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Whistler Writers

Write on, Whistler

A burgeoning literary community finds voice in the mountains

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To that end, he originally thought about publishing electronically, either as an e-book or on the Internet. But finally he came up with a compromise. He worked with a small publisher out of Vancouver. They helped him with editing, but he paid for the printing and all the marketing is up to him.

"I haven’t made any money yet," chuckles Rhodes. But he has managed to get a US distributor, and you can buy your copy of Rhodes’ book on Amazon.com. Would he do it the same way next time?

"I don’t think so," says Rhodes, "I think I will likely pursue the traditional route. I’m giving up the maverick approach for now."

But that maverick approach may be necessary, at least in some form. Being a writer in Whistler, while it can be inspiring and tranquil, can be somewhat disconnected. Lesley Anthony figures it would be difficult to be starting out as a writer in Whistler.

"It is so much easier to open up new opportunities when you’re right there – in Toronto – going to functions, parties, meeting people. More doors open for you."

Even with his extensive background, Anthony has found he has to work harder now to contact new people and generate new projects.

Vogler too has found it challenging to make the essential connections.

"Sometimes you feel like you’re in a bit of a vacuum up here." The establishment of the Writers’ Group has helped a lot. "It is the first time that I have met such a diverse group of writers," says Vogler. "It’s great to meet other people interested in writing and to be able to talk about good writing. It spurs you on."

For Stella Harvey, the group goes beyond just supporting her writing.

"When we first moved to Whistler, it was very hard to find a feeling of community. Living in Rome, even though we were in the middle of the city, everyone in the neighbourhood knew who I was. I felt quite isolated in Whistler, so I had to create my own community."

Back at Black’s Pub, the six readers, including Vogler, have finished presenting their work and they have been warmly applauded by the small but enthusiastic audience. The Writers’ Group is planning more of these events throughout the winter, and in the spring they are hoping to publish a collection of stories by some of their members.

So despite the high cost of living, the constant temptation of the outdoors, and the lack of opportunities to schmooze, it appears that Whistler can be a very healthy environment for writing. As Vogler says, "It’s hard to survive as a writer anywhere." But it if you have to struggle, it’s nice to have great scenery.

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