SHAVE, Barbara J.




Author Tags: Humour

As a retired teacher in the Okanagan, Barbara Shave self-published her second collection of articles, Good Intentions Gone Bad! (Raven Press, 2008), depicting twists of fate with trickster raven at play, illustrated by Laila Campbell, whose mother was adopted into the Raven Clan of the Haida.

Author's City: Kelowna
Date Of Birth: February 23, 1941
Place Of Birth: Springfield, Illinois, U.S.A.
Arrival in Canada: 1967
Arrival in BC: 1996

Ancestral Background: Scots-Irish

Other Employment: Retired Teacher

BOOKS:

Good Intentions Gone Bad! ISBN #978-09737959-3-6;
Independent (2008)

Raven Tricks: It's All Wrong, Yet It's All Right! ISBN #978-09737959-2-1; Independent (2006)

ALSO: Honourable Mention and Inclusion in First Light Anthology of Elk Valley Writers' Guild (2000); Inclusion in Anthology, Touch the Flame (Stories of the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire); Soames, Jorie and Glenna Turnbull, Northstone Publ; 2004; Fanstory.com-Winn

PERSONAL STATEMENT: If you are lucky enough to live to be my age (and I believe it is largely a matter of luck), you are a survivor. You have learned skills for coping with those twists of fate and fancy which ultimately govern the course of all lives. Borrowing from the BC Haida First Nations, I call these unanticipated ironies "Raven Tricks." The collapse of the stock market on the eve of the Boomers' retirement is a classic Raven trick.

I have lived four distinct lives.

Raised and educated in Illinois with one year at the University of Vienna, Austria, I began my teaching career, married a Canadian, had my first child, and intended to remain with my U.S. kith and kin until they laid me under the sod.

But the Raven had other plans, and I spent the next 29 years in Medicine Hat, Alberta, separated from all but my immediate family by distance and culture. I raised my children on a market garden acreage there along with chickens and enough zucchini to feed a third world nation. I rang handbells and sang barbershop in professional musical groups, performed in musical theatre and was a public service pain in the posterior while somehow finding the time to conduct mass elementary school choirs of as many as 2000 children in my role as elementary school music teacher. After early retirement from teaching in 1993, I was a Red Cross Disaster Responder and local team leader. After my first assignment at the Los Angeles earthquake of 1994, I was secunded to many more North American disasters.

My third life began during the latter part of my second and revolved around wilderness activities with my husband. We were training for our retirement to a wilderness cabin that we built in the East Kootenay mountains of British Columbia without benefit of power tools. We were long-distance, canoe-camping white-water fanatics, we skied the mountain snows that fed those rushing rivers, kayaked among the orcas in Johnstone Strait, and my wardrobe came from Mountain Equipment Coop. In 1996, when my husband retired, we made the move to the bush to fulfill our lifelong dream.

Pancreatic cancer took him almost as soon as we were comfortably settled in the boonies. I was then lost in a figurative and literal wilderness. As a catharsis at first, I gave into the urge to write that had niggled at me all of my life. Eventually I moved to Kelowna where my articles are in demand by Okanagan magazines. Occasionally I have enough articles to put together a book. My first, Raven Tricks, has sold 600 copies and my second, Good Intentions, is doing very well.

Thus I found a new (fourth) life, a new identity and a new reason to be, as an Okanagan writer and story-teller. I mentor seniors writing classes, I formed the Okanagan Writers' League to market and showcase the work of valley authors, I coach performance readings, and I edit the work of other writers. Recently I find that I am in demand as a public speaker/entertainer with a lifetime of humour and performing skills to back up my roll-with-the-punches message. Perhaps it's the beginning of a fifth life. I hope the Raven gives me time to make a success of it.

[BCBW 2009] "Humour"