The “Big Book” from the Wellington County Writers Festival

At the recent Wellington County Museum and Archives’ Writer’s Festival I created a “Big Book” in which guests of the festival could participate by responding to prompts and sharing little pieces of their own personal stories.

Following are the responses we received from all of the guests. Thank you to all who participated. The prompts are in blue and the answers in orange!

What was the first car you owned? How long did you have it? Did you give it a name?

First car: my grandfather’s Corvair. Second car (really my own) – a lemon yellow Camero (second hand) – bought it on my preschool teacher’s salary and had to buy winter tires too.

What’s the one thing that you feel has changed the most during your lifetime? (whether that life has been long, or short, to date)

Myself (E.R.)

Breast Cancer

What is your favourite word, or one of your favourite words, in the English language, and why? Please feel free to share your favourite word in any language (please provide an English translation).

Serendipity: a word & a life philosophy (Joyce R.)

If you have pets, what is the funniest thing he/she does?

Milo. He’s a lab. Everything he does is funny. (Kelsey)

How do you relax? i.e. meditation, reading, walking, working out, cooking etc.

Coming to Elora. Hearing Music. Talking to creative people.

What is the one smell that evokes the most emotion in you?

The smell of rain, especially during a thunderstorm. (-:

What is your favourite book to read out loud? To whom?

Anne of Green Gables – to my mom (when I was a kid!) (Brenda R.)

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. So much character infused by the narrator within the brief confines of YA fiction!

The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket to my brother, Connor. (Sophia)

What was the best recess game you and your friends played?

We played house during recess – Grades 2-4-ish. We made outlines in the pea gravel with our heels, complete with rooms, doors, windows … and no boys allowed.

What is your go-to, feel-good movie that you can watch over and over again … why?

Harvey – James Stewart (Brenda R.)

Grease! First movie in a theatre, crush on John Travolta, just a great summer movie.

When is the last time you wrote a letter (paper, envelope, stamp, postal service) to someone? For whom was it written? Cards count.

My now husband moved to Michigan for a job and I was not allowed to get a Visa to live there with him so I travelled back and forth a few weeks at a time. I’d write him letters when I was in Canada, but often arrived back in Michigan before them!

What is the one lesson you want to pass on to your children?

To be mindful of the needs of others.

What is the one thing, or who is the one person, that always makes you smile?


My pony “Pal” (B.R.)

What is your favourite tree/plant/flower … and why?


Snapdragons (Georgia B.)

What has been the best thing about growing up and/or getting older?

To be actually doing it. (E.R.)

What is the one goal you are currently working towards?

To sell books. (B.T.)

Do you know where and when your parents met? Please provide details if you’re able to.

My mom snuck into the small town bar called “Arlington” and met my dad through a friend. They have been together for 35 years now. (Chelsea)

What are the top three things you are grateful for?

Family, Nature, Faith,  For these I am grateful.

Friends, family, free will.

What is the best attribute of your best friend?

Smile and laughter.

Her kind heart. (Brenda R.)

Who is a current/historical figure you (have) look(ed) up to either currently/or in the past?


What was the one rule that stands out from your childhood?

Don’t play with fire unless you are {not} prepared to get burned! (Greg G.)

What is the best lesson you’ve ever learned?

Always keep an open mind. (Greg G.)

*Thank you for those that participated on the “Draw your favourite emoji” … your artwork in preserved within the pages of the “Big Book” but could not be reproduced for this written work.

Thank you for sharing your stories! Brenda, Our Storied Lives (-: