From thoughts to pa­per

Pamela Peck­ford con­tin­ues to hone skills by writ­ing every day

The Beacon (Gander) - - News - BY CLARENCE NGOH clarence.ngoh@gan­der­bea­

When Pamela Peck­ford is trou­bled by some­thing she sees, she puts it into words.

She does this to un­clut­ter her mind.

She re­mem­bers writ­ing her first poem, which she ex­changed with her cousin when she was eight. She calls those po­ems “gob­bledy­gook.”

At 18, Peck­ford ac­com­pa­nied her preg­nant friend, who was the same age, to see a doc­tor. A baby was heard cry­ing from the wait­ing room.

“I wrote there and then about the baby cry­ing and my girl­friend hav­ing to raise this child, and how she has to learn to do all those things.”

It was the first “se­ri­ous thing” Peck­ford wrote, she re­called.

Words sur­rounded Peck­ford from a young age. Every day af­ter school she fre­quented the lit­tle one-room li­brary at the top of Sul­li­van Av­enue. She had an ap­petite for read­ing and would pick any book from the shelves to sat­isfy her cu­rios­ity.

It was nat­u­ral for Peck­ford to read. Her par­ents were pro­lific read­ers, and read­ing was a source of en­ter­tain­ment and an op­por­tu­nity for bond­ing.

“When I was younger I would read what Dad read so we could talk about sto­ries,” she said.

That bond was shared to the end.

As Peck­ford’s fa­ther was dy­ing, she would go to the hos­pi­tal and read a book he wanted to fin­ish.

Her mother, Frances Peck­ford, would ask Pamela to find and print po­ems for her to read and re­cite.

“Mum al­ways read po­ems and she’s been do­ing it for years.”

Frances, 84 con­tin­ues this tra­di­tion.

Peck­ford de­scribes her­self as an emo­tive per­son.

“Ev­ery­thing af­fects me emo­tion­ally,” she said, in­clud­ing things she sees and books she reads.

Once, she had to stop read­ing a book about New­found­land and Labrador that de­scribed how the prov­ince was be­ing raped of its re­sources and the peo­ple be­lit­tled. To set­tle her anger and frus­tra­tion, she wrote a poem about it.

“I usu­ally write when I get ticked off about or up­set about some­thing,” said Peck­ford.

Aside from read­ing, she keeps

Pamela Peck­ford is con­stantly ob­serv­ing the world and peo­ple she talks to. Her writ­ings are of­ten about on top of news and cur­rent af­fairs and writes about trou­bling is­sues. A com­mon thread of op­pres­sion and so­cial jus­tice is­sues grabs her at­ten­tion.

She has writ­ten about the “Me Too” move­ment, the Jian Ghome­shi sex scan­dal, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, sui­cides, al­co­holism, res­i­den­tial schools and var­i­ous other top­ics.

“My po­ems go nowhere. There are some that I print – I’ll look at it and read it,” Peck­ford said.

Se­lected ones are shared, but “hun­dreds and hun­dreds of po­ems are just po­ems. Out of my head, on pa­per. Done. Gone.”

“My writ­ing is all about me. If you look at those po­ems, it is all about me. It is how I feel, it is how I re­act, how I want to get that mes­sage out. It is my re­lease of all that, so I can get it out and let it go.

“It is a bit selfish, and I don’t mean that as a rude self­ish­ness be­cause it clears my head.”

Peck­ford says her writ­ing has taken a new turn in re­cent

sub­jects she is cu­ri­ous and pas­sion­ate about.

In the poem ti­tled “Our In­ter­view,” Peck­ford re­flects years.

“Now I want to write and for some­one to take me se­ri­ously about my writ­ing. I think to do that I need to find some­one who will cri­tique me and let me know if it is of in­ter­est to any­one else.

“Writ­ing makes me so happy – it re­leases pres­sure from my head that gets piled up.”

See video of the story here: on her in­ter­view with Bea­con re­porter Clarence Ngoh.


Pamela Peck­ford is fond of words. When not writ­ing po­etry, she is read­ing one of many books in her col­lec­tion or bor­rowed from the li­brary. On her fridge are word mag­nets to keep her mind oc­cu­pied when cook­ing, the other thing she en­joys.

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