This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
The Woman in the Trees by Gerry William is a revelation in that it provides an insight as to how it might have been for the Okanagan First Nations people trying to cope with the influx of Europeans.
It not only details the lifestyle and way of thinking of the Okanagans before the white man, but illustrates how the invasion of Europeans changed their way of life, their own relationships and, for some, their world view.
It begins with first contact through three generations weaving fact, fiction and myth as told from the point of view of several characters but most of them First Nations. It doesn’t lay blame, but rather unfolds more as a historical document and lets the reader decide.
The Woman in the Trees is a story of human relations, family, friends – of loyalty, betrayal and trust. The characters are imbued with humanity, wisdom, humility, courage and spirituality. It’s a story of change, of inevitability, and loss.
William’s writing is flawless, crisp and straight forward. The narrative flows naturally even as it is interspersed with myth, legend and spiritualism.
One gets the sense the author, a First Nations person himself, was told these stories by his elders and they have been passed down from generation to generation and will continue to be.
As one of William’s characters, Wolverine says, “Stories don’t end. They go on and on. Everything you do leads to something else.”