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Learn how to set up a blog and join online conservations for fun or to prom....

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Islanders are now able to view estimated emergency department wait times....

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MPEI Song Camp Submissions

Music PEI is now accepting submissions for the Song Camp Collaboration W....

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Snow Pass

The Grade 4 and 5 SnowPass program is available all across Canada and is....

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North Shore Winter Survivors

On January 12, the North Shore Community will host a meet and greet gath....

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Report Bat and Fox Sightings

After last winter’s discovery of White-nose Syndrome (WNS) in Island b....

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Name a Confed Centre Seat

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Soundtrack for your Project

Claudie Mackula, an independent music composer, is interested in collabo....

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PEI Cancer Services Drivers

The PEI Cancer Services Volunteer Driving Project uses 83 drivers from a....

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Be a CNIB Vision Mate

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Understanding and Preventing Abuse of Persons with Disabilities

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Grieving Support Group

Grief and Grieving Support Group meets the 3rd Thursday of every month (....

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Stratford Resident Survey

The Town of Stratford had launched its 3rd annual resident survey. The T....

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Plein Air Fest Call for Registration

Artisans on Main Montague, with the support of PEI 2014 and the Town of ....

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Big Brothers Big Sisters

What if every child fulfills his or her potential? Imagine what that cou....

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Donate to PEI Humane Society

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2014 Visitors Guide available

PEI’s 2014 Visitors Guide is now available. To assist you in planning ....

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Clothes Washer Rebate Program

Charlottetown Water and Sewer Utility Dept will is offering an Energy St....

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Confederation Players Auditions for 2014

Confederation Players Program is expanding to its greatest troupe size s....

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Island Wide Hike for Hospice

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Acoustic Performers Wanted

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Family Earth Expo

The 2014 Charlottetown Family Earth Expo will be held April 21 from 12-4 pm....

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Children's Memorial Tree Planting Ceremony

Plant a tree in memory of a child. International Children's Memorial Pla....

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March Break Youth Activity

A March Break Youth Activity Drop-in Program will be held in the morning....

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Shady Ladies Rug Hooking Group

Shady Ladies Rug Hooking Group meets every Wednesday at 9:30 am Sept–J....

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Stop Colon Cancer Before It Starts

Stop colon cancer before it starts. If you are between the age of 50–7....

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Karma Yin Yoga

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Free Soup and Gardening Workshop

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Prince of Wales College Reunion 2014

On July 26 there will be a Prince of Wales (PWC) reunion at the newly na....

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Confed Centre Public Library Programs

Adult Library

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Free Sobeys Nutrition Events

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Square Dance Lessons

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PEI Crafts Council AGM

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Run Director Volunteer Opportunity

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Club 56 Dances

Club 56 dance is held every Wednesday at Hillsborough Park Community Cen....

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Family Place Programs

Family Luau is being offered at the St. Eleanor's Community Centre, Summ....

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Family Earth Day Expo Wants Art

ECO PEI and Sierra Club organizers of Charlottetown Family Earth Day Exp....

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Benefit for the Welsh family

Three members of young PEI family are battling a rare cancer—Welsh’s....

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Fibre Art Workshops: Felting

Two Fibre Art Workshops on Felting will be held April 19, 1:30–4:30 pm....

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Getting to Know PEI Seaplants

Getting to know PEI seaplants: a hands-on workshop for cooks and gardene....

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Friends’ Arts Scholarships

The Board of the Friends of Confederation Centre of the Arts has to anno....

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Much Ado About Nothing Reading/Auditions

This summer ACT (a community theatre) will be presenting William Shakesp....

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Charlottetown Arts and Culture Awards

The City of Charlottetown’s Arts Advisory Board has announced that the....

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NDP Malpeque AGM

The NDP Malpeque Federal Riding Association will hold its Annual General....

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Cycling PEI Information

On Thursday April 24, 7 pm at the Confederation Centre Public Library, repr....

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Island Outdoor Show

The Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown plays host to the second annual Isl....

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Playing with Poetry Forms

The PEI Writers’ Guild and UPEI Dept of English have announced that cu....

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Porridge for Parkinson's

The public is invited to the third annual Porridge for Parkinson’s bre....

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Wig Workshop

ACT will host a wig workshop with Elizabeth "Honey" Landrey at The Havil....

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Island Catered Cleanse

Love local organic produce? Eat too many winter stormchips, chocolate Ea....

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Book-making Workshops

Book-making workshops will be held April 27 and May 4 at Bonshaw Communi....

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Spring Brunch

The Olde Dunstaffnage School Centre will host a breakfast brunch fundrai....

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Ride for Dad Volunteers Wanted

Volunteers are needed to assist on ride day and on the executive committ....

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Northern Lights Quilt Guild

Northern Lights Quilt Guild will meet at the O’Leary Community Complex....

