I haven’t posted since mid-February, right after a week at the SWG/CARFAC Retreats at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, SK. The next day I started a full-time plus contract which ended in early April. That allowed almost two weeks of prep time for the conference I mentioned in that last post and three weeks for our 16-day trip to Japan to visit our daughter. She had time off work for “Golden Week” so we were able to explore pieces of Japan’s culture, history, and geography.
Flag of Japan
We — we being my husband and our adult son — landed in Tokyo after 10 hours on the plane and spent the night at a hotel to get our bearings before heading to Nagoya where our daughter lives. From there, we visited Hiroshima, Kyoto, and Osaka then returned to Nagoya. We also visited a family friend in Tokyo, attended a baseball game to see the Nagoya Dragons soundly defeat the Tokyo Giants (11-4, I believe), spent the night in a traditional Japanese guest house, then made our way back to Nagoya for two nights. Two days later we were back in Saskatchewan.
It was a whirlwind trip, just a taste of Japan, but I have more than 400 photos which I’m culling to prepare a travel talk, Excerpts from Two Weeks in Japan, which I hope to premiere at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre this August. Details to come, we hope.
A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima, near the epicentre of the first atomic bomb ever detonated on a human population.
Silver sandhill, piled to represent Mt Fuji at Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavillion), Kyoto.
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Nagoya Dragons vs Tokyo Giants.
I haven’t given much time to blogging over the past several months. Seems I’m more caught up in getting my life back to normal. The writer-in-residence gig was fantastic! I’m grateful for the joint initiative of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskCulture Inc. and the funding provided by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund for Sport, Culture and Recreation to make it possible. The residency was an opportunity to do a lot of things I have always wanted to do, including giving back to a rural community and to solicit and edit work for an anthology. A GIFT OF THE PRAIRIE: Writings from the Southern Shores of Last Mountain Lake gave several writers in the area their first publication credit as well as their first opportunity to give a reading of their work. How wonderful that would have been when I was growing up in rural Saskatchewan! And, SaskBooks gave the book a lovely review, too! If you’d like to purchase a copy, contact them or the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre (LMLCC).
Though I worked with other writers during the course of the residency I also had time to do my own writing. My new work continues from this hot place, in a way. The “love-whisper of the creek” in the last poem of thp refers to my love of Wolverine Creek which is one of several smaller streams that flow into Last Mountain Lake. The LMLCC sits on the southern end of the lake, as does my inlaws’ cottage where we’ve spent a portion of each summer for the past 25 years. And, as a child, I spent a lot of time on that lake; our farm was just 20 miles east of it. Suffice it to say that the lake and the Qu’Appelle Valley feature in some of the new poems.
However, I’m nowhere near finished the manuscript! But I am on retreat at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, SK to consider the feedback I’ve recently received on the manuscript and to write some new poems. Im also hoping to get some revisions to a children’s manuscript I’ve been working on with the Regina Public Library’s writer-in-residence, Art Slade, while I’m here. And yes, retreating here in the cold of February is part of returning to normal. I think this is my 15th year of doing so, give or take a year. It’s a gift of the prairie, too. 🙂
The view out my window at St. Peter’s