OLDS — At 93 years young, William (Bill) Shymkiw of Olds is a published author.
His book, a collection of 30 fictional short stories, is called The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow.
The stories are in settings all over the world, but primarily in Western Canada – even in Mountain View County. For example, one story, The Lady In White, refers to Trochu, Didsbury, and Olds.
During an interview, Shymkiw said until 1990, he only wrote things like family history or recollections – nothing meant for publication to a wider audience.
That changed a few years ago.
“Just before I was 90, I had been doing landscape painting,” Shymkiw said.
"Then I wrote a little story and I gave it to my caregiver and said, ‘Read it; what do you think?’ And she said, ‘It’s not bad,’ and so I kept writing more stories.”
The stories cover a wide variety of situations. One profiles a woman from Ukraine in the Second World War and her experiences as she comes to Canada.
His favourite story, called The Empire, follows several generations of a family.
“That kind of a story would be a novel if you wanted to do it. But I’m not a patient person,” Shymkiw said.
Shymkiw figures it took a year or two to write and polish the stories.
Along the way, he learned a thing or two about writing.
“To write a story, you have to have some incident that disturbs the normal flow of life for people. So something has to happen. It could be an accident, it could be a death, it could be something else,” he said.
Shymkiw has been a reader all his life.
He made his living as a teacher and farmer in eastern Saskatchewan but moved to Olds about 23 years ago to be closer to some members of his family.
“We looked at something all the way from Calgary to Ponoka. And Olds is what suited me best because it’s kind of a mixture of a little bit blue collar, a little bit of what you call white collar,” he said.
“I liked the idea of being in a town with a college in it so Olds is what we chose.”
When asked if he’s proud to have a book published, he said, "Well, I suppose you could call it that.
“I mean, after all, it’s not too many – I’m in a little band of people who have reached their 90th birthday and I’m also in a little band of people who are authors or would-be authors — other than reporters.”
Shymkiw is already working on another book – volume 2 of his short stories.
He doesn’t anticipate it will hit store shelves for several months.
The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow, Volume I, is available in Olds at Pandora’s Boox & Tea and at Shoppers Drug Mart. It is also available from the FriesenPress book store and other book stores.