Launching 3-2-1!

thishotplace:

Happy to be celebrating this milestone!

Originally posted on :

On Monday, September 1 at 2 pm in the Lumsden Beach Hall the first in a series of events celebrating the publication of A GIFT OF THE PRAIRIE: Writings from the Southern Shores of Last Mountain Lake will take place.  The book’s launch will feature readings from some of the contributors. Jillian Bell, Annette Bower, Sue Cook, June Mitchell, Robin Smith, Paul Wilson, and Editor, Bernadette Wagner

Wagner, who’s sLaunch postererved as the literary artist-in-residence at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre in Regina Beach, said that creating the book was not only a labour of love but also a celebration of the people and communities the LMLCC serves.  “What better legacy for the inaugural writer-in-residence to leave but a book!  It’s been an honour and privilege to work so closely with so many of the contributors during my term.”

Wagner is pleased with the response thus…

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Busy Summer in the Valley!

I’ve had a lot of time in the Qu’Appelle Valley this summer and it’s been great!  Not only did I stay at our family cottage at Lumsden Beach for all of June and a week in August, I also stayed at a friend’s cottage in Regina Beach for about ten days.  Immediately following that I had ten glorious days at the Sage Hill Writing Experience where I worked with Ken Babstock and five other poets — Dawn, Kathleen, Kevin, Kim and Margaret — to hone my new manuscript of poetry.  I feel great about the work and the new friendships that developed with my classmates and while there.

Now I’m back at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, commuting at present, for a few hours a week, to market the book project that is a legacy of my term as the inaugural literary artist-in-residence.  On Monday, we received the shipment of A GIFT OF THE PRAIRIE: Writings from the Southern Shores of Last Mountain Lake, which now has its own blog and Facebook page. Please follow us there!

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Back at the LMLCC!

Hi folks! I’m so happy to be back as Writer-in-Residence at Regina Beach! It’s wonderful to be able to stay in my inlaws’ cottage at Lumsden Beach and wander over to the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre to work.  This summer marks the end of my stint here and it’s been so much fun! I’ve met so many creative, loving and compassionate people during my time here.  All the years (25+) I’ve been coming to RB from LB to get groceries I had no idea the amazing community I’d been missing!  So, even though I’ll be finished at the end of this summer, I know I’m not finished with this community.

But while I’m here now, I’m working on final edits for the anthology project, setting up readings for the launches and encouraging people to keep on writing.  Today I met with our designer, Amber.  Later this week, I’ll be setting up official launch dates.  And on Monday night, from 7 to 9 pm I’ve invited local writers to gather at the LMLCC for Write On!  I see it as an unstructured time to talk about writing, share writing, and do the writing thing.  We’ll try it for a few weeks and see how it goes.  And, I’m hoping we’ll all be able to take in the Poetry Slam and banquet that local artist, Carol Daniels, is organizing because I told her I’d be one of the judges.

Never a dull moment in this community, I swear!

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Upcoming Reading

Just a quick note to say that I’ll be giving a reading along with Scottish Poet, Ian Stephen, at the Saskatchewan Writers Guild on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm.  Short notice, but I’ll hope to see you there!  Click the link for more info.

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Midwinter at the Beach!

Blue sky out the studio windowIt’s very different being here, in Regina Beach, in the middle of winter.  I’d forgotten.  Yesterday was clear skies and balmy weather.  This morning, it was white on white on gray.  It took me longer to clear the snow off my car than it did to drive to the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre where I am again serving as writer-in-residence.  I am so pleased to be back for another stint!  It’s such a great gig!  I love being out here, even with the snow and winter and all that means on the Prairies.  But it’s really quite lovely.  Yes, I mean that.

Looking out the kitchen windowI’m not staying in our rustic cottage at Lumsden Beach this time.  That would require a prairie constitution I don’t quite have.  I mean, if I had to, I could stay in an uninsulated place, chop wood, haul water, etc.  But I don’t have to.  I have made the acquaintance of many wonderful people here in Regina Beach and one such wonderful person, Audrey, offered me the luxury of her spare room. This is the view from her kitchen window this morning.  Beyond those trees is the lake, long frozen over and dotted with fishing shacks.  A couple of them will be attacked with art during the Ice Fishing Derby & Winter Festival the first weekend in March.  I look forward to seeing how the Shack Attack transforms the fishing shacks.

