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Alan Hill welcomed special guests 2019 Judge Fred Wah, Kathleen Forsythe, Candice James, First Place Winner Elee Kraljii Gardiner and Second Place Winner Michael Turner at this year’s 6th Annual Cogswell Award event held on Sat Nov 30 at the New Westminster Public Library. The afternoon included award presentations, a lovely tribute by Fred Cogswell’s daughter, Kathleen Forsythe with archival video of her father, and Poet Laureate Emerita Candice James shared a few of Fred Cogswell’s poems. Alan’s excellent “fireside chat” with Fred Wah was followed by a wonderful reception. Congratulations to everyone, and my sincere thank you to Mr. Wah for his kindness. I will miss our chats and I hope to see you again soon. Thanks so much, Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice President

Winter Solstice © Jerena


Photo by Comfreak, Pixabay

Eirlys, the Winter Fairy, tromped along the wild mouse path, the soft mud sinking under her feather weight, leaving tiny footprints that dried in the afternoon sun. Eirlys hated autumn weather. It was so indecisive. One day it was sunny and warm, with a slight under-chill. The next day it was foggy, misty, drizzly, rainy, cloudy, dark, or any combination of conditions she deemed boring. She could hardly wait for the Winter Solstice, two days hence. Then her true powers would be returned to her. Distracted by her brooding thoughts, Eirlys was surprised to realize that she had found her way to the river. It was running high and fast with the last of summer’s melted snow. That will settle soon, she thought. Winter’s grasp will end the rushing water and turn it to ice. Then nothing will flow from the mountains and the river’s rage will vanish. The Winter Fairy gazed toward the clear sky, pale blue and dotted with fluffy clouds. She raised her fist and shouted “You’ll not last long! Two more days and I will rule!” As if acknowledging her pending control, the breeze began to gust, forcing deciduous trees to release the last of the leaves that had clung to bare

branches. She felt the chill intensify. Ominous gray clouds swept toward billowing white ones, devouring them. The darkened sky roiled, threatening rain and sleet. “Not yet!” Eirlys shouted again. “Hold your icy dew! In two days hence, I shall release your fury. Anything before then contravenes the Solstice Laws!” The wind swirled around her ankles, billowing her pale blue gown until it sparkled white. She raised her arms high and wide, embracing the promised cold that was to come. “Bide your time,” she screamed above the gale. “I’ll command you soon enough.” In the next moment, the wind and cloud gave way to chilled sunshine. Eirlys glanced over her shoulder and witnessed the last crimson maple leaf glide to its earthy death. The blustering winds had eased her angst. She turned away from the raging river and marched along the mouse path again. At the foot of a gnarled oak tree, between two ancient roots, Eirlys pushed aside a door of black-blue slate and entered her home. For the next while, she busied herself with meal preparations and tidied her lair. With work concluded, she ate her modest meal and retired for the evening. That night, her dreams were filled with winter wonder and hope. ~ “One more day!” Eirlys said the following morning, swinging her dainty feet to the floor. “I’ll check the river again today. It’s current should be slowing.” Throughout the day, she flitted through the forest, ensuring that the last animals were secure in their dens, that those birds who should have flown south were away, that the deciduous leaves were shed, that the coniferous cones were buried beneath decaying leaves, and that only cloud berries remained on stems awaiting her picking. She hastened toward the cloudberry field and commanded the fruit into her cart. Field mice drew the cart to the fairy hive, where the berries were de-

