Publishing the true stories of fascinating Prairie People and Unsung Heroes

Welcome to the blog of Deana Driver of DriverWorks Ink, a book publishing company based in Saskatchewan, Canada.
We publish stories of inspiring, fascinating Prairie people and unsung Canadian heroes - written by
Prairie authors including Deana Driver. We also assist authors in self-publishing their work. Visit our website and buy our books at driverworks.ca.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

Grief is Like the Waves of the Ocean

I was recently invited to share a "Message of Hope" at an all-day Family Grief Retreat in my community, hosted by Palliative Care Services, Saskatchewan Health Authority. This is what I said:


Have you ever been to the ocean? Have you dipped your toes in and felt the saltwater washing by or gone swimming or walked along the beach and felt the waves coming in – sometimes gently and sometimes with a fierceness that takes your breath away?

I find myself thinking a lot about the ocean lately. Not just because it’s wintertime in Saskatchewan and, although it’s unseasonably warm this year, this is the time of year when Prairie people head south to warmer climates – often staying at ocean-side resorts with gorgeous, palm-tree-lined views. Yes, I have been one of those people on occasion, but that’s not why I’m thinking about oceans.

Oceans are how I have come to think about my grief journey.

My name is Deana Driver and I am a former journalist, an author, an editor, and a book publisher. I am also a mother to three adult children and grandmother to six precious little ones. And until four years ago, I was a wife. For 40 years. I didn’t like the word “widow” at first, but I am slowly accepting that it is now who I am.

My husband Al was a big, tall, vibrant, fun-loving, teddy bear of a man. He grew up in Regina and worked at the Regina Leader-Post for all of his adult life, so he had many friends and acquaintances in this city. We met in Calgary while going to journalism school and we basically grew up together, getting married just before I turned 20, and learning about life together as young adults, parents, and all of that.

In August 2015, Al woke up with a sharp pain in his abdomen. By the end of the day, he had undergone traumatic, emergency surgery to remove a mass. It was Stage IV colon cancer. We had four more months together, in which we both thought he’d be okay. That was not to be, however, and after a second tumour suddenly appeared and was inoperable, he passed away in January 2016 at Regina Wascana Grace Hospice at the age of 61. It was a shock and surreal and sad and heart-breaking, yet it was okay. He died peacefully, with dignity, knowing he was loved and will always be loved, missed, and remembered. It’s what all of us at this grief retreat offer to those we mourn and remember. We will always love them. That’s as it should be.

I’ve been asked to tell you some of the things that helped me on my grief journey. There are many pieces, but words are the first thing that come to mind. I am a writer, after all.

I immediately sought out information and searched the Internet and local resources for bereavement pamphlets, news articles, blog posts, lists of suggestions and, of course bereavement support groups. I attended the five-week bereavement support group program that many of you have attended and, although it was originally overwhelming, I was comforted to learn skills that have helped me many times on my journey. I have also been pleased to volunteer with various five-week bereavement support groups and these day-long retreats. It’s one way I can give back and find something good out of such a devastating loss.

When you’re grieving, the heart and mind don’t always work together. Sometimes writing my feelings helps. It still boggles me that just two months after my husband’s death, I had already attended my first session of the five-week bereavement support group and had written a blog post about what I’d learned about grief at that point in time. But then again, if we go back to the ocean analogy, I had been hit and knocked under by a huge, unexpected wave and I knew that I was a weak swimmer and that I didn’t want to go under. None of you do either. That’s why you’re here. Even though your loved one is gone, you are still here and fighting to be here, even if it means the waves are going to knock you around sometimes and you’re going to have to fight to come up for air or hang on until the water calms down.

So I write in a journal – not every day, but whenever I feel like it. I write blogs if I think I have something to say that might help others. I have a friend who writes all her negative thoughts down, then burns those pieces of paper to release those thoughts while also erasing them from the view of anyone who might find those journal entries years from now. It works for her. I, on the other hand, write down all my thoughts – good, sad, happy, mean, or otherwise – on days when I feel like journaling. Anyone who finds my diaries long after I’m gone will have to be okay knowing that those were my feelings at that moment in time. Feelings change and feelings are not right or wrong. Which brings me to the second part of what’s helped me heal.

The most important part of healing for me has been mindfulnessbeing aware of my thoughts and feelings and being somehow okay with them. It doesn’t always work and I struggle with the strangeness of having two apparently opposite emotions at the same time sometimes – sadness and laughter, gratefulness and fear, grief and joy. It doesn’t make sense sometimes, but that’s okay too. We are complicated, complex human beings. We sometimes didn’t make sense to others before our loss, so why should we make sense now?

