Heather Conn Blogs

spoutin’ about by the sea

Green Drinks on the Sunshine Coast: a new hit

                                                                                           — Donna McMahon photo

About 30 energetic voices at last night’s Green Drinks event in Roberts Creek, BC created an audible – and symbolic — buzz and hum of successful community cross-pollination.


Locals of many generations packed into The Gumboot Café for the first Green Drinks event on the Coast in several years. This eco-gathering, co-hosted by Deer Crossing The Art Farm and One Straw Society, created much passionate discussion and a long list of suggestions for future topics and presentations. These ranged from the more obscure (palm-forest logging and destruction caused by a demand for labels made of palm oil) to a request for short, verbal reviews of “green” books.


Besides the shared animated talk, Art Farm resident and puppeteer Sandy Buck explained in an informal presentation how inspired she felt by creative collaboration in public spaces, community-based activism, and the power of a group to create change. She praised the book series A Community Lover’s Guide to the Galaxy. As only one global example, A Community’s Lover’s Guide to Rotterdam offers initiatives for creating communities and stronger bonds through “empty spaces, shops,  kids, food, greenery, sand, books, stories, art, and symbols in new and old ways.”


As social scientist Duane Elgin says in Voluntary Simplicity: “Who we are, as a society, is the synergistic accumulation of who we are as individuals . . .Small changes that seem insignificant in isolation can be great contributions when they are simultaneously undertaken by many others.”


Attendees ranged from local politicos Donna Shugar, Sunshine Coast Regional District director, Lorne Lewis, and Lee Ann Johnson to Food Action Network reps; Bernard, the owner of a bio-diesel vehicle; author David Roche; Scott Avery of Huckleberry Vardo Designs, who builds and advocates for low-impact small living spaces; and “green” authors Christina Symons and John Gillespie.


During the event, I thought of how pleased the late Robin Wheeler, founder of One Straw Society, would have been to see such group enthusiasm, one of the many legacies of her community work and dedication. Thank you, Art Farm, and One Straw for re-launching Green Drinks on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve attended Green Drinks in Vancouver over several years and have always met intriguing and inspirational people. I hope that this event will become a focal point for progressive change and action on the Coast.

Green Drinks on the Sunshine Coast will be held on the last Thursday of every month, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Gumboot Cafe. You can become a friend on FaceBook.

To find out more about the origin of Green Drinks and related events around the world, see Green Drinks.

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April 27, 2012 at 10:21 am Comments (0)

The Writers’ Hub: Local authors share their words


  — Linda Williams photo                                                       — Hugh Macauley photo

Gracie & I at the Arts Crawl                Part of my first audience for a Gracie mini-reading

                                                                                                             — Heather Conn photos

I had fun last weekend introducing Gracie the goldfish, the star of my new children’s book, Gracie’s Got a Secret, at the 2011 Sunshine Coast Arts Crawl in British Columbia, Canada. I was one of 15 local authors who was on hand at The Gumboot Café in Roberts Creek to chat with both residents and tourists, give mini-readings, and sell books, of course.

 Shelley Leedahl gives a mini-reading

I enjoyed reading the first few pages of my book to young readers who sat on the steps in front of me at the microphone. Since this is my first children’s book, this is a whole new audience for me to reach. Shelley Leedahl, a poet, fiction, and creative nonfiction author newly moved to the Coast from Saskatchewan, also read from her delightful children’s book The Bone Talker. Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside in 2005, and with images by Bill Slavin, one of Canada’s top book illustrators, this poignant story has won the Saskatchewan Book of the Year Award.

Michael Maser, author of Learn Your Way!

Our Writers’ Hub event, organized by Creek author Jane Covernton, featured the “soft” or unofficial launch of three local books: Gracie’s Got a Secret, Jane’s own Healing Herbs to Know and Grow, and Michael Maser’s Learn Your Way! The published works of these additional local writers were also available: Terry Barker; Shelley Harrison-Rae; Gillian Kydd; George Payerle; Dorothy Riddle; David Roche; Andreas Schroeder; Dot Scott; Marina Sonkina; and Susan Telfer. I shared a table with volunteers from the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, who were selling their book The People’s Water, and their photographic calendar.

 Jane Covernton reads her poetry, with her new herb book, visible to her right.

From poetry and prose, to self-published work and books of international acclaim, this two-day literary event celebrated the voices of independent publishers and the power of meeting and hearing authors in person – fresh and first-hand storytelling, rather than just reading a tale on a screen. Besides locals and friends, we had visitors from California and Seattle. Collectively, we sold 92 books over two days, from display tables available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thanks, Jane, for all of your hard work in organizing and setting up such a successful event. Since writing can often be a lonely pursuit, it was wonderful to connect with other scribes and share our written words with others.


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October 29, 2011 at 4:29 pm Comment (1)