beaded and folded into reindeer fat seasoned with herbs, cooled and sliced into bars. The bars were then baled with strings of cedar bark and placed in baskets. “Win,” Eirlys called across the hive to her long-time friend, “will the bars be ready by the time Great Man of Winter Solstice arrives?” “Eirlys!” Winter replied hastening to her side. “Of course, the bars will be ready on time. They always are, yet every year you ask. Do you doubt our integrity; our loyalty; our commitment?” The hem of Eirlys’ gown turned pink, as she blushed at his jibing. “I apologize, Win,” she said. “You never fail. I doubt you not.” Winter waved his arm inviting her to inspect the baled cloudberry bars and followed one step behind her. She turned toward him beaming. “Win, they smell heavenly,” she said. “The Great Man will love them. They are the only nourishment he takes during his flight, aside from cookies and cocoa and the assortment of treats left by the children. Only our bars provide the fuel he needs to last the long night. Without their special ingredients, he’d surely fall asleep from all of that sugar!” She giggled with joy and clapped her tiny hands. “The baskets will be waiting in the usual place,” Winter said, “when he comes to collect you.” Eirlys felt herself pinking again, but she did not resist the opportunity to place a chaste kiss on Winter’s cheek. “And I will be waiting with them,” she said. “The bars are important. Without them to keep him strong, the gifts will not be delivered, and the children will be disappointed!” “And you,” Winter said. “Without you by his side, snowflakes won’t fall, and ice won’t form. Without you, the great freeze will not happen. The winds won’t swirl. Worse yet, Christmas magic won’t exist.”

------------------------------------------------------- Winter Solstice copyright Jerena Tobiasen

Upcoming 2020 Events Info: Please watch for event updates and news via our website and our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @royalcitylit

RCLAS Writing Workshop: “The Marvels of Flash Fiction” Facilitator: Karen Schauber Date: Saturday January 25, 2020 Time: 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm Location: Anvil Centre, 4th Floor, Rm #417 Workshop Fees: RCLAS Members $15/Non-members $25 Pre-register at Workshop Description: This dynamic 120-minute workshop introduces participants to the key elements in writing fabulous flash fiction. As a genre, flash fiction has exploded onto the literary arts scene exciting the imagination of readers and writers alike and creating a word-wide phenomenon of followers obsessed with the form. Flash Fiction, a brief condensed story written in under 1000 words, is a fully realized narrative, infused with sumptuous imagery, intentional word choice, and finely nuanced characters, crafted to surprise, delight, and challenge the reader; all in a flash. Workshop participants will walk away with a definitive understanding of what flash fiction is, and what it is not; will delight in crafting ‘killer sentences’, incorporating the five ‘S’s’ and the five senses, inspired by visual and text-based prompts, in two energizing creative writing exercises. Participants will conclude the workshop with the key tools to sculpt and polish a fabulous flash fiction piece Karen Schauber is a seasoned Family Therapist practicing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her earlier writing is non-fiction and details three decades of psychosocial and analytical cases. Flash Fiction is a new and welcome adventure for her. Karen’s flash fiction is published in 25 Literary Magazines and

Anthologies including Brilliant Flash Fiction, Bending Genres, CarpeArte, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, and Poems for the Writing: A Textbook. Recently published, her first editorial flash venture the Group of Seven Flash Fiction Commemorative Anthology is a celebration of Canadian modernist landscape painters. In her obsession with flash fiction, Karen also runs, a critique circle and resource hub. She can be reached directly at

RCLAS presents “Tellers of Short Tales” Feature Author: Shawn Gale Date: Thursday January 9, 2020 Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Free admission. Location: Anvil Centre, 4th Floor, Room 413A Close to Skytrain. Wheelchair accessible. Come to listen! Bring a friend! Bring a short story to share on Open Mic. Description: A program of monthly readings designed to engage fans of the short story genre with emerging and published short story writers Shawn Douglas Gale (born August 12, 1979) is a Canadian screenwriter, an academic, and a critically-acclaimed author. Gale graduated from Fraser Valley Writers' School with a Master's diploma. He then graduated from Humber College's prestigious School for Writers, where he was awarded a Letter of Distinction. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing at Bircham International University. He was a student at University of Wisconsin-Madison's Creative Writing department from 2014 to 2017, where he earned two certificates in screenwriting. He has completed various other courses and programs in areas such as trauma, psychology, criminology, and vocational training. Gale's many stories and articles have been published in anthologies and periodicals in the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of the acclaimed story collection The Stories That Make Us. He is also the author of the acclaimed fantasy series for all ages World of Dawn. He is working on developing it into film. Gale is a member of Burnaby Writers Society, Royal City Literary Arts Society, and The Writers' Union of Canada.