Feel Your Feelings. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing – especially early on in your grief journey. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to not cry. I’ve cried in grocery stores, at sports events, at church, at concerts, in public, with friends and family, with strangers, and of course when I’m alone. I’ve not cried in movie theatres when everyone around me was crying. Who knew? It’s important to recognize how you are feeling in the moment. It’s okay, for example, to take your own vehicle to an event and leave if you are feeling uncomfortable in a place or situation where you would have been fine before your loss. You don’t need to explain your feelings or to apologize for them. You don’t even need to understand your feelings. You just need to feel them and express them if and when you can. And if they’re especially negative, you need to get help.

Just Breathe. This has become my mantra. I’ve said it to myself – out loud and in my mind – dozens and dozens of times in the last four years. "Just breathe. Get through this moment. Then get through the next one." In my second year of grieving, I participated in a Mindfulness and Grief group led by Debra Wiszniak and Marlene Jackson - two wonderful human beings that you will know from this grief retreat (Debra leading the meditation sessions here and Marlene being our inspiring leader as the palliative care services volunteer and bereavement co-ordinator). Debra puts her hand over her heart to take deep breaths when she’s feeling overwhelmed. I usually just stop and stay still, and I focus on my breathing. I try not to think too far into the future and not too often about the past. I stop and take a deep, long breath and try to be present in this moment. I still use mindfulness exercises and tools I learned from Debra and Marlene and through other resources, especially at night before trying to fall asleep, and I go to an easy yoga class once a week in an effort to better take care of me.

Aside from making sure to schedule regular visits with family and dear friends, I distract myself from the quiet and lonelier moments by playing music or watching a television show or movie. I read all day every day for work and I highly recommend throwing yourself into a good book. But that’s also the author and book publisher in me – just saying...

And I rest or have a nap if I need one and I can do so. I try to remember that I shouldn’t let other people tell me what to do or feel too often when I’m grieving. I should also question their ideas on what might make me happy in this new life of mine. I’m a work-in-progress on that front.

So yes, be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break

And now we’re back to the ocean.

You may have hoped that your life would be more like a beautiful ocean scene with warm sand and calm waters that welcomed you in and refreshed you. Instead, the stinking waves came up and hit you from behind, from the side, in the face, and pretty much everywhere else.

A couple weeks ago would have been our wedding anniversary. Beautiful, caring friends and family wanted to make sure I would be okay that day, so they invited me out to places and events to ensure I wouldn’t be alone. I was reluctant and anxious, knowing I might not be good company for other humans that day, but I accepted the invitations I thought I might enjoy. Then I fell apart the night before instead.

The wave hit me. Grief visited.

I sat with my feelings. I cried. I sobbed. I talked to God. I talked to my late husband. I watched TV. I cried some more. I wrote in my journal. I tried to sleep.

The day of our anniversary was okay, but for days after, I was still rocked by that wave. I didn’t realize it at the time. I just knew I felt sad. Of course, we had just passed the anniversary of his death too, so that didn't help either. It took a lot of self-talking, journaling, and rethinking before I figured out my emotions and moved past the sadness. In a real-life ocean scene, you might say that I was cleaning sand out of my underwear for days!

I took some time to remember that I need to be stronger in saying and determining what I should and shouldn’t be doing on my grief journey – which will be happening for a long time, by the way. Even if I have another partner relationship somewhere down the road, I know I will miss my husband and love and remember him forever. And I was grateful that I had loving friends and family trying to help me through that potentially rough day, even though some of their suggestions pushed me a little farther past my comfort zone and into the water.

But it was all okay. Good even.

I’d felt the ocean. I’d felt the water. I was alive. And I was grateful that I had been blessed with a love worth crying about and worth remembering.

At the end of the day, I will look out at that water – in my mind and maybe in real life too – and remember its story, its beauty, the salty taste, and the fun times I had splashing around in it.

May your grief have good moments for you too.



Grief Retreat participants sanded down the newly carved, wooden "Comfort Birds" and then took these precious gifts home to hold onto in times of sadness or other emotions.
At the memorial service to end the day, Grief Retreat participants placed ornaments on a tree, each paper ornament holding a name or wish or some other symbol of their departed loved ones.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

I found a dime - an angel sign in Newfoundland

On a recent vacation in Newfoundland, I and my author friend Janice Howden visited the village of Woody Point, across the bay from where we were staying in Rocky Harbour. We listened to a local musician, looked in several gift shops, checked out some sites of the Writers at Woody Point events, enjoyed lunch and a visit to the library, then walked along the waterfront.




