“. . .Each person has talent and skills and that it is a lifelong task to discover the wonderful qualities that make you unique - and to not give up on your goals and dreams.” Gloria Wooldridge
At a glance:
-Grew up and resides in PEI
-Wife of Gingher & mom to Alyssa and Jenny
-Favourite coffee is 3-bean blend, ground on #2, available from Brett at the Charlottetown Farmer's Market
-Shops on the outside aisles of the grocery store and supplements her weekly grocery list at the farmer's market and from her farmers Carrie, Jeff, and Olivia at Olde MacKenzie Farm
-Decorating style: she loves all things eclectic and colourful and with history
Tell me a bit about your writing
Over the years I have done all kinds of creative things in my spare time and have a love of lifetime learning. Creating, whether it be poetry, painting, or photography, have been wonderful outlets to explore. It always amazes me - the talent on this little Island – and the willingness of those who create to share their extensive knowledge to help others develop their skillset. There are many projects I have worked on where, by asking questions or for assistance through friends of friends and social media, I have met wonderful people who have been so willing to lend their expertise. I have been published a couple of times in the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books, which was a great experience.
Tell me about your latest project, reflections from the perimeter? How did the books come about?
The poetry books began as a Christmas gift to our two adult daughters. Over the years, I have penned several poems that were interspersed in various journals, inspired by everyday life - the beauty around me, through deep faith, and wanting to remember moments or feelings. Every poem in each book evokes a fond memory, explores concepts, or honours values and relationships I hold dear. I wanted to put my poetry in one place, hoping that our girls would get to know me on a different level, aside from just being “mom”.
I also started attending the monthly Poetry Readings at the Haviland Club. Realizing that I really appreciated each person’s voice, I read a few poems myself. With the encouragement of friends and family, as well as some advice from a fellow author, I split the original project into two volumes and edited (and edited…and edited) until I was happy with the result. Several friends helped at different points - Maggie Lillo took my covers and made them more professional; Linda Morrison Durant edited, and Rob Patterson and Cindy LaPena both added suggestions, which I happily incorporated.
The books themselves took hundreds of hours of time, and with all the storm days this past winter that worked out just fine. Often with the wind howling and the snow blowing, I was at my kitchen table, working on my project. I have learned a lot in the process and as a result, could likely write a new book about “100 ways to not write and publish a book.”
There must have been moments of fear and hesitation when making the decision to publish your work. How do you overcome and face those fears?
It is a little intimidating to put yourself out there. What I have come to appreciate over the years is that art of any kind is subjective. Some people like poetry, some do not. The same can be said about painting styles or music. Whether others like or dislike my work has little to do with me personally, but the reality is; the words contained within are encouragement and food for thought for some.
Every season of life has challenges and art or creative projects in the background of everyday life makes me happy. When I turned 50 I realized that if I didn’t start doing things I wanted to do, I may never have the opportunity, so I better get going!
A dear friend said to me one time and it has stuck – “When we fly higher, we lift others as we go.” We have a profound effect on each other, hopefully for the better. One of the reasons I persevered and made the project available is that I want to encourage others to get going and to find their own voice.
Today’s technology makes it very doable to write your own book with print on demand options. I don’t particularly have formatting skills, so I hired someone on the internet to do that for me. The price was equivalent to a few cups of good coffee, so the barriers are few.
Who or what has inspired you to follow your passions and take the leap to sharing your poetry and art with the world?
One of the messages I hope that I have conveyed over the years to my daughters and to other women is that each person has talent and skills and that it is a lifelong task to discover the wonderful qualities that make you unique - and to not give up on your goals and dreams. This project is a simple example of following through to the finish line with a personal goal.
What advice do you have for aspiring writer?
Write something you like and are proud of.
What advice were you given through the years that stuck with you?
More of a statement really, “Blessed are the plodders.” I have thought of this phrase hundreds of times in the past ten years. It is the thought that even if you are only making a little progress, you are still making progress. One day you will look around and realize the finish line is under your feet.
What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
I have been extremely fortunate to have had wonderful encouraging people in my life that have believed bigger for me than I have for myself. It is in the doing that I have become.
Who is the one person you’d like to thank and what would you say to him/her?
Well my husband has been extremely supportive over the years and has put up with just about every project imaginable at the kitchen table. Aside from him, I would have to say Debbie Theurekauf, a friend of 20 years who has encouraged and challenged me to overcome my own insecurities and move beyond my comfort zone. Additionally, I list those who have influenced me and this project in the dedication section of each book.
What's in-store for you in the coming months?
I am involved in an Etsy Pop-Up Event on May 2 at the Charlottetown Fire Hall. My booth will be a fundraising effort for 11-year old Keisha Jadis, whose family is diligently working toward raising $15,000 for a Cystic Fibrosis Airway Clearance Vest. It is a fun idea and is a bit of a stretch out of my comfort zone, but I believe in the cause and want to help, even if in a small way. My childhood friend, Linda, is helping me with this. We have been creating stuff and dreaming up ideas together, from painting pet rocks to drawing characters on basement walls since the age of 12. Aside from that, I have started a new poetry project that will take the rest of the summer that promises to be fun and I think, interesting.
"Gardens of Hope" written by Gloria Wooldridge
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