Drawing inspiration from pictures
After a career in education Ava Lanes is spending her retirement working on art and publishing a book
The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted many people’s lives, but for retired educator and Battlement Mesa resident Ava Lanes, it gave her a chance to do something she had been hoping to do for years.
Lanes, who retired more than a decade ago after serving as principal at Rifle Middle School and Wamsley Elementary and later as assistant superintendent of Garfield School District Re-2, retirement has been filled with hobbies.
When she isn’t helping coach principal and facilitating local educators Lanes enjoys gardening, landscaping, birding, paints, 3D shadow boxes, reading, and sports. She also runs a little gallery and framing business out of her home.
One of those hobbies included photography, and while going through her images she found numerous images of benches she has captured from all over the country and world.
“I think, honestly, the COVID and being home so much actually gave me the time and latitude to really explore it,” Lanes said. “So the whole idea was to inspire people through writing and photographs.”
Lanes put pen to paper and began writing. She finished her book, “From the Bench” In the span of three months. It combines her photographs and prose.
“Once I got going it went relatively quickly, and then I started working with a publishing company out of Australia,” Lanes said. “Penning and pondering — The whole idea was for people to quiet themselves on a bench.”
Lanes also edited and designed the book, adding an open page after each prose for people to journal on and reflect.
The book is now available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon, in hardcover, paperback, or eBook.
“It has been kind of a highlight of my life, it has been exciting to actually write the book, and learn about the publishing process,” Lanes said.
Lanes isn’t resting and doesn’t plan to be a one-book wonder, she is waiting for feedback on what people like and how she can improve it. Lanes hopes to do at least two more books in the future in a similar format.
“I’ve learned a great deal, and probably the neatest thing is when I wrote the book I said to myself you know if my family and friends enjoy this and are inspired by it that is all I want,” Lanes said. “If it goes anything beyond that, that’s icing on the cake.”
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At the beginning of the pandemic, all artist Wewer Keohane wanted to do was clean her studio.