Wednesday, 28 September 2016 15:18

Swift Current author launching new book of personal reflection

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Anthea Loran Anthea Loran

Swift Current author Anthea Loran is sharing a lifetime of personal memories and life experiences in her new publication Recollections and Reflections.

The launch of her new book takes place in the conference room at the Art Gallery of Swift Current on Oct. 1, starting at 7 p.m.
The publication is a collection of memories from her journey through life that illustrates her versatility as an artist. It contains samples of her poetry and paintings as well as some photographs of family members.
“It’s just thoughts of one life, and it also hopefully will inspire people to do their own family history,” she said.
She decided to create a publication that she can share and pass along to family and friends.
“This I wanted to do because I now have great grandchildren and I’m not young anymore,” she said. “So you think ‘I’ll do it while I can’, because I’ve got energy.”
She is a long-time member of the Prairie Quills Writer’s Group. She schedules and takes part in member readings at senior residential complexes and at the Canadian Mental Health drop-in centre, where she will urge people to do their own writing.
“I try and share with the people that we read to and encourage them to write their own family history for their own family, because the way people lived actually is real history, not necessary dates and what happened when some law was repealed,” she said.
She has been living in Swift Current since 1963, but grew up in England. She recalls living in a house that was built about 500 years ago when Henry VIII was still the English king.
“You stood at the sink and you know somebody did dishes when Henry VIII was on the throne, and I’m standing in the same place,” she said. “So that’s real history. It’s how people lived and events of course coloured that, but nowadays, with so many other ways of communicating, I wouldn’t want that to get lost, the family history.”
Her own publication is therefore an attempt to preserve her memories. Her poems deal with a variety of subjects. There are poems about family members, the different seasons, Saskatchewan and places around the world she has visited. She received her training as a nurse in London and worked in England and Burma before she came to Canada in 1955.
Her poem The unexpected caregiver is about one of her patients when she was a nurse in England.
“He was a little boy that, when I first started nursing in London, was so helpful because he knew the routine,” she recalled. “The fresh new nurse was nervous. He told me lots, more than the nursing charge told me.”
Another poem was inspired by her brief encounter with a little boy in an art gallery in London, where she bought a postcard with an image of the painting Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco.
“He was there and he asked for the same post card as I did, and I often wondered why,” she said. “It was kind of interesting. He wanted Agony in the Garden and I don’t know why. So I wrote about him.”
She feels poetry is a reflection of personal experiences or observations of a poet, but a poem can be of wider interest to a reader.
“The poems are maybe universal, but it’s how I felt about things,” she said. “Any poem you read is personal really. It’s your view of things, how you express it. It’s different from just writing a story, which might be fiction.”
There are prints of many of her watercolour paintings in the book, reflecting scenes from places she has visited in Canada and elsewhere, as well as her interest in gardening. There are also pen drawings of buildings and other landmarks in Swift Current.
She will donate all proceeds from the sale of the book to the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre in Swift Current.
“I’m donating the money to the Welcome Centre because I’m an immigrant,” she explained.
She has been an active member of the community in Swift Current. She was a founding member of the Friends of the Walkway and her many volunteer activities were recognized earlier this year when she received the 2015 Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal.
“I love Canada,” she said. “I’ve been here longer than I was ever in England to live.”
She has previously self-published two other books. War Games is about her memories as a child growing up in England during the Second World War. Two Peas in a Pod is a children’s book that promotes a healthy self-image and diet. She has also contributed poems and short stories to six anthologies published by the Prairie Quills Writer’s Group.
She is planning to do some more research about her family history and she has written a few stories about nursing, but those are unpublished.
“I’ve only written a few, but I might write some more one day,” she said.
Loran’s paintings have been on show in the Art Gallery of Swift Current in the past. Some of her paintings will be on display in the conference room for the launch of her new book.
She will do a reading from the book and there will be refreshments.

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Matthew Liebenberg


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