“I’ve been writing all my life,” said Langley’s Zuri Scrivens.
But it was only in the last few turbulent years of her life that she thought of turning her experiences into a book.
Scrivens is a breast cancer survivor, and married to a Canadian soldier who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. The cancer diagnosis came just a few years after the military deployment.
It was that combined story that she wanted to put down on paper. Scrivens was accepted into SFU’s The Writers Studio, a one year program mentored by several award-winning B.C. novelists, short story writers, and non-fiction scribes.
While she has been writing for a long time, she needed a confidence boost to start thinking about showing her work to others or getting published, she said.
Some of her favourite writers are Margaret Atwood, Jeanette Winterson, and Khaled Hosseini.
Now she will get to see her words in print, with an excerpt from her memoir in emerge 15, the annual anthology of Writers Studio work. Scrivens’ excerpt is about a “rather dark time” in her marriage, overshadowed by her husband’s military commitments and the impact that had on their family. Scrivens called it a “walking reflection.”
The book was released earlier this month, and is available through Amazon.com and Kobo.com.
The memoir changed a lot in its conception from the time Scrivens entered the project to when she completed her year.
She said she was excited by the writers who mentored the students.
“To be honest, I was a little star struck,” Scrivens said of learning she would be working with writers like Wade Compton, Hiromi Goto, and JJ Lee.
It was a shame the program was only a year, because she picked up a wealth of knowledge, Scrivens said.
Scrivens spent a good portion of the last year working on her memoir, but the program allowed her to dip her toes in several forms of writing.
She definitely wants to write more fiction in the future, Scrivens said, noting her favoured genres are mystery and science fiction.
For now, she still has a lot of work to do on the memoir.
“I think the memoir itself will probably take me another year or two,” Scrivens said. “I’m a busy mom of a five-year-old.”
She’ll have help from her fellow graduates.
“We’ve formed such a close group,” Scrivens said.
They have already set up some dates to meet and help one another with their work.
“There’s nothing like being with a group of like-minded authors to bounce your work off of,” she said.