Behind-the-Scene Angel

“When the world says, ‘Give Up.’ Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’” Unknown

About a hundred years ago, a newcomer arrived in town. She didn’t really feel that she belonged (big city girl and clumsy at the best of times, let alone when she’s got two boards strapped to her feet and is careening down a mountain), but she had to find her way because the man she loved, loved the place.

So she decided to start something new, something that she was passionate about. There didn’t seem to be anything like it town so she figured why not. She knew that everything takes money. So she nervously made a pitch to support that wild idea of hers. To this day, she remembers her sweaty hands, how her voice cracked when she spoke.

The people listened patiently to her, but didn’t approve the funding she requested. What would she do now, she wondered. Then she got a phone call. Apparently one of the members of that group went behind the scenes and took up her case. He wasn’t asked. He had nothing to gain from his efforts. Still he believed in her idea and wanted to help this stranger make the community he loved an even better place. His efforts resulted in a grant (more money than she could have hoped for) and the beginning of something that has grown every year since. 

The people who heard the newcomer’s spiel: the mayor and counsellors of the day.

The venue: a municipal council meeting.

The secret angel among them: Gord McKeever.

The newcomer with an idea: Stella Harvey.

The result: friendship, and what became The Whistler Writers Festival (now in its 15th year), The Writer In Residence Program (now in its 9th year) and The Authors In School Program (now in its fifth year). 

Gord injected hope and bolstered me at a time when I wasn’t sure I should pursue my vision. We lost him this week, suddenly. I will never forget what he did for me personally and for the literary arts in Whistler.

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