Meet my neighbour, Claire Festel

I believe in the magic of a moment and in synchronicity.

In meeting my neighbour, Claire Festel, immediately there was a whisper inside that I should pay attention.


Wikipedia states: “Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events, that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner. The concept of synchronicity was first described by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung in the 1920s.”

I first began to understand the concept in a Humanities class at Mount Royal College led by Roger Weir, one of my all-time favourite instructors/mentors. He introduced so many important concepts in appreciating and understanding art, music, literature and life. He gently pulled us from our comfort zones by having us listen to a choice of classical music and then to paint a picture of what the music invoked. He would have us read a book and then do a sculpture of what it aroused in us. He would show us sculptures and then have us write a poem about the feelings aroused by the work. Each class unveiled a new way of viewing the world around us. His course was complex and mesmerizing. It was there I first read Hugh Campbell’s works on Symbols, Doris Lessing, Franz Kafka, Carl Jung, Hugh Prather, Susanne Langer, John Dewey, Marshal McLuhan to name a few.

I lost Roger Weir for many years. He left Mount Royal College and Canada. I heard he went back to California, however, had no specific details. Recently, in my retirement activities, I googled him again and was delighted to catch up with him. For more about this amazing man, check out

Back to Claire

But I digress. It turns out that Claire, too, is a writer. She has recently moved to Penticton, BC from the Yukon. Actually, I think she and Ed still have a place there, too. In any case, she is looking for a couple of writers serious about getting together in a writing practice. This would nicely augment the co-coaching that Aggie and I do for each other. In fact, Aggie might also be interested in joining with Claire, me and others! It is important to surround yourself with positive influences if you want to be successful. While I’m not sure where I want my trail to lead, I do know that I am motivated to write. There are elements of my own life that I’d love to share and more importantly, there’s a wide world of fascinating people, places and things to capture in prose and poetry.

Like Claire, I lived in the north for a time. While I have never been back, Fort Churchill, Manitoba evokes a longing in me. I continue to cherish the time I spent there and make a conscious effort to keep the memories alive. This must be the call of the wild. Meeting Claire refreshes these memories and I am fascinated by the experiences she has had up north. Interestingly enough, she even knows some of my Buchanan clan from Whitehorse and Carcross.

That’s not where the connections end. She is also doing some work with a former colleague of mine from University of Calgary, Dona Sturmanis of Kelowna, BC. I’m not sure if Dona will remember me. However, she has been on my bucket list of folks to contact since I moved here. I just haven’t managed to make the call yet. Years ago, Dona also worked on a project with another of my Okanagan friends and former colleagues, Sonni Bone — again, a synchronicity of sorts.

Yukon Quest

The direct connections aside, Claire is a great writer. While I’ve just read her blog so far, I know I can learn a lot from her. She is down-to-earth and direct, qualities I enjoy. And her spirit of adventure seeps overtly from her. I so admire her frontier approach, her work with Yukon Quest. What person who has waded into the call of the wild wouldn’t be fascinated by the Yukon Quest itself. It is an epic international dog sled race that covers 1,000 miles of wilderness in the Arctic winter between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska. For more details see

Claire is headed to be one of the media for Yukon Quest 2011. She’ll follow along the trail and capture elements of the race. I will be glued to her blog throughout and invite you to join me in a vicarious thrill. See

Claire and I met briefly on the road nearby as she was walking her dog, Yukon, and Mark and I were trying to get a bit of exercise. As noted, I had a feeling when she mentioned she was a writer and told me a bit about a project —  an art exhibit called Yukon Women, 50 Over 50 and a book, titled Remarkable Yukon Women – that I should learn more about her. When other neighbours, Joyce and Art, graciously organized a coffee party so some of the neighbours could meet, Claire and I had more time to connect. I’m thankful for the moment and the coffee party.

And I’m delighted to introduce Claire in my blog. Here’s to budding friendships and collaboration!

About rozsmallfry

Live. Learn. Write. I’m the behind the lenses, author of the words kind of person. In classic drama or opera or the Robertson Davies’ book of the same title, I’d be the player called Fifth Business. Fifth Business is neither heroine nor villain yet instrumental in making the plot happen. I’d far rather learn about you than talk about myself and building relationships is at the core of who I am. The more I learn, the more I realize I have lots to learn. When I was a child one of my nicknames was Small Fry. Now I understand. I really am a small fry in a great big world of learning.
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1 Response to Meet my neighbour, Claire Festel

  1. sonni bone says:

    Hi Roz: Read about your friend with great interest. Also your notes on synchronicity – a belief I had held most of my life. It is quite amazing, when you look for it, how much synchonicity does play in your life. If you do get a writers group going, I would be interested in knowing more about it. Good luck with your blog, you seem to be enjoying it. I have just gone back to take a look at mine which I started back in October and have not looked at since. Came across some information in a writers magazine that made me think I should give it another try. I am still as confused as ever about blogs, but think there might be some hope for me yet. Sonni

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