Quiet space

I spent last weekend on Mayne Island, as part of a CWILL BC writers retreat hosted by Pam Withers.

I had a lovely bed and breakfast room overlooking the bay, and who could not write, surrounded by scenes like this?

mayne

I finished a big revision while I was there, but as the wise Ellen Schwartz said, “it’s a writers retreat, not a writing retreat.” That meant long walks, reading, and wildlife-watching were all allowable activities. We even had a chance to hear excerpts of others’ works in progress. (And I now have 11 new books I’m looking forward to reading.)

Maggie de Vries led a great session about point of view, and how specificity contributes to the immersion of the reader. You know when you read passages, in your own books or those of others, and there are things that just seem wrong? Now I know why.

retreatgroup

This is Jenny Watson, Ellen Schwartz, Stacey Matson, and me, walking in the rain with the talented Karen Hibbard (whose photo I’ve blatantly stolen.)

It was a wonderful getaway, and timed perfectly. School ends next week, so there won’t be much writing time in my immediate future!

The dream conference

Imagine this: a children’s literature conference where Stacey Matson was teaching storytelling and Carrie Mac giving a keynote about heroes, villains, and geeks. James McCann was offering a workshop on story mapping, Maggie de Vries on scene construction, and Jeremy Tankard on turning pictures into stories. Denise Jaden, Grant Lawrence, and Pia Guerra were speaking and mentoring. Would you want to go?

Because I would TOTALLY sign up!

Except… I am not 11 to 16. Damn it.

All last week, my daughter ran off to the VPL’s Writing and Book Camp each day and came home raving about the cool people she’d met and the things she’d discovered.

Then, on Friday, she got up in front of 150 or so people and read an excerpt from her short story. Calmly, clearly, as if it were no big deal.

I am hanging somewhere between immensely proud and insanely jealous.