Yesterday I finished up a glorious three month term as Writer in Residence at Memorial Park Library in Calgary. Through the entire three months, I have been waxing enthusiastic about everything to do with this gig; the program launch in September; 54 manuscript consultations; presentations to writing groups at the branch libraries; readings and presentations to seniors’ groups and book clubs; the launch of my new novel, Delivery; a joint reading with Marcello di Cintio, the U of C’s Markin/Flanagan WIR. All of it exceeded my expectations, which were high to begin with. The physical venue itself was a bonus. Memorial Park is a Carnegie Library, a magnificent sandstone building set in a park that is undergoing reconstruction based on a plan that halted because of WW I. My office in the basement of this library is one of the most comfortable and inspiring places in which I’ve ever worked. All those books upstairs, the amazing librarians, the stream of writers so willing to share their writing and talk about what compels us, and of course the ghosts who inevitably inhabit such a place.
A busy busy fall, with the launch of Delivery and readings in Edmonton, Red Deer, Saskatoon, Regina, slotted in around the library program and the introductory creative writing class I continue to teach for Continuing Education at the U of C.
And now there is Christmas rumbling toward me with all the traditions I’ve built around this holiday time. I knew when I took on the commitments of these past three months that I would arrive at the end of December with my energy level in deficit. So I planned to replenish the best way I know — a retreat. A solitary retreat, I decided, would probably be in order after all of the contact, lovely though it was, with other writers. I applied for a month at Wallace Stegner House in Eastend, Saskatchewan, and to my delight I have been given the whole month of January to return to my own writing, reading, walking, meditating. So much to do in the new year, and such a perfect place to begin.