Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Retreat mug

Got lots of writing done today at the Deep Bay Cabin in RMNP about the history of apple trees on the prairies and foraging and my experience volunteering for Fruit Share.

At the end of the afternoon, I walked to town to get my 'retreat mug,' by Winnipeg-based potter Steve Jorgenson.

Someone on FB, where I posted this first, asked what a 'retreat mug' was.

It's a mug that I buy while on retreat and use pretty much exclusively during that time. 

Later, when I'm home, it reminds me of that time to myself, reading & writing & sipping tea.

I still have the mug that I bought in Lumsden SK when I was attending the Sage Hill Writing Experience, for instance...

Monday, June 22, 2015


* * *

I arrived at MAC's Deep Bay Cabin in Riding Mountain National Park late this afternoon. I'll be here for the next two weeks, writing about Winnipeg's urban forest. And maybe visiting the bison. And going for a trail ride.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bin of books

This is the bin of books & magazines I'll be bringing with me to the Deep Bay Cabin.

Thanks to the Manitoba Arts Council and Riding Mountain National Park, I get to unpack all of this...

(It's far fewer books than I usually bring on retreat. I'm shocked by how 'light' I packed this go-round.)

Some of the forest-y books I know I'll be consulting regularly include:

Forest Policy and Management: Course Notes by Richard Westwood

Urban Forestry: Course Notes by Richard Westwood

Plants of the Western Boreal Forest & Aspen Parkland by Johnson, Kershaw, MacKinnon & Pojar

Dr. Tree's Guide to the Common Diseases of Urban Prairie Trees by Michael Allen

Understanding Local Values Related to the Urban Forest: Connecting Winnipeg Residents to their Trees by Jaclyn Diduck

Winnipeg Forest Watch Handbook: A Guide on Tree Health and Basic Tree Care for Homeowners by Trees Winnipeg

Field Guide to Native Trees of Manitoba by the Province of Manitoba

Friday, June 19, 2015

Reprint: Manitoba Arts Council

* * *

So I'm leaving on Monday for my stint at the Deep Bay cabin.

I still have to assemble a teetering stack of books I have no hope of making my way through in two weeks, which is tradition. I still have to make sure I move all the files I'll need to my laptop. I have to make sure I have my camera and my camera's battery charger.

I have to pack sheets & clothes, sunscreen & bug spray, flip flops & hiking boots.

I'm looking forward to being alone, to bringing home a respectable chunk of new writing, but also to the shift in perspective that being at the edge of Riding Mountain National Park's wild will bring.

Working forest vs. urban forest. Tourists vs. neighbours. Resident squirrels & crows vs. resident bison & wolves.

My thanks to MAC for the opportunity and to Kristen Pauch-Nolin for all her help!

Thursday, June 11, 2015


* * *

So I haven't posted a goddamn thing in weeks.

Part of that is that the blog barely kept up with my doings this spring. Which were marvelous, far-flung and varied. But also: tiring.

So, as soon as I didn't have to post event notices and clippings, I didn't.

I went for walks, both to look at the trees, to take deep breaths of lilac (which sounds purple and florid but is one of my favourite spring-in-Winnipeg things, besides carigana & frogsong & pulling on shorts after a loooooong winter), AND to get on some kind of regular exercize schedule again, which this diptych proves.

But I also cleaned house and watched movies with M and the girl. I did outstanding paperwork and napped.

I'm also been setting my shoulder to the proverbial wheel of the urban forest essays. It's still big and scary, because it's a slightly different genre, because it's new and at the edge of what I'm capable of, in writing, but I'm determined to do it.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Six books + a plate

* * *

Some of the MB authored/published books I'll be chatting with Dahlia Kurtz about at 2:30 pm on CJOB 680:

Ghost Most Foul by Patti Grayson (Coteau Books)
Wonder Horse by Anita Daher (Rebelight Publishing Inc.)
Life Among the Qallunaat by Mini Aodla Freeman (University of Manitoba Press)
A Daytripper's Guide to Manitoba by Bartley Kives (Great Plains Publications)
Monologue Dogs by Meira Cook (Brick Books)
The Significance of Moths by Shirley Camia (Turnstone Press)

Or, put another way, two YA books, two non-fiction books, and two collections of poetry.

The books for a new monthly books column, which should be great fun. The plate is just decorative but is one of my grandmother's. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


* * *

So, after a busy weekend that included the TWUC/LCP AGM in addition to the usual to-ing-and fro-ing, Regina poet Tracy Hamon, The Pas-based writer Lauren Carter, and I read at McNally's Monday night as part of the Envoi Poetry Festival.

There were a lot of poems, a lot of bad jokes (mine) and laughter, and a decent Q&A that included questions about putting together a ms., writing the body, and what it means to write poems in character when the person in question is a relative.

I'd like to thank Kristian Enright for hosting/enduring gentle ribbing, to McNally's for having us, and for the audience, some of which I knew and some of which I didn't...which is how I like it.

(I also managed to pick up the second volume of Rat Queens, which made me happy. The girl had a gift card she was itching to spend and, after extensive browsing, settled on the third Zita the Spacegirl.)

And that's it for the official Stowaways touring. I don't have a single reading on my event horizon, and hoo-boy, am I ever ready for a good long quiet summer of reading & writing & walks in woodsy places.

So is this an envoi ("the usually explanatory or commendatory concluding remarks to a poem, essay, or book; especially: a short final stanza of a ballad serving as a summary or dedication") for my second book? Yah. Mostly.