(Keri Coles/Oak Bay News)

Monterey perspective: Interviewing the inverviewer

Q&A with Linda Foubister, volunteer writer and photographer at the Monterey Recreation Centre

Linda Foubister is an author, a retired policy analyst, and a volunteer at the Monterey Recreation Centre.

How long have you been volunteering with the Monterey Recreation Centre?

I’ve been volunteering at Monterey Centre for a year, since last January. A friend called and invited me to join. Aside from the library I’d never been to the Centre. I started volunteering as a server at special events. They have a lot of really fun events. Then I started taking photos. Joanne Donohue of the Monterey Centre and Christine of Oak Bay News were supportive of me doing articles for the newspaper where I interview other volunteers and have them talk about volunteering. I have a few planned for the coming year.

Why is volunteering important?

Fun. I think it was Guy Dauncey who said, “if it’s not fun, it’s not sustainable.” You get a lot of meaning from it. It allows you to explore your creativity. And giving back is always nice. I heard a quote – volunteering gets you six figures – S M I L E S. In terms of the interviews, I like doing positive promotion of community. Celebrating everyday people’s lives.

Have you always lived in Oak Bay?

I was born in Victoria, my father was born in Victoria, and we both went to Vic High. I lived in the same house my entire life until more recently when we moved a 15 minute walk away into Oak Bay to a place that had enough room for my mother-in-law to live with us as she aged.

I understand you are retired now, what did you for work?

My former job was as a policy analyst. I like doing analysis. Trying to drill down. Get at what the real issues are and some of the options. I worked in Environment, Women’s Equality, Health, Highways, Consumer Protection. The approach to the policy analysis is always the same but the subject matter differs. And then there is the political filter that you have to figure out and the government’s strategic goals and plans. After I’ve researched a topic, part of the job is giving options. Viable options. Which is the best one? Well, who are you? Where does it sit? What do you want? What are your goals?

What is something you wish people knew more about?

I’m finding people, myself included, tend to get opinions on things that they don’t really have a deep understanding of. It’s easy to have opinions but it is hard to have informed opinions. But it is a lot of work. I try now for the most part to say ‘I don’t know.’ And if I’m going to know, it is so much work to find out about all of the various issues. You have to dig deep.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by reading things. I like ideas and concepts.

What are you reading?

I’m currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was brilliant. It just arrested me. It dealt with some hard issues. I mostly read mythology and murder mysteries.

What do you want to learn more about?

I’m hoping to learn about the ukulele this year. I’m learning a lot more about fitness and health. I use the Pocket app to read about different things, learn new things. I’m interested in people’s biographies. I started to read about Stephen Fry. That led to Oscar Wild. I’m researching creativity right now.

What are your future goals?

I’m going to write more books. The book I’m working on right now, which is my third, is about creativity and mythology. I’m hoping to finish that this year. Then there is a lot more to write about. My last one, the Key to Mythic Victoria, was about the myths around Victoria. There are lots of great stories about this area: the Erratic at Harling Point, which is said to have been a seal harpooner; the Camosun at the Gorge; the Green Man faces which can be seen in quite a few places around Victoria.

I’m giving a tour of Ross Bay cemetery in September about the myths in the cemetery. The Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria gives tours every Sunday. They are really good tours with fascinating stories. Emily Carr’s grave is there and people often leave paintbrushes. There is angel that on a moonlit night lovers go to and if the angel cries it means their relationship is doomed.

Your interviews of Monterey volunteers show that there are a lot of really interesting people that spend time at the Centre. Is the Centre looking for more people to get involved?

They have lots of great programs and they are always looking for volunteers. I really recommend it. Joanne Donohue, the volunteer coordinator, really brings it together. She is very responsive to people. She’s very positive. People should come down and check it out.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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