Welcome to another installment of Meet our SWG Members!
Ken Wilson is a local children’s author and member of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild. Learn more about Ken’s experiences below. (Content Warning – Ken talks about his struggles with depression and suicide)
I have been a writer from as far back as I can remember. In grade school I remember making comic books with my friends in our spare time. An avid reader, I loved the power of stories to take you away from the turmoil of your life and cocoon you in a fantasy. In my late teens, my family that had already been fractured was rocked when my parents were divorced. My father who I had been close to most of my life had disowned me, and I was left holding the shattered pieces of my confidence.
As I grew older, I made many attempts to write books. However I had always felt so unworthy and never completed them. I had a dream of becoming an author and supporting myself through my work. It was this dream that would bring me back time and time again to the keyboard. My doubt in my own capability however would pull me away every time.
I was diagnosed with severe depression and made several attempts to end my life. It wasn’t until my uncle asked me for my help to carry groceries up to my grandmother’s apartment that I had my breakthrough. I was planning to commit suicide that night and while waiting to slip away into eternity a thought crossed my mind: If I am dead tomorrow, who will help my uncle carry his groceries down.
For the first time in a long time, I had a thought that wasn’t selfish and it literally saved my life. I would love to tell you that the next day I was cured. That only happens in a story. No, I was at the bottom of a ravine. I had to make the climb back to level ground before I could start my life again. And that’s when I saw the mountains. Whenever I look back to see how far I have come, I must remind myself to look past level ground to see the ravine.
In my early thirties, the impossible happened. I found the love of my life and we produced my daughter. My first book, Tommy and the Christmas Coal, was first told as a bedtime story. A long forgotten dream was rekindled as I saw the delight in my daughter’s eyes. When I learnt that an author’s copyright lasts for 50 years past their death, I realized this was my chance to write books to support my daughter long after I am gone. Over time, I have come to see writing as an opportunity to help your readers and if you can touch one life through the power of your prose then you have succeeded.
I have produced 4 children’s books, an online comic, and an animated Christmas Special in the past three years. This year I have a plan to start taking my work more seriously. What drives me is that I know someone will read my stories and be touched as I had been when I was young. Every word we write is someone else’s gift. That story you are putting your heart and soul into may become the groundwork of someone’s recovery. Think back. When was the last time you were inspired by something you read. This is our gift as writers. It is selfish not to share it with those destined to be touched by your writing.
If you are reading this, and feel unworthy as I once did, pick up your pen. Sit down and write. Writing is a craft that takes years to develop. Write your stories. Share them with the talented members of the Sudbury Writers Guild, and take constructive criticism as the building blocks to your success. One day in the future, around a corner you can’t see past right now, you will find your confidence like I did. And on that day, you will be so much further ahead than I was. Because your confidence will be built on years of writing instead of floating on the wind like mine was.
For more information visit Kenny’s website at https://kennywilson.ca/