My bag, fondly named “Monster” by a Dublin cab driver two years ago, finally arrived this afternoon after being delayed by an onslaught of fog. Being without it left me a bit out of sorts today. I have never before found myself staring longingly out of a window, waiting for a delivery service. (You never know how much you’ll miss something until it’s lost in an Air Canada vortex, let me tell you!)
Arrived at Sage Hill late last night, so missed the opening get together. This morning, the first person who said good morning to me was Lawrence Hill, the author of The Book of Negroes, one of my favourite novels ever. It’s like being in a surreal film or something…
Meeting my poetry cohort was cool. They come from all over Canada, but they all share the same love of poetry that I feel in my heart. It’s nice to be in a place where people are like minded, where talking about line length, metaphor, and imagery in a stanza can be a discussion that lasts 25 minutes. In my books, that’s a cool thing. (It made me think about how amazing it would be to live, some day, in a commune of poets. There are retirement homes for actors, so why not the same for writers and poets?) Our guide is Ken Babstock, a Toronto-based poet who said, today, something that stuck with me. When in doubt, when trying to make the poem say something, he suggested that, instead, the poem will tell the poet what to write. “The line will guide you…” Loved that. Made lots of sense to me.
At meals today, I’ve met loads of cool writers…some are poets, some are novelists, some are journalists and others are memoir writers. I’m looking forward to hearing more of their work…the poetry I heard this afternoon was amazing, so I can only imagine that it will be a week of words and wonder!:)
The views from St. Michael’s Retreat House are stunning. Rolling green hills, over the valley, which is spliced by a motorway, with birds chirping just outside. I spent some time in the chapel this morning after breakfast, and it may just be the most peaceful place I’ve been in a long time. These Franciscans know how to create a sacred space for soul. This is not the landscape I’m used to, but I’m hoping it will crack me open so that some poems will spill out.