Tag Archives: creativity

St. Peter’s Abbey: Day Four

St. Peter’s Abbey is oldest Benedictine monastery in Canada. It was founded in 1903. In the early pictures, there is a distinct lack of trees, but over the years the Brothers have created a green oasis in the middle of the sweeping prairie. I have not done much outdoor exploring though. I enjoy the greenery mostly from my window and that’s because this whole area is tick-infested and I don’t want one of those creepy parasites digging into my flesh. When I do walk, I stick to the gravel roads, which are apparently safe from creepy crawlies. There are always surprises on residencies, but this was one I could have missed.

A great surprise was discovering that my Old friend Art Slade was here for three days giving a workshop on writing YA fiction. All of us enjoyed talking to and teasing Art. I love reconnecting with writers, especially those who write in the same genre!

Last night, Father D gave us a tour of the Abbey, including the college, and the cellars. I’ve posted a picture of him below. The Abbey is always on the lookout for fresh Monks. Male, over eighteen, Catholic, Find out information here. I can actually see a lot of advantages to being a monk, of which I won’t list at the moment. Of course, I don’t qualify on so many levels, but others will.

All of this peace has given me some much needed time to reflect on loss and love and out of that I’ve remember that the pain never outshines the love. Not in the end. Love is too strong. We won’t ever replace our Kitty Moffat, but one day we will all be strong enough to bring another four legged friend into our lives.

Just not yet. But a friend said to me, “Pets are temporary. They are given to us for a short period of time. During this time, they need a home and love, just like anyone else. That’s what we give to them and we get so much more back.” So, if you are suffering the loss of your four-legged friend, close the door for as long as you need, but keep it unlocked!

Yikes, metaphors… that’s what happens at a writing residency.

I’ve been working hard on new ideas, researching those ideas and getting about a thousand words a day down on the page. Not all good words, mind you, but I’m forcing myself to do what I always tell new writers to do. I’m showing up at the page EVERY morning. Something great will come out of all of this work, I know.

One of the poets asked me what it felt like for a West Coaster to be way out here in the prairie. I replied, “I feel safe and protected like I’m in the middle of a soft, King-sized bed and no matter how much I roll around, I can’t fall off the edge.”

Saskatchewan is like that. Our nearest village is Muenster, a five minute walk up the road. The abbey is surrounded by huge farms; fields of purple and yellow and green and gold. The nearest town, where there is liquor store (which we all care about), is Humboldt. Humboldt is a city recovering from terrible tragedy, filled with warm and friendly people.

The Brothers and Fathers here at St. Peters’s were and continue to play a large part in their acceptance of the bus crash that took so many young lives from this area.

Next time, I hope I get to tell you about the wind.




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Filed under residencies, Stuff to do, Travelling In the World, Uncategorized, Writing Tips

Labour Day Already and Time for a New Season

So Labour day has arrived and I celebrated our lovely rain by going to a matinée: The Joan River’s Story and I laughed out loud the whole way through.

I’ve almost got over not getting my Panda job, and I am almost completely ready for my daughter’s wedding. I’ve even found mascara that won’t run when I ball my eyes out when she walks down the aisle. I love the new son, but my baby is getting married. I thought I would rush back to FB, but have not missed it at all, instead taken the time to connect with friends in the old school way and it’s fun to meet in bars, on beaches, at movies. Wow! who would have thought?

What Else?

I like my iphone 4, but not too much and I discovered quinoa, which goes well with our sockeye, which I pray DFO will protect and not over-fish. Let them spawn – you need them to survive to lay eggs.

I had such a great time during my week at Canadian Children’s Writer’s Camp. I left a bit of my heart in Quebec, where I know I will return again and again.

I’ve signed a contract with Mckellar and Martin, (find me on their website) and I’m really excited about my new book, coming this Spring to a bookstore near you.

I can sense that wonderful creeping creativity returning after the lull between books and although I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet, I am prepared to be happily surprised. This feeling is something most writers will be familiar with – it’s a need to go to movies, go to readings, never leave the house without a pencil and a book and spend lots of time alone thinking.

To the outside world it looks like a time waster – head in the clouds, day dreaming, listening to music…but in truth it’s an opening to creativity, a willingness to accept ideas and develop them. It’s a very exciting feeling and it’s a relief too, because I always ask myself, where will the next idea come from? Will there be a next idea?

Over time, I’ve learned to take this time slowly and to appreciate it as a gift. It feels like a period of grace and I am so grateful to experience it every time it occurs.

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