A pair of talented Foothills wordsmiths have published their stories and want to share them with the world.
Diane Maull, of the DeWinton area, and Della Dickie, of Black Diamond, hosted a reading and book signing event at the Sheep River Library on Oct. 27 to launch their recently released books. Maull’s is a selection of true stories about growing up on the prairies and Dickie’s is a collection of humourous poems.
Maull said she and her husband, Lorne, have always been interested in historical events, and she thought maybe she might be able to tell a little about her life in rural Alberta.
“As you get older you realize there’s a little story there you could put down and it mightn’t sound too bad,” she said. “And, I just kind of like writing.”
The cover of her book, Hoof Prints on the Prairie, features a young Maull with her treasured friend, a horse named Flicka, who appears throughout the book. She was an orphaned horse in the wild when Maull’s father rescued her and brought her home, where she was nursed back to health and lived for nearly 20 years.
“She was just my horse,” said Maull. “I was the one who taught her how to ride. I broke her, and I told in the book how I did that. It wasn’t how you do now, but it worked and she and I were always just very good friends.”
The book also tells tales of her time spent training to become a nurse, and her early days in small towns on the prairie. It was natural for her to become a nurse, because she’d grown up caring for both animals and people.
Writing about her experiences is a wonderful trip down memory lane, she said, and she doesn’t plan to stop any time soon.
“I intend to write non-fiction books until I run out of stories, then maybe I’d change my mind,” said Maull. “But we’ve got a few historical stories yet between my husband and I before we quit.”
She and Lorne have been part of the Millarville Community Church Writing Group for seven years, where they meet once per month to share stories with other writers in the area and bounce ideas off one another.
As a natural storyteller, Maull said writing has always interested her.
“I was a 4-H member for years and I learned how to public speak and to tell stories,” she said. “I’m a storyteller, and when you’re a storyteller all you have to do then is write it down.”
She’s not sure when she’ll publish another book, but Maull said she’s got a couple of projects on the go.
“My mom and dad both had very interesting family histories,” she said. “If I’m given enough time I hope to eventually get some of their good stories down.”
For Della Dickie, her new latest collection of poems to tickle the funny bone, Wrinkles of Laughter, is her second book in as many years. Her first book Splatology came out early in 2016.
She said it’s hard to pinpoint where she gets her inspiration, though she too credits the Millarville Community Church Writing Group and Poetry by the Fireplace with Doris Daley.
“They’re all so individual,” said Dickie. “I think inspiration comes from stories people tell me, from funny stories I heard or read about, something just hits me and I know it would make a good poem.”
Dickie said she loves writing poetry and poking fun – not at people, but at situations.
She has a particular style that keeps her readers on their toes to the end of the last stanza.
“It’s kind of fun to put all the funny parts in the last part of the poem, so you wonder what’s coming because it doesn’t seem very funny,” she said. “Then it’s kind of like a punch line. Those are fun.”
Some of the characters in her poems are inspired by people in her life – including herself and her husband – though she does make up her fair share of comical personalities.
Dickie can’t just sit down and write a poem, though. Something needs to strike her as an interesting topic or story before she can put pen to paper. It should always be funny.
“Getting older, if you can’t laugh at yourself you’re not going to laugh,” said Dickie. “There’s lots of things to laugh at, the things we do and how we react to different things. This older and wiser I think is true to a certain extent, but we can still see the humour in things more than we could when we were younger too, I think.”
This may be the last of Dickie’s poetry books. She said it depends on how well Wrinkles in Time sells. She was able to recoup her costs from Splatology, which allowed the new book to be born, she said.
Both of her books are available through Dickie directly, or online through FriesenPress, Barnes and Noble, Indigo Chapters, and Google’s bookstore.
Maull’s book, Hoof Prints on the Prairie, and her husband Lorne’s first book, Tall in the Saddle, are available at Dit ‘n Dat in Okotoks.