William Shymkiw was about 90 years old when he began writing short stories.
“At 85, I had to take a driver’s examination and I couldn’t read the letters on the chart, so they said I can’t drive anymore,” Shymkiw said Thursday afternoon.
“I became housebound and I had to do something. I did a little landscape painting for a couple of years, and then I wrote one little story – my caregiver read it and she said, ‘This isn’t too bad.’
“So I kept writing. At the age of 90, I wrote one story and then I followed it up with more stories.”
Now, at 92, the Olds resident has released his first book, The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow, which is a collection of short stories he has written over the past couple of years.
“I haven’t been trained as a writer, although in earlier life, I was a teacher and a farmer. That may have carried over,” he said.
The book will feature 30 fictional short stories – the settings are in different parts of the world, but the focus is primarily on areas in Western Canada.
“There are different kinds of stories. Some have a historical connection, some are love stories,” he said.
“From the point of writing it, to the point of publishing, it was new to me … so it wasn’t an easy task, but it finally came together.”
The characters are described as ordinary people who face trials, challenges and tragedies, yet they rise above to show that the human spirit can be triumphant.
Rita MacPherson, who has been Shymkiw’s caregiver for the past seven years, helped the author type the stories because he has limited vision.
Before the book became a reality, many people gave Shymkiw rave reviews for his short stories, said MacPherson.
“We took some of his short stories to the library, and the workers were like, ‘You’ve got to do something with these,’” MacPherson said.
“We didn’t plan to bring all these short stories together at first. He started years ago with his family history for his kids to know.”
The book is available at www.friesenpress.com.