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Slowpitch teammates helped writer find her voice

Michele Moore Veldhoen read from her book The View From Right Field on Thursday at Fort Macleod Library.

The View From Right Field is the first book published by Michele Moore Veldhoen.

Michele Moore Veldhoen knew early in her life that she wanted to be a writer.
It just took her longer than expected to publish her first book as life took her in unexpected directions.
And it took returning to another childhood love — softball — for the Okotoks area resident to find inspiration for her first book, The View From Right Field.
Moore Veldhoen was guest speaker last month at Fort Macleod Library, where she shared her journey to becoming a published author with about a dozen people.
“Like so many other writers, as a young kid I always knew I wanted to be a writer,” Moore Veldhoen said. “I just figured I would be a writer. That was in my mind. I loved reading, I read books like crazy.”
Moore Veldhoen kept a diary and wrote short stories and poems in her youth, always believing she would be a writer.
“That was going to be my life. I was in a very happy little world.”
Her world was turned upside-down when she was 12 years old and her family moved to the Yukon from Christina Lake, B.C. for a business opportunity.
Moore Veldhoen found herself living in a disfunctional community where substance abuse and violence were everyday realities.
“I basically went into culture shock,” Moore Veldhoen said. “I couldn’t write any more. Eventually I just stopped trying.”
Moore Veldhoen made friends with other young people in the community and went into survival mode with them.
Sixteen months later, Moore Veldhoen suffered another culture shock when he mother became ill and the family suddenly moved away. She left behind her close friend Pearl.
“I felt tremendous loss and what I understood later was guilt about leaving my friend Pearl,” Moore Veldhoen said.
Moore Veldhoen graduated high school and got married at age 20, having her first child a year later.
“I was thrilled,” Moore Veldhoen said. “I wanted a baby and I ended up throwing myself into my life as a mom.”
Moore Veldhoen and her husband bought an acreage and started a construction company. She another child and her life was full as a wife, mother and business partner.
Moore Veldhoen thought life was great but that winter she suffered from low energy and a desire to sleep all the time.
When spring arrived she went to see a doctor, who diagnosed her with mild depression and urged her to get out and do something just for herself.
Moore Veldhoen took that advice and joined the Okotoks Rainbows ladies’ slowpitch team, returning to a sport she loved as a child.
The Rainbows, who played together for two decades, dominated their league and played in tournaments across Canada.
Moore Veldhoen spent 16 years surrounded by what she called independent, irreverent and confident women who didn’t feel they had to apologize for anything they were doing, including being working moms.
“All these women were working, raising kids and living a full life,” Moore Veldhoen said. “It was a huge eye-opener.”
Moore Veldhoen realized she didn’t have to spend all her time focused on her family.
“I needed to know that. For some reason I missed that lesson and thought that I didn’t matter any more. That was a big part of my beginning to really find my way to who I was, and who I wanted to be.”
In The View From Right Field, Moore Veldhoen uses anecdotes from her time with the Rainbows to illustrate her own growth, thanks in part to the comprehensive records kept by a teammate.
Moore Veldhoen experienced another freeing moment when she returned to the Yukon to see Pearl, who she had reconnected with through social media.
She found a community that had healed itself and found a sense of forgiveness from Pearl. That trip helped Moore Veldhoen return to writing, at age 46.
Moore Veldhoen wrote two books of literary fiction before penning her light-hearted memoir, which is the first book to get published.
“My road to fulfilment was very long, but I had a great time.”
Hard copies of The View From Right Field are available from www.amazon.ca and electronic versions are available on Kobo and iTunes.

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