Elaine Tanner’s imagination is just as vivid as when she was a child.
The 64-year-old Saanich resident and Olympic Hall of Famer has never lost her sense of wonder and curiosity as some people do when they get older.
“I’ve always had a child-like imagination. Everybody really should never lose their sense of wonder,” Tanner said. “I’ve always been a curious cat. Children always look at things that adults just pass by, but I’ve never been like that. I think it keeps you really young and youthful.”
Even stuffed animals have meaning for Tanner.
A year-and-a-half ago, her husband John brought home a stuffed monkey he found in a clearance bin just after the holidays. She named him Monkey Guy and he is the inspiration behind her first children’s book, Monkey Guy and the Cosmic Fairy.
The story is about a shy young boy named Lewis (named after Tanner’s son, Scott Lewis), who receives Monkey Guy as a gift on Christmas. They form a strong bond and quickly become “true” friends — something Lewis has always wanted. However, Lewis becomes ill and the story revolves around Monkey Guy’s wish with the Cosmic Fairy to heal him.
The book teaches children about unconditional love and friendship, and the magic that occurs with friendship — a message Tanner believes will resonate with anyone at any age.
Tanner has written poetry in the past, but this is her first self-published title.
The Olympic medalist, nicknamed “Mighty Mouse,” picked up four gold medals and three silver medals at the Commonwealth Games in 1966 and became the youngest athlete ever to win the Lou Marsh Trophy, recognizing her as Canada’s best athlete, in 1966.
Now, she’s hung up her swim cap and picked up a pen.
“Writing is the best way for me to express myself. Vocally I’m not as good at expressing myself, but with writing, it’s always been therapeutic for me,” Tanner said.
Tanner is holding a book signing on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Serious Coffee at Mayfair (3075 Douglas St.) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 13 at Serious Coffee (2417 Beacon Ave. W) in Sidney from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
To purchase the book email firstname.lastname@example.org. One dollar from every book sold before Christmas will go towards animal rescue and the homeless.