A fresh look

Guardian fea­tures writer Sally Cole gets caught up with some sto­ries and char­ac­ters from the past

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - FROM C1 Next steps A writ­ing life @Sal­lyForth57 scole@the­guardian.pe.ca

Guardian fea­tures writer Sally Cole gets caught up with some sto­ries and char­ac­ters from the past.

When re­porters write sto­ries they of­ten cap­ture a mo­ment in time.

And read­ers may be left won­der­ing what hap­pens next.

To­day, here are some an­swers in th­ese up­dated sto­ries.

■ Page to stage

Good things con­tinue to hap­pen for a new mu­si­cal, “Sto­ries From the Quilt.” A project of the Athena Women’s The­atre Com­pany, it was work­shopped last sum­mer at the Char­lot­te­town Fes­ti­val.

“I had five of the best ac­tors in Canada read­ing it. They were amaz­ing,” says spokesper­son Mar­lane O’Brien, adding the cast list in­cluded Natasha Green­blatt, Char­lotte Moore, Bruce Dow, Jan Smith and Jay Davis.

“We con­cen­trated mostly on the script rather than the mu­sic which, hope­fully, will be com­ing this year.”

The leap from the page to the stage was a pos­i­tive one.

“It was really mov­ing. And we really, really got far along. In fact, when (artis­tic di­rec­tor) Adam Bra­zier saw it, he said, ‘I fig­ured this would be a way for you to fig­ure out what you want to do but you al­ready know what you want to do and it’s really head­ing in a good di­rec­tion,’ “says O’Brien, adding the fes­ti­val has ex­pressed an in­ter­est in do­ing a sec­ond work­shop this sum­mer.

“It’s a beau­ti­ful piece and I’m on the right track with it, definitely,” says O’Brien, who won a Maud Whit­more schol­ar­ship to put to­gether a sound­scape for the work.

Based on “My Name Is...Sto­ries from the Quilt,” a book by Margie Carmichael, it brings to life the sto­ries of Tan­sie, Anna, Flora and Olivia, or­di­nary women with ex­tra­or­di­nary strengths and gifts as well as three of the po­ems set to mu­sic by Carmichael.

■ Reach­ing out to moth­ers

Af­ter the story about the Is­land Moth­ers Help­ing Moth­ers Face­book group was in “The Guardian” last Jan­uary, Emily Alene Heaney’s tele­phone started to ring.

And it con­tin­ued as 1,500 vol­un­teers signed up to help.

“It was over­whelm­ing. We’re so pleased with ev­ery­one’s in­ter­est,” says the Summerside resi- dent, not­ing that group mem­ber­ship has risen to 3,300.

The group pro­vides sup­plies and emo­tional sup­port to moth­ers in need. Cur­rently op­er­at­ing with­out gov­ern­ment fund­ing, it is run by two vol­un­teers who ac­cept do­na­tions, re­spond to peo­ple’s re­quests for cloth­ing and food and match vol­un­teers with moth­ers in need through a Face­book page.

In­spired to start the group af­ter some­one reached out to her and pro­vided ev­ery­thing she needed for her new­born son, Wil­liam, sev­eral years ago, Heaney now co-or­di­nates the group with Sarah Ste­wart Clark. By both putting in 40 or more hours a week they have taken on new projects such as co-or­di­nat- ing 41 Christ­mas din­ners for fam­i­lies and help­ing 300 fam­i­lies buy Christ­mas presents.

As the pro­gram grows, more needs are noted.

“The thing we’re find­ing out now is that fam­i­lies need to get to the IWK and sup­port is hit or miss.”

In re­sponse, mem­bers are do­nat­ing gas cards and bridge passes. They are also pro­vid­ing money for pre­scrip­tions for an­tibi­otics for chil­dren as well as for med­i­ca­tions for moth­ers deal­ing with post­par­tum de­pres­sion.

As they look for­ward to the 2016, they are seek­ing an­other kind of help.