About half an hour before we had to be at the dock to catch the passenger ferry back to the village of Norris Point on our side of the bay, I said to Jan, "We should walk down this way. We haven't gone there yet." (I'd unintentionally caught on to Newfoundland sayings and dialect, in which everywhere you want to go is "down" even if it is actually north of you. 😊)

So we walked in the direction we had not yet been and I noticed a small pier made of rocks and such. It felt like a nice place to walk out onto and listen to the water lapping against the shore, so that's what I did, as did Jan.




On our way back to the street, I suggested we sit down on big rocks near the road to wait until the ferry came. Jan agreed, so we sat down and stared out at the bay.

For no reason at all, I looked down at my feet and saw a dime between my shoes. I knew it was an angel sign from my late husband, Al, to tell me that he was with me on this journey.



The  Bluenose ship on the dime was facing up - a ship Al and I saw in dry dock during a trip we took to Nova Scotia many years ago.

I couldn't believe my eyes, but yet I could. I had found coins in the strangest, most unusual and unexpected places many times since Al passed away in 2015, but this was the first coin I'd seen during this vacation.

I'd seen other signs of his presence on this trip. I saw 13 dragonflies fly in front of our vehicle one morning as I was driving beside a river. Thirteen was Al's favourite number. A single large dragonfly flew right in front of my face more than once on this trip in different locations - an unusual experience for anyone, but being "in my face" is in keeping with Al's strange sense of humour.

I'd been travelling for two weeks with my friend Janice. She is lovely, funny, smart, and kind, but she is not Al. There have been many times when I have missed him and even a couple times when my brain sent me a thought that "I need to tell Al about..." before it registered the fact that I cannot do that in the way I once did.

Another writer friend once told me that since her beau died, she believes that he sees everything that she sees. It is a comforting thought for her and it has helped me many times since she shared that idea with me. 

On this day in Woody Point, I know that Al sent me and my friend Janice a message. He was with us, sharing our vacation and the things we saw and did. It was a good moment. We smiled.





Saturday, August 3, 2019

A woman on the plane and our talk about life after loss

My seatmate on the flight from Medicine Hat, AB to Calgary was a wonderful, gentle 85-year-old woman. She impressed me in many ways.
www.driverworks.ca airplane and clouds

She only became a widow a few months ago, after 65 years of marriage, whereas I've been a widow for three and a half years after 40 years of marriage to my soulmate, Al.

This was her first flight without her husband. I've been on many trips since my loss, but I'm also younger and still working too.

She visited family on this trip and had some fascinating experiences, including being sent to an emergency shelter while the town of Irvine, AB  was evacuated due to a train derailment. And she went whitewater rafting with some of her children, grandchildren, and maybe even great-grandchildren.

Yes. Whitewater rafting at age 85. As a new widow. Talk about inspiring.

We chatted about our families and how grateful we are that they've been so helpful and supportive to us after the deaths of our main men. We spoke with gratitude that we had great husbands and how meaningful, funny, and wonderful their memorial services were. We were proud of ourselves and our families.

We talked about where we're living and what is different about our daily lives now. We are learning how to live alone after decades of being a couple. Eating alone all the time - not by choice - is not fun. I told her how I don't eat at the table. I eat in the living room most of the time. She thanked me for telling her. The newly bereaved need to hear that it is okay to change the routine to feel a little more comfortable in this new life. Once again, I was grateful for what I've learned in bereavement support groups.

We talked about what we do to keep ourselves busy and I mentioned my work as a writer and book publisher. She was curious about my work and took a pre-order card for the Flight book with her.



When it was time to leave each other at the airport, we hugged and wished each other well.

I will think of her fondly and aspire to - maybe - go whitewater rafting myself in another 20-some years.

Yes, I will remember this sweet little lady from British Columbia who also lost her husband Al.



Sunday, July 7, 2019

A lot of fun and a little work at the Moose Jaw Air Show

Yesterday was a hot, but productive and fun day for me at the Moose Jaw Air Show. This was the first CFB Moose Jaw air show since 2005. The weather co-operated with a temperature of 26 Celsius, an occasional breeze, and no rain.

My late husband and I and our young children used to attend shows years ago with Al's dad, who loved everything connected with airplanes. (He was one of the first people in Regina, Saskatchewan to fly radio-controlled model planes. The excitement on his face and his vast knowledge of planes added tremendously to the experience.)

