Retreating and Updating

The Regina Mom is participating in the Saskatchewan Writers Artists Colony at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, SK where the temperature has rarely climbed to the minus single digits in the more than two weeks I’ve been here. Nevertheless, it’s been a beautiful and creative, albeit grueling, time for me. Just yesterday, I finished the first draft of a children’s novel that’s been living in me for almost two years. It feels so good to have it outside of me, even though I know that it needs more work before it makes its way to a publisher’s desk.

As I write this, one of Saskatchewan’s finest writers, David Carpenter, sits on the blue sofa next to the one on which I am seated, checking his email. Across the hall in the St. Pete’s boardroom, the award-winning Saskatchewan poet, Brenda Schmidt, works away on her laptop.  And, if I’m not mistaken, the Victoria, B.C. poet, Rhona McAdam, sits across the table from her.  (Check out her link for some great images and tales of our adventures here.)  Ontario poet and essayist, Maureen Scott Harris, just walked by.

It’s such a wonderful community we’ve created here, a colony of writers and artists who gather for a brief time to focus in on their work, to renew friendships and create now, and then to scatter back to their regular lives. It is a community in which I look forward to participating each year.  This year marks the tenth February I’ve spent time at Colony and I know the children’s novel never would have made it out of me without this time.  To all who have been part of it, including the St. Peter’s community, I extend my gratitude.
Still, while I am here the world carries on. Real Renewal, a citizens’ coalition in Regina has organized a petition drive to ask the Regina Public School Board for a moratorium on school closures. They have also provided some interesting statistics about the aboriginal populations in the areas where schools are targeted for closures.

The provincial government in Saskatchewan continues to attack organized Labour in the province by removing all Labour representatives from Crown Boards. Let’s watch what happens to our Crowns without the voice of Labour to speak for them.

The most destructive project on Earth, the tar sands development in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, carries on with support from the federal government.

The nuclear industry carries on with its “renaissance” which, if it succeeds, will kill more life on planet Earth.

Carpenter has taken his leave from the blue sofa and now the emerging poet and fiction writer, Shelley Banks, a Sage Hill Writing Experience alumnus and a Masters student in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia has replaced him. It signals that I’ve been here a while and had best get back to my creative work.

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