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Workplace Health & Safety

The 2014 Workplace Health & Safety Conference is being held in Charl....

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Rowing PEI 2014 Season Begins

Are you interested in the sport of rowing? Find out more as Rowing PEI k....

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Book Sale at Summerside Library

Book sale will be held May 3, 10 am–4 pm and May 4, 1–4 pm at Summer....

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PEI Genealogical Society Panel

The public is invited to the Annual General Meeting of the PEI Genealogi....

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Cuso Volunteers to Speak

Alanna MacNevin from Souris West along with Charlottetown residents Jan ....

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Recycled Book Exhibition

Colonel Gray students have spent several weeks of the new semester takin....

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Crapaud Hall Wants Performers

Organizers at Crapaud Community Hall are seeking musical groups interest....

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Acoustic Performers Needed

The Chowder House in Point Prim is looking for acoustic performers to en....

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Home | Articles | Words | Becoming a Writer
November 2011
Becoming a Writer
Susan Buchanan pursues a literary dream

In Her Own Write
by Ann Thurlow

Susan Buchanan Susan Buchanan Susan Buchanan has always wanted to be a writer. In fact, she has been one—a writer of curriculum and magazine articles. But, really, that wasn’t the kind of writing she wanted to do. So, as she neared her fiftieth birthday, she decided it was time to get serious—to begin to write fiction and poetry. And that decision ended up earning her three prizes in the 2011 PEI Literary Awards: second place and honourable mention in the poetry category and first place for her short story, The Lake.

Not that she just sat down and met with such success. She credits (as so many do) a creative writing class she took from Frank Ledwell for her first, early inspiration. More recently Buchanan began to approach the craft of writing in the way any craftsperson would. She found a mentor she admired in Dianne Morrow. She received a grant from the PEI Council of the Arts so that she and Dianne could work together. She joined writer’s groups, which was an impetus for her to produce some work every week. She took workshops, accepted criticism, devoted every morning to her work. She has carved out a writing space in a bedroom—a desk next to a propane heater for warmth and a window with a view of the garden for inspiration. She tries to work three hours every day.

Given that writing is a notoriously lonely occupation and that writers are famous procrastinators, I tell her I admire her determination. She laughs. “I have a short attention span and I have projects all over the house—my knitting, art projects (she also paints) so it’s easy to get distracted,” she admits.

As well, she is president of the local Women’s Institute, runs a bed and breakfast with her partner Jeanne, and has a daughter in university. Focus was a problem until one important event changed her life.

Her beloved brother-in-law died young and unexpectedly. He had struggled with mental illness—his death was a terrible shock. To make sense of the loss, and to cope, she began to write poetry. Some of those poems became her award winning submissions. They are sad, full of terrors. But through that, there’s a kind of optimism, too.

Like frail bones, branches snap
the axe fells
heavy logs cleaved, fill the hearth
Sweet snap of fire burns in the grate
like ancient heroes cremated and piled
in a silver urn.

Her prize winning short story, The Lake, is darker still—a meditation on a life spent pushing people away. It’s an interesting choice for someone who has gleaned so much and benefitted from the mentorship of others. She is currently taking two writing workshops and studying painting at Senior’s College. She dreams of combining both in a book for children. She also has her eye on larger prizes—perhaps an Atlantic Writers award. She has submitted something there already. And though she didn’t win, she was pleased to get some feedback. Because if there was a prize for listening, for working hard on a dream, Susan Buchanan would win, hands down.

Some of What's Going On

Brigham Young Sinfonietta

April 22
St. Dunstan's Basiilica The Brigham Young University Idaho Campus Sinfonietta will perform ...

Grease the Musical

Charlottetown Rural student production May 7 to 10
Confederation Centre of the Arts A Charlottetown ...

Queens County Fiddlers

Annual concert to showcase group’s members Apr 27
The Guild The Queens County Fiddlers’ annual ...

Ballet, Blues and Baker

Harbourfront Theatre Presents series April 24, 25, May 2 & 3 Harbourfront Theatre wraps up its ...

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Head First Productions mounts its first stage effort May 2, 3, 8, 9, 10
The Guild The famous comic ...

Some of What's New

Charlottetown Arts Advisory Board

The City of Charlottetown has announced that the Charlottetown Arts Advisory Board has been establis ...

Honourary Awards

Rita MacNeil, The Chaisson Trio, Grady Poe, Alan Dowling, Flo Sampson, Susan Hunter, Kellie Walsh an ...

2014 Heritage Awards

The Annual PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation Heritage Awards were presented at Eptek Art and Cultur ...

Premier’s Award

Confederation Centre honoured for its 50 years in tourism On March 5, 2014 the Tourism Industry Ass ...

Cradling Confederation

Edward MacDonald
Published by Confederation Centre Fifty years ago this year, in 1964, on the 100th ...