By Gayle M. Irwin
A few weeks ago several exciting opportunities cropped up, like the greening grass I see popping through the front and back yards at my house. And just like those little sprigs bring a smile to my face and hope to my heart, these early May endeavors have brought me joy. Each involves a collaboration (maybe more than one), and each also brings new audience potential for my books.
On Thursday evening, May 5th, I’ll be part of the newly-formed Casper Art Walk. I’ll be reading from and selling my books alongside another Casper, Wyoming author, Casey Day Rislov. National Children’s Book Week takes place May 2 to 8, 2016 – Casey is a children’s author, and she and I have shared booksigning events in the past. Her delightful stories emphasize a lesson, such as love and self-confidence; my inspirational dog stories for children also weave important topics and character traits, such as courage, friendship, and self-confidence. She and I will help children (or adults) who come see us at Art 321 that evening create their own books. I’m looking forward to this collaborative event; it will be the first time either Casey or I have been part of the Casper Art Walk.
On Saturday, May 7th, I’ll drive to the Lander-Riverton area of Wyoming (about 3 hours from Casper) to share the stage several times that day with fellow Writing Wranglers & Warriors blogger Darrah Perez. Darrah, as many of you have come to know, is a poet and memoir-writer, among so many other creative, artistic endeavors. She and I will read from and sell our books at the Fremont County Library in Lander in the morning, and that night we will be featured at a pet rescue fundraiser; we are also hoping to get a booksigning/reading gig at a local bookstore that afternoon. A full day to say the least (and exciting)!
Then, on Monday evening, May 9th, I’ll be the featured speaker at a women’s club in another community, Worland, Wyoming (my new car is going to put on the miles this weekend!). I spoke at a similar event two years ago in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and greatly enjoyed the experience. I’m grateful for this opportunity, which came my way thanks to a friend in Casper who used to live in Worland and recommended me to this women’s group.
So many things fell into place to create these wonderful opportunities, and none would be as exciting without the collaboration and friendship of so many great ladies! Friends, writers, artists, librarians, pet rescuers…. Each and every one is part of these special engagements, and I am truly thankful – and excited!
We writers tend to be a solitary lot, but many times we grow through relationships with others. Like buds on a tree or flowers in the garden, we flourish in the sunlight and warmth of connections and collaborations – we reach new readers, we enjoy new experiences, and we stretch ourselves professionally and emotionally. Discovering new soils through connecting with different souls, we find greater joy and fulfillment, excitement and opportunity.
Have you collaborated with other authors or artists in order to grow your platform and in your craft? How did things work out? I look forward to seeing familiar and new faces in the crowds of these May events – maybe even you if you’re in Wyoming in early May!
Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, Cody’s Cabin: Life in a Pine Forest, and two dog devotion books: Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God and Devotions for Dog Lovers 2: Sage Advice. She is also a contributing writer to five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She has a passion for pets and volunteers for and donates a percentage of her writing revenues to several animal welfare organizations. Her speaking engagements include presentations for children and adults about the lessons people can learn from pets. Visit her website at www.gaylemirwin.com.