Tag Archives: Saskatchewan

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.

 

IMG_4163

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

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

Summer Writing Retreat Canada: St. Peter’s Abbey, Saskatchewan

Every year or so, I have been lucky enough to be accepted at different writer’s retreats in places as far away as Iceland, or as enchanting as the Yukon and this July I am off to St. Peter’s Abbey in glorious Saskatchewan, a province I have visited in the past and fallen in love with, for it’s magical skies and awe-dropping sunsets and the people are pretty great too.

Thanks to the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild, of which I am a member, as well as CARFAC Saskatchewan with funding from Saskatchewan Lotteries, SaskCulture and the Saskatchewan Arts Board, I will be able to spend two weeks at this lovely Benedictine Monastery in Muenster, just ninety kilometres east of Saskatoon near Humboldt.

In my experience, being provided with a quiet, tranquil and peaceful setting, absent of everyday distractions is the most ideal way to get the creative juices flowing and I am very thankful for this opportunity. While there, I will be working on a new novel – the ideas are formed and the characters are already in my head, so, with a little time to think and write, I should be able to get the bones of the story down.

I leave next Thursday and will be gone two weeks and hope to blog about this experience.

There is something magical about stepping out of the chaos of everyday life!

Leave a comment

Filed under Travelling In the World