conscient podcast

e72 richard wagamese’s what comes from spirit

Episode Summary

e72 richard wagamese’s what comes from spirit is my monologue about my excitement when I found a copy of a posthumous book, What Comes From Spirit, by my favorite writer, Richard Wagamese, at the People’s Coop Bookstore in Vancouver and my reflections on Drew Hayden Taylor’s touching introduction.

Episode Notes

Claude Schryer, October 17th, 2021. Vancouver

It’s 2.29am on Sunday October 17th, 2021. I can hear the rumble of the city in the background, but the rain has stopped for a few minutes. 

Yesterday, I walked by the People’s Coop Bookstore on Commercial Avenue in Vancouver and thought I saw a new book by Richard Wagamese in the corner of my eye. How could this be? The title was What Comes From Spirit. My heart was pounding. Could this be a new book from my favorite author, who tragically passed away in 2017? 

Yes, it was, and it was their last copy. I told my wife Sabrina that this was a gift and a signal for me to deepen my journey of ‘radical listening’ in season 3 of this podcast. 

I picked up the book and held it in my hand like a precious stone, feeling it’s weight, admiring the design and flipping through the pages…

The store clerk told me they had already ordered more copies. I was happy to hear that. Thank to People’s Coop bookstore. 

So here I am, it’s now 2.33am and I’m having trouble sleeping due to jet lag from our trip from Ottawa a couple of days ago but also because I am excited to read this book. It starts with Drew Hayden Taylor’s introduction who said :

the literary gods indeed must be feeling benevolent.

Hayden Taylor articulates what I have always felt about Wagamese’s writing: 

Richard’s magical tales, in whatever form, had that power to change the world. And they did. 

They certainly did for me. I agree, Drew, that we can feel Wagamese’s pain and joy, his confusion and understanding in his writing and that we do indeed come away better from it. 

For example, this excerpt from page 180 of Wagamese’s unfinished novel Starlight

She focused on that tiny point of light and pushed her hearing out through it. 

I love that sentence

Drew ends his introduction by saying that:

if you are holding this book, you are obviously a devotee.

Well, yes, I am. 

He suggests that we ‘don’t read the book too fast’. I won’t. He suggests that we ‘soak it in.’ That I will but now I need to get to bed. 

Thank you Drew, for your insightful introductory note and thanks to publishers Douglas and McIntyre for this precious book, as the world ponders climate emergency at COP 26 in just a few days, I am grateful that we have one more Richard Wagamese book to anchor us in hope, hope, in its truest sense hope, which is offer a positive vision for our world and how to live each moment in an interconnected way. 

I want to thank Richard Wagamese. I hope you can hear me, for being a spiritual guide to many, including me. I feel your presence in my life, whispering in my ear at just the right time and in the right way.

I won’t read any excerpts from the book tonight. Rather, I invite you to discover any of Wagamese’s writings. Many are accessible through your local public library. 

I think this conscient podcast episode will be my shortest ever. My goal here was to share my excitement about discovering What Comes From Spirit today but also to tell you about the deep feeling of calm that this book brings me. We should never underestimate the power of art to transform our lives… 

I’ll end by quoting Wagamese from episode 19 of the conscient podcast. This is from his novel For Joshua, which regular listeners of this podcast might have heard a few times before, but I think is timely to share here and now. 

Thanks for listening. 

We may not relight the fires that used to burn in our villages, but we carry the embers from those fires in our hearts and learn to light new fires in a new world. We can recreate the spirit of community we had, of kinship, of relationship to all things, of union with the land, harmony with the universe, balance in living, humility, honesty, truth, and wisdom in all of our dealings with each other.