New path to problem solving

February 18, 2016

Going on tour, whether you are a rock star, a book author , a psychic or a motivational speaker always suggests that you have made it in your chosen profession. Because of this, we always assume that anyone on tour is living the good life.

Is this why rock stars have a reputation for throwing cars into their hotel pool, setting their guitars on fire in their rooms and having sex with multiple partners?

Are they having fun when they do this? Did Justin Bieber look like he was having fun when he was getting ‘raked over the coals’ for throwing eggs at a neighbour’s house, etc. etc.etc.

It could be that underneath it all, these rock stars on tour are merely chronically bored and are reduced to doing anything that might make life exciting after the lights at the concert go down.

I remember the ex-wife of a world famous rock/pop star told me that she opted out of going on tour with him once they had children. She said being on tour was a replay of flying from one airport to another, driving down to the concert venue, doing the sound check (or, her case, watching the band do it), booking into the hotel, driving back to do the concert and then back to the hotel afterwards. This happened day after night after day. No touring the city or the country to check out its beauty, its art scene, dine in the best restaurant or taking in a museum or even a nice bar. Carbon copy or photocopy or print out days and nights.

I have gone on one short book tour for my book Friends I Never Knew. I remember being all alone sitting in not so nice hotels and then meeting with strangers who introduced me to the audience. I am sure best-selling authors have more people around but the hotel rooms are no doubt just as lonely.

When I did attempt to stave off lonliness in one city by phoning a man who I had previously lived with in a serious relationship, he greeted my news of having a book published with, “When did that happen?”

I was not sure if he meant that he thought I was incapable of writing a book or if he thought I was lying or both.

It is sort of like a woman I knew in Winnipeg who left that city before I began to do psychic readings there. When we ran into each other on a few occasions in my travels as a psychic reader, she strongly implied that I was a fraud because she had not known me as someone who did psychic readings years before.

So being on the road, like many other things that go along with recognition, and are magnified with fame, is not what it is cut out to be.

You have to love what you are doing, be passionate about it because things directed at you from the outside are often not what you expect should be there or all that is there is emptiness.

When I did get Friends I Never Knew published, the writing style of my novel was shadowed by the fact that I was recognized as a feminist.

The following article on me examines this aspect of me and what my novel says about it. In the end, it is a small piece of biography outlining my interesting and varied earlier life  before I emerged as a psychic. A different chapter in my life:

The Star Phoenix

Saturday, November 28, 1992

New path to problem solving … women eschew traditional pursuit of power

by Verne Clemence

Like most other institutions in late 20th century society, feminism is changing, says writer and activist Tanya Lester.

The movement is still a potent force, Lester believes, but she’s seeing a shift in focus away from the hierarchical structure of the ’60s to smaller, consensus-oriented groups.

In Saskatoon recently as part of a four-city Canada Council reading and speaking tour, the Winnipeg author speculated that more and more, women are dissatisfied with the pursuit of power through traditional systems.

“Those systems are patriarchal. Women are saying, ‘We aren’t going to get anything done that way; we aren’t going to change that system.’ ”

Apart from rare instances of initiatives such as the recent opposition to the Charlottetown accord by the National Action Committee, women are turning to smaller groups.

Lester says the emphasis is on problem solving. “There’s a healing connection. Women are making things better in the community rather than trying to lobby governments on a higher level.”

Poverty and male violence continue to be among the issues of greatest concern to feminists, Lester says.

But as she held discussions with local groups on her tour, she heard about a wide range of other problems. For example, date rape was a concern on the one university campus. A YWCA group identified day care as a concern; custody problems were raised by another group and women’s health issues were often mentioned.

“Cutbacks in funding have made the women’s community less radical,” Lester says. She believes many groups have “localized” their activities and operate more quietly because of the intimidation they feel from the Brian Mulroney government.

But she also sees signs of a swing away from the ultra-rightist politics of the 1980s. The American election results raised her hopes for a return to a more socially conscious public policy agenda, in Canada as well as the United States.

Lester, 36 and a single parent by choice of a five-year-old son, has shifted her own focus in recent years. Born in the small tourist community of Victoria Beach on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, she gravitated toward feminism at an early age.

Her mother was a teacher and Tanya moved with her to various communities, including a stint on the Poor Man Indian Reserve in southern Saskatchewan.

Later , as a young journalist, she worked for a weekly paper at Gravelbourg for a time, then moved to Winnipeg to become coordinating administrator of the Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women (note: it was the other way around, actually: working for the Manitoba Action Committee before working in Gravelbourg as a journalist) , a job she held until 1984.

“I liked the work,” she says, “but I needed time to write.” After having several short stories and articles printed and a book of short fiction self-published, she took the plunge and left full-time employment to work on her first novel.

The result, Friends I Never Knew, was published earlier this year.

One of the frustrations Lester experienced as a high-profile organizer in the women’s movement was that she didn’t really get to know the individuals she worked with.

In her book, she chronicles the lives of four women from diverse backgrounds. The characters are composites of actual women she knew briefly in the frontlines of feminist action.

The first of the compelling stories is about the hardships experienced by Juanita, a Guatemalan emigrant whose talent for art was suppressed and ridiculed by a violence-prone father.

In the second, senior citizen Lou looks back on the desperate days of the Great Depression, the terrible choices faced by powerless women and the early days of the battle to make birth control legal in Canada.

Miriam, a medical doctor, dabbles in spiritual healing in another story and Guatemalan aristocratic Rita, is the subject of the fourth. Her life was forever altered when her brother’s friend sexually assaulted her.

All four struggle to break free of male domination of one kind or another so they can control their own lives. They succeed to varying degrees, achieving confidence and some inner peace, though Lester observes ruefully that there are still days when “it’s very, very lousy being a women in this world.”

The book was more that just four women’s stories for Lester. It was also the start of a painful personal process of coming to grips with the aftermath of being sexually abused by an uncle when she was a child.

She gives glimpses throughout the book of the personal life of the narrator, Tara, with a brief section at the end looking behind the veil to acknowledge the source of her chronic nightmares and life-long problems with relationships.

“I’m healing,” Lester says. “I feel like all the pieces of the puzzle still aren’t together, but I’m beginning to understand.”

Writing, she says, has been the key to releasing the long-suppressed facts of her past. “I’m happy 75 per cent of the time now. I could never say that before.”


Tanya Lester’s four books are: Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (can be purchased from the author or from, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters and Women Rights/Writes. All of these books are in library systems and the last three are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.

Learn more about Tanya as a psychic/intuitive and house sitter and how to access these services by contacting her directly at or call 250-538-0086 or go to her website at  or to her pages at Facebook, LinkedIn, Google or Twitter.

To more of Tanya’s posts on a variety of topics featuring writing she has had published over many decades go to and





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