The coronavirus pandemic has had some residual upside.
With more time at home, some people have discovered — or, in some cases, rediscovered — their love for home gardening.
Others have spent more time in their music or art studios, creating personal masterpieces.
For 84-year-old Comox author Sheelane Stigant, it was the motivation she needed to complete her first novel – one she started 17 years ago.
“I had surgery on my foot in March. I was in a boot for weeks, plus the COVID [lockdown], so that got me on the computer and able to finish it,” she said. “Until that point it was all hand-written notes over the years. I had one of my friends help me put it into chapters – formulate it – so that was the whole spur to get it done.”
Looking Back chronicles the first 60-plus years of Stigant’s life – from her birth in a London hospital, to the announcement (in 2000) that her daughter-in-law was going to have a baby.
“So I began it with a birth, and ended it with a birth,” she said.
Stigant said she got the idea for the book while dogsitting for a friend, in the early 2000s.
“I had to retire from nursing early, because of my back, so I started dogsitting,” she explained. “I was dogsitting for friends who live right on the ocean, and it reminded me of home, in Northern Ireland.”
She said she and a group of friends started a small writing club – The Scribblers – and all took a course at North Island College on memoir writing.
“We [Scribblers] stuck together, and just kept meeting … through this group, eventually, I managed to put together this group. It’s been a long time in the making, but it’s finished now, and I am just starting to sell them,” she said.
Looking Back is available at Blue Heron Books in Comox, the Laughing Oyster in Courtenay, or by contacting Stigant directly, at firstname.lastname@example.org