© Diane Lang
Award winning author Candace Savage shared excerpts from her novel A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory in a Prairie Landscape when launching the 2013-2014 Write Out Loud series.
The Lyric Theatre launched their 2013/2014 Write Out Loud series last Wednesday with award winning author Candace Savage who was featuring her novel A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory in a Prairie Landscape.
Savage was last year's recipient of the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize Non-Fiction for A Geography of Blood and has authored over 25 books on a variety of colorful and diverse topics spanning over 35 years.
In addition to reading excerpts from the book Savage engaged the audience with humour and wit as she recounted how A Geography of Blood took root both figuratively and literally. It started out as a sightseeing trip exploring the aptly named "Valley of Hidden Secrets" in and around Eastend in 2000, which then lead to the purchase of a home there the following year.
"When I first started working on this book I really didn't have any idea what it was about," Savage said.
She had that crazy sense that she knew she had been drawn repeatedly to the Frenchman River Valley where hundreds of generations of inhabitants, dating back to the dinosaurs, had left their imprint on the land. And since she works as an author she expected it would transition into a book, though admittedly she shared that this experience was unlike anything before it.
"If I write something and it doesn't register in the readers mind, then nothing has happened," Savage said.
A Geography of Blood has been characterized as a dark, controversial book and for some, a story better left untold.
On Wednesday, Savage did not want to focus on the that controversial part of the story in her reading, as she wants those that have not yet read the book to define their own feelings and opinions towards these historical events which cast a large shadow on our governments and their actions against the indigenous people.
"The heart of darkness here is really a story that has being lying out in the open," Savage stated.
For the first time in her career Savage wrote a story in first person narrative and hopes this transports the reader through this time in history in a more deeply and personal way.
Savage commented that if this book helps bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people, and we learn from the past then we can look to a better future for all of us, where positive change and unlimited possibility lay on the horizon.
Though the topic may be considered disheartening and uncomfortable to some, what is not lost in the book is what Savage describes as a cultural and spirited archive of the Cypress Hills region where there is no limit to the imagination of anyone who visits.
Within the darkness Savage believes that "the hope comes out of the possibility of having a relationship with natural grassland, with the surviving grassland that buoys you up." She went on to say that "There is still an enormous vitality and beauty and reassurance in the land itself".
"We still have, people like me still have the opportunity to learn from cultures that have been here for 500 generations and that is not to be taken for granted".
As she says in the book, this is a story that has to be marked To Be Continued.
Write Out Loud's next feature author is Sean Virgo on October 16.