Reading from Ursocrypha: The Book of Bear at WORD Vancouver, September 25, 2016
Preface to Ursocrypha: The Book of Bear, previously published as The Bears
At a time of great upheaval in my personal life, when the Pacific Northwest coast of British Columbia was under direct and imminent environmental threat, I decided to do something I had always wanted to do: write a book. Impatient to hold a physical book that I had written, after a cursory, impersonal editorial process, I self-published The Bears in December, 2012.
Any musician will tell you not to practice in public, and as a music teacher I might have carried this advice across artistic disciplines. In spite of rushing to publish The Bears, and doing the bare minimum of marketing with limited distribution channels, the book gathered a small but enthusiastic audience.
Other writing projects followed The Bears. I completed a young adult adventure manuscript, and another work of adult fiction. I hired a phenomenal editor who taught and is still teaching me a great deal about the craft of writing. I met other writers, attended a writer’s circle, and studied the bones of writing.
In the summer of 2016 I was invited to read from The Bears at WORD Vancouver, a festival of writing in all forms, promoting literacy and reading. I hadn’t picked up a copy of The Bears and examined it since the year it was published. When I read my own book, I recognized the story, but it was as though a stranger had written it. I revised the manuscript. The title had always been problematic – everyone thought it was a children’s book. Friend and poet Suzanne M. Steele fused some title ideas I had into Ursocrypha: The Book of Bear.
I send this story back out into the world, and hope it makes more friends.