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.
It’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.
I’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.
Though 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.
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…
The hopping started at the Regina Beach Lionesses’ Evening of Elegance, when my cousin-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 favourites 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. Oh, 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.
There’s never a dull moment in Regina Beach and area! At least there isn’t for this writer-in-residence! The Duck Derby Parade was fun! There I carried a fishing pole with a large worm. Books bit the worm. It was a bookworm. But I had to explaiin it to too many people, so maybe it was not as good a get-up as I had thought it would be. The Moose Jaw Shriners were out en masse. How can you not love those little cars! Boys with toys, I always think!
There were a lot of people lined up along the parade route and I handed out a lot of business cards. And it was hot! I am forever grateful to the people running the lemonade stand partway through the parade route. I had forgotten my water bottle in the car and I was thirsty! I am also grateful to the kind people, one of whom is in my classes who shared the shade with me afterwards. Oh, and I did not win a prize in the plastic duck race. Maybe next year!
I began leading writing classes with an introduction to freewriting aka Natalie Goldberg this week. One student commented on how much writing she accomplished in just a couple of hours. Another suggested she didn’t have enough time to really get into her writing so I assigned her homework, to write for a half hour at least once this week. I’m looking forward to leading the students through exercises in gathering sensory data and using it in their work this coming week.
I’m also meeting with a teacher at Lumsden High School to plan for a visit to her classroom and to talk about starting a writing group there. Oh, how I wish there had been something like that for me as a young person! That I can in some way contribute to this happening for young people now, is a gift.
But before that, however, there’s a fundraising gala for the Lioness Club. So, I’m getting all dolled up with make-up and jewelry, stuffing business cards into my hand bag and heading out to check this out. I hear there’s a silent auction, too, so who knows what I might come home with!
It’s been more than two weeks since I started my gig as writer-in-residence at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre (LMLCC) and I am starting to feel a little settled, more capable of taking on what I said I’d take on. Yes, moments of doubt haunt me from time-to-time! But I can and will do this.
I’d already moved a computer desk and chair into my studio space at the Centre. This morning my husband helped me move in a rather large basket of books and a couple of bags of art supplies. Attending Gerri Ann Siwek‘s Artist Trading Cards (ATC) workshop here last weekend reminded me how much fun I’d been having with the multimedia work I’ve been doing on and off for a few years. So, I’ve decided that while I’m WIR, I’ll spend a bit of time each week working with words in other ways. The ATCs posted here are from that workshop with Gerri Ann. Both are unfinished but Garden 3 is the one that really inspired me to take this work forward, perhaps because it provided me with another way into a poem. I don’t know if I’ll make any more ATCs, but I will be making more poems!
And I’ll be helping others make new poems, too. And fiction and nonfiction, as well. That’s what the basket of books is about. They are almost the full extent of my About Writing reference library. I’ve been mentally leafing through a number of them since posting the list I created in collaboration with Facebook friends last week, jotting down the occasional note-to-self as a reminder to pass along this or that tip to students. I’d thought it best to have copies here for easy reference and to leave the library’s copies in the library for those who might be interested in reading them. I’m excited about our first class beginning on Tuesday night, 7 pm sharp, in the lower level of the LMLCC!
Before that, I have a busy weekend ahead of me. Tonight (Saturday), I’ll be at the Lumsden Beach Corn Roast, encouraging people there to submit their work to the anthology we’re publishing next summer. Sunday, I’ll take some family time because my sister’s visiting from Alberta and there is a Rider game to watch. And on Monday, I’ll be costumed up and taking part in the Lumsden Duck Derby Parade with the Library’s Book Worm as well as checking out in the festivities there.
Have I mentioned that I love my job?
DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 15, 2014!!!
Another part of being a writer-in-residence is producing a community art work. When I was here in the spring, we published a chapbook, Tales from the Lake, featuring the work of local writers. This time, we’ve pumped it up a level and plan to publish a full book featuring local writers! Here’s the call:
Call for Submissions
Do you have a relationship with the south shore of Last Mountain Lake? Are you a writer who lives in or near the area served by the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre (LMLCC)? If so, you may be interested in contributing your work to an upcoming anthology to be edited by writer-in-residence, Bernadette Wagner, and published by the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre in Spring 2014.
- 1. Submissions are open to all residents and full- or part-time cottagers in the area served by the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre (Regina Beach, Kinookimaw, Buena Vista, Lumsden Beach, Lumsden or Bethune).
- 2. Submit only original work written in English.
- 3. No multiple submissions. Submit only one piece of fiction or nonfiction or 3 to 5 poems for consideration.
- 4. Open theme, any genre.
- 5. Prose word count cannot exceed 7500 words. Our preferred word count is in the range of 5000 words. Poems cannot exceed 66 lines. Our preferred line count is around 33.
- 6. Submissions should be formatted as Word Document files (.doc, .docx) or in Rich Text Format (.rtf) in Times New Roman or Helvetica fonts.
- 7. Submissions must be accompanied by a cover letter that includes your name, your preferred 50-word bio and your complete contact information, including mailing address, email, and telephone numbers.
- 8. Send your submissions to email@example.com. Or, mail to:
Bernadette Wagner, Writer-in-Residence
Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre
Box 70, Regina Beach SK S0G 4C0
- We will confirm receipt of your work within one month.
- 9. Deadline for submissions is midnight of FEBRUARY 15, 2014. Our reading period begins immediately afterwards. The editor will work with you from February 15 to March 15 to improve your work, if need be. Letters of acceptance or regret will follow.
- 10. Contributors will be paid in contributors copies only for the exclusive first print rights to their work as part of the anthology.
Call for Submissions in PDF.