I’m just back from the abbey, from our annual writers’ retreat in Rogersville, NB. Seven wacky and wise women along with Sister Kate, JJ the abbey dog (very large and bouncy) and Muffin, the somewhat grumpy abbey cat.
Muffin and I, relaxing
VIA Rail got us there and back in fine style. I love travelling by train – you see the backside of all the houses, and the little back roads, and the skiers weaving down the hills at Wentworth – and there’s absolutely no responsibility.
Every day we walked from the abbey across the fields to the woods (where they make maple syrup in the spring), accompanied by JJ. If you’re lucky, you see a fox. For two days, along with wind chill, the temperature was minus forty – you wear every bit of clothing you brought with you, and your boots creak in the snow. Time to read, to write, to think, to laugh, to talk about matters great and small.And then there’s this door, between the unseen kitchen and our dining room, through which, twice a day, the most amazing meals are wheeled on a cart. I want one of those doors in my apartment.
While I was there, I was editing “The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden,” to be published in the fall. The editing process will continue for the next few weeks. Long phone calls with my wonderful editor Ann Featherstone, who lives on balmy Vancouver Island where it’s never forty below. Smart woman!
One of the books I read on the train was “My Book of Life by Angel,” by Martine Leavitt. Written in free verse, the blurb says it’s about “a teenaged sex worker trying to survive in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside during the time of the Pickton murders.” Not for the faint of heart. At times very grim. Beautifully and sparely written.