“We’re seek­ing as­sis­tance to

be­come a reg­is­tered, non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion and would greatly wel­come any­one who could help make this a re­al­ity.”

Jamie MacKay con­tin­ues to cre­ate.

Af­ter launch­ing “Our Uni­verse at War: The Fall of Thaelus” on the In­ter­net and on Vimeo on May 4 the Beach Point res­i­dent re­ceived many pos­i­tive re­views. The eight-part an­i­mated sci-fi web se­ries is about “the fate of a galaxy which rests on the choice of one man.”

“Many peo­ple saw my work and I ap­pre­ci­ated their kind words. It has en­cour­aged me to con­tinue with this project,” says MacKay, who is cur­rently work­ing on a new script.

“It will serve as a se­quel and tell what hap­pened af­ter the Fall of Thaelus. I’m in­volved in the prepa­ra­tion of the art­work, right now, with some new 3-D soft­ware. I’ve posted it on Face­book so peo­ple can see the sketches that I’m con­sid­er­ing for the var­i­ous char­ac­ters,” says MacKay.

But, as he pre­pares to takes his next steps, he real­izes he’s at a cross­roads.

“I’m try­ing to de­cide which di­rec­tion to take,” says the Beach Point res­i­dent, who is torn be­tween cre­at­ing a web comic or a video, based on the story.

“So I have to de­cide whether to make the comic or am I go­ing to try to an­i­mate it, as well. We’ll let you know how it works out.”

By last De­cem­ber, Susan Rodgers had com­pleted four books in “The Drifters” se­ries and was work­ing on a fifth, “Whis­pers of Home”.

“I fin­ished writ­ing that book. Then, I had an­other story arc oc­cur to me and I ended up writ­ing books six, seven and eight over the win­ter. Af­ter eight books I thought that was it,” says the Summerside res­i­dent.

So Rodgers took a break to write a screen­play over the sum­mer months.

“Then, I kind of came up with an­other Drifter story arc . . . And so I’ve fin­ished book 11 af­ter writ­ing nine, 10 and 11 this fall.”

While it’s hard to imag­ine that there are even more ad­ven­tures for ac­tors Jessie Wheeler and Josh Sawyer and their friends on and off a movie set, Rodgers says there’s an abun­dant sup­ply.

“The char­ac­ters are so deeply in­grained in my soul. And their lives just con­tinue to un­fold in front of me. They’re like friends in an­other town.”

And she en­joys telling their sto­ries.

“It’s such a joy ... It’s where I want to be and what I want to be do­ing so it makes it easy,” says Rodgers who jug­gles her pas­sion with writ­ing books for clients and her part-time work at the Har­bourfront The­atre box of­fice.

And, as she looks to­ward 2016, she has her fin­gers crossed.

“I think this is go­ing to be a good year. I’m feel­ing a good vibe. Af­ter fly­ing out the door in Summerside, the books are catching on in Char­lot­te­town, where Indigo has taken an in­ter­est in her work.”

SALLY COLE/THE GUARDIAN

Mar­lane O’Brien holds a copy of “My Name Is...Sto­ries from the Quilt,” a book by Margie Carmichael. It’s the in­spi­ra­tion for “Sto­ries From the Quilt”, a new play by The Athena Women’s The­atre Com­pany.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Emily Alene Heaney takes a break from the Moth­ers Help­ing Moth­ers Face­book group to spend some qual­ity time with her chil­dren, Lea, left, and Wil­liam Heaney. Heaney and Sarah Ste­wart Clark now co-or­di­nate the group.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Jamie MacKay pre­pares the art­work for the se­quel to “Our Uni­verse at War: The Fall of Thaelus”. The Beach Point res­i­dent is try­ing to de­cide whether it will be a web comic or an an­i­ma­tion.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Susan Rodgers holds the eight books in the “Drifters” se­ries. She com­pleted writ­ing books nine, 10 and 11 this past fall.

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