The deadline to apply for the Sage Hill Writing Experience summer session is getting closer—March 23, 2015. This is a great program, which this summer will feature classes by Canadian writers Steven Heighton, Alissa York, Miriam Toews, Denise Chong, Wayson Choy, Merilyn Simonds and Wayne Grady.
And, for any poets who want to work with Don McKay at Sage Hill this spring, that deadline is March 6, 2015. Friday. This week.
The Sage Hill Writing Experience offers small classes with time to write and network. Past instructors include Lawrence Hill (The Book of Negroes), who visited Saskatchewan last fall a for Sage Hill fundraiser. (A few of my photos from that event appear below.)
This year, the program is moving to Cedar Lodge on Blackstrap Lake near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For details on how to apply, see the Sage Hill Writing website.
I’m home after a long weekend at a Facilitated Writing Retreat in Muenster, Saskatchewan.
Organized by the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, this retreat is for emerging writers and features a Writer-in-Residence to provide insights and editorial guidance. (This fall, the WiR was Reg Silvester; last fall, Kelley Jo Burke; next fall, who knows? The call for applications for the SWG WiR will go out in Summer 2015, and I’m sure someone great will again be chosen.)
Six years ago, while wandering through the underground shopping and business concourses of Montreal, I stumbled across the Berlin Wall.
I hadn’t realized a section of the Berlin Wall had been given to Montreal, or that it had been set up in its Centre de Commerce Mondial.
But there it was — one side grey with crude markings, the other bright with 1960s student graffitti, an eerie reminder of the divided city, one ignored (that day, at least) by the stream of underground shoppers and stockbrokers rushing by.
All the way from Vancouver — over the Rocky Mountain and across the Prairies — a glory shone in front of our plane.
And when we approached for landing at the Regina International Airport, that glory turned sunset pink and gold.
I’d seen the same phenomenon on the way West, when the glory hovered below the propellers of the plane during the approach and descent into the Calgary Airport.
But this, my January landing in Regina, was magical. The glory was a circular sunset rainbow along the horizon — so beautiful, I wasn’t even sure if it was real… But I had the pictures. And it was a rare, sunset glory.
Recently, I shared a series of my photographs of Saskatchewan birds with Dr. Alberto Yanosky, the biologist who heads BirdLife International affiliate, Guyra Paraguay.
The photos were to illustrate Dr. Yanosky’s article about his visit to Saskatchewan, the importance of protecting biodiversity and habitat, and the migratory birds shared by our two countries, Canada and Paraguay.
“We say that they decided to breed here, but they are our birds, that we lend them to you,” he explained when I met him in June.
“And you think that it is on the other side, that they are your birds, and they go south to avoid winter here.”
Shared birds. It continues to amaze me that our Prairie birds travel that far.
And what fun to receive an e-mailed copy of the July 2013 issue of Urutau Electrónico featuring the Alberto Yanosky / Shelley Banks collaboration!
There is a story behind every photograph — including this one…
But I’m not yet sure how to tell it, except by saying that yes, I spent several days with Margaret Atwood in Val Marie, Saskatchewan, early this summer.
What a trip.
First, what amazing company.
Margaret Atwood, yes, and also her partner Graeme Gibson, along with Ian Davidson (Nature Canada), Alberto Yanosky (BirdLife International Affiliate Guyra Paraguay), Saskatchewan writer/naturalist Trevor Herriot and others.
I love getting mail, especially when it’s a large brown envelope with a magazine that’s published my work. And so this week, I was delighted to find a copy of The Society on the table by the door.
The Society is published annually by St. Peter’s College in Muenster, Saskatchewan, to celebrate “extraordinary work by both established and emerging artists and writers from across Canada.” Whee! Great description! And amazing contributors. (I share a page with Dave Margoshes — what more can I say?)
St. Peter’s College is on the same site as the writing retreat I attend every year or so — I was last there in February for a very productive re-immersion from daily life into the writing life.