Christopher Wheeler has had a long-standing dream to become an author. When COVID-19 arrived, it brought with it the opportunity for him to pursue this dream. The result is his first collection of poetry, A Parade of Dreams.
“I’ve put the collection together over COVID,” Wheeler said. “I thought, why not? It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for years. Originally, I considered writing a novel, but when I looked back over all of my writing starts from the past several decades, I realized I had about a hundred poems. So I picked the ones I liked from that collection and then I wrote a bunch of new ones this year while in lockdown.”
Wheeler said it was an interesting experience. He feels for people who have had trouble with COVID, but feels lucky not to have been one of them. He said he found he works better in isolation and that COVID gave him the creative space to do that work. That doesn’t mean the actual physical process of creating the work didn’t come with its challenges however.
“I hurt my back right at the start of COVID,” said Wheeler. “I found myself lying on a bed on my stomach, leaning off the edge of the bed to my laptop on the floor in order to write poetry.”
The collection is divided into 10 parts based on form. For example, there are sections on free verse, acrostics, limericks and haiku. The themes are equally diverse, covering a set of universal topics including understanding the world and people, the environment, love, loss and growing old. Wheeler sees the collection as the natural extension of how he interacts with the world around him—through observation and a desire to understand people. He hopes to inspire introspection in his readers and provide entertainment, as writing the collection did for him.
The poetry is accompanied by Wheeler’s black and white photography. Wheeler went to art school and always had a strong interest in photography, so jumped at the chance to illustrate his own book.
Wheeler has already had some success with the collection. When it was first released, it made it onto Amazon.com’s Top 100 Best Seller List for Canadian Poetry. “It stayed there for four days,” Wheeler said. “parked right next to Margaret Atwood.”
You can find Parade of Dreams at Mac’s Fireweed Books or online at Amazon, Chapters, Apple Books and Google Books.
And while COVID continues to keep many of our social calendars much less cluttered than normal, Wheeler is taking advantage of the time the pandemic affords. “I’m working on another collection already,” he said. “At this point I have almost another 60 poems written.”