It started with a bookmark from the Sooke Writer’s Collective at the local library.
“Interested in being part of a writing group?” it asked. Clare Winstanley was, so she called the number on the bookmark and has been a member ever since.
Winstanley has written poetry her whole life, but only since joining the group did she share them. Mid-pandemic, the poets of the collective decided to self-publish a chapbook. Winstanley contributed poetry and illustrations and enjoyed the whole thing so much she decided to do a solo project.
Bits of String and Thread: a tapestry of poemsis a collection of 17 narrative poems, drawings and photographs the semi-retired tutor self-published this summer.
As writing has taken centre stage in her life – she’s working on a novel right now – Winstanley wants to tell other adults to revisit the hobbies of their youth.
“As we mature, and perhaps finished taking care of families, perhaps a money-earning career becomes less central, we can invest in the second or third chapters of our lives and pick up things we had given up,” she said.
“It’s time to go back now and complete the things you started when you were younger.”
She said that her poems are layered with history, often going back in time, and they’re best read aloud.
“My aim as a poet is to create an effect with the sound of the words.”
Winstanley will read a selection of her poetry on Aug. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Sooke Arts Council Gallery at the corner of Church and Sooke roads. It’s a free event and can accommodate up to 25 people. The book is available for $15 at the gallery or through her website cemwinstanley.com .
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