I attended yesterday's show with my son Dave, daughter-in-law Kelli, and their three young sons - who were part intrigued, part excited, part bored, but mostly hot during the five-hour show. (That's a long time for anyone to be in the scorching heat, even with loads of sunscreen and short breaks in the shade of umbrellas or displays.) 



Air Show organizers had expected a crowd of 10,000 but had to turn people away after they reached 25,000 guests! I'd call that a huge success.



Some of those in attendance had obviously done this before. They found shelter from the sun under the wings of some of the aircraft on display. (Note to self: Do this next time.)

I was anxious to attend this year's show for three reasons - because of the memories attached to my husband and father-in-law, because I enjoyed the shows so much in the past, and because I was hoping to connect with people who could help me with my next book.

I'm co-writing (with contributors) a series of books called Flight: Stories of Canadian Aviation. The first book in the series will be released this fall. I spent more than an hour walking around the displays and tarmac area, talking with pilots and other interesting folks. I handed out the postcard below and asked them to consider submitting aviation short stories for the series or contacting me so I could interview them and write their stories. (You are welcome to share the information and your own story. You can also pre-order Volume 1 on my website.)





My young grandsons had not seen me working before. They were excited to hear that I had success in finding some potential stories. The 11-year-old was especially curious about who I'd spoken to (rescue crew, helicopter pilots, air museum and history buffs, flight school folks, emergency crew). He shared in my excitement about these new potential leads and also asked me what I knew about the planes flying overhead - not much, but I shared whatever details I remembered of some of the acts I'd seen and enjoyed before.

The fighter jets make the most noise, of course. They capture everyone's attention every time.




The RCAF Snowbirds aerobatic demonstration team's performance has always been my favourite. The plane below was on display during the show. 





Near the end of the show, as we headed back to the vehicle to avoid the claustrophobia of walking in a big crowd, I snapped this photo of the RCAF Snowbirds crew heading to their planes to begin their act. I've interviewed a couple of the Snowbirds personnel for Volume 1 of my book, so now I'm even more interested in their work than before. 


From our spot in the parking lot, we watched the Snowbirds taxi onto the runway:




Our grins say it all. My son and I think these pilots are AWESOME!


I loved seeing the planes' shadows in the clouds.


And that's it from the Moose Jaw Air Show 2019. I can't wait to hear from some of the fine folks I met at this show. Stay tuned this fall for the release of Flight: Stories of Canadian Aviation, Vol. 1.






Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Grief is a tunnel - you have to go through it


A few times a year for the past two years, I have volunteered as a peer helper at spousal bereavement support group sessions. After each session, I have been moved by the stories I've heard, the pain and sadness that I've seen, and the struggles of the bereaved to carry on with their lives alone - as most of the ones I help are widowers or widows like me with adult children who live away from home.

These sessions affect me. During and afterwards.

During the sessions, I struggle with talking. I want to be sure that I listen and only speak when my perspective might be helpful to the others in the room. I speak based on my own experiences but not in any way to give advice.

Afterwards, I struggle with the triggers that hit me from what I saw, heard, and felt during these sessions. I find myself reliving the events of my own loss, the painfulness of my husband's sudden illness and subsequent death three and a half years ago, and the deep grief I felt for a long time and I am still feeling to a lesser degree.

To get through these feelings, I often sit in my vehicle after each bereavement group session and I think about some of the discussion that unfolded. I sometimes feel sad, for myself and for others (notice the order there). I sometimes cry. And sometimes I'm okay. Often, I just need some quiet time away from my home and work to reboot before returning to my daily life.

Often, I will go to a park in the city (our city has many beautiful parks) and take a walk or just sit in my vehicle and stare at the trees and water. Trees and water are calming for me. I need them in my life.

I'll take photos of what I see. It helps me mentally return to and stay in the land of the living.




 

Hundreds of books have been published about grief. I published one of them. (In fact, the Dear Me: The Widow Letters book compiled by Dianne Young was recently shown at a session by a group participant as an example of a book that has really helped her learn what it's like to be a widow and carry on. I was one of the 20 widows in Dear Me who wrote a letter of support and encouragement back to her newly widowed self.)

What I've learned through reading and the bereavement counselling I've received is that we cannot go around grief, only through it.

Grief is like a big, dark tunnel with a mountain on one side and a cliff on the other. The only way forward is through it. 




