Grand Theatre exec pens inspiring new novel

Toward Beauty: Reigniting a Creative Life on the Camino de Santiago CREDIT: COMPASS PRESS
Garnhum's journey through the Camino de Santiago makes for a thoughtful tale that students will no doubt find inspiring.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an influx of individuals who felt the need for self-rediscovery and creativity. Dennis Garnhum, Artistic Director of the Grand Theatre in London, Ont. was one of the many people who searched for a sense of creativity during this time. Garnhum found himself hiking solo along the Camino de Santiago, documenting his thoughts throughout, creating his very first memoir and travelogue, Toward Beauty: Reigniting a Creative Life on the Camino de Santiago.

“I walked the Camino because I was really struggling with the pain of leading a creative life and not being able to have the theatre here open at the Grand and do what I’m used to doing,” Garnhum said. “I went to Spain to kind of re-centre myself.”

Garnhum said that the hike consisted of 830km, which took him 32 days to complete.

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“I would walk all day and think all day and then I’d go and record the thoughts,” Garnhum said. “Every night I would write down my thoughts. So that’s when I realized, after a few days, this would be a great way to record my journey.”

Garnhum shared that whilst the Camino is meant to be travelled “on your own,” there are people from all around the world who are also taking part in the pilgrimage.

“You aren’t alone, but you are on your own,” Garnhum said.

Sometimes young college students can be so easily consumed by the day-to-day madness of everyday life. Garnhum reminded the students of Fanshawe to hold on to the feeling of invisibility and go after any elaborate dreams.

“I wrote this as a 53-year-old man and a big part of my story is to remember what it was like to be 20 and what it was like to believe that you could do anything, and everything was possible,” Garnhum said.

Toward Beauty: Reigniting a Creative Life on the Camino de Santiago can have multiple impacts on readers, according to Garnhum; one being inspiration to hike the Camino, and another being reflecting upon life and creativity.

Garnhum admitted he was surprised by his writing a full novel for the first time.

“It was always a dream of mine, maybe one day to write a book. I think we all or many of us have that notion but the fact that I did it still surprises me that I completed the task,” Garnhum said.

This book screams inspiration and creativity. Reading this book can encourage college students to take the leap and follow their dreams no matter how big and scary they may be. If Garnhum could embrace his journey through the Camino and allow so much joy and happiness to flow through his life, why shouldn’t you do the same?

Toward Beauty: Reigniting a Creative Life on the Camino de Santiago is available for pre-order on Amazon, and will be widely available for purchase on Oct. 11.