6 Feb 2015, 4:09pm
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The Joy of Time and Solitude

I was given the greatest gift for a writer, time and solitude. I spent two nights in Canmore in a condo, courtesy of a brother- and sister-in-law. It was a mini-spring in winter, so warm I sat on the balcony in bare feet and a T-shirt, the sleeves pushed up over my shoulders, tanning while I wrote. I spent three days alone, with no one needing anything, no laundry waiting, no walks to shovel. I worked when I wanted to and rested when I needed.

I couldn’t push this hard every day, but to use this time to simply write and write and write – well, to edit and edit and edit – on five, yes, seriously, five different projects – was brilliant. This is an indication of how scattered my last six months have been, and the effort I’m putting in to learning and growing as a writer, but it has to stop at some point. I keep thinking I’m almost at that point, and then I see something new to dig into.

And it was wonderful, truly wonderful.

Maureen

18 Jan 2014, 11:04am
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Writing Joy

I’m back from another writing retreat in Canmore, alone in a lovely condo, a wonderful treat courtesy of in-laws.

I’ve been malingering over a cold-ish thing for a while, and not writing much. I’d been getting writing related work done, but the writing itself? That immersion in a story? Not so much.

I worried that would continue in Canmore, but my first afternoon I settled in to work, and felt excited by my stories for the first time in weeks. There’s this thing that happens to writers, in the middle of a project, or when sick, and definitely when both converge, when the work all seems terrible. That’s a good time to walk away, and do something else for a while.

That’s all I’ve been seeing for a while, so it was a thrill to – well, to be thrilled again. To feel that tingling up my back, as I read a section of story that works, that does what I want it to do – and leaves me wanting to move forward, to find out what happens next. Because that’s the joy in a story, in reading it and in writing it. And without that, there’s simply no point in bothering.

I’m back in Calgary again, organizing myself for a week of hard work. As I do, I will lift my teacup and salute the mountains, and thank them (and my wonderfully supportive family) for a return to writing joy.

Maureen

8 Nov 2013, 4:12pm
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My Mini Writing Retreat

I was given a wonderful gift of two nights at a condo in Canmore, for a writing retreat. I leapt in, editing a long manuscript I really needed to concentrate on. Somehow, I miscalculated and planned for three days of hard work, in what turned out to be 47 hours at the condo (between arrival and departure times). When I got home I dove straight back into it, and have finally managed to get through it. There’s more work to do, but that’s for next week. For now, I can consider my writing retreat a success.

Maureen

 

 

 

Writing Retreat

I’m in Canmore for three days, staying in a lovely condo, on my own, courtesy of a brother- and sister-in-law. This is one of the best gifts I’ve received as a writer. A writing retreat!

The drive up was gorgeous, the sky clear blue, the mountains starkly white and deep blue on the horizon. I listened to Jian Gomeshi interviewing Lynn Coady about her Giller prize win.

Before I left home, I heard (thanks, Monica Kulling, who knows all), that The Veil Weavers is on the Canada Toy Testing Councils Great Books for 2014 list. I’m thrilled! When my daughters were little I loved the Toy Council lists, as a way to find toys with great play value, as the toys are all tested by kids. It pleases me deeply to have a story chosen by kids.

Maureen

http://toy-testing.org/2013/reports-and-awards/great-books-2014/

Canmore

I spent Saturday afternoon at Cafe Books in Canmore, Alberta, signing Crow Boy and chatting. There’s a wicked view from the front of the store – I watched storms come and go across the face of a mountain all afternoon.

I met Jocey Asnong, who works at Cafe Books, is a local artist, and was signing her wonderful self-published book, Nuptse and Lhotse in Nepal. This is a ridiculous story of two adventurous cats who climb Mount Everest, a perfect story to be coming out of Canmore. I was delighted to buy a copy to send to a small friend.

Maureen

 
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