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…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
To serve as the inaugural literary artist-in-residence at the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre was a great gift! It allowed me to do three things I love to do: share what I’ve learned, build community, and write. Ok, four things– hanging out at the beach, but in a way very different from what I’m used to! It was an honour and a privilege to give what little I could to a unique rural community.
Though I hesitate to call it a real residency because of the shortness of the term and being unable to reside in the area I did spend the better part of a month in the Regina Beach/Buena Vista/Lumsden area and experienced the exquisite hospitality of the locals. Unfortunately, I was unable to make a solid contact in Bethune. A month is a short time to get to know a community, let alone three or four. And then there was the weather!
Still, I feel as though the residency, as limited and short-term as it was, was a success. I met the goals of engaging the community in the written word by participating in classes, utilizing the one-on-one Storybooth Studio sessions and contributing to the TALES FROM THE LAKE chapbook. The chapbook launch saw more than 30 people in attendance. And, though I spent more time than I had committed to on the community project, I did get a suite of six poems more or less worked out. I have since misplaced the new piece I read at the launch and hope it turns up somewhere!
The project had a positive impact on me in that it gave me a stronger sense of myself as a professional writer. As I’ve said to some of my writer friends, I feel like a big kid in the writing community now! Also important to me personally, especially, is my deepened connection to Last Mountain Lake. Prior to this my experiences with the lake had been summertime ones. This helped me to remember and experience winter with Last Mountain Lake. Professionally, the residency pushed me to not only refine my abilities as a teacher/facilitator and editor, but also to explore my capacity as a community builder. I hope I had a positive impact on the community, overall, and that the writing community there grows and flourishes. There are some fine writers in the Last Mountain Lake Cultural Centre’s communities and some young ones to watch out for!
Needless to say, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for other residency opportunities. It really was a dream come true, to serve a community in this way.
This hot place is living her own life now, on the shelves and in the minds of readers. May she live long! It’s been an absolutely remarkable couple of years for me, touring my baby from coast to coast. She and I still need to get north but I’m convinced that will come, eventually!
For now I have some reading/performance dates upcoming. One is the SCIC Global Justice Poetry Slam tonight in Regina and the other, also in Regina, is at the Vertigo Reading Series where I’ll read with local poet, Ken Fox and Saskatoon poets, Fionncara MacEoin and Caitlin Ward. Music will be provided by Ryan Anderson and (if we can get a practice in this weekend) Jim Mitchell and me!
Details are on the poster at the right and on the Tours page.
Life goes on, post-book. Projects keep calling. I keep writing. If you’re interested in my political work, have a look at thereginamom.com where I’m dogging and blogging the tarsands issue, thanks to Joe Oilver’s screed in the Globe & Mail a few weeks ago.
I’m gearing up for gatherings of our extended family over the holidays. I’ve been wrapping presents, baking goodies, decorating the house. Tomorrow, friends and family will drop by to welcome my daughter home for the holidays. Tonight, all members of my immediate family will sleep under one roof. I like that. A lot.
My sister-in-law called yesterday to read what had been written about my appearance in Moose Jaw last week. It was a glowing report, from what I gathered, and I was happy to hear that. She promised me a copy and, I believe, it will be online eventually. She also told me that there had been a piece in the Times Herald, so I googled and found it. Not as glowing, not really much at all, but a photo, a blurb and a good headline. I’ll take it!
I have now confirmed two bookings have been confirmed for January. One at the Vertigo Reading Series in Regina on January 23. The other at McVeety School, as mentioned earlier, on January 27. The details are here. And the Louis Riel Trail podcast will likely take place in January, too. We’re trying to find a date that works.
To all who have made this year so very special for me — to Al and Jackie at Thistledown Press, to my fantastic editor, Liz Philips, to Kim Menzies for the beautiful art on my cover, to the incredible organizers of my readings throughout Saskatchewan, western Canada and Ottawa, to the dear friends and family who hosted me, to those who attended the readings and those who bought my book, to the folks at the Saskatchewan Book Awards, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, the Saskatchewan Writers/Artists Colonies, the Sage Hill Writing Experience — to all of you who played some role in making my dream come true — I wish you a happy holiday and bright blessings for the new year. Peace and love to you and yours.
Yes, it’s true, This hot place is moving in an easterly direction. Manitoba’s been great to me, I have to say! First the fantastic turnout for my reading in April. And then the great sales at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg even after I’d returned home.
Then, a great reading with Pearl Pirie in Ottawa earlier this month. And now, a great review from a Manitoban writer on the website of the Ottawa-based literary magazine, ARC! Honestly, I’d given up on seeing any more reviews so this comes as a wonderful surprise. Thanks, ARC!
Not easterly movement but, another wonderful surprise arrived this week. I received an invitation to be the guest speaker at the Moose Jaw SK, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women which takes place on December 6 in memory of the 14 women murdered at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal in 1989. I know I have some relevant poems to share at that event. Information on that is here.
For now, however, it’s rest and relaxation so that I have energy for the Saskatchewan Book Awards Gala on November 27!
Filed under reviews, Tour
Today I learned that This hot place is nominated for the First Book Award in the Saskatchewan Book Awards! And, I feel quite privileged to have my work honoured in this way. Whether I win or not seems secondary. Just getting the nod, knowing that, yup, my work is of a high enough calibre to be recognized in this way, is simply fantastic! Of course, the monetary prize would be nice, too…but the sales this will generate will be good, too.
The winners in all the categories will be announced at the Saskatchewan Book Awards Gala which takes place on November 27 at the Centre of the Arts in Regina. Tickets are $70 and all ticket purchasers receive a $35 charitable tax receipt for their support of the Saskatchewan Book Awards. It’s a fair chunk of change, yes, but it’s a good meal, a good guest speaker and the proceeds help to support and promote the work of Saskatchewan writers like me.
And all the other nominees, to whom I send my heartfelt congratulations!
See you there!