On March 18, I began a month-long term as the writer-in-residence at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre (LMLCC) in Regina Beach SK. The Centre serves the communities of Buena Vista, Lumsden Beach, Lumsden, Bethune and Regina Beach. In itself a beautiful building created from the old Serath schoolhouse that was moved in about a decade ago, the LMLCC houses the Elsie Scherle Gallery, the local library and several artists’ studios. I have the pleasure of using one on the second floor. One window in it gives a view north to Last Mountain Lake, a second, south to Highway #54 and a third, to the west, is a gorgeous stained glass window.
It’s been a dream of mine, to be a writer-in-residence, to give back to the writing community just some of the support and encouragement I have received from it in my development as a writer. It’s an honour and a privilege for me to serve in this community, in particular. My connection to Last Mountain Lake is long and deep. I spent my childhood on a farm 20 minutes east of the lake, near the community of Earl Grey SK. We’d often trek to Rowan’s Ravine Provincial Park for a summer picnic or accompany adults on fishing trips to Fox’s Point.
As an adult, I’ve had the luxury of living in my inlaws’ rustic cottage at Lumsden Beach, just 6 miles from Regina Beach, for a portion of every summer. In my book, This hot place, you’ll find a couple of poems that reference the lake: the poem from which the title comes, “On the shore” and “The Door,” a poem in homage to my late sister-in-law. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to have almost four weeks’ writing time at the cottage. That’s when I got serious about a suite of poems having to do with the lake itself, more particularly with my relationship to it. And on my annual trek to St. Peter’s Abbey last month, I also completed the first draft of an essay exploring Wolverine Creek which flows from the northern edge of the Upper Qu’Appelle River – Wascana Creek Watershed into the north end of the lake. My sense is that there’s something deeper running through here.
And why am I telling you all this, dear Reader? Likely, it has something to do with what I’m telling myself — or trying to! But it also serves the purpose of creating a record of this process, a public record, if you will, of what this residency is about for me as well as what I’m up to while I’m there. So, welcome to the exploration!