Special to The Charter
On Sept. 27, the Placentia Area Historical Society (PAHS) welcomed community members to the fourth event of the “Discover Placentia” speaker series, a part of the 350th Anniversary Celebrations of Placentia. On this particular evening, writer and columnist Marina Gambin shared her thoughts as well as some of the sources of inspiration for her writing.
The evening began with Gambin explaining about her early love of writing and reading — the two go hand in hand. As she confided, “I was always awed by the written word. I loved my English and Literature textbooks. I devoured poems like Tennyson’s ‘Song of the Brook’ and Rachel Field’s ‘Something Told the Wild Geese,’ reading them over and over.” Gambin fondly noted how she was fortunate enough to come from a family of readers. Her mother always read to them as children and recited poetry. Thus, it’s no surprise that she turned to writing. Already at an early age, the love of the word was being nurtured.
During her talk, Gambin also offered a few words of insight about what gives her inspiration to write, an activity that is a great source of therapy for her as it is a conduit for her emotions.
“To write poetry, you have to be inspired,” she said, and for her, everywhere she looks offers her inspiration.
Once inspired, a writer uses words in a particular way to paint an image for the reader. Gambin assured the audience that even when she was in high school, there were moments when she was proud of the palette of words she had chosen. Original phrases like “lanterns winking at each other” and “squadrons of fleecy clouds” helped her to know that writing would be a part of her future.
As she got older, growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s provided an unending reservoir of experiences and ideas that eventually found a way into the stories she writes for her column in The Charter, “Where the Foghorns Wail.” Those experiences and the moments of inspiration that coloured her early years also provided incentive for Gambin to self-publish her book, A Meadow in Time: Stories of Branch. Comprised of 60 short stories, the timing for the release of the book could not have been more perfect as it coincided with Branch’s Come Home Year.
While Gambin enjoys writing stories that draw on her experiences while growing up, ones that often bring a knowing smile from her readers, she also likes to spread her wings and write other types of stories. As she explained, she has written many “cloak and dagger” stories that are always set in rural Newfoundland. As well, despite not having written any plays in the past, she has tried her hand at writing one that is set in Placentia in 1714 — just in time for the anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht in 2013.
Gambin, true to form, is always writing and magically transforming her experiences and inspiration into the written word. In so doing, she has been able to engage her readers, drawing them into the worlds she has imagined. She told the expectant audience that, “as for writing a novel, I have more than one started on my computer. Who knows? If the NHL stays on strike this winter, I might be looking for a publisher next year.” So, ironically, we can hope that the strike continues and hockey is not able to keep her from her computer.
All told, the evening was an unquestionable success. The PAHS would like to extend a warm thanks to the Freshwater Community Centre in addition to Placentia 350, Inc., for their constant support. The “Discover Placentia” series will continue later this month and into November. On Oct. 18, PAHS will be welcoming writer, poet and playwright Agnes Walsh. Next month, on Thursday, Nov. 8th, Peter Pope, an author and professor at Memorial University will be giving a talk on the early history of the Placentia area. And then, at the end of the month, on Nov. 29th, PAHS has invited researcher and archaeologist Steve Mills to give a presentation on the archaeology of the Placentia area. Hope to see you there!