It helps to have others alongside, supporting you on your journey as you go through the tunnel. If you're lucky, they'll even pick you up and give you a ride for a bit so you don't have to go through it all alone.

As hard as the grief journey is, I am grateful for the amazing people who have supported and continue to support me as I make my way through my grief tunnel.

Some tunnels are longer than others and some people go through faster. We are each unique, our relationships were unique. Our journeys are thus different yet similar.

I've been asked why I continue to put myself through the emotional upheaval of being a peer helper at bereavement groups and at times, I consider not continuing.

But I know how important bereavement support has been to me. I could not have gone through that tunnel nearly as quickly or with as much strength without the information and assistance I received from others. 

So I give back, in gratitude for what I've received. One of the richest blessings of my life was 42 busy, fun, crazy, frustrating, wonderful years with my departed husband Al. It feels right to continue to say his name and share our story in a way that can help others celebrate the love they've lost, while giving them the tools and strength to carry on.



P.S. The next all-day grief retreat in Regina, SK for newly bereaved persons is July 27/19. See poster below and please share with others.


P.S.S.  Other blogs I've written to help others who are bereaved:

         -  http://driverworks.blogspot.com/2016/02/what-ive-learned-about-grief.html
         -  http://driverworks.blogspot.com/2018/12/getting-through-holidays-while-grieving.html



Tuesday, April 2, 2019

How music can speak to the soul


When you've lost someone you love, music can be either heartbreaking, a welcome distraction, helpful, healing or something else entirely. There is no predictability to what will happen when you turn on the radio or TV and hear a favourite song or even one you've never heard before. You have to have strength, be prepared to feel your feelings, good or sad, and carry on.

This is especially the case when you are a widow or widower. More than half the songs ever written are love songs. When you've lost the love of your life, this can be an exercise akin to walking on broken glass.



Today, Grief stopped by to visit for a few minutes as I was listening to music. A ballad on my iPod made me think of my departed husband, Al, and the love I've lost from my daily life. Tears flowed. My broken heart bled a little more. I gathered myself together and kept on working, kept the music playing, and heard an unexpectedly beautiful surprise.

Santana. Al's favourite artist.

I felt Al's spirit with me, his hands on my shoulders, asking me to smile. Reminding me to think of the best concert we ever attended - Santana in Saskatoon a few years before Al got sick and died. It was an amazing night.

I looked at my iPod to see the name of the song since it wasn't one I've memorized.

Europa.

Its subtitle: 

Earth's Cry Heaven's Smile.

Thank you, Al. You're the best.



Wednesday, March 27, 2019

When students asked about my writing and books, it all went well until that excerpt

I enjoy speaking with students about the books I’ve written and/or published but also about the importance of reading and writing to learn, grow intellectually, and make the world a better place. I also enjoy answering questions posed by students during and after my talks. Sometimes I have an answer readily available, sometimes things go slightly awry.

I was honoured to recently talk with students at Robert Southey and Viscount Central schools. I speak about how I started writing at age eight and it grew into a lifetime of loving the written word and working as a journalist, author, editor, and book publisher. I give them some tips for reading and writing and encourage them to try to make a positive impact in the world because of what they learn while reading.


Mrs. Carnegie-Meere with author-publisher Deana Driver at Robert Southey School

I tell students that there is no such thing as a dumb question, because if they don't know the answer, it's a perfect time to find out. I'd rather they ask than assume something that is incorrect.

These are some of the students' questions (and my answers) from that day:

-          “What’s your favourite animal?” (I replied that I have allergies, but I guess dogs are okay. The younger kids often ask me personal questions instead of questions related to the books I’m discussing. Or sometimes they will simply state a fact based on something they heard. After telling them of my book The Sailor and the Christmas Trees about a man named John, two or three younger students will inevitably tell me they know someone named John – which is nice, but it's not a question and I encourage them to instead ask a question starting with Who, What, When, Where, Why or How.)

-          “What’s your favourite food?” (Chicken. I’d eat chicken for every meal every day.)

Mrs. Jantz with author-publisher Deana Driver at Viscount Central School
-          “What is your favourite book that you’ve written?” (I like all of them for different reasons. They’re all like my babies and you should never choose a favourite baby, but I guess I'll choose Never Leave Your Wingman because it's an inspiring true story that can be enjoyed by almost anyone in any family. Almost everyone is affected by cancer. And The Sailor and the Christmas Trees is great for children and adults too. My other three books are out of print.)

