Sunday, February 28, 2016

Buncha Women

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I'm not much of a joiner, but I believe in community and I believe in women.

And there were women around me who needed help building community for themselves and consolation through the rough months of January and February. (The weather! The onslaught of work! That trial!)

So, over the past few weeks, I've taken two groups of women for walks in Assiniboine Forest as well as a few individuals. I've also helped to organize a salon for women writers with Erna Buffie, a filmmaker and novelist.

I wasn't sure I would like walking in the woods with a group of people. I usually go to Assiniboine Forest by myself or with M and part of what I'm after is the intimate quiet of the woods.

But walking with a bunch of excellent women was great. It felt celebratory, as duos and trios formed, broke up, and reformed. People talked to people they knew and people they didn't know. I talked a bit about trees, pointed out mushrooms and witches' brooms and galls, and took them into clearings and onto a frozen pond.

On the first walk, I followed the route that M and I usually walk, which is to say our default route. On the second walk, I deliberately followed a random route, asking different women which way we should go. Most of the time, I knew where we were, but I wasn't worried about getting lost, not with the forest being so neatly boxed by Grant and Wilkes, Shaftsbury and Chalfont.

The plan is to organize walks for every two weeks. Eventually, we might leave Assiniboine Forest, but for now, there are heaps of paths left to walk. And the spring forest is different than the winter forest...

The salon for women writers attracted about forty people: fictioneers, poets, non-fiction-specialists, journalists, filmmakers, screenwriters, and translators. There were women everywhere! And there was more than enough food and drink for us all.

We think we're going to convene the salon every two months. At different peoples' houses. And we'll use the space to celebrate and commiserate, to talk about publishing and craft, and maybe even to write. We'll see...

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