Volunteering with Benefits

I recently became a collective member for the non-fiction section of fillingStation Magazine. Why? I like volunteering and, when choosing where and with whom I volunteer, I always try find someplace that suits my talents, desires, or where I want to go in life.

Years ago, I volunteered with the Calgary Police Service. I’d grown up with RCMP officers having coffee in my dad’s woodshop. While it was a bit embarrassing to have the school bus pull up to my driveway whilst three or four Mountie cars were parked at my house, they were always around and always good to be around. I therefore thought that keeping in with local law enforcement was a good idea — keeps you in the community-know, they lend a helping hand when needed, and maybe I’d eventually pursue a civilian job with the Service. Lo and behold, 15 years later, this experience has come in handy.

As I return to life from a lifestyle of archaeology, I also return to a desire to be involved with my community. Community theatre is still high on my list of volunteer areas to explore, but I also thought I’d investigate options to bolster my writing life.Filling Station 60 Cover Website

fillingStation is an experimental literary magazine published three or four times a year, depending on funding. It’s Calgary-based and run my University of Calgary alumni that desired a departure from the other UofC alumni magazine, Dandelion (now deceased). What is experimental literature? Good question. Haven’t a clue other than describing it as “innovative, cutting edge, pushes boundaries.” Do I write experimental literature? Nope, unless I’m drunk. However, even though I’ve only been a member of the collective that vets non-fiction submissions, this experience is already helping me be more creative and see the world through artist’s eyes again. The submissions I’ve read so far have given me a perspective on my writing that I was lacking — an objectivity that comes from having a whole-picture view. Writers tend to become isolated. That isolation brings a warped sense of exclusionism and depression. Writers need community if only for commiseration. We need to know we’re not alone.

Already volunteering is giving something back to me that I didn’t intend to receive. Several things, in fact. And I’m only a couple months in. I love receiving unexpected benefits!

If you are a creative writer, consider submitting to fillingStation or volunteering with them. It’s good experience, broadens your perspective, and allows you to get in touch with your community. Did I mention the networking possibilities? Yum!

~YK

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