Llew Hounsell retired from teaching literature 17 years ago and not long after he challenged himself to start writing.
The Corner Brook man had always done a lot of reading.
“And almost always I would read with a critical eye. Making my own decision whether or not the book really deserves all the praise that you see written on the covers of these books.”
One day he said to himself that if was such a smart aleck and thought he knew what makes good writing then why not do it himself.
Hounsell said a lot of today’s writing is about fantasy — “Black Panther,” “Star Wars,” “The Walking Dead,” or virtual reality where you put on a visor and are in another world.
While he enjoys it, it’s not his forte.
His stories are about people.
“I’m of the opinion every person you see walking the street, whether you know them or not, there’s at least one good story in every person.”
His stories are not autobiographical by any means, but there is a germ of an idea in everyone he sees that comes from somewhere, possibly from something he’s heard someone say.
Driving across the island there used to be a for sale sign on a beaver dam. Hounsell is not sure how it got there, but figures it took some effort, either in a canoe or by swimming.
“Whether I ever met the person, you can turn that into a story about why they did it. Yeah, there’s all kinds of possibilities.
“So, you just keep your eyes open and your ears open and things pop up.”
Hounsell recently challenged himself to do something else he’d never done before when he decided to hold his own reading.
On March 15, he presented “Llew Hounsell: An Evening of Short Stories” at the Rotary Arts Centre.
“I was following the dictates of a couple lines of poetry by Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet, when he said, ‘do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.’
“And so essentially do things, different, new, especially if you haven’t done them before. “Take up the challenge.”
Hounsell read a half-dozen stories at the reading and his wife, Sandra Hounsell, accompanied by Roger Andrews, sang three songs.
For now, his stories sit on a computer drive, but Hounsell is thinking about challenging himself once more and publishing them in a book.
He said he hadn’t really given it much thought before, but a number of people asked if he would after the reading.
He said he felt a little leery given he knew many of the 30 people who attended and wondered if they were just being polite.
But there was enough good feedback from people who thought the stories were quite good.
“I don’t know, maybe I should give it some real thought now as to maybe actually doing it.”