For Beth Rich, writing is a passion that allows her to share her experiences and enrich her community. From columns to speeches, her versatility makes me wonder what she’ll do next.
- Where are you from, and how has the place where you live and/or grew up influenced your writing and the path of your career?
I am almost 77 years of age and live in Castor, AB. I was born and raised here, married my farmer husband, Richard, fifty-six years ago and we raised our family on the farm. I always had this love affair with words (and still do). I was an avid reader who would sometimes let my ego take over and think, “I could have written this.” It was almost a craving, but I didn’t know what to do about it at the time. One day, I was having coffee with a neighbor. I was telling her about all this and she said “You need to write.” She showed me about query letters, setting up a submission, and other housekeeping tasks and said “Go home and Write!” Living on the farm gave me the start that always simmered below my surface. Long winter days when the kids were off to school gave me the start to my writing. The farm influenced my writing because I began a humorous column for the local paper, called Cowpies and Roses, which I later changed to Wildoats and Roses. I eventually wrote for Grainews farm paper out of Winnipeg, the same columns. They were about farm life, written in a humorous vein with my husband, called The Foreman.
- Which career milestone are you most proud of (so far)?
The career milestone that I am proudest of is my eighteen years at our school as the Librarian. I loved the kids, loved the job. How can you not when you’re surrounded by books and young people? I sort of became the school mother. Another career milestone was in 2012, when I was editor of our local history book – Beaver Tales from Castor and District.
- How did you become the editor of your local history book? Did this job give you more influence within your community? If so, how did this change your career path?
It had been many years since a local history had been done in Castor and many times I was asked to take on the task, as I was the only local writer. A close friend said she would handle the business end if I would take on the Editor role. People submitted their family stories and I wrote other local history for the book. As to influence in the community, I would say people were grateful that this was done but I feel it did not change my role. This changed my writing path as I burned out for a while, because for close to a year all I did was work on the history book and couldn’t get back on track. Eventually it came back. My husband is the Mayor of our small town and I turned into a speech writer! It started with writing a Remembrance Day address, and then it morphed into an article about my grandfather and World War 1, which was published in More Our Canada – called O Canada.
In her career so far, Beth Rich has taken on various writing styles through multiple projects in and around Castor. In our interview, she said “I just know that I have to write. It is me.” Her deep-rooted love of literature is an integral part of who she is. This is why, no matter where life takes her, Beth will always come back to writing and continue to use it as a creative way to express herself and contribute to her community.