I have been patiently waiting to publish the stories I have been writing since I was in grade five. My Sechelt elders, Granny Mahtah and xwu’p’a’lich Ellen Paull, Chief Denys Rouseldou, Uncle Mike Paull, and others made certain they grounded me well in their way of living. So, the first 7 years was learning at their knee. I entered grade one at Egmont when I was nearly 8 years old. I could already read and write because my dad had taught me.

            The elders said I was to learn all that I was taught in the white man school. They said the world around us is changing, so I must weave these life-styles together, combine them, and in this way, discover a new way to live and survive in a changing world. Well, I feel that I have done that.

            My third year English Professor wanted to help publish my writing away back in the 1970’s, but the Creator didn’t give me the ‘go ahead’ to publish at that time. So, I refused.  Everywhere I’ve moved to, I have written stories. Always knowing that the time to publish had not, yet, arrived.

            Last year I had an accident and broke and shattered seven ribs on my left side, I felt, in that moment, that I could have left this world, and went to walk with the ancestors. The pain was astronomical, I couldn’t catch my breath; I lifted my hand to the Creator, and thought Creator, I have a destiny. The pain left immediately and it never returned.  I will write about this experience later. After I began to heal, the Creator told me it was time to publish my writing.

            I have been living, writing and waiting to publish for about 70 years. I looked around me to see who was available to help me do this. The Creator had Justin on hand, he joined forces with me, and together we got my first volume ready for printing. It is called Etched In My Memory. We sold the first 122 books within a couple of weeks. We ordered more books, Justin contacted someone about the Festival of the Written Arts. They have a section for self-published authors, which we opted to take advantage of. We had loads of help, assistance, and advice from Jan Jensen, who runs this section single-handedly.

            I enjoy interacting with the public; people are interesting, and everyone has a story, if we listen, we will hear it. One person stands out in this category. His name is Gordon D. Walker, he singled me out and informed me that he was going to take me under his wing and help me succeed. I appreciated the sentiment, but I believe my book will be successful as it was meant to beThe Creator and my Ancestor’s started me on this journey some 70 years ago. If the time is right, like they say it is – I believe we will be successful.

            I was really impressed with this organization, which has existed for some 35 years. It is very exciting to hear those authors speak and read from their published works. It is my hope, that if the Creator agrees, I will be able to take part in the next Festival of the Written Arts in 2018. Perhaps, I will have the opportunity to speak. I want to thank all my birth-family and my nuclear family for buying my book.

In Sisterhood,

Xwu’p’a’lich Barb Higgins

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