In this re-occurring series from Front Porch Storytelling, we feature local writers and share how they are creating community, one story at a time and the power of one person.
Get To Know Yvona Fast
Writing is often seen as a source for entertainment, but authors can also use it as a form of education and inspiration. Collaboration events can serve as an opportunity for authors to get their messages out to their community and inspire their neighbors.
Yvona Fast, an author of books in different fields, sees events like the Local Living Venture in Potsdam, N.Y., as a chance to share her cooking knowledge and skills shown in her cook book “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your North Country Garden.”
Other community organizations that she has worked with include the Adirondack Green Circle, the VIC Homesteading Festival and Community Lunchbox, and she has spent the past 11 years writing weekly food columns for local papers.
“People often stop me on the street to comment about something I wrote,” she said. “The joys of living in a small town!”
With experience writing poetry anthologies like “Weekend Poets of Pyramid” and “Perspectives,” Fast used the PoemVillage event in Saranac Lake as a way to display original poems across the town so that citizens could be exposed and become interested in the genre.
“It is a way of bringing poetry to the community and the community to poetry,” she said. “This was more about collaborating with other authors – the workshops and talks are more just about sharing my skills (other authors not involved) but reaching into the community all the same.”
Fast came about the idea when she found that she couldn’t submit poems since she didn’t live in Vermont, where Poem Village originated, so she saw doing it in her hometown as the next best thing. She said that Saranac Lake is the first community to hold a Poem Village event outside Vermont, and that she intends to see other communities get involved in it in the future.
“It was a struggle… myself and a couple others tried to pull it off but it was too much to figure out where people would send poems, how we would cover printing costs, etc.,” she said. “We approached the Adirondack Center for Writing and they were happy to take the project on! They contacted the schools and got a lot of participation from the kids / classes / teachers, so more than half of the poems displayed were from school kids, which was great!”
The focus for Poem Village is not on competition, but rather giving people a way to put their poetry on display in stores around town. Fast noted that the goal is to make Poem Village an annual event, as well as hold some workshops in April.
Authors have the power to create and inspire their neighbors so that our communities continue to unite and prosper. Can you image the positive impact authors can have on communities when they share the good work they are doing so that the good continues?
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Please consider sharing your experience of collaborating with neighbors to create community, so the good continues.