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.

Leave a comment


  1. With respect to city school closures: What I find disappointing about this issue is the rural/urban divide. When a rural school closure is planned and children will be bussed to a town 30 miles away, if the issue receives media attention at all, concerned parents are portrayed by the media as hat-wearing hicks that rarely drive to town, and always look to the past, not the future. Meanwhile, when city school closures are proposed, local parents are shown as Concerned Parents to Whom we Should Pay Attention. What gives?


    ps – Of course, not ALL rural schools can or should remain open as population changes, and I assume the same applies to city schools. If ALL schools remained open, I would have been the only child in my class, and would have had to pull in kids with an 8-year age range to get two 4-kid teams together for curling. Baseball or soccer would have been completely impossible. Let alone craziness like a band, or a French class.

  2. Timebandit

     /  February 27, 2008

    Hi, L.

    Part of the reason for so much media attention is that this is a larger scale plan and 14 schools are at stake. Some of the schools are far more viable than has been presented to the school board, and all but one of the proposed elementary school closures affect parts of the city where the aboriginal population is over 14% of the children in that school.

    The concentration of closures in the central neighborhoods and in areas where a specific minority lives in higher concentration is troubling. This is about more than closing schools — it’s really about what kind of city we want to live in.


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