This video was taken on June 24, 2013, when Ferdinand Fernando, my son, did his wrap-up reading to end the 2013 Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program, under the auspices of the Manitoba Writers Guild. Ferdinand’s mentor, David Elias wasn’t able to come, so Carolyn Gray, the Guild’s new Executive Director, and at the same time, the master of ceremonies took the task of reading David Elias’ supposed introduction of Ferdinand’s reading.
After the event, Ferdinand confessed, he was nervous. But it didn’t show when he was up on the stage. Well … he had touched the mic a lot as if to adjust it to his height, and he couldn’t keep his hands still. If these were signs of nervousness, nobody really mind, as they appeared as just mannerisms acted naturally on stage.
To ease him probably on what he thought of his nervousness, Ferdinand started his speech with a self-deprecating joke. He said, “When I started this program, I thought I was pretty good”. Laughs and claps thundered. And, as the noise died down, he followed it up with “… and then I thought, I am not.” Applause and laughs thundered again.
With that, he breached the barrier between him and the audience, and he seemed confident now reading his stuff, and the audience ready to listen.
It was just so unfortunate that I recorded only about, maybe, five sentences of the last four pages of Chapter Three that he read. The reception of his reading from the audience, were positive and good, I think. Tom Goodman, a lawyer and an apprentice, too of the mentorship program approached Ferdinand as we were about to leave, and congratulated him. Carolyn Gray, says, too, that Ferdinand is a good reader. She said that to me, when I called her to make sure if I get her name right while I am doing this piece.
When Ferdinand joined the mentorship program he had already finished “Heroic Beginnings,” his novel. It is enormously huge, around 700 pages, I think – a full-length novel at that. And plans a trilogy of it, by the way. I have seen how his “Heroic Beginnings” developed and evolved in so many different layers for so many years of him working on it. He had shown the draft to his immediate family and to his close acquaintances to solicit honest feedbacks and comments. As Ferdinand probably wants to attain that exquisite perfection for his creation, he wanted someone to consult it with. An established writer who has books published – one who could assesed his creation with objectivity. And one who could probably help him, led him or act as a conduit to publishing concern to publish and market his book. The Manitoba Writers Guild provided him Mr. David Elias.
Mr. David Elias’ assessment that Ferdinand’s writing is an interesting mix of engaging narrative and thought provoking exposition and reflection, is true, and I concur. His novel is littered with solid base literature embellished with mixed styles of different authors he admired. For readers reader getting into his character’s head and examining the deep seated motivation that lies underneath – that’s totally an awesome experience. For me, he has this deliciously unique voice which is, really, food for the soul.