Being an author is in many ways a way of life that includes taking a lot of risk. A main question that figures prominently for authors is the fact of how are you going to be a full time writer and not have an income until you are successful? That is the $100,000 question. Are you going to write part time in your spare time and work a job to fund your existence? Or are you saving some funds to live on while creating that unique work of fiction, your master piece that will be bought by a publisher for a a large advance and takes off after its completion to make you rich?
Keep on dreaming! Writing a book takes about a year including many drafts and rewrites. Inspiration is only part of the picture. If you need to make a living, production of other work, such as editing a magazine or working on other’s work will halt your own creative processes and postpones the production of your own work. A catch-22 situation: write more, or eat…
Writing is hard work that takes place in solitude. Many of us take other work to finance the cost of living. Here is where my post of today comes in. Dona Sturmanis has been an award winning author of short stories and poetry for many years. She was this year diagnosed with breast cancer and is unable to work. The problem of earning a living is a very real one for Dona now that she is ill.
Dona has been an editor for other authors, a college teacher of writing classes, and a magazine editor for many years as well, besides having published her own works of poetry and stories published in magazines. You Mistook Heaven is a wonderful poetry collection of Dona; her collection Curious Beyond Words can be purchased at the fundraiser tomorrow.
She has been instrumental in my decision to start writing and to follow my passion three years ago, and to many other local authors as well. In her classes she demonstrated that anyone can start finding their voice, but you have to start: talking about it will get you nowhere. So, like many other inspired by Dona, I started writing. Dona has been the editor of my debut novel On Thin Ice and my enthusiastic mentor, together with her business partner Rand Zacharias through a contract with their editing firm Word Out! If it was not for the tenacity of those two I would not have had a product to launch.
Now I am returning the favour by writing about the fundraiser for Dona’s benefit in the hope that a few more people will attend this lovely event of the arts in a beautiful environment from 10 AM to 5 PM. This event is taking place tomorrow, Sunday, October 21 at the splendid Okanagan Summerhill Winery (you know, the one with the pyramid in which the organic wines are laid to rest to get that specific, astral approved taste).
The reason for the fundraiser is that Dona has had the misfortune to have breast cancer, a fate that a lot of women meet. During treatments one is very very ill and cannot do much of anything, let alone write, or edit other’s work.
Dona is self employed; full time writers do not have a disability plan or benefits. No writing: no income. Many have to sell their homes when disaster hits.
BC income assistance has minimal monthly payments for a single person, not enough to live on and the low benefit rates contribute to increasing the poverty rates for single people in BC. (By the way, a third of BC’s children also live in poverty — a disgrace!).
The BC cancer website published its (2007) statistics on line: 1144 women were diagnosed in BC in the age group 40-59; 185 women died that year. The sad part is that many do sit on a await list for surgery unnecessarily long. That needs to change too. Dona finally has had the first treatments after surgery and is feeling very ill right now. She won’t be at the event.
Back to the fundraiser event. The organizers are local friends and volunteers in the world of the arts, under the leadership of Rand Zacharias. Musicians Gordon James and Anna Jacyszyn will perform unplugged and local authors will read from their poetry. A mystery auction featuring original works by local artist Cherie Hanson, Rosemary and George Greedy, and Dona May Lee will take place for those interested in purchasing art. Summerhill Pyramid Winery chef Jesse Croy will prepare a gourmet BBQ to complete the event.
Tickets can be purchased at the door @ $25.
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Any comments you might have are very welcome. Give me a call if you like to join me at the event.