The following is a letter my Mum wrote to the CBC that was read on the air on the 19th of July.....It's posted here in memorium to her. Thanks Carol...
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I just heard about Carole Shields' death on your show this morning and
my sadness at the news was muted by a wonderful memory I have of her.
Several years ago she spoke at Carleton University. I was a graduate
student at the time and I asked my son, who was an aspiring writer, if
he wanted to go and he jumped at the chance.
Carole spoke about the power of narrative. It was a fascinating talk
and my son was mesmerized. After the talk there was a question and
answer period. Of course the audience was filled with academics, and I
mean no insult to academics since I am one myself, but some of the
questions were impossible to understand. My son, Jamieson, said he had
a question too but he was too shy to ask. I encouraged him but I know
that he was overwhelmed with the complexities of some of the questions
After the question period was over, several people went forward to speak
to Carole Shields and I told my son go up and ask her his question. He
overcame his shyness and went up to speak to her. There were a lot of
people there and they were all trying to get her attention but something
about Jamieson caught her eye and she walked over to him. I watched as
he spoke to her and her face was bright and smiling and she gave him her
complete attention. When he came back to me he was bubbling with energy
and joy. She had been quite taken with his question which was "Do you
think a narrative is best told through poetry or a short story?" and she
had asked him about his writing, complimented a piece of jewelry he was
wearing and told him just keep writing your narratives.
In just a few minutes Carole Shields gave my son a sense of pride, an
even deeper desire to keep writing and she made him realize that his
question had been just as important and interesting as all the complex
ones. I have always been grateful to Carole Shields and the memory of
that day is one of my favorites of time with my son. By the way, my son
is a now a published writer and he writes all the time. Thank you