Monday, January 11, 2016

Interview with Sheila Peters for 'In The Shadow of the Mountain' radio program

I have always wanted to pick musical selections to go with an interview about my current book but no small or medium-sized publisher, armed with my latest death-defying prose or poetry, has ever been able to storm the barricades surrounding CBC's  Shelagh Rogers on my bookish behalf. Alas. Heck.

But hark! Just before Christmas this past year, writer, publisher and broadcaster Sheila Peters of Smithers, BC asked if I would do just that.  O Happy Day! I picked Good Morning Starshine, Canadian Serena Ryder's powerful version, from her album, If Your Memory Serves You Well. This great tune was written by Canadian Galt MacDermott who won a Grammy in 1960 for African Waltz and also is famous for contributing to musicals like Hair and Two Gentlemen of Verona. I often hum this joyous ode to stars (nobody sings it like Serena so I stick to humming) when I'm out doing weather reports late at night or first thing in the very early morning when the stars bejewel the sky and earthly jets and satellites soar far below them.

Right After My Heart from the Almost Overnight album by Roy Forbes has heartbreaking lyrics, about someone being trapped by life's circumstances, really feeling down and then getting out of that pit of despair and "looking all over the world, running right after my heart," which is so subtle, so bittersweet. I totally relate to both situations. The song showcases both his virtuoso guitar-playing and his amazing sense of timing and perfect pitch. Rolla's Roy Forbes and Peace River, Alberta poet and novelist Leona Gom were important role models for me when I began writing fiction, both such talented artists who wrote about Peace River issues and people, the long-suffering river and the climate, all of it. Their work inspired me to write my own Peace River poems and stories and radio plays.

Finally, after weeks of grey skies and the winter monsoons, there is the sweet George Harrison, my favourite Beatle by far, and his sublimely optimistic song, Here Comes the Sun. But the host got playful on me and Sheila substituted the eerily nutso song, I'm Gonna Marry a Lighthouse Keeper, forever an ear-worm thanks to the sound track of Clockwork Orange, a movie which gave me nightmares and which I cannot watch to this day! Oh well. Lots of other people like it and know all the verses to boot.

Do check out the great variety of writers and musicians Sheila Peters has interviewed for her weekly radio show. As well as being a co-publisher at the fine and discerning Creekstone Press, Sheila is a very talented writer of poetry, short fiction, librettos, book reviews and novels who came to my attention when I read her first collection of short stories in 2001, Tending the Remnant Damage. Wow. Really, really good as is her latest novel from Caitlin Press, The Taste of Ashes. Okay, check it all out and enjoy!

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