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Barrie author, poet excited to launch 66th book next month

Bruce Meyer's latest book an autobiographical coming-of-age story that follows his life from childhood through adulthood to senior-hood

People can collect a lot over their lifetime, but it’s memories of a life well lived that are the most important collectibles.

A new book titled Grace of Falling Stars is a collection of poems by local professor, author and the City of Barrie’s Poet Laureate Emeritus Dr. Bruce Meyer, based on some of his fondest memories. The book was compiled by students at the University of Windsor in the publishing practicum program, he noted.

“This time, I handed them a large, disorganized lump of poems that I had been writing and they sorted it out and turned it into this nice book, which is about growing up, falling in love, being a parent, losing one’s parents... It’s almost a biography of the first half of my life,” he said.

What started off as simple “one-off” poems, including several Meyer said nearly ended up in the recycling bin, ultimately inspired the students to emerge with a new collection of writing that comes with a message of “joy and hope." 

“I think the thing that inspired them was a little poem that I hadn’t thought much of and was ready to toss away called 'No Hands'. It was about learning to ride a bicycle with no hands," Meyer said. "Mornings when I was a kid and I’d be up early and pedalling down the street and would take my hands off the handlebars … the feeling of flying is part of that,” he said, noting the cover of the book features a bicycle.

"There are also bicycles running along the bottom of the pages which move across the pages when you flip through the book."

Grace of Falling Stars is also about personal freedom, he said.

“It’s almost about heaven and paradise and the feeling of finding happiness in the small details of life. The major themes are exuberance, joy, heaven, bliss  all those things that uplift us and the things we remember,” Meyer said. “One of the things that came out in the debate with the students about what to include in the book was I asked them if you died tomorrow, what would you take with you in terms of memories?”

The collection, he continued, ultimately focuses on all the things we don’t want to lose in life that aren’t of monetary value. 

“There’s a sense of simplicity, but it’s the simplicity in those moments that are so meaningful," Meyer said. "When we totally forget ourselves and our troubles and are so caught up in the joy of life that we are completely immersed in it.”

Black Moss Press will host a free online launch for Meyer’s new book on April 7 at 7 p.m.

Although this online book launch will look different than normal, Meyer said that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“I think the online launch means people don’t have to get up and go somewhere and can remain in their comfortable cocoon. They have the full experience and it means the content of the launch, rather than the venue is the important thing,” he said. “I think the sense of alienation that has been associated with the online world is a misreading of it. With online, everything seems much more immediate and there’s no limit to the audience you’re reaching so I don’t see it as a negative at all.”