All posts by Lisa Guenther

Choosing love on the anniversary of the La Loche shooting

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the school shooting in La Loche. Unfortunately, the community of La Loche is still struggling with the aftermath of that tragedy, as well as ongoing issues that they’ve been dealing with for years.

Fay Beaman Laing, a fellow writer, contacted me about a project she undertook to support La Loche. She composed a song, Choose Love, which she hopes people will perform to honour the community of La Loche. You can download the score here.  More on Fay’s project below.

If you’d like to lend financial support, the community is raising funds for a rec centre, to honour the four people who were fatally wounded in the shooting: Marie Janvier, Dayne Fontaine, Drayden Fontaine, and Adam Wood. More information on that project here.

Choose Love:  Commit to Being Kind Invitation
by Fay Beaman Laing
In the aftermath of the LaLoche tragedy in January of 2016, I initially felt lost as to what I could possibly do to make a difference after such a horrific event.  It came to me that really, the only thing to do is to “choose love” – in all my life activities, with my friends, neighbors, community and the world.  If there was some way I could become a better person, then that would be one positive outcome; if every person in our society made this decision, then it really would be powerful.

The way to choose love when engaging with others is to commit to be kind, in every possible circumstance, to the best of our ability. It is easy to be kind with people we like, when we are in a good mood, and when things are going our way.  It takes special effort to continue to be kind when we are dealing with people who have hurt us, aggravated us, or when we have a bad day.  Choosing love and committing to be kind can be a new way to live, a better way to live that optimizes positive relationships, enhancing families, communities, schools and ultimately our country.

What specifically can you do?

  • On January 22, 2017, or as close as possible to this date, you can host an assembly, or meeting, as this is the “Day of Observation” for the community of LaLoche.
  • A song called “Choose Love” has been written to inspire individuals to gain strength from community members coming together, and to choose loving actions as a way of life.  A complimentary copy of the music and lyrics will be made available to anyone who wishes to perform the song in honour of the community of LaLoche. If you haven’t time to prepare to sing it, then just recite it.
  • Ask your school, workplace or group to take up the “Commit to Being Kind” invitation. Any number of activities can be designed around this theme for the day.
  • Email the community of LaLoche and advise them that you are choosing to remember and honour them, so they are aware of your support.

We would like to see as many schools and community groups across the country taking up the invitation.  It’s time for change.  Everyone matters.  LaLoche, you are not forgotten.  Choose love and commit to being kind!

(Fay Beaman Laing is a Saskatchewan social worker and is the author of the “Choose Love:  Commit to Being Kind Invitation” and songwriter of the song “Choose Love.” Special thanks go out to Jan Michael Bourgeois for his assistance in scoring the music.)

Fay Beaman Laing


A Sask Book Awards jury has shortlisted Friendly Fire for a New Book Award!

On Friday, I traveled to Saskatoon for the shortlist announcement. Author Brenda Baker hosted the event and announced the shortlists. It was a well-organized event, with a little ceremony to it, and I really appreciated the work done by Sask Book Awards staff, and to the Saskatoon Public Library for hosting it.

Several of the shortlisted authors were there, along with their families and friends, and it was nice to start matching faces to names.

Below are a few photos and a video interview I did with Neil Fisher (aka the Saskatchewanderer).

The Sask Book Awards shortlist is available online here. Congratulations to the other shortlisted authors and publishers, and good luck!

Venue Hop: Sacred Arts in Camrose

If you read Quill and Quire, you’ve probably noticed the Venue Hop pieces. These stories feature a pub, coffee shop, or other place known for hosting readings. These articles are really useful for authors, I think, and a nice way to say thanks to great hosts. So I thought I’d do the same on my blog. This post is the first of many.

Sacred Arts in Camrose, Alberta, includes a coffee shop in the front and a yoga studio in the back. We performed in the coffee shop, a pleasant space with large windows onto 50th street and plenty of art hanging on the windows. It had enough room for us to set up our sound system (one speaker, a small mixing board, and mics), but was still intimate.

Continue reading Venue Hop: Sacred Arts in Camrose

Venue Hop: Dr. Coffee’s Cafe in Regina

One day in May, a friend and I strolled into Dr. Coffee’s Cafe for a jolt of java. The coffee was lovely, and we really enjoyed the well-lit, comfy atmosphere. The coffee shop was quite new, and  located in downtown Regina, and I thought to myself that this would be a perfect spot for the upcoming Secret Fire tour. And I was right.

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Venue Hop: Audreys Books

audreysI lived in Edmonton for about a decade, and Audreys Books was hands-down my favourite place to buy books. For one thing, they have two levels full of books. Many, many, many books. And staff who knew all about those books. Plus it’s in a lovely brick building, right on Jasper Ave. I’d usually walk or take the LRT there, buy some books, and enjoy the downtown Edmonton scene.

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Dexter Hall

The All Stars would play at all the little country halls and hockey rinks in the area — Pine Grove, Moosehead, sometimes venturing into Livelong or Turtleford or Walburg (hitting the big time, Dad joked). But their favourite was Dexter Hall, near Turtle Lake’s north shore. Though Dexter could hold only about seventy-five people, the acoustics were perfect and every note rang clear. The hall got so full, and people danced so much, that sometimes they cracked the doors open in the winter. And if you were outside, you’d see the escaped heat clouding the area around the front door.

Friendly Fire