2014-02-19 11.45.50Though the view out my office could be considered rather glum today, I’m loving it.  There’s nothing quite like a storm in the country.  And I have a great view of the countryside from this second storey perch!

I’m here for four weeks this time.  The call for submissions to the anthology we’ll publish this fall has resulted in a nice stack of reading for me.  I will be reading through it, suggesting edits to the contributors’ work, if needed, and divining a way to put it all together.  And doing the administrative work on it, too.

I’ll also be teaching a couple of classes while I’m here.  One is a make-up class from the fall.  I was unable to teach The Realm of Nonfiction because I came down with the flu at the end of my previous session here so I’m offering it next Wednesday, February 26 at 7 pm in the Cultural Centre.  Two weeks after that, on March 12, I’m offering a session on Marketing Your Work, which really should be entitled Sharing Your Work, because that’s how I have to look at it or I’d never send anything out!  And I’ll be doing a Women’s Words & Art Workshop with the Lumsden & District Arts Council for International Women’s Day on March 8.

And now I shall read.

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Heading into the homestretch!

Wow! These past weeks have moved quickly!  And now I’m heading towards the last week of this part of the residency.  To say that I’m having fun is to put it mildly.  This is truly the best job I have ever had!  I am grateful to the Selection Committee here at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre for bringing me in.  And, most especially, I am grateful to the community the Centre serves — Bethune, Lumsden, Buena Vista, Regina Beach and Kinookimaw and points inbetween — for opening wide their arms and making me feel at home here!

 

We have done much to build the writing community already.  I have visited nine classrooms, both high school and elementary, and did what I could to raise excitement and skills around writing among the students.  I have tried to do the same in the community by offering regular classes on Tuesday nights (the last one is Oct 15) and by participating in the pop-up workshops held during Culture Days.  I have also tried to make my self available to the community by holding a regular Open Studio time on Thursday evenings and by offering one-on-one consultations to writers.

 

I am keeping busy, to say the least!  There’s so much more I could say, but I need to accomplish a few other tasks today while I’m in the office…

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Things are hopping!

The hopping started at the Regina Beach Lionesses’ Evening of Elegance, when my cDancing at the Lionesses fundraiserousin-in-law’s band, the Uncoolas Hit Revue, took to the stage.  In the bustle of the summer, it had slipped my mind that they would be the musical entertainment for the evening.  They play K-Tel Record favouriteNancy & Aaron, of the Uncoolass as well as hits from the 1960’s and 70’s.  I had not heard them before so it was a great pleasure for me.  And, within a short time, I was up dancing, as were many of the women in attendance.  Jim’s cousin, Nancy, did great back up vocals to her husband’s lead vocals.  And the band was musically tight!  I had so much fun that my jaw was sore from smiling, my throat hurt from singing and my body ached from dancing!

I’m now thinking that there could be an after-occasion poem in me from that night.  OhSusanWeir, and for a change, I was the last bidder on a work of art by Susan Weir in the Silent Auction.  This will look good in my orange kitchen! (PS:  Art photography is an art I have not acquired.)

The week that followed was a busy one.  I had a great meeting with the Lumsden and District Arts Council and reconnected with Rosemarie Schumann, originally from my hometown, Earl Grey.  They fed me a delicious lunch as we talked about me leading a Words & Art workshop with them at some point in the future.

I also spent a lot of time this week talking to teachers, arranging for workshops in the schools.  If your children are in Grades 1 through 8 at South Shore Elementary, I’ll be working with them.  If they are in Mrs. Winter’s English class at Lumsden High School, I’ll be working with them, too.  And, I think I will be working with Grades 5 to 7 at Clive Draycott School in Bethune, too!

And, the Tuesday night class is carrying on, as well.  This past week we worked on gathering sensory data for writing, ekphrastic writing, and spent some time considering Julia Cameron’s, THE ARTIST’S WAY: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.  This coming week, we’re looking at re-envisioning, revising, rewriting and editing.  I spent time this morning tracing the development of a poem that began in 2005 and seems to be almost finished some eight years later.

Another good week in the Qu’Appelle!  Ordered a load of wood today in preparation for the cooler nights that seem to be upon us.

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