is lol"

Our season to Laugh Out Loud!
Photo by Kah Lok Leong on Unsplash

Welcome to CWLC’s Season of LOL!

Della Mae Wood started her presentation by showing us her notes, done in pencil on yellow lined paper. This is now a tradition of hers, ever since preparing an earlier club presentation on John Steinbeck, in the manner of John Steinbeck who always wrote this way!

Like Steinbeck, using traditional writing tools did not hamper Della Mae’s creativity. She launched our season of humor, irony and satire by talking about Nora Ephron, “a feminist with a funny bone”, who chronicled every aspect of being a woman in our times with hilarious acuity.

Nora Ephron produced an extensive body of work as journalist, novelist, essayist, playwright and screenwriter (e.g. When Harry Met Sally; Julie and Julia.) Della Mae shared some of her favorite passages, and the double-whammy of Ephron’s sharp insight and humor! Two of Della Mae’s favorites are: I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing. Ephron’s publisher, in consultation with the author, celebrated her body of work with a compilation, The Most of Nora Ephron.

Della Mae’s summary delves into so much more about this author, whose own life is a story in itself! Please read on…

 

Tony Hillerman and the Native American Southwest

Photo of SE Utah landscape

On the edge, near Moab, Utah

Anne-Marie Duma is very fond of the land and culture of the native people in the American Southwest and learned much through Tony Hillerman’s books while on an archeological dig. One of many reasons to appreciate the Navaho, Hopi and Zuni cultures is that people build beauty into everything that they do. For our presentation, Anne-Marie wore some pieces of beautiful native turquoise and silver jewelry.

Born in 1925 in Ohio, Tony Hillerman came from a poor family. As a result, he was schooled with Native Americans. In World War II he was wounded in the D-Day landing. A journalist friend of his mother, having seen letters sent home from the war,  encouraged him to pursue writing and he later got a degree in journalism.

Tony Hillerman has been recognized with numerous prestigious literary awards. However, the fact that his novels are part of the Navaho curriculum is perhaps the most outstanding recognition of the truth of his fiction.

Anne-Marie mentioned a few favorites: The Blessing Way (the first book from his Leaphorn and Chee series) and A Thief of Time, a later book in the series.

Read Anne-Marie’s presentation here.

A postscript to Historic Calgary Week: to CWLC from Annie Davidson’s Grandson

Mary Carwardine was able to connect with Annie’s great-grandson and invite him to the Historic Calgary Week presentation.  Sadly, Donald was unable to attend Historic Calgary Week but sent the following. He did attend the Library’s 100th celebration six years ago, which coincided with the release of Brian Brennan’s book, The Calgary Public Library: Inspiring Life Stories Since 1912.

“After travelling the world most of my life as an aviator, I am now limited by a debilitating walking disability which curtails most of my current travel. I will not be able to get to Calgary in July. I wish you all the best in executing an excellent program. I appreciate your consideration.

I have examined the “Historic Calgary Week” program and find it all very interesting. So many of those places and experiences were part of my life growing up in the City until I was eighteen years old and left for Military College in Kingston. During WW II we ( my brothers and sisters) covered the whole much smaller City by bicycle many times. The air was filled with aircraft training airmen for the war via the

BCATP

and the streets with uniforms from around the Commonwealth and Europe. I attended schools in Capitol Hill, Mt. Royal, Bowness, Balmoral and Crescent Heights High. I got my first pilot’s license at the Calgary International Airport at the Calgary Flying Club.”

Donald A. Davidson, Great Grandson of Annie & Richard Davidson

Hooked? In addition to the link on BCATP above, here are links to two aviation museums in Calgary:

Hangar Flight Museum

Air Force Museum of Alberta

 

Mary Higgins Clark, beloved mystery writer

Photo of author Mary Higgins Clark

Photo from maryhigginsclark.com

There is no doubt that this author is beloved, with international bestsellers and over 100 million copies of her books sold in the U.S. alone! Born in 1927, Mary Higgins Clark’s latest novel, All By Myself, Alone, was published in 2017, at almost 90 years old. Each of her over 50 novels has been a bestseller and they remain in print.

 

 

Mavis hooked us right from the start of her presentation on March 13, as she described how Mary Higgins Clark’s life was as interesting as her novels. The author overcame much adversity in her life, including raising five children as a widow, while writing short stories for journals and radio scripts. Financial success came in 1975 with the publication of her first mystery novel, Where are the Children?

For more on this extraordinary author, check Wikipedia’s article here.