Monday, August 22, 2011

A Month of Fridays continued...

Before I put in one of my old Friday challenges - I need to report on a couple of things.
The Elizabeth Bishop Arts Festival - what happens when you take a tiny village in rural Nova Scotia - a gloriously summery weekend and a whack-load of writers and readers, artists and enjoyers, musicians and ears? You get a very compelling and fun time. That is what happened in Great Village this last weekend. I couldn't go for the whole event but I set off at six-thirty, Saturday morning, as I was signed up for a workshop with the excellent writer, Joan Clark. Thirteen of us sat around in the dining room of Desiree's home as Joan held forth on writing what matters. We wrote, we shared and we talked. Then we wondered off back to the United Church which is smack-dab in the centre of the two roads that make up the town. Behind the church was a market going on. Across the street was the Legion where you could get crazy wonderful t-shirts with a Joy Laking design; or you could pick up books by the many authors who were reading and teaching over the weekend. I picked up said t-shirt and a book by Mary Rose Donnelly, Great Village. Mary Rose took the workshop I did and I liked her a bunch. And I am loving the book. It is such a great read and captivating story. Then I sauntered over to the fire-hall and ate pizza, sitting with a woman I last met at a workshop in Tatamagouche several years ago. The place was shock-a-block with the Atlantic literati. People were going on hay rides, kids were building cardboard boats with lots and lots of duct tape, and others were taking tours of Elizabeth Bishop's childhood home. I didn't as I did a writer's retreat there in the spring. That is where I took the photo of the typewriter for my masthead.

United Church across from Elizabeth Bishop house

picture on the wall inside Bishop house

After wandering for a bit and chatting to various folks I knew, I entered the church for the afternoon readings. I heard Anne Simpson read from her latest book of poetry and then be interviewed by Sheree Fitch. Anne writes both fiction and poetry - both skilfully. She is a wonderful reader too. Then Don McKay read his insanely wonderful poems about birds and rocks, and was interviewed by Joan Clark. Finally we heard strange and captivating stories read to us by novelist, Michael Crummey. He was interviewed by Sandra Barry, one of the geniuses behind the year-long celebration of Elizabeth Bishop.

It was a wonderful day and images of it kept coming to me as I meandered home. There is something to be said for a festival in a tiny village - there were workshops in folk's homes and readings in the church and well - the roads were FULL of people who love words. What isn't great about that?

And now for an old Friday Challenge:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Challenge!

a painting I did of the sun setting over the St. Lawrence

my Dad at the helm

Bright and early this morning - today's challenge is cross-training. When you are getting ready for an important athletic event you are encouraged to cross-train. That is to work muscles and talents that aren't directly related to your sport. Wikipedia says this -
Cross-training (also known as conditioning) refers to training in different ways to improve overall performance. It takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of each training method, while at the same time attempting to neglect the shortcomings of that method by combining it with other methods that address its weaknesses.
Clear enough?
Your challenge is to look at whatever you feel you're getting ready for - to be published, to have a gallery show, to have twelve people over for a wonderful meal, to leave your job, take up farming or become a renown tango dancer and find some other discipline that does not 'seem' related and practice it.
Example - for a few years, I took painting lessons. I found that it was quite helpful to my writing in a number of ways. It was pointed out to our class that it is best to keep working all over the canvas - that if you focus on one part of it and don't bring the other parts of it up - you will have a distorted picture. This was completely analogous to reworking that first chapter to death while neglecting the rest of my manuscript. I also learned to trust my right brain and to give my left brain busy work so my right brain could get on with the important intuitive and somewhat irrational tasks that needed to be done.
So - find your cross-training discipline and give it a try. I guarantee it will be enlightening.


Talli Roland said...

Interesting challenge! Lately I've been thinking I need something so my life isn't so fixated on writing.
Love that painting of your dad, btw.

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, you're a really good painter. I wonder what I should take up...

Carol Kilgore said...

Love your paintings! I definitely need to give my left brain a job, but no idea what. Glad you had a great weekend :)

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - That arts festival sounds wonderful! I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

About cross-training?? I really see your point about that. I know that my writing is better when I explore the musical side of me, and that really makes some sense. Any time one stretches oneself, one grows.

Margot Kinberg said...

ps - Forgot to mention how impressed I am with your painting!! You have talent!

Bish Denham said...

Interesting. I think I do a bit a cross-training with my tatting and lace-making, it totally shuts down the left-brain. Weeding is also good.

And the painting of your dad, wonderful!

Jen Chandler said...

I really like the cross-training idea. to find something to cross-train in!

Thanks for the idea and for sharing your marvelous pictures and the wonderful festival :)


PS: I must reiterate what the others have said: I love the painting of your dad!!