WILKIE — Kim Germsheid, who grew up in Wilkie and graduated from McLurg High School in 2004, was asked to return to the school to speak about her writing and publishing journey. Germsheid is the author of A Collection of Ashes, a book of poetry and prose, which came out at the end of April.
Germsheid made two presentations May 29, one to Grades 10, 11 and 12 and the other to Grades 7, 8 and 9.
She told the students she started writing as a child and had many journals and books of writing which were all lost in a condo fire on March 30, 2022. Not long afterwards, she was asked to join a writers’ group and thought it would be a good distraction from dealing with insurance and other issues arising as a result of the fire.
Partially thanks to the motivation provided by belonging to the group, Germsheid wrote all 111 pieces in A Collection of Ashes between May and September last year. Learning that not all books have to be or look like novels or memoirs, she decided to proceed with publishing her work.
Germsheid even designed her cover and added some illustrations to her work.
The book is divided into four chapters, with the first one called “Burning Embers.” Germsheid explained to the students the pieces in that section deal with the condo fire but “also the fire that burns within, your passions.”
She told the students, yes, you do have to make a living, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also follow your passions. She asked them to think about what they like to do when they’re alone – read, draw, listen to music?
Gernsheid also reminded students they don’t have to be the best at what they do, and the judgment of other people isn’t necessarily relevant. She said “I loved to write but I was definitely not the best in English. My poetry doesn’t follow any rules.”
When Germsheid was in Grade 12, teacher Verna Sittler sent in an essay she (Germsheid) had written to a provincial competition organized by Saskatchewan language arts teachers. Her essay was chosen for publication by the judges, but, she said, her mark had only been 67 per cent. She writes from the heart.
Of course, her copy of the published book of students’ work was lost in the fire, but McLurg librarian Sherry Elder was able to track down and borrow a copy for the day’s events. Germsheid read her essay, “My Overdue Goodbyes,” to the Grade 7s, 8s and 9s.
In addition, Germsheid read aloud several pieces from A Collection of Ashes, as well as a more recent poem written on Pink Shirt Day, entitled “Dear Bully.”
Elder was able to find an extra copy of the 2004 McLurg yearbook to give to Germsheid to replace the one lost in the fire. Germsheid was presented with a Broncs T-shirt as well.
In a subsequent interview with Germsheid, she disclosed her favourite poets are Atticus and Rupi Kaur and her favourite novel is The Kite Runner.
She does not have a writing ritual as ideas can come to her at any time, in the car, in the shower, on an airplane, etc. She tries to make sure she always has a pen and paper along, but failing that uses her phone. She feels like she is truly inspired when she writes as often, when reading her work afterwards, she does not even remember recording the words.
Kim is the daughter of Annette and Murray Germsheid of Wilkie.