-          “Is that coat book true?”  (Yes, The Little Coat, written by Alan Buick, is a true story about a Canadian soldier and a Dutch girl who met during the war. They gave her a coat made from an army blanket.)

-          “Did you see that coat?” (Yes, my husband and I saw the little coat in 2015 when it was on display at the Military Museum in Calgary. It was on loan from the Canadian War Museum. It’s really beautiful.)

-           Aren’t you going to ask us what our favourite animal is?” (Um… no, not today.)

-          “Who's your role model?” (My mom. She was a teacher before she had children and she encouraged me at a young age to be creative with my writing. I learned my love of the English language and writing from her.)

-          “Can you read something from the Fun on the Farm book?” (I read Mary Harelkin Bishop’s short story called ‘A Snack For Mom’. At another reading that day, I read Keith Foster’s poem ‘Thanksgiving Memory’.) 

-          “What would you change about one of your books?” (That’s a question I’ve never been asked, but most writers I know are unhappy with some part of what they’ve written. We always want our writing to be better. Even though it's won an award and been praised endlessly by readers, I’d go back and tighten up the text of the Never Leave Your Wingman book. I wrote the book and published it quickly, within a year, because I was concerned that Dionne Warner, the seven-time cancer survivor I wrote about, might die while I was writing that book. She is still very much alive and living her life to the fullest while fighting her ninth cancer diagnosis. The day I met Dionne and decided to write and publish her story, I asked her what would happen to the book project if she died while I was in the process of writing. It was a tough question but I needed to ask it. We agreed that if we could help one person by sharing her inspiring story, my book would go ahead. After the book was published, Dionne told me that if she’d known me better, she would have answered, “What happens if you die?” It was an excellent point that is typical of what her outlook on life can teach us about how to live our lives. Live life to the fullest. No regrets.)


-          “Are you writing anything right now?” (I’m working on two new books. Author Alan Buick, who wrote The Little Coat, and I are writing short stories of Canadian war veterans who could have died had they made a different decision or been in a different place during the war. I also want to write some true stories about Prairie pilots and their adventures. So if you know anyone who has a story of a Canadian war veteran or a fascinating pilot adventure, please let me know.)

-          “I want to do freelance writing? How do you recommend I get started?” (This was a one-on-one question posed after one of my presentations. I told the student to be persistent, to keep track of everything they have ever had published, even if there was no pay for their work. You must build a resumé. When I began freelancing in September 1983, I visited the public library twice a week and looked at every magazine on the racks to see which ones matched my skill set and my interests as a writer. I mailed writing samples from my journalism career to many of these magazines and made several long-distance phone calls, which were expensive in those days, but I received no responses. In early 1984, I attended a burn symposium on my own, listened to the morning’s speakers, then phoned The Medical Post in Toronto and talked to their editor about the physician speakers and their topics. I asked if the magazine wanted stories from this first-on-the-Prairies conference and they agreed to accept four or five articles. This began a 30-year freelance career with that and other publications. Be persistent, be passionate about your writing, work hard, be good at what you do.)

-          “Can you read us some of that book about horses?” (This was not my finest moment as a speaker. I have never read excerpts from Bryce Burnett’s humorous cowboy poetry to a group of students, so I picked up Bryce’s latest book, Horses, Dogs and Wives, and skimmed the pages to find a suitable poem. I saw one that ended with “farted” and decided to keep looking. I landed on the ‘Rover’ poem instead, but I should have looked more closely at the last couple lines first. I'd temporarily forgotten that cowboy poetry usually has a surprise ending. As I finished reading that poem, the entire group of Southey students gasped and then laughed, while I sheepishly grinned. I later apologized to the teachers for reading what some might have considered an inappropriate poem for the students, but the teachers insisted it was fine. See the poem below for yourself. Would you have read it to kids in Grades 6 to 9?)



Thank you to both schools for the invitations to speak and to Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild for subsidizing the Viscount reading. Thank you to the students of both schools for their attention and their questions.

Mrs. Elaine Jantz, librarian at Viscount Central School, wrote about my presentation at Viscount school:
“Deana Driver came to our school for a presentation and spoke to our students about her books, writing and publishing. She is an awesome presenter, she kept them all engaged and hearing the stories about how the books came to be was so enlightening and made them even more interesting to get and read. The story about a shy, farm girl going on to be a journalist, then writer, editor and publisher, really inspired some of our students as to how far you can go and what you can do if you try. She gave them great insight into how to start writing and keep going. We very much enjoyed her visit!”


(Read about a Robert Munsch question I was quickly able to answer.)