Category Archives: Barb Howard

20 years later

Last night I launched Western Taxidermy (my collection of short stories) at the Cantos Music Centre in Calgary. Even though I’ve launched books before, last night was a big deal for me. Here’s the history: 20 years ago, January 1992, I took a short writing course from a local college. From that course I developed two stories that I sent out. The first magazines I sent them to published them.  I thought, this is so totally easy! I am going to be a writer!  (I was undeterred by the payment I got for those stories.  One magazine paid me $10. One paid me with 5 brag copies.)  It was the early 1990s and everyone was “goal setting”. My goal, which unfortunately I told to many people, was to have a short story collection finished and on the bookstore shelves in 5 years.

Here I am.  20 years later, I just launched that collection.  Turns out writing isn’t that easy. Turns out life happens. Things distract.  Things derail. Turns out those first two stories were crap.

So last night at the launch I drank champagne served up by my sons, now of legal drinking age, who weren’t even born when I started writing. And I plan to continue soaking in the good feeling of a project finally finished, and celebrating at every future event involving this book. It’s been a long time coming. Readers and fellow Fictionistas – beware!


p.s. Could’ve sworn I was a past Fictionista but can’t find the proof. So probably wasn’t. I did, however, come across evidence of a 2005 “Take a Joy Read” where I read with Margaret MacPherson.  Joy Read? Meaning, like, joy ride? I can see why that name didn’t stick.


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