It's not just a book thing!
In the afternoon, I went to the library for ‘Open House: Local Writers’. Anne Allen told us about her book Dangerous Waters. The title has a double meaning: the main character, Jeanne Le Page, is traumatised by a family tragedy which took place at sea, but there is also a love interest involved. The book refers to locations that Guerns can recognise, such as Smith Street, St Pierre Park and Crabby Jacks, as Jeanne is often being wined and dined by boyfriends. There is a guaranteed happy ending, but an unexpected twist.
Albotain’s Treasure by Sharon Ward is a spiritual fantasy book about a medieval astrologer. As a qualified astrologer herself, Sharon has always been interested in spirituality; writing this novel helped her express her ideas and beliefs. ‘If you have a passion, you’re alive,’ she said. ‘The braver you are in life, the more you get out of it.’ Sharon is due to appear on an American TV show called ‘Turn to the Stars’ after a woman living there got hold of her book and loved it.
Richard Fleming’s new poetry book Strange Journey has some poems dating back 20 years ago, when he first came to Guernsey. The main theme is the bewilderment of how he feels going from a young boy to an older man. ‘I’m astonished to have come this far without a map.’ One poem I found particularly interesting was ‘Rewind’ about his dream to ‘restart time, as though it had never ended.’ Richard occasionally writes poems for his wife, which he hides in the house and waits to her to find. How romantic!
Terry White has written a series of six humorous books based on a civil engineer. The bits that he wouldn’t like his friends and family to read are fictional, but the rest is autobiographical to some degree. ‘You can find humour in virtually everything,’ he said. The first book he ever wrote is called Trespassers Will Be Mutilated, but the first book in the series is There Came A Big Spider. Terry’s main reason for writing was to see if he could, because everybody’s got a book in them.
The writer I found the most fascinating was Maurice Redvers Sangan’s, who wrote Take My Word: a combination of short stories, anecdotes and poems. Some of his stories are centered around the Guernsey occupation and liberation, and some are from around the world. Maurice began writing stories when he was just four years old, and gave them to his teacher with coloured illustrations. He’s lived a very exciting and extraordinary life: at the age of ten, he was evacuated during the war and spent five years away from his family. As a young man, he worked as a confectioner and a chocolatier. He then spent 23 years in the Royal Air Force, visiting many countries; he lived in Egypt in the Suez Canal Zone for two years and learnt to speak Arabic. Maurice reflects on a lot of these experiences in his book.
It’s great that we have such a lot of literary talent on our island!