Sunday, August 31, 2014

Who is Sarah Sheard?

Write On! instructor, Sarah Sheard
   It was the first day of Write On! I could not afford to miss it. Meeting a seasoned novelist doesn't happen everyday. I was looking forward to get inspired by Sarah Sheard. Her writing credentials just blew me away.

  Three days earlier, I asked myself, "Who is Sarah Sheard?"

  Thanks to Google, it provided me all the answers to my query. Now, I know why she got chosen to be the Write On! creative writing instructor.

  Sarah Sheard is a psychotherapist and the author of four published books: Almost Japanese (1985) The Swing Era (1993) The Hypnotist (1999) and Krank: Love in the New Dark Times (2012)
    Sarah also comes from a well-known family. She is the sister of pop singer Mia Sheard and pianist John Sheard, and the great-great-granddaughter of Joseph Sheard, a former mayor of Toronto.

   Oh, did I forget to mention that she loves horses? Yes she does. There is no denying. The video she posted on Vimeo shows the other exciting side of this amazing writer.

   In the morning of the first session, I told my daughter I could only babysit the three grandchildren until noon. The creative writing workshop hosted by Bendale Library, was scheduled to start at 1:30 pm. So, at around 12:30 in the afternoon, I was already driving along McCowan Road on my way to join the group.

   I had never been to Bendale Library before. I was a little lost when I entered the building, but the voices coming from the basement pointed me to the plight of stairs leading down to the library’s meeting room where the preparation for the first day was in progress.

    As I peeked through the glass door, there she was, in denim jacket and jeans.With her sporty look, she could easily be mistaken as a model for Levi Strauss rather than a writer. The matching cowgirl belt suited her too. In fact, she looked so good in the outfit, she reminded me of the legendary Calamity Jane of the Old West. If Scarborough Arts decided to produce a movie about the famous lady gun-slinger, Sarah Sheard could easily play the part. She has the right poise and charisma that Wild Bill Hicock would have easily approved.

The youthful side of Sarah Sheard

   In the last nine weeks, every Thursday in the echoic Bendale meeting room, Sarah met with us for a two-hour session of creative writing - fiction and memoirs. She was witty, patient and accommodating. Sarah made us feel at ease, and  her presence outweighed  the poor acoustics of the room.

  I personally enjoyed her brilliant  video presentations. I found them to be thought-provoking. And with her cool animated style of teaching, she made the art of writing – so much fun and painless.

   I don't know about the other seniors, but throughout the writing exercises, I put myself in the shoes of a different senior -- a senior kindergarten, hungry to learn new things. I allowed the motherly soft spoken words of Sarah to bring out the budding writer in me. I absorbed every bit of her positive energy.

   Last Thursday was our final day. In the span of two months, I must say, it was a great experience knowing Sarah. Likewise, it was fun listening to my fellow seniors’ stories. Some tickled my funny bones, and some  touched my inner soul.

   Now, I look forward to see my two pieces in the soon-to-be published Reflections Anthology. It is such an honour to be a part of this creative group of seniors who share my passion in writing.

   Surely, I will be missing the Thursday afternoons at Bendale Library. But it also comforting to know that next year, on Valentine’s day, all these fond memories will be re-lived once more. A reminder from me to my dear self will be coming by mail, via Sarah Sheard. (a.k.a. the modern day Calamity Jane.)

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