Once Upon a Saturday
A workweek can be a long and arduous event. Despite loving our day jobs, we often find our Saturday morning routine to be a deep breath of fresh air. Our minds can be cleared, we can share stories, and look back on the week. For us, Saturday mornings have a theme- coffee and a drive. Without even knowing how this began, this has become a staple in our routine. Life can get stressful, and we find that a drive on backroads throughout the country, armed with a good cup of coffee, and a good friend beside you for backup, allows us to move forward in the fight.
During the summer of 2017, the conversations on our Saturday morning drives began to resonate with a common theme. The ambition to create something tangible and the desire to share our art, combined with the dust of the backroads surrounding our town. One day, we turned to each other and said, “What if we made a book?”. Then we laughed, “Yeah right, what would we put in it?”. We settled into the drive again, gravel kicking against the car’s running boards. The scenes flew by outside and our minds were at work. Could we really make a book? And should we?
As the idea morphed, we first discussed the idea of creating an e-book. But we were reminded of our love for coffee table style books – we had a few in our homes that were near and dear to our hearts. How amazing would it be for us to create something that people could feel about as we feel about those? This became part of our goal: we wanted to have a tangible, hardcover product that would cause people to fall in love with the prairies as we had. So, we got to work.
Late nights and Strong Coffee
Long days and nights were entailed in the creation of our book. We would work full days at our jobs and then come home bursting with ideas. We would make some coffee, maybe some supper, and set to work on our project. We settled into our different roles, learning our strengths and finding out how we fit together as aspiring artists. This was and is an exciting (and challenging) part of our journey. Kyra worked hard researching and teaching herself how to maneuver the world of independent publishing. Della worked on compiling photography and transferring poems from note papers to desktop. We worked together on layout, spending hours discussing what looked best, what captured the feeling that we wanted to be connected with the book. The months stretched on like this, with many moments of looking at one another in question, “Should we actually do this?”
The doubts stood firm, and we learned that it is a frightening thing to show the world what you have created. Della hesitated to share her photos on paper – would anyone else enjoy them as she does? Kyra’s poems were carved and crafted out of her personal experience and held vulnerability. We encouraged one another whenever we balked at the idea of putting our words and pictures into the public eye.
After weeks of waiting for a package to arrive on our doorstep, it finally did. In late December 2017, we held our book proof in our hands. We were amazed at how it had actually come together. It is a strange sort of feeling realizing the pictures we took and the poems we created were now put on paper and encased together. It was real, it had become something. The late nights and strong coffee were worth it.
The Grey Day
The sky was grey. And it had been for days. The week had been tiring, a grey week. We got our coffee, the warmth of it held close in our palms and set course on a back road. As friends do, we began talking over the past week, filling the car with laughter and music.
The sun was rising; it was a crisp day in early fall. As we looked through the windshield, a small streak of blue peered through the grey horizon. It was not a typical sunrise, full of pinks and purples. A smidge of blue in the sky gave us hope that the grey days we had experienced would be over soon. And they were. By the end of our drive, the sky was filled with blue, the sun was shining and warm, cutting through the crisp autumn air.
That day, the name of our book was found, on a gravel road during a trying month.
On January 25, 2018, we shared our book project with our community. We had a brilliant idea to inlay some of the photos and poems from our book into the windows from our grandparent’s house. Beyond the personal sentimentality, we thought windows would be the perfect setting—they represent a shared view. One thing we quickly realized about the photos and poetry we had shared was that every piece was relatable for the person viewing each window. The exhibit was hosted at the Lloydminster Cultural & Science Centre—available to the public and the perfect lead up to our book release. We were able to hold our book release right in among our window frames. The photos and poems featured in the exhibit showcased the book in the most complimentary, creative way.
The response was amazing. We had not known what to expect, and it brought butterflies to think of sharing this personal project with people. Going into the evening, we prepared, not fully knowing how many people would participate, and what people would think of our book and coinciding exhibit.
We had the honour of meeting a very special woman that evening. She was waiting quietly behind a few individuals who we were signing books for, and when they had moved on she stepped forward. She had our book clutched in front of her and extended it towards us, a warm smile on her face. She introduced herself and began to explain how she had read about our book release and how excited she was to meet us.
“I was so surprised when I read what your book was titled.” She told us. “It holds such a special meaning for me.” She went on to tell us of her best friend, a woman who had lived on the farm next to her. “Every evening,” she explained “we would call each other up on the phone and ask if we should go for a ramble. That’s what we called our evening walks, down the backroads. Our friendship was built on those deep talks in the setting sun. When I saw the name, I knew I had to buy a copy. Now, looking at the poems and the pictures, well, they capture exactly what our friendship was.”
She looked down at her hands, and said, more quietly “I lost my best friend a few years ago. I haven’t heard the word ‘ramble’ since. Until your book.”
We all had tears in our eyes as she thanked us. We thanked her for sharing her story with us and the night went on. But things had deeply changed for us and our project held a new meaning. If we had created something that would stir emotions and bring memories, even inspire new dreams, we knew we were truly blessed.
Where We Are Now
Creating “Ramble: A Smidge of Blue” was the start of Prairie Sister Productions. Two friends working together, sharing a vision and turning it into a product to share with the world. We are forever grateful for this project; the first of many. We have learned, we have grown, and we have been challenged. It is awesome to receive pictures of our book travelling the globe- preceding us to places we have yet to see. It’s exciting to story swap with people who feel a connection to us through our photographs and poetry. We love talking to people who tear up at markets, as we talk about shared experiences. The Ramble Project will always hold a special place within the heart of Prairie Sister Productions.