As a young man of 60 arriving in Muskoka I had to stop the madness. Finally, after 22 moves in 33 years, I needed a place to rest. I chose Bracebridge for many reasons, but primarily because of my own impatience. I did not enjoy looking for a place to live, and because of that, I landed in the first spot that was affordable and evoked a fine sense of creativity and rustic ambiance.
Nine years later, I’m very thankful for that impatience.
Here in Muskoka I sense a maturity growing within myself. I chalk this up to embracing happiness. That sounds simple, I know, but it was not a state I excavated easily, nor on my own. I found happiness by joining culture-based, political, and issue-based organizations: artistic groups, writing groups, critique groups, political and environmental groups. Within these spaces I’ve learned how to receive evaluations of my work with humility and open-mindedness. Within these spaces and among these people, at last I’ve found room for my voice—and by extension, my happiness.
It ‘s been a miracle. I’ve become a fellow encourager. The artists, writers, and leaders I’ve encountered express so much humility that I find happiness in encouraging them to continue their profound efforts—to become enriched by the experience. I use terms daily such as Way to go!, Keep going! and You really have something here! But more importantly, I mean them.
In short, being an encourager makes me happy.
Recently, during one of my poetry seminars, I was introduced by the epigrammatic Paul Feist. He referred to me as an individual who saw himself as a legend in his own mind. I will not belabour the point, nor refute it, except to say that my love for the diatribe has turned out to be a sharing experience.
After nearly a decade living in Muskoka, I’m here to tell you that its artistic community is a minefield of… yes, happiness. I’m living proof. Why? Because its various groups of creators help one master the true art of encouragement.
Inspired by: Climate Action Muskoka, The Green Party of Ontario, The Ontario NDP, The Sanctuary Sketchers, The Muskoka Authors Association, The Baysville Public Library Writers Circle, The Muskoka Roundtable, The Bracebridge Public Library Writer’s Circle, The Royal Canadian Legion, The Awesome Muskoka Critique Circle, The Dead Show-It Society, The Friends of the Bracebridge Library.
About the Author: David Bruce Patterson is a Muskoka author, poet, and cocktail conoisseur. As MuskokaStyle’s poet laureate (DeaBeaPea), he finds it a stimulating challenge, rotating between novel writing and poetry. “They meet somewhere in the middle,” he says. “The unknown genre.” David has completed his novel, Square Wheels, and is now working on Dorothy Parker and the Epigram Mysteries: Murder at Land’s End. David has also written more than 3000 poems and hopes to have an anthology out soon.
Featured photo by Michael Dziedzic, Unsplash. Photo collage of Muskoka artists from left: book by Wendy Truscott, painting by Lynda Lynn, novel by David Bruce Patterson.