Category Archives: Workshops

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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Filed under Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, Literary Arts, Lumsden, Regina Beach, Workshops, Writer-in-residence

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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Filed under Bethune, Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, Literary Arts, Lumsden, Regina Beach, Workshops, Writer-in-residence

A week into September already!

2013-09-02 12.46.19-2There’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!2013-09-02 13.12.50

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!

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Filed under Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, Literary Arts, Regina Beach, Workshops, Writer-in-residence

Settling into the WIR gig!

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.

garden2 ATC c. B. L. Wagner

Garden 2

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!

Garden 3 c. B. L. Wagner 25August2013

Garden 3

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!

Duck Derby Mascot

Duck Derby Mascot

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?



Filed under Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, Literary Arts, Lumsden Duck Derby, Ramblings, Workshops, Writer-in-residence

Upcoming classes at the #LMLCC

Part of being a writer-in-residence is sharing what you know about writing with the bernadette poster 2013community in which you are residing.  I didn’t realize how much I had picked up over my two decades of learning to write until I led a few sessions when I was here for the mini-residency in March and April.  And so, beginning Tuesday, September 3rd, I’ll lead a seven-week series of 2-hour creative writing classes for ages 14+ at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre.  I’ll share tips and tricks I’ve learned from various writers over the years.

Here’s what’s in store:

September 3: In the write space provides opportunity for you to:

  • explore your artistic energy;
  • become familiar with your creative process; and
  • develop techniques for entering into writing.

September 10: Stop and smell the roses will focus on

  • considering the impact of sensory data in your writing;
  • techniques to evoke the senses; and
  • making sense work in your work.

September 17: Re-envisioning the words is about taking another look at what you’ve written.  We’ll explore:

  • ways to see differently;
  • the subtle differences among revision, rewriting and editing; and
  • peer into another’s words

September 24:  The workshop method is a proven way to improve writing.  In this session we’ll look at:

  • the value of critique;
  • common sense rules for workshopping; and
  • how to give and receive feedback.

October 1:  The poetry is in the details is a phrase that was given to me by a mentor, early on in my learning to write creatively.  I’ve found it to be useful for all kinds of writing.  In this session we’ll explore:

  • what a poem is and is not;
  • a variety of poetic forms; and
  • the power of condensed and heightened language.

October 8:  Spinning yarns: elements of fiction is the session in which we’ll explore writing fiction.  We’ll look at:

  • what makes a story work;
  • the wordcounts in different types of fiction, including flash fiction, short stories, novellas and novels; and
  • character, plot, setting and theme.

October 15:  The realm of nonfiction is broad.  We’ll explore its breadth:

  • from journalism to creative nonfiction;
  • when a fact is not a fact; and
  • the art of memory.

Sask Arts Board Creative Partnerships logoThanks to the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board through its Creative Partnerships program, these classes are FREE.  Attend one or attend all.  No registration required.  We ask that you please arrive at 7:00 pm sharp.

If you’d like more information, please leave a comment below or email me: lmlcc.wir (at) and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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Filed under Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre, Literary Arts, Uncategorized, Workshops, Writer-in-residence

Spring has sprung!

The bees have found fulltime work in my back yard.  At present they’re working on the white blossoms of the Nanking Cherry tree.  Soon, they’ll be able to move to the neighbours’ apple trees and my ornamental plum tree.

While they’re busy with that, I’m busy preparing for a few events.  My neighbourhood celebrates the 21st annual Cathedral Village Arts Festival beginning May 21 with a parade and a picnic in the park, followed by a stream of events throughout the week, and ending with the largest street fair in the province on May 26.  Again this year, I’m the co-ordinator of literary events and hope to see many of you at them.  I’ll again be hosting the Poetry Slam, which is always a lot of fun!

The following week, I head out of town for a road trip to Regina Beach and Bethune where I’ll work with some students at South Shore Elementary School and Clive Draycott Elementary School. I always look forward to school visits because they give me the opportunity to offer students something I wish I would have received when I was young and venturing into writing.  The Saskatchewan Writers Guild must be commended for continuing this program year after year.  It builds future writers, employs current ones and promotes the SWG all at the same time.  It’s a win-win-win!


Details of the events are here.

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Filed under Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Workshops

A late night update

To be a nominee at the Saskatchewan Book Awards Gala is really an honour! There I was, dressed in my finery, hair done up and wearing a flower on my lapel, just like all the other nominees. And my table was filled with dear friends and loving family.

Honestly, I could have asked for nothing better than that! Oh, sure, winning the First Book Award would have been nice, but really, it would have been only the gravy. The honour and privilege that night was in being a nominee, in wearing a corsage identical to the ones worn by Dianne Warren, Sandra Birdsell, Arthur Slade, Brenda Niskala, Byrna Barclay, David Carpenter, by all those writers whose work I’ve admired for years! For that evening — at least until the awards were handed out — I was one of them. I was a writer of note. And believe me, after so many years of questioning, of doubting, of persevering, that validation felt so very good!

And so, my thanks to the Saskatchewan Book Awards board and staff for all their work to keep this event going and also to the funders and sponsors who make it possible for the organization to continue. Please continue! I know I am motivated to make my next book every bit as good as This hot place, if not better, so I can again wear the corsage!

For those in the Weyburn area, I’ll be reading at the rescheduled Shortlist reading on December 14, 7 pm at the public library. See you there!

For those in the area of Marion McVeety School in Regina, I’ll be giving a mini-workshop on What Inspires Us: Literacy Through Reading & Writing and I’m thinking we may have to get our hands dirty… We shall see!

Also in the works is a podcast appearance on The Louis Riel Trail. More to come on that.


And now I should think about sleep.

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Filed under Sask Book Awards, Tour, Workshops