“Cat Musings Reading Series” Variety Open Mic Feature Poet Stephen Karr Host: Janene White Date: Wednesday January 15, 2020 Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Doors open at 6:30 Free admission Donations kindly accepted. Location: New West Artists Gallery (beside Renaissance Books) 712C - 12th Street, New Westminster Stephen Karr is a library technician and poet who lives in Vancouver. He is currently writing and editing his first book of poetry which will examine his liver transplant process from an existential perspective. He is a regular at open mics and has featured numerous times in the Greater Vancouver area. He is a member of The Federation of British Columbia Writers and Royal City Literary Arts Society. .

In Partnership with Renaissance Books, New West Artists and Royal City Literary Arts Society.

RCLAS presents “In Their Words: a Royal City Reading Series” Date: Thursday, January 16, 2020 Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Free admission Location: Anvil Centre, 4th Floor, Rm 417 Host: Ruth Kozak Three Feature Presenters Sherry Duggal reads Mary Oliver (poet) Lauwo George reads Yewande Omotoso (African author) Franci Louann reads Elizabeth Bachinsky (poet) Description: In Their Words happens on the 3rd Thursday of every other month. Feature speakers present their favourite author from any genre in poetry, fiction, non-fiction or drama. Presentations include a brief commentary about the author and a reading of selections that exemplify what the presenter loves about the author’s work. A short Q&A follows each presenter

Interested in being a reader at “In Their Words” in 2020? Email a note to Ruth Kozak at

Watch for upcoming news and announcements Instagram @royalcitylit ....and a reminder to all poets and lovers of poetry

“Poetic Justice/Poetry New West” Sunday Afternoons (except Holiday Weekends) Time: 3:00pm – 5:00pm, Free admission. Location: The Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia St, New Westminster Open Mic. Prizes, trivia, writing prompt, fun! Host: Warren Dean Fulton.

Visit the Lantern Wintry Labyrinth Wonderin a World of A CORNUCOPIA OF ACTIVITIES AND PERFORMANCES FOR THE COMMUNITY Anvil Centre presents Winter Celebrations Dec. 18 – Jan. 5, 2020 (closed Dec. 24, 25 & Jan. 1) Anvil Centre 777 Columbia St, New Westminster Enjoy a cornucopia of FREE entertainment for the whole family at the Anvil Centre at the annual Winter Celebrations from Dec. 18 – Jan. 5, 2020. The venue will come alive with joyous sounds of the season with a large all-embracing range of events and performances by professional artists, singers and musicians; literally something for everyone of all ages over the 16 days. In addition to the highlighted performances listed below, there are daily community performances and activities for families throughout the day, beginning at 3pm on weekdays and 10am on weekends. And it’s all FREE!

Watch for RCLAS members Sat afternoon Jan 4, 2020 with host Carol Johnson


RCLAS Members Open Call for Submissions IMPORTANT Submit documents WITH YOUR NAME and Title on the WORD DOC file Email Janet Kvammen, RCLAS Vice-President/E-zine

CURRENTLY SEEKING POETRY AND FICTION/NON-FICTION with WINTER AND RIVER THEMES ISSUE 70: Deadline January 5, 2020 Haiku (no theme) FEB 2020 Special Feature: DEADLINE JANUARY 15, 2020, submit up to 5 haikus.

No theme required to submit. Poetry, Short Stories, Book excerpts, articles & lyrics are all welcome for submission to future issues of Wordplay at work.

Thank you to our Sponsors & Venues      

City of New Westminster Anvil Centre Arts Council of New Westminster New Westminster Public Library The Heritage Grill New West Artists “Gallery on 12th

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December 2019 Wordplay at work ISSN 2291- 4269 Contact: RCLAS Vice-President/ E-zine

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December 2019 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 69  

December 2019 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 69 ISSN 2291- 4269, 46 pages. Issue 69 in celebration of our 7th year, Dec 20, 2019 inc...

December 2019 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 69  

December 2019 RCLAS Ezine Wordplay at Work, Issue 69 ISSN 2291- 4269, 46 pages. Issue 69 in celebration of our 7th year, Dec 20, 2019 inc...

Profile for rclas