The following is a portion of an article as it appeared in
The Tilbury Times:
Writing workshop at Visitation Hall Parish
London author Denyse Gervais-Regan will be the guest speaker at a special family stories day and writing workshop October 22nd at Visitation Hall Parish. She wrote her first book after age 50. Her book is titled The Thirteenth One: A Prairie Family’s Adventures in Early 20th Century Canada.She chose the title ‘The Thirteenth One’ because she is the 13th child of a large family.
“When I give workshops, invariably people come to me and say, ‘I wish I had...and, ‘If only…’ There is a deep yearning to make memories. People want to tell their stories and record them for future family members,” she said.
The Thirteenth One is about Gervais-Regan’s childhood in Manitoba, growing up in a large family.
“As children, our mother often told us about her life in an orphanage and raising 14 children. She always ended by saying, “I hope one of you children will write my life story some day,” she said.
To research her mother’s past, Gervais-Regan traveled back to Manitoba to interview relatives. She also found her mother’s authentic orphanage document dated from 1904.
“When I held it in my trembling hands, I knew I had to (write a book).”
After retirement, she went to work on her mother’s story, eventually turning it into a stage play that later premiered at the Blyth Festival. She continued to expand on the story, writing down memories from her brothers and sisters. After adding photos, letters, maps and drawings, The Thirteenth One was published in book form.
“There were so many exciting, funny and sad stories to tell,” she said.
During her workshops, Gervais-Regan encourages people to preserve their own stories.
“Don’t set out to write a book, just write one story at a time,” she said, adding one bit of advice. “Write from your experience or from what you know and love.”
She also talks about the free services many communities offer for beginning writers. The workshop will also include a short reading from her book, a Q&A period and light lunch. The book will also be available for sale at a price of $20.
(above was courtesy of The Tilbury Times)