Catching up with a couple of North Saanich writers

Lorna Crozier and husband Patrick Lane will be reading at Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society event.

Lorna Crozier has a laugh with husband Patrick Lane.

Lorna Crozier has a laugh with husband Patrick Lane.

Kicking off the Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society’s spring reading series is husband and wife duo Lorna Crozier and Patrick Lane.

Although the pair — who live in North Saanich — are both writers, they don’t work collaboratively.

“We’re two writers living side by side in two different offices and a day can go by and we don’t even talk to each other,” said Lane.

Crozier said the good thing is if she needs an outside eye to tell her if one of his poems is working or is a piece of garbage, she will tell him.

“The lovely thing is that we’re totally honest, we can be brutal in fact, about each other’s work. But we are supportive and honest,” she said with a laugh.

Crozier will be reading a variation of poems from her most recent books and a few new ones. One of those is a book she wrote last year titled The Wild in You. It’s a book she did with wildlife photographer Ian McAllister, with poems and photographs from the Great Bear Rainforest.

Lane will read some of his poems and a bit from his memoir titled There is a Season.

“The memoir is a book I wrote in 2001 after I went into a treatment centre for alcoholism …” said Lane.

When he came out, hesaid he spent that next year writing about the first year of his sobriety.

He will also read a couple of poems from a book called Washita, which are poems about the area they live in around Coles Bay.

When it comes down to their writing processes, a lot of it ties into images.

“We have a very large garden, which sometimes gets away from us, but that gets us outside to work during the day and sometimes to stroll and to daydream,” said Crozier.

Poetry, she said, is an image-based form, so you write about what you see and sometimes what you don’t see and you try to make that visible through concrete details and concrete language, which is part of what they do.

Lane added that in Crozier’s The Wild in You, readers can see how words can capture an emotional world inside the photograph and how the photograph can capture the images that lie inside of the language.

“So it’s a wonderful, collaborative, nuance to balance between those two forms, and that’s really, really exciting to see that sort of thing,” he said.

Crozier added that her challenge as a writer was not to just put captions on the photographs, it was about tying the two together.

“The photographs are so powerful, they don’t need any language. So my challenge when Ian would send me photographs was to say ‘okay, what can I say about bears that is both in the photograph and not in the photograph? How can I bring a different perspective to what he’s already done?’” she said.

Crozier is currently in the process of editing a new collection of poems to come out in the spring titled What the Soul doesn’t Want.

She will also be putting out a book of prose poems coming out next year called God of Shadows.

“I have a nine-page poem about cockroaches and a five page poem about housewives and a poem about egg plants and a poem about what it’s like to be in love with the same person for 40 years,” she said.

Lane is also finishing up a novel, set in the Interior of B.C. in the late 1950s, early 1960s. It takes place in a small, interior saw mill town and centres around what happens to two gentlemen; one who came out of the second world war with PTSD and another who came out of the war in China, who is also suffering.

Lane and Crozier will be reading on Feb. 10 at the SHOAL Centre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the main event takes place at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at Tanner’s Books and online at sidneyliteraryfestival.ca.