Katherine KollerCan we talk?

That’s what I’d say to the friendly-looking young couple who trailed me through Save-on Foods. After I paid for my huge order (at the time I cooked for eight), I pushed my grocery cart, in the winter dark, over the snow-rutted parking lot. One half of the young couple ran from behind me and snatched my purse. I ran after him, but he pulled the passenger door closed while his partner rapidly turned their vehicle, knocking me down in the snow.

My bag contained an out-of-print book I really wanted to finish and some jewelry and my wallet and. . . . I should have recorded their license plate number with the pen always in my writer’s pocket so police could track them and get my stuff back and . . . they’d talk. I’d like to know their story.

Talk is the stuff of story, and I will be leading a workshop on writing dialogue for all forms (Saturday 2:30-4:30). Dialogue is about discovery, and although I didn’t get any in the scenario above, I learned a few things about myself. The couple probably laughed at me and my six gallons of milk. I valued my lost book almost more than the bag. I could have been badly hurt, but I took a risk. I’d like to know what made that cute couple take a chance with me.

I’m interested in what makes us take chances, even ones we’ve been given before and not acted upon. I’ll be reading from my short story collection, Winning Chance, about taking those second chances that the universe delivers, at the Literary Cabaret (Friday Oct. 18 at 8-10 pm).

Listen to my talk at CBC Daybreak Alberta about the art of taking chances. I firmly believe that, like the characters in my stories, it pays to be alert and ready for our chances, because chances are teachers.

–Katherine Koller