Special to the Sydenham Current
Southwestern Ontario-based short story writer John Gardiner thinks he has finally found a way he can help people get through the Coronavirus pandemic by sharing his heartfelt and honest short stories through the internet.
He has launched Story Time on Facebook Live and is reading a complete short story every Wednesday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
“These are enormously stressful times,” Gardiner said.
“Everybody’s feeling it. I’m trying to give people a chance to get out from under that stress for a short time twice a week. I want people to take off their shoes, sit in a big comfortable easy chair, close their eyes and just get carried away for maybe half an hour or so.”
The writer, who calls Wallaceburg home, creates what he calls “emotional thoughtscapes” when he sits down to write.
“They paint vivid emotional images in the reader, or in this case, listener’s mind,” he said.
“They are stories mostly about ordinary people dealing with the stuff of life – the kind of stuff we all have to come to grips with as we pass through life.”
Gardiner’s writing has often been compared to Canadian short story writing icon Alice Munro because most of his stories take place in small towns and involve situations and characters that nearly everyone can identify with.
In the past, he has been widely published in literary magazines from New Zealand to England to the United States, and most recently he published a literary collection called “Memories for Sale: Tales From a Small Town” and the book has received high praise and been called a “must-read” by many of its readers.
“I’ve really sort of been struggling with this whole pandemic thing,” he said.
“Sitting and listening to someone read a good story is a lot like meditation. You can relax and clear your mind and get inside the story and let it take you away from the cares of the world for just a little while.”
Gardiner’s Facebook page is public and he invites anyone in social media land to give it a try.
He has done over 40 readings over the last couple of years while promoting his book and toured with a words and music Christmas show for several years.
“I like to read my work,” he said. “I’ve had nothing but a positive response to it over the years.”
He encourages people to drop by his Facebook page on Wednesday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
“I think you’ll enjoy this,” he said.
“And it’s something really different. Pretty well every musician I know is doing live shows on the net somewhere trying to raise spirits and give people a little something extra to do in this time of crisis. This is something I can perhaps do.”
Anyone wanting more information can e-mail email@example.com or call 519-627-5978. Gardiner’s book Memories for Sale is available on-line at Amazon, Chapters and Barnes and Noble.