Monday, August 29, 2016



Ernest Hekkanen

I met Ernest Hekkanen probably about 1999 or so when a student in my friend Heather Haake's class brought in an author/book report about him. Heather and I were involved with the Federation of BC Writers at the time and were naturally curious about this writer we'd never heard of who apparently had all kinds of books to his credit and who was publishing a literary magazine, The New Orphic Review, right out of Nelson! 

Ernest wrote all these books!
We invited Ernest to give a workshop at one of our Fed festivals in Kaslo and I remember him demonstrating how "easy" it was to put a book together. At that time he was binding every copy of the NOR by hand, and he had the method down. Flash forward to last week when someone asked me to fix a book they loved whose pages were coming out. I ended up deconstructing the whole book and putting it back together using the very method Ernest taught me. 

This week about 35 people showed up to support Ernest and the New Orphic Review. Why? At the end of April the almost unthinkable happened when Ernest's computer was randomly attacked by ransomware, one of the latest forms of computer viruses whereby the target computer is frozen by who-knows-who and large amounts of cash are demanded before the required keys to unlock it are provided. 

Happily, most of Ernest's files were backed up. Ernest refused to pay, and his computer was pronounced dead.

When Tom Wayman heard about this he decided the writing community needed to help and a benefit was planned. 

Tom Wayman

Ernest asked Ross Klatte, Diana Morita Cole, and me to read from some of our work that he's published in the New Orphic Review. 

Linda Crosfield
Ross Klatte
Diana Morita Cole 
Given the reason behind this particular literary event, Gordon Andrews then spoke about nastyware—the viruses, worms, and whatnot that can make your time at the computer nothing short of miserable. He talked about passwords and how to make them stronger and safer, and answered questions during a short Q and A session. 

Gordon Andrews, talking tech
Then Ernest came up to the podium, thanked his partner in work and life, Margrith Schraner, and read some of his work. 

In 2013 I blogged about the 16th Anniversary celebration Ernest and Margrith threw for the New Orphic Review. You can see more pictures of most of these fine folk there.

Anne DeGrace and Verna Relkoff were among the folk who came out for Ernest
That's Diana looking over her shoulder at Ross
Poet Jane Byers beside me. She has a new collection coming out this fall
Diana sharing a laugh with Ted
Julian Ross of Polestar Press on the left, and Margrith Schraner, Ernest's right-hand woman on the, where else, right.
Although the reason for this particular literary event was not as happy an occasion as, say, a book launch, it proved beyond a doubt that Nelson and area writers look after their own. 

Stay safe out there in cyber-land, people!


No comments: